Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clara Bow #6 -- July 31, 2013

A 1924 photo of Clara.  From the November 1930 New Movie

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Speedway Films Superb -- July 30, 2013

From the 10-July-1915 Motography.  

Speedway Films Superb

As announced exclusively in the last issue of MOTOGRAPHY, the pictures taken at the Chicago Speedway on Saturday, June 26, for President Aaron M Gollos of the Photoplay Releasing Corporation by the Advance Motion Picture Company, under the personal direction of George Cox, one of Chicago's foremost producers, were shown the same evening at the Majestic theater, Chicago, creating intense enthusiasm.

On Monday, June 28, these same pictures were featured at the Orpheum theater in Chicago, as well as at the Colonial, another of the Jones, Linick and Schaefer houses, and it said were declared by the management of the theater to be the finest films depicting an automobile race that have ever been shown in the house.  Many hundreds of people were turned away early this week and tremendous bookings are being made on these Speedway pictures, which are exceptionally clear and well photographed.

Director Cox is deserving of the highest praise for the splendid results he has obtained, since the scenes showing the great crowds in the grandstands, the thousands of autos parked just outside the Speedway track, close-up views of the drivers and their mechanicians in their racing cars, and the race itself, in which the camera follows the cars all the way around the track and finishes with a close-up view of Resta, the winner, are undoubtedly intensely interesting to any lover of automobile racing and tremendously thrilling, not alone to those who saw the race, but the thousands who were unable to themselves visit the big bowl.  Without a doubt the picture will prove a tremendous drawing card in whatever theaters it is booked and will interest the public for weeks, if not months, to come. 

Henry Ford 150 -- July 30, 2013

I know Henry Ford was a bad guy in his anti-Semitic views and the way he treated his poor son, but I have always admired his engineering ideas. One that he held from his very first car, the quadricycle, was that autos should be light but strong. The Model T was an excellent example of this philosophy.  Many of my relatives learned to drive on Model Ts.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Yacht Race -- July 29, 2013

From the 02-July-1895 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. 

With the America's Cup and preliminary races coming to San Francisco Bay this summer, I thought I would post pictures of some racing yachts. 

TO SAIL TO SANTA CRUZ. 

The Yachts of the Pacific Club All Ready for the Ocean Race. 

A GREAT UP-RIVER CRUISE. 


Corinthians and San Franclscos Out for Fun — The Perpetual Challenge Cup.

The Pacific Yacht Club will start for Santa Cruz this morning for a holiday cruise and incidentally a race down to the city by the sea. Only five craft will start, the original programme having been disturbed from various causes. Ten vessels entered for the race, and the first to withdraw was the schooner Lily L. The reason for her withdrawal was that the heel of her bowsprit proved to be too weak for the trip, and Donald Host, her owner, is putting in a new stick. Mr. Ross confidently hoped to have the repairs made in time, but yesterday he gave the job up as a hopeless task and concluded to stay home.

Another vessel which had entered the list was the Rover, but she left for Santa Cruz on Sunday and will remain there to participate in the festivities of the fleet.

Yesterday afternoon the Annie, flagship of the Pacifics, Commodore Caduc, the Lurline, ex-Commodore Spreckels, the pilot-boat Gracie S, Captain McCullough, the Idler, Captain I. C. Wilson, and the Whirlwind, Admiral yon Schmidt, came to anchor off the seawall, between Powell street and Meiggs wharf, with everything in readiness for a race down the coast.  All hands went on board the yachts last night, and this morning, some time between 6 and 7 o'clock, the fleet will be towed to sea. It was intended to make a beat of it down the bay, but the programme was changed, as it was feared that the trip might not be made in a day. The yachts will remain at Santa Cruz until the Fourth, when the start will be made for San Francisco.

