Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Sensation Rag -- August 21, 2019

Scott Joplin, James Scott and Joseph Lamb were the three most important composers of classic ragtime. Joseph Lamb was the only one of the three who was not African-American.  Lamb's first published rag was "Sensation a Rag."  It was published by John Stark and arranged by Scott Joplin.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor -- August 19, 2019

Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, attacked and degraded immigration and the Statue of Liberty. Referring to the poem by Emma Lazarus, Cuccinelli, who ancestors must have come through Ellis Island, said the US is only interested in immigrants who can "stand on their own two feet" and "not become a public charge." Later he said "Give us your tired, your poor" only applies to Europeans. Shame on him.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Pup and the Dirigible Hangar -- August 17, 2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 05-August-1919
I love Fontaine Fox's The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains, but I am interrupting the series this month for a different cartoon by Fox.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Woodstock 50 -- August 16, 2019

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Three Days of Peace and Music took place 50 years ago, on 15-17 August, 1969.  I wasn't very old and I was on the West Coast, so I didn't hear much about it while it was going on.  I remember jokes about it in Mad Magazine.  I didn't get to see the movie on its first run, but I saw it a few theaters.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Comic Book -- Planet Comics -- August 15, 2019
Fiction House comics were famous for having lovely women on the covers. The contents were not always so creative. Planet Comics was the first science fiction comic book.  Fiction House also published Planet Stories, a pulp.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

George Shearing 100 -- August 13, 2019
Pianist and composer George Shearing was born 100 years ago today, on 13-August-1919.  He was blind, but it didn't seem to slow him down.  He composed "Lullaby of Birdland."

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pulp -- Planet Stories -- August 11, 2019

Fiction House published Planet Stories, a pulp, and Planet Comics.  Both usually featured attractive women on their covers.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Preservation Hall Jazz Band -- August 10, 2019

Last night we parked at the Performing Arts Garage and walked down to the SFJazz Center.  The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed in the big auditorium.  This was the first time we saw that no member of the band was older than me.  The older gentleman in the hat in the photo above, Charlie Gabriel, did not appear. There was a special guest appearance by Cuban singer Eme Alfonso.

The auditorium was nice.  We had seats in row F, which was the first row behind the tables.  The floor was cleared for dancing.  The band played two sets.  Eme Alfonso sang during the second set.  Clint Maedgen played the tenor sax and sang.  Branden Lewis played the trumpet and sang.  He had family in the audience.  Ronnel Johnson played the trombone.  It is sad to see  how shy and withdrawn he is.
Kyle Roussel played piano and electric piano.  Ben Jaffe, son of Alan, played stand-up bass. Walter Harris played wonderful drums.

My wife, remembering that when we visited Preservation Hall in 2014, there were no drinks, no chairs and no bathrooms, was happy that SFJazz has drinks, chairs and bathrooms. She expected the band to play more traditional jazz, but enjoyed their driving rhythm and funky sound.

On our way home, we met crowds leaving the Outside Lands Festival.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Viewing the Mysterious Aerial Lights From the Dome of the State Capitol -- August 9, 2019

San Francisco Call, 29-November-1896
There were many sightings of unidentified flying objects in the United States during the late 1890s. I wonder what people saw. Antonio Maceo Grajales was a Cuban rebel leader. I like the discussion of the ethics of bombing civilians from the air.

This is our eighth report from the San Francisco Call.

18-November-1895: "Claim They Saw a Flying Airship"
23-November-1896: "The Great Airship That is Startling the People of Many Cities"
24-November-1896: "The Apparition of the Air"
25-November-1896: "Mission of the Aerial Ship"
26-November-1896: "The Mystery Again Seen at the Capital"
27-November-1896: "It Is to Be Used to Destroy the City of Havana"
28-November-1896: "Attaches a Balloon to the Warship of the Air"

Over His Signature the
Attorney Tells of His


(And Again the Brilliant Shafts
Are Sighted Speeding Above
the Bay Counties.


Spectators in Haywards Insist on the Aeronautic
Theory -- Professor Cross, the Linguist,
Adds His Evidence.

No one has as yet identified the aerial voyager that is supposed to be displaying the mysterious lights that have shone down upon startled gazers in various parts of the State, but the number of those who have seen what they are ready to swear was an airship is constantly growing larger.

While even many of those who have seen the flitting and gleaming lights are not prepared to decrare they are carried by a full-fledged aerial craft they admit they can account in no ordinary way for the phenomenon.

There is, therefore, yet ample room for the mystery to be proved a fake, a hallucination or a verity. Meanwhile, and until the mystery is completely solved, THE CALL will continue to chronicle the news relating to it, taking nothing from nor adding anything to the reports it receives. Whenever definite and conclusive proof. however, is received. it will be given freely, fully and fairly, whatever it chances to establish.

General Hart received a visit yesterday from one of the men who, he stated, has been making trips with the mysterious inventor in his aerial vessel. This general declined to give any information of these trips. He stated, however, that this man and another mechanic in the services of the inventor had gone to the workshop of the inventor to assist in the work of completing a third and much improved craft. This remodeled vessel would be completed, he expected, in about a week.

It was to be a great improvement on the two airships already built, and when it has been properly tested was to be at once dispatched for the scene of its deadly purpose (Havana), which was to be overwhelmed with a shower of dynamite. Considerable time will be consumed, according to the statement of General Hart, in making the crew who are to go on the novel expedition familiar with the working of the vessel.

General Hart has contributed a full statement regarding his connection with the reputed warship of the air and tells some new and interesting things therein in regard to it. He also takes up the defense of the Cuban patriots in a most patriotic and martial spirit.

Professor M. S. Cross, dean of the University of the Pacific, now adds his testimony to that of the believers, and Haywards people of prominence tell some additional startling stories.

The Dean of the University of the Pacific Testifies to the Passage of
the Conqueror of the Air.

Professor M. S. Cross, dean of the University of the Pacific and professor of ancient languages, is one of the best-known scholars and linguists in the United States. He is a brother of Senator Cross of this City. He stands very high in the estimation of all students and professors, so that his testimony on the aerial wonder will be received with profound attention. The following telegram, giving his opinion on the subject, was received yesterday:

SAN JOSE, Cal., Nov. 28 -- Professor M. S. Cross, dean of the University of the Pacifc, confirms the story of tbe airship's passage over East San Jose Thursday night Professor Cross is known in this vicinity as a careful and conservative man of unimpeachable veracity, and his testimony has won scores of doubting Thomases over to a firm belief in the existence of an aerial craft in this vicinity. The fact that the head of a Methodist representative educational institution on this coast has been fortunate enough to view this nocturnal visitor has well nigh silenced the scoffers.

