Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Whaleback steamers were a fad in the late 1800s. The name Progressist is unusual.
From the 08-August-1895 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image to see a larger version.
A Diver With Electric Light Searches for a Leak Under Water.
Yesterday the visitors on the water front were entertained with the labors of a diver searching the bottom of the whaleback steamer Progressist at Folsom-street wharf for a leak. When he donned his brass and rubber suit and let himself sink down in the bay, he carried an incandescent light in his hand, and by its bright gleam his movements could be indistinctly seen under the water, giving his large audience perched on the dock some idea of the work of men who go down in the sea under ships. The current was generated from the trolley of the Dunsmuir coal cars at the bunkers.
The leak was caused by the forcing in of a steel plate near the vessel's bow, and while not large has necessitated the constant use of the steam pump to keep the big ship free from water. The search for the injury will be finished to-day.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Hillsdale Mall developer David Bohannon commissioned sculptor Benny Bufano to provide sculptures to decorate the new mall in San Mateo. Bufano opened a studio on the mall site in 1955 and created ten of his famous animal sculptures. I took this photo of "Frog" on 13-December-2010.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The San Francisco Arts Commission (http://www.sfartscommission.org/) has set up a series of posters by artist Elisheva Biernoff representing important moments in San Francisco history and geographic features that lie beneath the developed city. I took this photo on 25-June-2011, showing a poster that depicts the Big Four, the robber barons who profited from the Central Pacific Railroad, and the Chinese laborers who built much of it. It also shows Woodward's Gardens, an early pleasure resort. Click on the image to see an enormously large version.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
The Harvard and the Yale were fast turbine steamers brought from the east coast by the Pacific Navigation Company to operate between San Francisco and San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles. They sailed the route from 1911 until World War One and from 1921 until 1931 (by the Los Angeles-San Francisco Steamship Company), when Harvard hit rocks near Point Arguello and sank. The effects of the Great Depression and competition from autos and railroads caused LASSCO to stop service with the Yale after 1936. Both ships carried troops to Europe during WWI and Yale served the Navy during WWII.
This advertisement, from the 25-April-1912 San Francisco Call, refers to the next day's sailing of the Yale.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The image is from Phil Stephensen-Payne's wonderful Galactic Central (http://www.philsp.com/).
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
There has been a Cliff House at Land's End in San Francisco since 1863. There is some debate over whether this elaborate structure, built by Adolph Sutro in 1896 after the previous Cliff House was nearly destroyed by an explosion, was number three or number two. Historians like to point out the irony that it survived the 18-April-1906 Earthquake and Fire, but burned the next year, on 07-September-1907.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
In honor of Bastille Day, here is my favorite French actor/singer, Maurice Chevalier, with Jeanette MacDonald in Love Me Tonight. They made several enjoyable movies together. I have always been fond of the Marx Brothers' routine in Monkey Business when they all tried to pose as Maurice Chevalier. I wanted to be Maurice Chevalier when I grew up.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A schedule for Central Pacific trains and boats from Sacramento.
From the 19-May-1880 Sacramento Daily Record-Union.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Henry Van Der Weyde was a son of Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde. After service in the American Civil War, Henry emigrated to England, where he became a pioneer in taking photographs using artificial light.
"The American Duchess of Marlborough is not pretty..." I don't think the Duchess of Marlborough in 1889 was an American, but her close relative in-law, Lady Randolph (Jennie) Churchill, mother of Winston was. But she was pretty. The photo above shows her. It was not taken by a Van der Weyde.
BEFORE THE CAMERA.
FAMOUS WOMEN WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHED IN LONDON.
One finds so our world celebrities passing down Regent street on a pleasant afternoon that he keeps bobbing from one to another aad often, loses all. "There goes Lord Tennyson." "Quick! The Duke of Portland was in that carriage. I wonder if that was Miss Dallas-York with him?" "There goes a carriage with royal arms!" "Oh, where? I did not see any of them;" and so on all the time, While I was trying to push to the front a grand carriage drove up to the sidewalk, then another and another; a red carpet was laid down to the door; there was a flash of jewels; some bundles of millinery quickly sprang out. I glanced to the coachmen and footmen; they all bad big posies and satin ribbons in their buttonholes. Then I knew the real reason of the crowd. It was 'drawing-room day" in Regent street. After being presented at court the beauties were coming to be photographed.
The London photographers usually receive no other customers on that day. Most of the royalists go to Vander Weyde now. It is a singular fact that Vander Weyde, with this old historic Dutch name, is really an American, who came to London penniless after the war. As the carriages rolled up the crowd increased. Several ladies in the street tried to go up, but were repulsed by the grim servant in livery at the door. When the Duchess of Marlborough swept in the excitement became tremendous and I could stand it no longer, so I found myself following yards and yards of black brocatelle, tulle, lace, passementerie, jets and feathers up the wide staircase to the little Moorish waiting room.