Every club on the bay will be represented under sail over the holidays, and the boats will be out from to-morrow afternoon until Sunday next The Corinthians and San Franciscos will make the up-river cruise, most of the yachts leaving Tiburon and Sausalito on Wednesday afternoon. Three of the Corinthian boats are already in the river, having left on Saturday afternoon. They are the Speedwell, Donohoe's new boat, which captured the Corinthian prize this year, in command of Ed Howard; the Belle, John and Joe O'Brien and the Harpoon, Captain Cook. To-morrow afternoon the following yachts will leave the Corinthian Clubhouse for the river: The Truant, Commodore Pew's flagship; Freda, Secret, Mignon, Dawn and Morrow, and Westerfield's new craft Aeolus, built this year by Frank Stone. The fleet will sail to Martinez and there spend the night.  Next day the yachts will go to Suisun, where they will meet the Speedwell, Harpoon and the Belle, and there spend the night. On Friday the entire fleet will come back to Benicia, and on Saturday leave for Vallejo. Sunday the fleet will race from Mare Island to Tiburon.

The San Francisco Yacht Club will also make the up-river cruise, leaving Sausalito on Wednesday afternoon. The first leg will be to Mare Island, where the night will be spent, and on the following day a run will be made to Haggin's ranch just this side of Suisun, where the night of the Fourth will be celebrated. On Saturday the fleet will rendezvous at Martinez and on Sunday the return home will be made, the yachts coming down the bay in company with the Corinthians.

The perpetual challenge cup to be raced for by all legitimate yacht clubs on the coast from San Diego to Puget Sound was placed on exhibition at the Merchants' Exchange yesterday. It will remain there for a week and on next Wednesday at noon it will be presented to the Encinal Yacht Club, which will strive to hold it against all comers. The presentation speech will be made by Uncle George Bromley and it is expected that all the prominent yachtsmen in the bay will be present.

The California and Encinal Yacht clubs have no regular programmes for the observance of the holidays, and the yachts will sail about the bay at their owners' sweet will.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Harry Langdon Heart Trouble -- July 28, 2013

I had a request for anything about Harry Langdon's last silent feature under his lucrative First National contract.  Heart Trouble flopped at the box office and we may never know if it was any good because it is considered lost.

This review, from the December, 1928 Motion Picture Magazine, is somewhat ambivalent about the movie ("What's the use of reviewing a Harry Langdon picture?"), praising it with faint damns or the other way around.

It may be ungentlemanly of me to say it, but that is not a flattering photo of leading lady Doris Dawson.

Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Curating the Bay -- July 27, 2013

We took a drive downtown to see what the traffic would be like.  It was heavy getting off the 280 extension at Sixth Street.  Fifth and Mission was more full than usual.  We had lunch across the street at Super Duper Burger.  My wife enjoyed watching lines of cars trying to get into the Jukebox Marriott.  Since my office moved, I don't keep track of the conventions that come to town.

We went to the California Historical Society to see Curating the Bay: Crowdsourcing a New Environmental History. They are experimenting with crowd sourcing at the site YearoftheBay.  There was a nice display of raw material from their collections; many items had never before been shown.  I liked the Pacific Mail and Pacific Coast Steamship Company items. 

Fly Trap 50 Years -- July 27, 2013

The Fly Trap Restaurant at Sutter and Montgomery Streets closed on 27-July-1963.  My grandfather was a partner and the chef.  The Fly Trap was a businessman's restaurant in the heart of the Financial District.  Only one woman worked there, as a cashier, and female lunch customers were rare. 

Louis Besozzi (the Big Boss) opened it in 1898 as Louis' Fashion.  His brothers had restaurants called Henry's Fashion and Charley's Fashion.  Louis' Fashion became known as the Fly Trap because of strips of fly paper needed because of horse-drawn streetcars. 

Wells Fargo closed the business so they could build a new headquarters building, which they no longer occupy. 

It's probably a good thing it closed because my grandfather would have worked till he died, like 2 of his 3 brothers.  Because of his forced retirement, I grew up spending a lot of time with him. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II Boattail -- July 26, 2013

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June to drool over their collection of classic autos.  The 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Boattail is posed back-to-back with a Duesenberg boattail.  Unfortunately, the boattail of the Rolls is not visible in this shot.  London coach builders Barker and Company designed the body for the Maharajah of Rewa. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Doubleheader -- July 24, 2013

Yesterday we went to see the Giants play the Reds in a doubleheader.  When we bought the tickets, they were for a single night game, but the Giants got rained out at Cincinnatti on July 4, and this was was the only opportunity to do a makeup.  We found parking place at the Daly City BART station and rode to the Embarcadero.  There was a table within the gates of the BART area selling all day transfers as tickets to the ballpark.  A T car came right away, it was jammed.  We were able to get on the next one.