"It was just about 7 o'clock on Thursday evening when my attention was called to the strange light in the air," said Professor Cross. "I was visiting at the residence of Professor Worcester and was called into the yard by him to view the airship. Whether or not it was an airship of course I am not prepared to say, but certain it is there was a rapidly moving light in the heavens far too large and bright to be an electric street light. To my eye it appeared to be about six inches in diameter. It was moving in a southwesterly direction and apparently at a high rate of speed.

The motion was not steady. It wavered and swerved, rising and falling slightly. The motion, however, was not that of a balloon. I have frequently watched balloons in the air, and the motion of this light was in no way suggestive of the manner in which I have always seen them behave. Moreover, it was a quiet night. What slight breeze there was I think was from the south. Yet this light traveled rapidly in a southerly direction. As it left us the light seemed to broaden. This suggested to us that there might be two lights which an the craft swung broadside to us joined rays and gave the appearance of a wide streak of light."

Professor Cross is confident that it could not be either a balloon or a natural heavenly body that he saw. "I will be very much surprised," he declared, "if something more than a balloon is not found to have been floating about. I see nothing very wonderful in the construction of an airship. From experiments already made there seems to be every reason to hope for success in aerial navigation."

The point where Professor Cross viewed the ship is about two blocks distant from where John Bawl, whose account appeared in yesterday's CALL, saw it, and the two accounts tally precisely in point of time, direction and general movements. The ship was nearer the earth when Bawl viewed it.

A Mysterious Light Traced From a
Canyon of the Palomares Valley.

OAKLAND, Cal., Nov. 28. -- The residents of Haywards are convinced that the peculiar thing, airship or something else, that they have been watching pass over their town on numerous occasions, has its home somewhere among the canyons of Palomares Valley.

To-night the marvelous light was observed in such a manner as to forever set aside the idea that it is a star. Two parties, several miles apart, observed it. To one it was to the eastward and to the other it passed westward. When notes were compared it was agreed that it had passed over between the two observers.

Ed O. Webb, who is known all over the county as a man not prone to make assertions unless be can back them up informed George Oakes, editor ot the Haywards Journal, that he saw the airship traveling through the heavens in the direction of Castro Valley Wednesday evening about 9:30 o'clock. The brilliant lightly (sic - JT) was plainly seen at his home and also by other members of the family.

Fred Hoyt also saw the light as it was floating leisurely along in the direction of the Liedel place, near San Lorenzo. He was so interested in watching the moving object and would no doubt have solved the mystery had he not lost his balance and fallen into a ditch that he did not see was in his path.

Carl Mohr furnishes the most startling information. He told Mr. Oakes that he saw the airship rise from a canyon near his place Thursday evening about 7 o'clock and proceed in the direction of San Francisco, and also saw it return. Mr. Mohr is very positive in his statement, and firmly believes that the machine is being housed near Lone Tree Cemetery.

About the clearest statement yet made regarding the mysterious airship comes from C. S. Long, C. W. Everett and H. Liedel, three of the best-known citizens of Haywards, who were crossing tne railroad track at the depot in a buggy Tuesday evening, about 6:30 o'clock, when their attention was attracted to an exceedingly bright light in the direction of the bay and they watched it for some time. It was moving very rapidly, and while they could not swear that it was an airship they do not hesitate to say that it completely puzzled them.

"I was going home about 7 o'clock," said Mr. Hooson, "when I met my brother, who called my attention to a remarkable light in the heavens. At the first glance I could see it was a powerful electric light. It was slightly south of east and was moving steadily across the country toward the bay. I have not been a believer in the published accounts of airships, but must now say that I have seen something that was not natural to the skies.

"The light was not a steady light like a star, but flickered like our arc lights here on the streets, and it looked like one of them some distance away. One peculiar feature of the light was the way it changed from time to time.

"It appears as if the operator of a searchlight was placing red and blue glass before the light occasionally so as to make the light more noticeable to any one who happens to be looking into the heavens. No star has ever done that in the past and I am not ready to believe that one is doing any such capers at present. If this was the first time the lights had been seen here I might not think so much of it, but residents have been seeing a light come from the hills on a number of occasions and make its way across the heavens toward the south. It was only corroborative of these to-night when I saw it"

Editor George A. Oakes was another who saw the visitor to-night from his residence in the northern part of Haywards.

"I saw the light to-night for the first time," said he, "and am sure it was no star or fire balloon. It passed east of town and appeared to go across the bay, as if headed for lower San Francisco. The white light was not steady, and changed to a red occasionally. It is more than I can solve, and must be some one who has finally solved the problem of aerial navigation."

Jesse Hooson, a student at St. Mary's College, had a good view of the visitor at Haywards to-night.

"I was startled," said he, "on coming along the street to-night to see a very bright light in the heavens. It was like an arc electric light, and, naturally, I stood watching it. The thing was moving toward the southwest with the wind at first, hut changed its course several times, and finally came up into the wind for some distance. It finally disappeared over toward Redwood City. The thing seemed to be operated by some one to see how it would answer a helm or guiding apparatus of some kind."
These parties already referred to saw the machine to the eastward. Now comes a story from a man who was evidently on the other side of it.

Steve Morrison of Haywards was in San Ramon, and coming home to-night he saw the aerial visitor in such a manner as to fix its location approximately. "I was driving over the hills from San Ramon," said he, "when I noticed a very bright white light in the sky west of me. It looked like an arc electric light, but was too high in the heavens for that, and then I knew there were no arc lights out in that part of the country. It was a surprise to me and I watched the thing very carefully. I first noticed it as I came up out of one of the small valleys and could see it move about until I went Into another."

Marshal Ramage of Haywards tells a story which may result in clearing up the mystery of the affair. "It has seemed very strange that this mysterious light should be seen in this vicinity so often. It is possible that the thing, whatever it may be, is being kept up here somewhere. I know of only one place where it would be possible for an airship to be worked out, and I can hardly believe that even there the material could have been taken in without exciting some suspicion, James Spiers, of the firm of Hinckley Spiers and Hayes of San Francisco, resides out in the Palomares Canyon, and is quite an inventor. His sons are great students also, and it might be that they have been at work on something of this kind, and have succeeded in getting a ship that will really travel through the air.

"I recently had a talk with a man who worked for them this summer, and he told me that a new trail had been constructed from the house up to the table land near the crest of the hill and in a canyon. I know the place, and it is hidden entirely from view and would be an ideal place for such work.

"I asked him what the trail was being constructed for, and he said he asked the same question and was told that all that was required of him was to do the work and not worry about what it was for. After this he completed the work without further questioning. He does not know to this day what the trail was built for, and I know of no one who has ever been on the place or on the new trail."

An interesting story was told by W. H. Warren in Crane's store on Thirteenth street. Warren is encaged in the chicken business above the Zeile place. According to his statement he has succeeded in inventing a machine that he states he made a trip in, reaching: the height of 100 feet. This took place at San Pedro not over a month or so ago. He is quite a young man and a clever machinist. He has a complete working model capable of carrying one man. It is made in the shape of a cigar, with a round head, and built of a light frame covered with tin and fitted with wings, and a tail like a fan.

