Friday, October 24, 2014

The Hyderabad Near to Destruction -- October 24, 2014

The drawing is from the 13-June-1899 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. The text is from the 12-June-1899 Call.  Hyderabad reached San Francisco on the afternoon of the 11th after a troubled passage.  I posted an earlier report here:


A Close Call of the Hyderabad.


Sails Blown From the Bolt Ropes, Running Gear Chafed Away and Vessel Thrown on Her Beam Ends.

The overdue British ship Hyderabad reached port yesterday afternoon. She was 106 days coming from Newcastle, N. S. W., and 25 per cent premium had been paid to reinsure vessel and cargo. The Italian bark Mario, which sailed nearly a month after her, beat the ship by six days into port.

The Hyderabad had a most exasperating voyage. Nothing but light winds and calms were encountered until the coast of California was reached, and then a northwester was run into that nearly piled the vessel up on the Farallones. In fact in order to wear ship in a hurry some of the sails had to be cut away and then it was touch and go with vessel and all on board.

For weeks the Hyderabad never changed her position and the wear and tear on the sails and running gear was worse than if she was in the hardest gale that ever blew. In three weeks she only covered forty-two miles and nearly all of that was made by drifting with the current. On May 24 (Queen's Birthday) the ship whs eighty-nine days out and 1560 miles from San Francisco. Both captain and crew were sick and disgusted, and it began to look as though there was a hoodoo on the ship.

A change was coming, however, and when it started it came with a rush. Last Sunday week a breeze sprang up and that day the Hyderabad logged 205 miles. The next day, June 5, it was blowing a gale and big seas were constantly breaking aboard. A squall struck the vessel, bringing her up in the wind and laying her over until the lee rail was under water. It looked for a moment as though all was up with the Hyderabad, but Captain Scott ordered the topgallant and upper topsail halyards let go and away went the sheets. This saved the masts and eased up the ship.

"The decks werre full of water to the rail." said Captain Scott when speaking of the danger. "and nothing could be done to save the sails. Five of the crew were injured by being washed into the scuppers and some of them only escaped being washed overboard by a miracle. The ship was lying aback in the trough of a heavy sea with her main hatch under water. All the running gear had gone out through the ports and was by degrees chafed off. By 8 p. m. it was blowing a living gale. Three upper topsails, three topgallant sails, the mainsail, cross jack and main topmast staysail were carried away and the braces and running gear chafed off.

Just as we got straightened out a bit the Farralones loomed up black and threatening. All the the sail we could carry was set In order to clear the rock, but at midnight it seemed as though we were going to strike. I had to wear ship in a hurry, and in order to get her round I had to order the three lower topsails cut away. We got out of that scrape, but the gale did not abate any and the next day (June 6) we lost three royals and two small staysails. Oh, I tell you we made up for the months of calm we had gone through. Why, the wind took those sails out of the gaskets as though they were so much brown paper. It was June 9 before the gale subsided and we were able to lay our course for San Francisco again.

On June 9 the five disabled members of my crew were able to be about again and then I made an estimate of the damages received during the gale. Besides all the sails I lost the upper topsail and topgallant sail chain sheets were broken, the jack stays and screw dogs were broken and torn away from the yards, sheaves in yardarms broken and chain gear aloft damaged. How was that for a wind up to three months of light winds and calms?

"During our spells of light weather we had two other encounters with islands, but, thank God. the ship was never in danger. On April 4 we drifted past Sophia Island and on April 13 we were three miles off Hulls Island. I saw a tall flagstaff and two huts and one building, but no sign of life. I hoisted our flag and signalled, but no one responded. There was evidently no one on the island and I suppose the huts flagpole were put up by a British man-of-war. This has been about the longest voyage the Hyderabad has ever made. On her last trip from Newcastle to San Francisco she made the run in fifty-eight days."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pier 1 -- October 23, 2014

Pier 1, just north of the Ferry Building, is the headquarters of the Port of San Francisco. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Found -- October 22, 2014

Moving Picture World, 21-October-1916

The first actor to become famous for playing Sherlock Holmes was American William Gillette. Arthur Conan Doyle had killed Sherlock Holmes in 1893, but, needing money, was happy to let Gillette write a four act play, Sherlock Holmes, or The Strange Case of Miss Faulkner. In fact, Gillette had to write the play twice, because the first manuscript burned in the fire at Lucky Baldwin's Hotel and Theater at Powell and Market in San Francisco on 23-November-1898. Gillette played Holmes more than 1300 times, and his play was the basis for later films with John Barrymore and Basil Rathbone. The play also introduced a love interest for Holmes, Alice Faulkner. Gillette played Holmes in a 1916 feature film, which had been believed to be lost.

I was happy earlier this month when the  San Francisco Silent Film Festival announced that a print has turned up at the Cinémathèque Française.  The  Cinémathèque and the Festival are working together on a restoration.

Learn more about William Gillette on my other blog:


The Royals beat the Giants 7-2.  Jake Peavy started well, but the wheels fell off in the sixth. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow Sedan -- October 21, 2014

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June, 2013 to drool over their collection of classic autos.  Pierce-Arrow built five 1933 V-12 Silver Arrow sedans with revolutionary streamlined styling.  Three still exist.  Pierce-Arrow went out of business in 1938. 


The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in the first game of the World Series.   Madison Bumgarner's streak of scoreless innings in the World Series got broken, but he got the win. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mad #2 -- October 20, 2014

The December 1952-January 1953 issue of Mad, probably published in October, was the second issue of a great American tradition. EC, famous up to that time for horror comics, had moved in a new direction. Published by Bill Gaines and edited by Harvey Kurtzman, Mad introduced sharp satire (Humor in a Jugular Vein) to comic books. Mad became a magazine in 1955. Legend said it was because of the growing controversy about comic books, but it was done to satisfy Kurtzman's ambition. I read Mad for many years and it certainly influenced my sense of humor. I know some movies better through having read the Mad parodies rather than seeing the movies themselves.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Baseball Stories -- October 19, 2014

This is a repost of an entry from October, 2010 and October, 2012. 

 The cover of the Summer, 1947 Baseball Stories.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jerry Siegel 100 -- October 18, 2014

Writer Jerry Siegel, who was born 100 years ago yesterday on 17-October-1914.  With his Cleveland friend artist Joe Shuster, Siegel created the character of Superman and sold it to the company that eventually became DC (Detective Comics).  Superman first appeared on 18-April-1939 on the cover of Action Comics Number One.  I have always liked the guy in the left foreground.