The Giants were ahead 1-0 when we got to the ballpark.  They were behind 4-1 when we reached our seats on the club level.   Eric Surkamp, brought up for the doubleheader, did not last long.  We went into the club area and had dinner at a table.  The Giants made some noise in the 9th inning, but lost 9-3. 

Late in the game, a police boat appeared in the cove and cruised right along the edge of park.  The Phoenix also appeared and dropped a crewman off on the walkway.  We saw a procession of many police motorcycles and two buses go along the other side of the channel. 

During the break between games, we learned that it was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.  The San Francisco Police color guard came out.  The motorcycles ringed the outfield.  Police family members marched in.  Phoenix pumped water during the National Anthem. 

The second game was odd because the Reds were the home team.  The Giants batted first and wore their road uniforms.  Barry Zito started and did well, but left before he pitched 5 full innings.  The Giants won 5-3.  We had to get up early today, so we left about 10pm, during the seventh inning. 

We got on a Muni Metro call quickly.  When we got to the BART station, signs said trains would only run on track 2.  They were single-tracking trains through the tunnel so we had to wait a while for a Daly City train.  We followed the game on ESPN's mobile site till my battery gave out.  The game ended just after we got to the car. 


John Barrymore as Sherlock Holmes -- July 24, 2013

In 1922, John Barrymore starred in an adaption of William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes.  Roland Young, who later played Cosmo Topper, was Doctor Watson. Holmes' love interest, Alice Faulkner, was played by Carol Dempster, an actress who had only appeared in movies directed by her patron, DW Griffith. Gustav von Seyffertitz was good as Professor Moriarity.

The film was thought to be lost for many years.  Dedicated restorers put it back together from thousands of separate shots, often in multiple takes, that had been cut up and put together out of order, probably for tinting. I have seen it, but I must admit that I found it slow.

The image is from http://50watts.com/

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ghost Sign #21 -- July 23, 2013

I took this photo of the Thomson Machine Works sign on Second Street near Howard on 01-April-2008. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Building America -- UP 150 -- July 22, 2013

Because we had to cut short our Disneyland trip, we decided to spend two nights in Sacramento.  Traffic was good on the drive up. 

We walked through Old Sacramento and had lunch at Johnny Rockets in the K Street Mall.  Then we went to the state railroad museum.  The upstairs gallery had "Building America: Abraham Lincoln, California, and the Union Pacific Railroad," a touring exhibit  in honor of UP's 150th anniversary.  It included documents, artifacts, histories of some of UP's acquisitions, and many advertising posters.  We watched an Amtrack locomotive get pulled out the roundhouse doors. 

We checked into the Governor's Inn, which we had not visited for years.  It was nice, and was very quiet. 

The next day we had planned to go to the state fair, but it was too hot.  We drove to Folsom and visited the outlets, then back to Sacramento and went to the California State Museum.  My wife thinks it would be a great place to take a field trip.  We had not visited since the Lincoln Bicentennial.  There was a small exhibit on the missions and one on Charles and Ray Eames.  Many visitors headed straight for the Eames.  My wife didn't remember them till she saw the chairs.  The exhibit on Japanese-American relocation made me tear up. 

Then we visited the K Street Mall.

The next day we drove home, with a stop at the Nut Tree.  Traffic was clear till we got to the Berkley city limits. 

While we in Southern California, Tim Lincecum pitched a no-hitter.  The National League lost the All Star Game. 

Comic Book #25 -- July 22, 2013

Archie Andrews grew from a character in Pep comics to a franchise with a wide range of books, a radio show, and various television shows.  I admit that I bought and read some Archies

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Holly Pulls the Horse Car -- July 21, 2013

Holly pulls horse car three around the Depot loop towards Main Street at Disneyland. 