The machinery is worked with gasoline. A trial trip was made and was a success.

The inventor objects to exhibiting his machine, as he has not yet secured a patent on it. He says he secured his idea from watching the flight of the seagull. The machine is now in San Francisco. He has not yet used electricity, but admits that it would be a great improvement.

George R. Toyne, who interviewed Warren for the Haywards Journal, said to-night that Warren had a partner whom he had sent to Oroville to see if he could learn anything of the plans of the new airship for the purpose of comparison.

His Martial Spirit and Patriotism Expressed With the Ardor
of a Soldier.

All of General Hart's martial ardor and spirit of liberty was aroused when he read the editorial in the Bulletin of Friday evening which called him to task for being a party to the proposed use of dynamite for the purpose of destroying Havana. The article in question reads as follows:

A man of former prominence in this State is announced through a paper of standing as the agent or attorney of a man who proposes to destroy the city of Havana with dynamite. In apparent unconsciousness of the horror with which dynamite plots are regarded in all parts of the civilized world this degenerate invites a subscription of $10,000,000 to furnish the means by which a rich, populous and beautiful city may be destroyed.

At a time when the world is devising ways to prevent wars with their Inevitable consequences, this man, whom the people once honored with their votes for a high office, plans a scheme by which the horrors of war may be increased a hundred fold. Whether or not the plan is practicable does not matter. It tends to familiarize the public mind with methods of destruction that have been considered too horrible to contemplate. Assassination is a playful manifestation of hate compared to this plan of wholesale murder. And all for what? It is not proposed to do evil that good may come of it. It is not proposed to offer a sacrifice of lives in a forlorn hope to promote a righteous cause.

The assassins of tyrants have been in darker periods represented as acting under a delusion that robbed assassination of its infamy. But this California lawyer, this man who was at one time the head of the Department of Justice for this great State, now proposes to make murder a speculation. For a sum of money he proposes to destroy the capital city of the most populous island in the West Indies. This proposition is made without any seeming sense of its monstrosity. It is discussed with the same disregard of moral sense the hired bravado exhibits when asked to name his price for murder.

It is no wonder that an eminent clergyman said in his Thanksgiving discourse that California is noted for the startling irregularity with which society advances. If this eminent clergyman had seriously considered the dynamite proposition he might have added that California is noted also for the startling irregularity with which civilization leaps backward into the dark ages. The fact that a proposition of this nature could be placed before the people of this State is a reflection upon our civilization. The least measure of punishment that could be anticipated from a self-respecting community would be a protest that would make the State an impossible place of residence both for the originator of the infamous proposition and for the agents of dissemination.

That law and journalism should have combined to make the destruction of great cities a legitimate speculation is much to be regretted. It is the province of law to teach how evils mny be remedied through the exercise of reason. It is the province of journalism to show how society may lawfully protect itself from nil kinds of desperadoes and anarchists. But in this case a lawyer uses a newspaper to familiarize the public mind with a scheme that an average jailbird could not contemplate without horror.

The day for the promulgation of this project was badly chosen. It was a day when peace and good will were being invoked in public meetings and private residences. The churches were open that the people might be taught the blessing of peace and charity. In public halls all through the city the poor were invited to partake of the cheer of the season. On such a day the conscience of the people was startled by a proposition to wipe a great city off the face of the earth in consideration of the sum of $10,000,000.

Commenting thereon yesterday he said:
"My attention has been called to the editorial in the Bulletin of last night. All I have got to say in reference to it is that the destruction of Havana by dynamite is not half as horrible as the press dispatches of the butcheries of Cubans by the Spanish authorities.

"Of course, in the event that Havana was to be attacked by the airship with dynamite sufficient time would be given for non-combatants to leave the city.

"The apathy shown by the Government of the United States in extending belligerent rights to the Cubans, in view of the atrocities of the Spaniards toward the Cubans and American citizens, is such that it is not to be wondered at that the genius of American invention should discover a means whereby justice can be done to those heroes who are fighting for independence against the oligarchy of Spain."

"For my part, I consider it far more noble to aid a struggling people like the Cubans, who are trying to free themselves from the oppressions of Spain, even though by dynamite, than to be silent and say nothing and practically wink at the atrocities shown the Cubans by the Spanish authorities.

"In the event that it should become necessary to capture Havana, either with artillery or dynamite, it would no doubt be horrible for those who are located in that city. But at the same time if it is necessary to destroy Havana in order that the Cubans may earn their liberty Havana will be destroyed. And, notwithstanding the Bulletin, I predict that within ninety days Havana will be destroyed unless it surrenders to the Cuban forces.

"It appears that the Bulletin is greatly afraid of dynamite, yet we all know that the Government of the United States has been experimenting with dynamite guns for months, and, in fact, they have reached such a point of perfection that it is proposed to use it in guns for harbor defenses in the United States.

"Does the editor of the Bulletin think it is proper for the United States to throw a few hundred pounds of dynamite at some foreign vessel and sink her or blow her up and kill or maim those on board, and that such an act is not proper for the Cubans, who are fighting for liberty? We would simply be trying to keep a vessel out of one of our harbors, while the people of Cuba are fighting for the most precious boon of mankind. I submit that it would be more proper for the Cubans to use dynamite than for the United States to destroy a foreign vessel with a dynamite gun.

"In the event, as I have heretofore stated, that the airship should be used for military purposes in and around Havana it would be better to haw a base of operation within thirty or forty miles of Havana.

"There is no doubt that Maceo would throw dynamite into Havana giving them ample notice of that purpose. But suppose that he should give such a notice it is quite evident that the Spanish authorities would pay no attention to it. They would simply remain there and doubt the feasibility of the airship and the horrors of dynamite until they actually felt it, Therefore it seems to me that if the Bulletin would use a little more force in trying to persuade the Government to recognize the belligerent rights of Cuba it might save itself the horror of hearing that a few hundred people had been destroyed by dynamite.

"It seems to be the American policy of late to permit all kinds of atrocities and to permit its citizens to be trampled upon in foreign countries without making more than a mere protest. As an American citizen who has known something of the horrors of war, I protest against such a policy, and for one say that it is necessary for the Cubans to begin using dynamite. The sooner they use it the better it will be for Cuba and American civilization.

"Certainly the generalship shown by Antonio Maceo and his associates and the fact that the part of the island of which they have control has opened free schools on the system of the public schools of the United States convince me that Maceo would be warranted in using anything that God has created or man invented to give to the people or Cuba their political rights and freedom."