The American Duchess of Marlborough is not pretty, but she has a fine presence, and carries herself with grace and dignity, and a little self consciousness or exalted looks, perhaps. She was dressed in court mourning, with the magnificent family jewels, which were once the laurels of a splendid home. I thonght her dressed in the best taste of any of the ladies in the gallery. Many portraits of Lady Randolph Churchill hang about, from the simple American girl in white muslin when she first came over to the more mature woman of the world in her court dress, with the star of India blazing on her bosom. The magnificent Duchess of Leinster was there, with her head lifted like a great stag on the alert. Her pictures do not do her justice. She must be seen in the flesh to appreciate her color as well as her form.
I heard one stout lady of past 40 say: "Oh, you naughty American, boy, why don't you make me look like Adelaide Detchon or Dorothy Daae? These are two professional beauties that Vander Weyde has made famous. A good deal is expected from him sometimes. Most of his pictures are taken by electric light, and by the use of colored glass which softens and subdues the lines of the face and gives to the skin of each woman its loveliest natural color, and makes some plain women look beautiful.
My hour lengthens to two or three, then, when all the trains have departed, I was taken to the studio, where the work of the real artist is seen one might almost say he is a photographer only in play, an artist in earnest, for while he often rushes down to pose some important person he gets back to his painting as soon as he can, and sometimes works until after midnight, forgetting club and society.
We had tea from some dainty cups of egg shell porcelain, and I asked him how he became interested in photography. It was by an accident -- a terrible accident.
He was a Seventh regiment boy. In the war he was captured, and was in Libby prison for more than two years. He was always of an inventive genius, and could not be idle even amid the horrors which surrounded him. While there he conceived some inventions which made him a fortune when he came out.
Then he spent five years in European travel, and visited many then little explored countries. A sudden change swept away his fortune, he was in London and wondering what to do; chance took him into a photographer's. He was told he could not be taken that day, it was too foggy. Without thinking he said: "Could not one be taken by artificial light?" "There would be a fortune for the man who could invent one," the clerk replied. That night he went to work. His first idea was to collect the rays of the son in a gigantic burning glass; at great expense he had one constructed, hollow and filled with water. The room for experiment was in a north light; had it been under the sun's rays the monster glass could have melted a man to a grease spot.
One day while he was seeking there came a terrific explosion, the glass burst, he was knocked down and deluged with water, one of the fragments piercing his arm, pinned him to the floor and severed an artery, while the blood spurted to the ceiling. The inmates of the house, hearing the noise, rushed to the room to find him senseless. He was taken to bed and for months lay in a raging fever. The room was locked, and when he was at last allowed to walk he opened the door and found the floor scattered with fragments of glass and the blood stain on the ceiling -- the thought of his days of wasted labor was too much. He fainted and had a relapse.
When he recovered he heard that a discovery had been made -- the electric light. This was what he had been searching for. He hired a poor photographer to work for him nights, and at last perfected the invention for which all the court beauties thank him when drawing room day is a foggy one.
The pictures produced by it are peculiarly soft and suggestive without changing the likeness of the face, for they need but little retouching. The great advantage is that the light is movable, so that when a pose is caaght it can be experimented with from every point.
London Cor. Philadelphia Press.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Space shuttle Atlantis, mission STS-135, left on the last space shuttle journey this morning. I remember when the shuttles began flying in 1981. I remember people commenting that no one thought of it as the world's fastest, highest-flying airplane. I thought by now we would have a successor. NASA photo.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The Santa Rosa depot was built by the San Francisco and North Pacific, a predecessor of the Northwestern Pacific, my favorite railroad, in 1904. It was the scene of the climax of Alfted Hithcock's movie Shadow of a Doubt. Now it servers as a visitor center. This is my happy tribute to the NWP, which has started running trains for the first time in ten years.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The Trains Magazine Newswire reports that my favorite railroad, the Northwestern Pacific, ran trains for the first time in ten years on 27-June-2011.
I took this photo of the classic Northwestern Pacific herald at the Ardenwood railroad fair in September, 2009. It is on the side of caboose 5591.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Happy Fourth of July to all.
Actress Josephine Dunn played mostly small parts in several movies, including It's the Old Army Game with WC Fields. In this busy photo, she sits on what appears to me to be a Boeing Navy fighter. I welcome corrections. The photo comes from the wonderful site LucyWho (http://www.lucywho.com/).
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Charles Carter, a native of San Francisco, was one of the great American magicians of the early Twentieth century. He worked abroad for many years. His home in Sea Cliff still stands.
This ad is from the 16-September-1907 Salt Lake City Herald.
It was warm today.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Station One and Truck One wear black wreaths to remember firemen Vincent Perez and Anthony Valerio who were killed in a fire in Diamond Heights. Perez and Valerio were the first San Francisco firefighters killed on duty in eight years and the first to die in a fire since 1995. I took the photo on 06-June-2011.