We just got back from vacation. We drove down I-5 to the Los Angeles Farmers' Market.  We were too early to ride the tram at the Grove.  When we got in the car, we heard that 5 was closed at the 2 freeway because a gasoline tanker had caught fire in an underpass.  We missed it completely. 

We had lunch with relatives on Sunday. 

Our trip got truncated because of illness back home.  We drove back up I-5.  Things are better now. 

Grauman's Chinese #28 -- July 21, 2013

In July, 2012 we paid a return visit to Hollywood and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.

Sidney Poitier left his hand and  foot prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 23-June-1967.  Poitier was a distinguished actor who appeared in a bunch of movies in 1967, To Sir With Love, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.  I particularly like In the Heat of the Night

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Diana Rigg and Natalie Wood 75 -- July 20, 2013

Actresses Diana Rigg and Natalie Wood were both born 75 years ago, on 20-July-1938.  Diana Rigg, now Dame Diana is most famous for playing Mrs Peel in The Avengers.  Natalie Wood, a native of San Francisco, was a major movie star. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pulp #45 -- July 19, 2013

Issue 344 of the dime novel Boys' Star Library featured the story "Jack Wright and His Electric Stage; or, Leagued Against the James Boys" by NONAME.  Luis Senarens wrote a series of science fiction stories about the brilliant inventor.  The electric stage is aptly named "Terror."  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.  

The image is from a wonderful Stanford University site, "Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls":
http://library.stanford.edu/depts/dp/pennies/home.html

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Red Skelton 100 -- July 18, 2013

Red Skelton played in medicine shows, showboats, stock theater, circuses, vaudeville, movies, radio, television and night clubs.  I remember his television show and his pantomime routines. Buster Keaton contributed gags to many of his MGM features.  The poster for Bathing Beauty shows him with swimmer Esther Williams. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The World's Fair of 1910 Will Look Small to the Crowds I'll Draw -- July 17, 2013

After he left Mack Sennett, Harry Langdon's first feature on a lucrative First National contract was Tramp Tramp Tramp, the story of cross-country walking race.

This ad is from the 08-March-1926 Film Daily. It is one of a series of cross-country ads to parallel the race. I couldn't find one or two editions, so we have missed Indianapolis.  I'm a little confused because the 1910 World's Fair was in Brussels.  The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, a world's fair, was in Saint Louis. Kansas City, here we come. 

Cliff House 150 -- July 17, 2013

There has been a Cliff House at Land's End in San Francisco since 1863. Today and tomorrow the Cliff House is holding events to celebrate its 150th birthday. Learn more about them on the Cliff House website (http://www.cliffhouse.com).

There is some debate over whether the present structure, shown here not too long after it opened in 1909, is the third or the fourth building. It was recently renovated and I don't care for what the Golden Gate National Recreation Area did with it. The front is almost blank. The inside is unattractive.

When I lived in the Richmond District, I used to love to walk out to the Cliff House, especially on extra-foggy days.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nickname #27 -- July 16, 2013


Willam "Jap" Barbeau played for three major-league teams in four seasons, from 1905 to 1910.  He was 5'5" tall, but played well.  This item from the 19-July-1909 Spokane Press, describes his arrival at the Pittburgh Pirates' training camp.  Honus Wagner was the greatest shortstop and one of the greatest batters of his time.  Bill Armour, the Detroit Tigers' manager, had traded Barbeau to Pittsburgh.  Note that the article omits the "h" from Pittsburgh, which was common practice at that time. 

PIRATE'S MIDGET WONDER

"Hi, Fred, what's that?"

Big Honus Wagner, king of batsmen, looked at Fred Clarke, manager of the Pittsburg Pirates, at the opening of the present season, for an explanation.

Honus was looking at a little fellow in a base ball suit, who was about as big as a nickel's worth of ice on a hot day.

"That's what is called a ball player. Honus," said Clarke.  "Name's Barbeau, from Toledo. I think he's the goods."

Clarke was right. The Pirates are playing the best base ball in the country today, and little Jap Barbeau is daily setting Pittsburg fans wild with joy. He plays third base, and his throws across the diamond. slow and gentle, like a 22 caliber bullet, have sent lots of hopeful batters back to the bench talking to themselves.