The attention of the Examiner has also been attracted to the Bulletin's editorials, and it comments thereon yesterday as follows:

An evening contemporary gravely criticizes ex-Attorney-General Hart for his scheme to destroy Havana with dynamite dropped from a cruiser of the air. The scheme is rather blood-curdling, considered as practical warfare, but it is extremely interesting from the point of view of romance. The romantic quality is highly developed in General Hart. Personally he would not hurt a fly. He never did hurt one, as far as known. But he received his nomination to office as a hero accustomed to revel in carnage on ensanguined battlefields.

What more natural than that his mind should dwell on new deeds, even gorier than those whose narration gave him his fame ? The exercise will please him, and it will do nobody any harm.

We can think of no one better qualified to be the custodian of an airship than General Hart. Our evening contemporary is wrong to chide him for the use he proposes to make of his charge. The more exciting he can make its programme the more the gayety of the commonwealth will be promoted. A reference to the airship was medicine that soothed even "California's" gloom on Thanksgiving night.

To this the Bulletin in its editorial columns last nigh; rejoined as follows:

The Examiner gently chides the Bulletin for having taken the proposition to destroy Havana by means of an airship seriously. The scheme our contemporary admits to be rather blood-curdling, but is considered interesting from a romantic point of view. It Is not supposed that military authorities have been greatly disturbed by menace of the airship. In fact, General Weyler is more intent upon defending Havana from the insurgent forces than from the California general who derives his title from a civil office. But there are lots of people in the world who do not weigh either men or propositions scientifically. They take a man seriously if he takes himself seriously. It Is not likely that California has heard the last of this dynamite scheme. It will be dilated upon us illustrating the characteristics of our people. The romance of the proposition will be visible indistinctly, if at ail, through the smoke of a series of dynamite explosions.

People are now curiously awaiting further developments in this paper warfare, with sympathy leaning toward the side of the Cubans' advocate and defender.

Graphic Story Told by George
Scott, Assistant to the Secre-
tary of State.

George Scott, assistant to Secretary of State Brown, was at Sacramento on the night of the first reported visit of the aerial wonder to that city. He gives a graphic account of what he witnessed.

"Three friends and myself were standing in front of the Capitol," he said, "when the strange light first met our gaze. I said that I saw the light moving in the southeastern part of the city toward the northwest, but some one in the group ridiculed the idea.

"He said it looked like a light in some distant house on the hills, and that the appearance of its moving was due to the mistiness of the atmosphere.

"I had the key of the building in my pocket and suggested that we go up into the dome and take a look at the phenomenon. We climbed up and there saw the lights very distinctly, sweeping across the sky toward the northwest. There were three of the lights, and they appeared to be attached to some body, of which we could only discern a dim outline.

"It's no use trying to tell me that there is no airship," he sententiously concluded.

Attorney Hurst of Woodland Satis-
fied Himself as to a Strange

WOODLAND, Cal., Nov. 28. -- M. D. Hurst, a well-known lawyer of this city, discerned a bright and unusual light in the skies about 10 o'clock last night, traveling in a southwesterly direction from Woodland. Nearly all Mr. Hurst's neighbors also witnessed the phenomenon. Their first impression was that the mysterious light was a group of stars, but closer observation convinced them that this was wrong. The lights appeared to be electric and were watched for an hour.

Mr. Hurst is fully satisfied that if the mysterious object was a mechanical contrivance it could not have been operated by a person on the ground. He watched it upward of an hour from a window in his home. He does not pretend to say that it was an airship, but insists that it was not stars. Two Salvation Army officers, who were driving from Knights Landing to Woodland, corroborate Mr. Hurst.

Heard Them Talk.

UKIAH, Cal, Nov. 28. — E. G. Case, grand chief ranger of the Ancient Order of Foresters of the Pacific jurisdiction, and William Held, official stenographer of the local Superior Court, left this afternoon for Potter Valley, a small town twenty miles north of this city.

A telephone message was received from Held at 7:30 o'clock to-night containing the startling information that they had seen an airship when within two miles of their destination. The two gentlemen were driving along in a double team when the airship passed so close to them that their horses were frightened.

The gentlemen distinctly saw the aerial wonder. It was cigar-shaped and was evidently suspended from a balloon.

A Full Statement Made Over the Signature of the Attorney for the
Alleged Cuban Filibuster.

In reference to the airship which has been puzzling and astonishing many of the people of California I will say this:

I have not seen it personally, but have talked with the man who claims to be the inventor. I have spent several hours with him. He has shown me drawings and diagrams of his invention and I am convinced that they are more adapted for the purpose for which he claims them than any other invention making such claims that I have ever seen.

It seems to me that the evidence that THE CALL has been enterprising enough to collect in reference to this airship, the character of the people who have seen the same, the fact that it moves against the currents of air as well as with them, the fact that it has the power to dart from side to side or forward, ought to convince the people that there is something in the invention.

I asked the gentleman who claims to be the inventor what his desires were in regard to carrying on the business, and he stated that he did not desire any money ; that he didn't ask or want any one to invest in it ; that he was not a citizen of California, and that he had come here to perfect and test his airship as the climate and currents of air were most suitable to his purpose. He further stated that he had progressed so far since coming to California that California certainly was entitled to the honor of its invention, as it was in quite a crude state when he first came here; that he had two airships already constructed. One, he said, was of large size, capable of carrying three persons, the machinery, the fixtures and 1000 pounds of additional weight, and another that was much smaller, capable of carrying one man, the machinery, fixtures and 500 or 600 pounds of other matter.

He also stated that he was a cousin of Mr. Linn, who was Antonio Maceo's electrician, and that he is expected to take it to Cuba for the purpose of aiding in the capture of Havana as soon as he could perfect it and acquaint his associates with the handling of it.

He was a man of dark complexion, dark eyed and about 5 feet 7 inches in height and weighed about 140 pounds. He looks considerably like the gentleman playing the part of Arion, the aerial acrobat, but is a little taller.

He claims to have three assistants with him, all of whom are mechanics; that he uses two kinds of power, gas and electricity; that his lights are sometimes produced by electricity and some times by gas, with the aid of reflectors.

He claims to have moved 120 miles at one flight and in a little less than six and a half hours, and at that time was not going wholly with the currents ; that he uses electricity for propelling his vessel against the wind, and uses gas largely in going with the air currents. He does this in order to save power.

He proposes to build another airship, and in fact one of the parties interested with him has told me that they are now at work on the third airship, which is to be more commodious and more perfect than the other two, and that it would be so constructed that in the event the machinery got out of order and it should fall into the water it could be used as a boat by detaching a portion of the airship. When this is completed and ready for use the inventor intends to leave California for Cuba.

So far as the electrical power is concerned, the Fargo electric storage battery is of sufficient capacity, as to power and lightness, to furnish the requisite power for aerial navigation, and the inventor proposes to use this power in connection with the other for his operations. The battery can be stored to its full capacity, which is 20 horsepower, in 17 minutes.

I am of the opinion that this airship will be a success, and that its success is far more probable at this time than the Morse telegraphy was at the time he first offered the same to the public.

So far as the public is concerned this inventor does not ask any one to invest in the enterprise. Perhaps this may be evidence of insanity. I will admit that this is the first time to my knowledge that anybody had anything in California in which he did not want anybody to invest money.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Flies Under Victory Arch -- August 7, 2019

New York Tribune, 31-August-1919
100 years ago today, on 07-August-1919, French pilot Charles Godefroy flew a Nieuport fighter under the Arc de Triomphe. Aviators were angry that were ordered to march in rather than fly over the Victory Parade on Bastille Day. Jean Navarre was planning to buzz the parade and fly through the Arc de Triomphe, but he was killed a few days before the parade:

After Charles Godefroy flew through the Arc, he received a warning from the police and his family made him promise to stop flying.

This article is from the 12-August-1919 Greeneville Daily Sun.

Flies Under
Victory Arch

PARIS, Aug. 12. -- Lieut. Godefroy, a French aviator, yesterday performed the feat of passing under the Arc de Triomphe in an airplane flight.

The airman had been training several months in preparation for the feat. His practice work was done at Villacoublay, where a frame of an arch the same dimensions as the Arc de Triomphe had been erected for the purpose.

Godefroy flew a machine with a wing spread of 8 yards, which left him a margin of about 7 yards to get through the arch. He cleared the opening cleanly, gliding through with his motor stopped. After clearing the arch he flew over the Champs Elysee.

Jean Navarre, one of the most daring of French flyers, had planned to fly under the Arc de Triomphe in a monoplane in connection with the victory celebration, but the police considered it would be dangerous to spectators. Four days before the parade, however, Navarre was killed at Villacoublay.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Busy Day at Pacific-Street Wharf -- August 5, 2019

San Francisco Call, 03-April-1899
This drawing is from the 03-April-1899 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. The old liner SS Arizona was being converted into the USAT (US Army Transport) Hancock.  In 1902, she transferred to the Navy and became the USS Hancock.  As a San Francisco pedant, I should note that it is Pacific Avenue, not Pacific Street.  

"The Marine Firemen's Union is making another attempt to get rid of the Chinese employed on the United States transport Hancock (late Arizona). With this end in view the union has interested the California delegation to Congress and a hard fight Is to be made to get white firemen work on United States vessels. The association made the attempt some time ago. but failed, because at that time Uncle Sam did not own the vessel. The facts of the case have been wired to the Secretary of War and it is hoped that the Chinese will be replaced by white men before the Hancock sails."

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Grand Stand at the Philadelphia Grounds Burned -- August 4, 2019

Los Angeles Herald, 07-August-1894
125 years ago today, on 04-August-1894, the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, caught fire during a practice and burned. The Phillies went on the road and finished the season on a temporary field. The permanent replacement was one of the first to be made mostly of steel and brick, became known as the Baker Bowl. The Phillies played there until the middle of the 1938 season, when they moved to share Shibe Park with the Athletics.

The Grand Stand at the Philadelphia
Grounds Burned.

Philadelphia, Aug. 6. -- The Philadelphia baseball grand stand, one of the finest in the country is a smoking ruin. The large stables of the omnibus company are now burning, and the car stables of the Philadelphia Traction company and adjoining property are badly damaged. The Philadelphia and Baltimore, players, who were practicing on the grounds noticed a narrow tongue of flame shooting up between the boards of the partition. Soon the entire structure was a roaring furnace. Loss, $100,000.

Seven firemen were badly burned; the total loss on the pavilion, omnibus stables and other property aggregates $113,000, with $50,000 insurance. The game scheduled with Baltimore this afternoon was postponed, and tonight the Phillies left for Boston.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

14 Are Killed as Giant Plane Falls -- August 2, 2019
The Caproni Ca.48 was a triplane airliner adapted from the Ca.4 bomber of World War One.  On a trial flight on 02-August-1919, it flew from the factory near Milan to Venice.  On the return flight, the wings buckled and the plane crashed, killing everyone aboard.  Accounts vary as to the number of passengers and crew.  This article is from the 03-August-1919 New York Tribune.  

14 Are Killed as
Giant 'Plane Falls
Caproni's Passengers and
Crew Dashed 3,000 Ft.
to Death Near Verona

ROME, Aug. 2 (By The Associated Press).-- A Caproni airplane flying from Venice to Milan to-day with fourteen persons on board fell to the ground from a height of 1,000 metres (about 3,300 feet) near Verona. All on board were killed.

The giant Caproni airplanes were specially designed and built to establish passenger service between the principal Italian cities, which was to be further extended to French and British cities as the business developed. The service between Venice and Milan was to be inaugurated this summer, and yesterday's disastrous flight may have been the first trip of the ill-fated machine.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

(tan) August, 2019 Version of the Cable Car Home Page -- August 1, 2019

I just put the August, 2019 version of my Cable Car Home Page on the server:

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month: Former Sacramento/Clay Car 19, in storage at the Washington/Mason car barn. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
2. On the Ferries and Cliff House Railway page: Sacramento/Clay car 19 operates with cable traction for the first time since 1942. Also News and Chronology items
3. On the Los Angeles area funiculars page: A ten and twenty year update about the Mount Lowe incline, including Pacific Electric ads

Ten years ago this month (August, 2009):
1. Picture of the Month: "Coming Down From Echo Mountain In One of the White Chariots." A photograph from "A Mountain Paradise" by Ronald L Pearse, in Cassel's Magazine, June, 1901, showing one of the cars on the Mount Lowe incline
2. On the Los Angeles area funiculars page: More about the Mount Lowe incline, including photos of the control room and the driving mechanism and newspaper articles about two of the many fires that plagued the line
3. On the Cable Car Video page:
-- New Powell Street car 15 outbound at Ellis. Also some videos from December: Cars 9, 13 and 25 decorated for Christmas.
-- F Line views of Muni 130 and 1010 and New Orleans 952 in June this year. Also two videos of 952 decorated for Christmas.
-- Powell Street car 25, in its bright red paint, passes the Saint Francis Hotel

Twenty years ago this month (August, 1999):
1. Picture of the Month: Mount Lowe incline.
2. Roll out Los Angeles area funiculars/Mount Lowe on the Other California Cities page
3. Roll out articles on movies featuring cable cars and Joe Lacey's remarks on making movies and commercials with cable cars on the SF detail page
4. Add link to Bruce Kliewe's site about the Great Reconstruction
5. Add news item about the cable car bell ringing contest
6. Add magazine article about Professor Lowe's Civil War service to the bibliography
Coming in September, 2019: On the Los Angeles area funiculars page: A ten and twenty year update about Angels Flight

75 years ago, on 15-August-1944, in San Francisco, Paramount premiered the movie I Love a Soldier, starring Paulette Goddard and Sonny Tufts. The movie had largely been shot in the city

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-August-2019)
San Francisco Bay Ferryboats (updated 31-January-2019)
Park Trains and Tourist Trains (updated 31-July-2019)
The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion (updated spasmodically)
The Big V Riot Squad (new blog)

Herman Melville 200 -- August 1, 2019
Author Herman Melville was born 200 years ago today, on 01-August-1819.  I don't remember reading any of his novels in high school, but I read Moby Dick (twice) and Billy Budd in college.  Later I read Typee, Omoo and The Confidence-Man.  I need to read some of his others.
Melville's centennial in 1919 led to a rediscovery of his work, but as far as I can tell, the first film adaption was The Sea Beast, a 1926 adaption of Moby Dick.  John Barrymore played Ahab.
The second adaption was a talkie remake of Moby Dick, again starring Barrymore.
John Huston directed the 1956 version of Moby Dick.  He also wrote the screenplay with Ray Bradbury.