Some people said that Bill Armour had handed Clarke a lemon last fall. They'll own up now that they're pretty bum predictors.

Wagner has made the little fellow his special charge, and the two chase around after hours in Wagner's machine, looking like Texas and Rhode Island. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Daintiest Darling of Them All -- July 15, 2013


The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, located in Los Angeles, was formed in 1914 to produce movies based on stories by L Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz.  The company made some movies, but was not a financial success. The ad is from the 12-September-1914 edition of Moving Picture World.  It refers to their first movie, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, as "5000 feet of joyous film" and says their second film, The Magic Cloak of Oz, has just been completed. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Bastille Day #4 -- July 14, 2013

The Chutes was a popular San Francisco amusement park. In 1902 the park was located at 10th Avenue and Fulton Street.  The Chutes celebrated Bastille Day, 1902 with literary exercises, a concert, fireworks and a grand ball.  Mayor Eugene Schmitz, who later resigned in disgrace, gave an oration in English. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Muni Birthday Festival #5 -- July 13, 2013



As part of the celebration of its 100th birthday, the San Francisco Municipal Railway ran a number of special vehicles on two weekends in November, 2012.  I took this photo of Marmon-Herrington trolley coach 776 at California and Drumm, as it left on a circle tour of the wires. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ferry in the Fog -- July 12, 2013

I couldn't identify this ferry, glimpsed through the fog from Washington State Ferry Tacoma during our visit to Seattle in 2010. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest -- July 11, 2013



2012 champ Trini Whittaker won the 2013 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest at San Francisco's Union Square. The weather was nice.  The crowd was enthusiastic.  Learn more about the contest at http://www.cable-car-guy.com/

Muir Woods Mt. Tamalpais Via Sausalito Ferry -- July 11, 2013

Another of my favorite railroads is the Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods, a standard gauge line that climbed the mountain using geared locomotives. Customers could also ride gravity cars from the summit down to Muir Woods. The top was commonly used in ads to represent the mountain.  The ad is from the 30-September-1913 San Francisco Call.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Coliseum Theatre -- July 10, 2013

The Coliseum Theatre on Clement Street was open from 1918 to 1989, with a couple of interruptions.  The Reid Brothers designed it.  Now there is a Walgreen's on the ground floor and condominiums upstairs.  I saw Jaws there, and a bunch of other movies. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tom Mix #7 -- July 9, 2013

A Fox Film Corporation ad from the 23-May-1926 Film Daily touts their two big western stars, Tom Mix (The Super-Western Star) and Buck Jones (Ace of the Great Outdoors). 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Walter Kerr 100 -- July 8, 2013

Walter Kerr was born 100 years ago today.  He was most famous as a theater critic and a character in his wife Jean Kerr's book Please Don't Eat the Dasies.  I remember him as the author of the book The Silent Clowns, which I first came across at the Anza Branch library.  I later bought a hardcover copy.  Kerr wrote beautifully about movies which I had seen and movies which I had not seen.  This book and Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By greatly influenced my thinking about silent movies. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Train Station #61 -- July 7, 2013



Los Angeles Union Station, now called Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, which opened in 1939, was one of the last union stations built in the United States. We visited it in July, 2011 on our way to Angels Flight. We got off the Gold Line on an open platform. We saw heavy-rail commuter trains on other tracks. The lower levels reminded me of a cleaner version of the old East Bay Terminal. The head house was beautiful, as seen in this front view.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Plane Crash at SFO -- July 6, 2013

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Korea, crashed on landing at San Francisco International Airport.  Two people died and a relatively low number were seriously injured.  Witnesses report that the plane came in low, tail down and clipped the sea wall.  Video from a helicopter showed the tail and perhaps the nose wheel lying on the runway.  The fuselage and one engine were visible farther down the runway.  The top of the cabin had burned away. 

We took my mother grocery shopping today and then she took us to lunch at Bill's Place.  I had a Jazzbeaux.
 The Giants beat the Dodgers to break their latest losing streak.  The team is in last place.  Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Marco Scutaro will be on the All Star team.  