I am surprised that no one adapted the short story "Bartleby the Scrivener" until 1956.  This was a French television production.
In the 1962 Billy Budd, Peter Ustinov played the captain, co-wrote the scenario and directed.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Maxim Aeroplane -- July 31, 2019

Aircraft, April 1910
125 years ago today, on 31-July-1894, American-born British inventor Hiram Maxim tested his giant steam-powered airplane and it rose into the air, even though Maxim did not intend to fly.  It broke one of the rails intended to hold the airplane down and Maxim stopped the experiment.

Aircraft, April 1910

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Streets Dotted With Killed and Injured as Race Rioting Renews -- July 30, 2019

Arizona Republican, 29-July-1919

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 lasted from July 27 to August 3. Far too many people died.


Seven Known Dead and
Scores Wounded, as the
Whites and Blacks Clash
-- Police Unable to. Quell

[Republican A. P. Leased Wire]
CHICAGO, July 28 -- Seven persons were killed and more than two score wounded, many of them, seriously in a renewal of race riots in the Chicago "black belt" tonight.

For more than five hours the five-mile area on the South Side was a battle ground of scattered fights between whites and blacks and between policemen and negroes, who fired from housetops, from dark alleys and other points of vantage.

The call for troops to quell the outbreaks resulted in four regiments of national guardsmen being mobilized, but at a late hour tonight they had not been dispatched to the disturbed district and Chief of Police Garrity expressed the belief that the worst of the disorder had passed.

Five of Dead Are Negroes

Five of the dead are negroes and two are whites.

There was no concentrated battle by the blacks, the outbreaks dotting a large area.

Every police station on the South Side was flooded with reports of deaths and injuries.

Chief of Police Garrity at a late hour said that it was impossible to make an exact estimate of the casualties because of the contradictory reports.

The riots, which started yesterday on the South Side beaches, were renewed when negro laborers began leaving the big industrial plants and by dusk more than a score of separate outbreaks had occurred.

Whites began dragging negroes from street cars, the negroes retaliating with stones and knives. Street cars in the heart of the "black belt" were tied up and the windows smashed.

Blacks Form "Flying Squadron"

A flying squadron of blacks mounted a touring car and riding at full speed through the section known as "No Man's Land," sent a volley of shots at a group of whites. One white woman was injured, but not fatally. The negroes were overtaken after a long chase and placed under arrest.

Shortly afterward a mob of several hundred blacks formed at Thirty-fifth street and began stoning a policeman. In a twinkling gun fire was opened and four the negroes fell, all mortally wounded.

A white man In the same neighborhood was dragged from a truck and stabbed to death.

A negro chauffeur was killed by whites a few minutes later in the same block.

Scores of arrests were made, but where the rioters were found to to be unarmed they were released.

Negroes began looting stores of whites in one district shortly after the firing of revolvers by a squad of policemen in an effort to break up a fight over a small purchase of groceries. The police soon emptied their guns. The looting continued until a special squad of police armed with rifles arrived. They fired low, felling a dozen blacks.

Assaults White Woman

A white woman was pulled from a street car by a negro. He was soon lying unconscious against the curb. The angry whites had left him for dead.

Groups of blacks formed in football fashion and charged against whites with razors and clubs. On one corner the scene was like a minature battle ground.

Unconscious negroes and whites dotted the street. As they regained consciousness they were arrested or permitted to leave the neighborhood.

Women Fight With Brooms

While the main battles were in progres, women, blacks and whites, battled away in front yards with brooms and missiles. In one of these fights, a white woman was knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital.

In one battle on Thirty-Fourth street, negroes knocked two policemen unconscious and were drawing guns when a group of discharged negro soldiers came to the rescue of the whites.

In another battle soon after, three policemen were shot. One may die.

In an effort to prevent quick transportation of rifle-bearing policemen from one section to another. the negroes began cutting telephone and telegraph wires.

Attack Car Men

The blacks began firing on street car conductors and motormen when they refused to allow negro passengers to board their cars because of threats made by white passengers. One conductor was reported shot in the leg.

Ambulances and patrol wagons threaded their way through the black belt throughout the early hours of the night.

A number of wounded negroes crept into alleys and other dark places. When tbey were found they were hurried to the Provident hospital for colored, which for several hours, received a virtual procession of injured men and terror-stricken women.

The more seriously wounded negroes participated in a battle with whites near Thirty-fifth and State streets. Several thousand of the blacks congregated at this point within a period of 10 minutes. It was an orderly gathering for a time. Suddenly four maddened negroes raced up the street and surrounded the home of a white man. In a twinkling shots began to fly in all directions. More than a score of negroes fell. Some were carried off by companions.

Snipers Fire Indiscriminately

For more than two blocks along one street, negro snipers fired from house tops and windows. Not a single death, resulted from this method of warfare, however.

After threats had been made by whites to "clean up" the stock yards district, a small army of negroes formed ready to meet the challenge. An automobile of negroes started over the district to estimate the number of whites present. They were stoned. Then they drew revolvers and racing at top speed, fired at whites along the road. A white man was shot in the shoulder and a bullet grazed the head of a white woman.

Police Curb Outbreak

The negroes were overtaken and rescued from the mob by policemen. In the meantime squads of mounted police arrived in the district in anticipation of trouble, and what was expected to be the most serious outbreak of the night was curbed.

Police wires were busy all nipht with pleadings from frightened women for protection. Many of them feared to leave the scene of action and they were terrified by the dramatic battles and feared their homes would be wrecked before morning.

Street lights along some streets were smashed and the streets darkened. Then the bright flashes from pistols would signify a new atttack and in almost no time the immediate vicinity would be a surging mass of whites and blacks. When they came together in large crowds, fists, knives and clubs were used.

One of the morning newspapers will place the estimated dead at 14, nine whites and five blacks, and another will place the number of dead at 13, 11 blacks and two whites. The city news bureau places the dead at seven.

After a motorman had been dragged from his car and killed by a group of maddened blacks shortly before midnight and a dozen street cars wrecked, the street car company ordered that no more cars be taken into the troubled area. The elevated trains also quit running in dangerous territory.

Troops continued to move to a centralized point on the South Side throughout the night, but up to midnight they had not been ordered to begin patrolling the streets. This was explained by the statement that the outbreaks had slackened to such extent that the police could afford as much protection as the troops.

Hundreds of stenographers, clerks and loop employers who must pass through the black belt to reach their homes remained in the business district hotels and at North Side lodging places.

Poolrooms, moving picture houses and other gathering places in the black belt were ordered closed.

While the blacK belt was seething with strife, negro educators and churchmen sent out appeal after appeal that the negroes go to their homes and keep peace.

They charged that in most outbreaks, the negroes had been heckled by whites.

The disorders did not extend north to the business district, except for minor outbreaks.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Babe Ruth Drives Out a Homer Credited as the Longest in Philadelphia History - July 29, 2019

Connecticut Labor Press, 12-July-1919
100 years ago this month, Babe Ruth of the Red Sox hit two monster home runs during a double header at Shibe Park in Philadelphia against the Athletics. George Burns (not the comedian) played first base for several American League teams including the Athletics. 

"Babe" Ruth Drives Out a
Homer Credited as Longest
in Philadelphia's History

During the activities at the Athletics ground at Philadelphia on Memorial day, "Babe" Ruth, who pitched in the morning and played left field in the afternoon game, delivered two of the longest drives that have ever been made at any ball park. In the sixth inning of the morning game Ruth drove the ball not only over the right field wall, but over the roofs of the houses on the opposite side of the street, -the ball going about ten feet foul, and then in the eighth inning of the afternoon game, with the score tied at one run each and Strunk on first, Ruth drove one of Scott Pery's pitches over the roofs of the houses on the opposite side of the street, a fair ball, the ball striking on the rear of the roof of one of the houses and bounding into the back yard.

The longest hit at Shibe park, previous to this was the one George Burns hit over the left field wall last season, when the ball cleared the back bleacher wall and struck on the opposite side of the street. Ruth's long hit traveled a considerable distance further than Burns' drive and stops all argument as to the longest hit ever made at this park.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ 175 -- July 28, 2019
Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ was born 175 years ago today, on 28-July-1844.  In 1866, he converted to Roman Catholicism.  In 1868, he became a Jesuit novice.  He was ordained in 1877. Most of his poems were not published until long after he died in 1889.

I first read  his poetry while I was in high school and I enjoyed his unorthodox style.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Art Neville, RIP -- July 24, 2019

Art Neville of the Meters and the Neville Brothers has died.  He was born and raised in New Orleans.  He wrote, sang and produced a lot of good music.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The New 20th Century Limited -- July 23, 2019

Facebook: The Golden Age Of Illustration
This poster for the New York Central's premiere train, The 20th Century Limited, shows a streamlined Hudson locomotive designed by Charles F Kantola. The poster was created in 1938 by Leslie Ragan.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Air Mail Carriers Strike as Protest -- July 22, 2019

Washington Evening Star, 25-July-1919
100 years ago today, airmail pilots went on strike to protest being forced to fly in zero visibility weather.

Object to Discharge of Pilots
for Refusing to Fly
in Fog.

By The Associated Press.

NEW YORK, July 25. -- A strike of aerial mail pilots began today, no aviator appearing to take out the plane with Chicago mail, due to start for Bellefonte, Pa., at 5 a.m. The strike, the first of its kind in the country, follows the refusal of the Post Office Department to reinstate two pilots discharged for refusing to take out planes Tuesday on account of the fog. Post office officials at Belmont Park, Long Island, the landing field for mail planes, stated that they had received instructions to give out no information concerning the aviators' action.

Protest Pilots' Discharge.

A protest against the discharge of the two pilots. Leon Smith and Hamilton Lee, was sent to Second Assistant Postmaster General Praeger Wednesday, giving him twenty-four hours to make known his decision. Mr. Praeger in his reply, which was received by the aviators last night, announced that the orders discharging the two men had not been revoked.

"They came into the service," Mr. Praeger's telegram said, "as every other pilot, with the knowledge that they must comply with the department's orders to fly with the mail, and where flying conditions are so that they cannot operate they have the option to resign."

Complain of the Planes.

The aviators state they have complained on several occasions that the planes supplied them were poorly equipped for flying, even in good weather, because of their high speed. They said they desired lighter and slower machines, as in misty or foggy weather the visibility was so poor as to make high speed dangerous. The men declared that since July 15 no less than fifteen accidents have occurred, in which ten planes were demolished and two aviators killed.

Aviators of mail planes at Chicago, Cleveland and Bellefonte will join in the strike, according to local aviators. Twenty pilots at Belmont Park, all civilian employes of the Post Office Department, are affected by the strike action.

Mr. Praeger Makes Statement
on Controversy With
Service's Pilots.

Washington received no airplane mail from New York today, due to the strike of twenty mail service pilots there late yesterday, but the trouble, apparently, is confined to the Belmont Park field, for the Washington-New York plane left on schedule time, 10:30 a.m., today, and reports from Chicago said that mail planes would leave there this afternoon, as usual.

Refused to Fly in Fog.

The strike of the air mail pilots began late yesterday, when the flyers demanded the reinstatement of Pilots Leon Smith and E. Hamilton Lee, discharged by order of Second Assistant Postmaster General Otto Praeger when they refused to fly in the fog last Tuesday.

In a statement issued shortly after noon today Mr. Praeger denied that the two discharged pilots had been asked to take unnecessary risks, saying that "every step possible to reduce the danger of flying in the air mail service has been taken."

Takes Issue With Strikers.

The assistant postmaster general takes issue with statements made by the striking pilots to the effect that the Curtis R-4 planes, equipped with Liberty motors, are too heavy for flying in foggy weather or that they cannot fly at a speed less than 100 miles an hour. The controversy which resulted in the discharge of Smith and Lee, said Mr. Praeger, was not one as to the danger of making the flight, but followed the demand of the pilots to be allowed to use a small JN-4-H machine, "practically obsolete for mail work."

Statement by Mr. Praeger.

Mr. Praeger issued the following statement today:

"My attention has been called to newspaper statements containing charges said to emanate from air mail pilots. These charges, if they were true, are not sincere. They were not made before the dismissals of the two pilots in question and would not have been made if these two pilots had been reinstated or had been permitted to have their own way in the matter of the selection of types of planes to fly the mail.

"Any statement that a Curtis R-4 plane with a liberty motor is an unsafe ship is a calumny on our airplane industry. The statement that this type of plane cannot be flown at less than 100 miles an hour is false, and the pilots who are supposed to have made this statement know that they have to push the engine almost to its utmost limits of performance to get 100 miles an hour out of this type of plane; also, they know that its lowest flying speed is not in excess of fifty five miles an hour, as demonstrated at a recent official test by the air mail service. This is possibly five miles an hour more than the small type JN-4H.