Bessie Love #7 -- July 6, 2013

I have always been fascinated by the career of actress Bessie Love.  She was born in Texas.  Her name was Juanita Horton.  Her family moved to Los Angeles and she went to Los Angeles High School.  Looking for work, she met director  DW Griffith and got a small part in Intolerance.  She appeared in movies with William S Hart and Douglas Fairbanks.  She was a 1922 WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) Baby Star.  She played many leading roles, most famously in The Lost World, but never broke through until the talkies came, when she starred in The Broadway Melody.  Her career was hot for a few years, but then tailed off.  She continued to appear in small parts in movies until the early 1980s.

From the January, 1929 Photoplay.  The caption says that "Bessie can dance, sing, talk and play the uke ... she is the Marilyn Miller of the talkies."  Marilyn Miller was a versatile Broadway star. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

BART is Back -- July 5, 2013

After a 4 1/2 day strike, BART resumed this afternoon.  The issue is not settled, but negotiations will continue for 30 days.  Management is not negotiating in good faith.  They appear to be trying to bust the unions.

I worked from home Monday through Wednesday.  Today my wife drove me to 19th and Holloway.  I caught a two-car M Oceanview train downtown.  I asked the guards in my building how things had been this week.  They said things were quiet.

I took BART back to Colma.  A nine car airport train came in and I found that the last two cars were closed off.  The car I rode on was well packed.

The Egyptian military deposed the democratically elected president.  A very complicated situation.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Herb Caen's first column in the Chronicle.

I took the photo in the Embarcadero Station this morning.  

Firehouse #69 -- July 5, 2013



This plaque hangs outside old Engine 2 at 460 Bush Street, which was built in 1908 and used by the Fire Department until 1970. I took the photo on 29-March-2013.

http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2009/08/firehouse-22-august-3-2009.html

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day #7 -- July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July to all.

Actress Myrna Loy, one of my favorites, ignores the sign prohibiting fireworks.  From Motion Picture Magazine, August, 1928.
150 years today, on 04-July-1863, Confederate Lieutenant General John C Pemberton surrendered the fortified town of Vicksburg, a key point on the Mississippi River, to Union Major General Ulysses S Grant.  Grant  had besieged the city for six weeks and the defenders and the civilian population had become desperate.  Vicksburg, along with the just-concluded Battle of Gettysburg, was a turning point in the war.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Walden the Magician -- July 3, 2013

I can't find anything about Walden the Magician.  The Florida Chautauqua was part of the national
Chautauqua movement for adult education and self-improvement. 

From the 28-February-1909 Pensacola Journal

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prof Samuel P Langley's Flying Machine -- July 2, 2013


Samuel Pierpont Langley was a scientist and pioneer student of aviation. His Aerodrome Number 5, an unmanned steam-powered triplane, flew almost 3/4 of a mile on 06-May-1896. He never built a successful man-carrying ship.

From the 24-May-1896 Saint Paul Globe

Prof. Samuel A Langley's flying machine is very accurately pictured in the above cut. At Occoquan, Va., near Washington, D. C, the Smithsonian Institute professor recently tested this machine to his complete satisfaction. The machine rose 200 feet in the air and flew steadily for half a mile. Fuel in the engine then gave out and the machine sunk gently to the ground.

The flying machine carries a small steam engine of one-horse power. The whole contrivance weighs twenty-five pounds. Its light steel framework holds extended horizontally three sheets of thin canvas, one above the other. The length over all is fifteen feet.The engine runs two propellers.

The machine could fly 100 miles or even a much greater distance with a sufficient supply of steam. But the small engine employed is not of the condensing pattern, and has no means of using the same water over
and over. Prof. Langley will soon construct a flyer of large size, which will carry a proper mechanical equipment and be capable of extended flight. The one described is only a model for experimental purposes. The inventor has not troubled himself to any extent about the question of a suitable engine, which could be furnished easily enough when needed. The problem was to make a machine that would fly and fly in the right way, this accomplished, there was no difficulty in supplying the power required for a long trip.  In fact, the difficulties are greatly lessened by the enlargement of the machine. A flyer of this type eighty feet long would have a sufficient area of planes to sustain a powerful steam engine and a car carrying a number of passengers. The steam may be obtained from liquid fuel or by burning gas that has been compressed and loaded into cylindrical reservoirs of thin-drawn steel tubing. Such reservoir can be made to hold 100 times its
cubical contents of gas, and thus the airship is able to take on board a great quantity of fuel in a very small compass. The four-horse power Copeland engine now in the market weighs only twenty-seven pounds and occupies a floor space only ten inches square, its height being twenty-one inches.

Prof. Langley calls his machine an "aerodrome" or air-runner. It travels at the rate of eighteen miles an hour. The Inventor regards it as an important point of vantage that it is able to go so slowly. This will be understood when it is explained that the sustaining power required by the airship becomes less in proportion to the increase of its speed. A man can skate over thin ice which would not bear him if he stood still.  The faster he goes the thinner the ice needed to hold him up. If he goes fast enough he could run over the surface of a pond of water. The same principle applies to the aerodrome in its progress through the atmosphere.

If the aerodrome is able to sustain itself when flying only eighteen miles an hour, it can carry twice as muoh weight when going twice as fast Until recently it has been imagined that the atmosphere was not dense enough for propellers to act upon it effectively. This belief is now exploded. Prof. Langley's experiments have proved that it is only necessary to make the propellers revolve fast enough in order to force the airship along at a rate almost infinitely fast.  Also he has discovered that the resistance offered by the air to the aerodrome is only one-fiftieth part of what was supposed, implying that so much lost motive power is needed. The speed attained by the airship of this pattern will be 100 miles an hour or more if desired.

The theory of the aerodrome is wholly different from that of the balloon. Unlike the latter. It does not aim to float by reason of being lighter than the air; Prof. Langley's machine weighs about 1,000 times as much as the air which supports it. It relies upon the air currents, as does a soaring bird. In fact, its principle is derived from the suggestions offered by birds of the vulture type.  There is no better example of soaring than in the flight of a vulture, which, though large and heavy, will remain a whole day in the air without a single wing-beat, simply opposing its wings to the air currents and thus obtaining support from them. The start with the machine must be made from a height. Not the best flyer among tho soaring birds can make a start from the ground without much difficulty. The eagle takes a long run before It can rise, thus gathering momentum. The sky-searching condor of the Andes gets a start usually by dropping from a lofty crag.

An important part of the problem of human flight is the question of landing safely.  Prof. Langley believes that he sees the way out of this trouble, but he guards his ideas on the subject very carefully.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Battle of Gettysburg 150 -- July 1, 2013

Alonzo Cushing
Lewis Armistead
On 01-July-1863, advance units of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac stumbled into each other near the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The battle which continued over the next three days became the largest engagement of the war and is considered by many historians to be a major turning point.

On 03-July-1863, Brevet Major Alonzo Cushing of Battery A, 4th US Artillery led his men in holding a critical position on Cemetery Ridge. At the same time, Brigadier General Lewis Armistead CSA, who had been a Captain in the regular army before the war, led his brigade up the ridge as part of Pickett's Charge.

After being wounded three times and forced to hold his intestines in with his hands, Cushing refused a direct order to go to the rear.  His sergeant had to hold him up and repeat his commands.  Cushing died when a bullet passed through his head.

In 2002, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin nominated Cushing for the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Army investigated his case and approved the nomination in 2010. Congress awarded the medal.

Lewis Armistead placed his hat on the tip of his saber and led his men up Cemetery Ridge toward the Union position known as the Angle.  Armistead and some of his men made it over the stone wall and he is said to have placed a hand on a Union cannon before he fell from his wounds.  Evacuated to the rear, he died a few days later in a Union hospital.

The spot where Cushing and Armistead died is called by some historians "the high water mark of the Confederacy." Their monuments stand close together on the battlefield.


I have never seen it mentioned in a film history book, but Armistead's feat in leading the charge and laying a hand on a Union cannon probably inspired the famous scene in DW Griffith's Birth of a Nation where Henry B Walthall as Colonel Ben Cameron leads his men across the battlefield, picks up the colors from a fallen man, and rams the staff down the barrel of a Union cannon before he collapses because of his wounds.