As to Lee and Smith.

"In the case of Pilots Lee and Smith, safety of life, limb and property was, in fact, not in question. They offered to fly a small JN-4-H plane which has not the mail capacity, nor the power to make headway against a strong head wind such as was blowing on the day in question. They refused to fly a type of ship which had been flown daily on this route during the spell of bad weather, a long time before that, as well as since July 22, when the two pilots were dismissed from the service. The weather was not good at Long Island on that day, but it was not as bad as on the days previous. The rainy spell was breaking and at Washington, the end of the line, the sun was shining about the time that the mail plane was due. In addition, I am advised by our representative on the ground that planes for hire were being flown on Long Island on the afternoon of the controversy concerning the two pilots. This demonstrates that the weather was breaking even there and it was entirely possible to have started from Long Island toward Washington with any type of machine.

The Pilot's Demands.

"The pilot who was to have taken the regular run insisted on flying a type of plane of his selection and refused to fly when he could not have his way. He having refused, the other pilot on the run declined to fly except on the condition of the first pilot. The death of Pilot McCusker is mentioned, and the press dispatches said to have emanated from information furnished by pilots saying that with his death there were two deaths in the last ten days. The pilots know that this is not true. Pilot McCusker died about two months ago by a fall from an aeroplane which developed fire in the pilot's cockpit, which caught fire, and had nothing to do with weather or flying conditions. The statement that ten machines have been demolished in this recent bad weather is likewise not true.

Says Contention Not Borne Out.

"Bearing particularly on the issue involved, that the type of Curtis machine flying the mails with high compression liberty motor is more dangerous and liable to forced landings in bad weather than that small JN-4 plane with a 150 horsepower Hispano Suiza motor, is not borne out by the year's flying in the air mail. During the siege of bad weather last December, when the small type plane with the small motor was flown exclusively, there were ten forced landings in eleven days' flying between December 12 and 24. This was over 218 miles of route between New York and Washington, and is a worse showing than during the recent ten days of bad weather over 648 miles between Washington, New York and Cleveland.

"The superintendent of the eastern division advises that during the week of the worst of that weather, thirty out of thirty-three legs of the journeys were completed.

"Again, in forced landings, the type R-4 presents elements of greater safety to the pilot than the JN-4-H, in that the tendency to turn over on a forced landing in wet ground is less with the R-4 than with the smaller ship, and the pilot in the R-4 is farther removed from his engine, propeller and mail load than in the small ship. This whole subject has been given a most careful study by expert flyers during the year and every step possible to reduce danger of flying the air mail service has been taken, the results of which are at once in evidence by comparing the crashes, injuries and deaths in any other flying in this country since the termination of the war.

Truth of Statement Denied.

"There is no truth in the statement that the Post Office Department is refusing to equip planes with gyroscope turn indicators. These instruments are in course of further development and refinement and are not obtainable in quantities on the market as yet. The indicators for the air mail service which are being developed will require two months further completion by a factory.

The instrument is a device which, by gyroscopic action, shows the pilot when he turns either right or left from his course and does not show whether the plane is on an even keel or upside down, as press statements declare. It is a device to supplement the compass in times of low visibility, when the compass does not perform accurately or when a pilot has no landmarks to show him whether he is keeping on a straight course. The indicator will have to be further perfected, and this is what the Post Office Department expects to accomplish out of the lots which are being gotten up for them by the instrument manufacturers.

"Facts in Controversy."

"The fact in the controversy that should not be lost sight of is that the pilots did not contend that the weather was such that the route could not be flown, and this is borne out by all the weather reports in the hands of the department on that day, but that the pilots refused to fly on the theory that the regular mail ship was not as safe a type of plants as the type the pilot insisted upon using and which type is practically obsolete for mail work and has been in the course of retirement for the past few months.

"The Post Office Department has taken every precaution for the protection of Its pilots against death or injury, and the year's operation of the service with its small casualties is proof of the ceaseless attention given by the department to make the mail plane flying safe for the pilots.

"Of course, there is an element of danger in all aeroplane flying, but the records show that the air mail service, by its efforts for safety, has reduced these dangers to a negligible quantity.

"The department, however, cannot leave the question of when to fly and when not to fly in each instance to the judgment of a dozen different aviators. If this were done it would be impossible to operate a mail schedule with any degree of dependability and the air mall would have to be abandoned."

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Twelve Die in Balloon Holocaust -- July 21, 2019

Seattle Star, 22-July-1919
100 years ago today, on 22-July-1919, Goodyear Blimp "Wingfoot Air Express" was flying over Chicago. It crashed through the roof of a bank. Many were killed on the dirigible and in the bank. 

Twelve Die
in Balloon

CHICAGO, July 22. -- (United Press.) -- Twelve dead and 26 injured was the final count today of casualties in Chicago's most modern tragedy -- the fall of an aircraft thru the skylight of a metropolitan business building. Late yesterday a 100-foot dirigible fell blazing into the counting room of the Illinois Trust & Savings Co.

Two members of the "Wingfoot" express, a photographer, and nine employes of the bank were among the dead. Most of them were burned to death when the gas bag with its heavy fuselage burst thru steel and plate glass and spread burning gasoline in all directions. A score of investigations, headed by the coroner and the state's attorney, opened today. Seventeen men, mostly employes of the Goodyear Rubber company, owners of the "Wingfoot," were held for examination.

The flight of the balloon was watched by thousands in the streets.

The great "blimp" was making a test flight and had been flying above the city for several hours. When about 500 feet above the bank the dirigible burst into flames and fell, crashing thru the glass skylight of the bank and its iron supports, and falling to the marble floor in the rotunda beneath.

The two gasoline tanks exploded and burst into flames, scattering the flames over the people in the bank. Many were cut by great chunks of broken glass from the skylight.

Women on Fire

The employes of the bank, mostly women, some with clothes afire, ran screaming from the building thru the two exits. The exits became blocked and jammed with bodies. Meanwhile hurry calls had been sent for every available ambulance and police patrol in the city. Many of the surviving women won their way to the sidewalk to collapse in a faint.

The Intense heat inside the bank broke the plate glass windows on the outside and made rescue work difficult. The work of rescuing the bodies of those burned beneath the huge craft could not be started until 35 minutes later, when the wreckage cooled sufficiently to allow approach.

John Boettner, pilot of the craft, telling of the wreck, said:

"When we were about 500 feet up, I felt the machine buckle and saw a spurt of flame shoot from the side of the bag. Calling to the others to jump, I leaped overboard. The others followed milt. My parachute caught fire, but I landed safely."

Henry Weaver and Harry Wacker, mechanicians of the "blimp," followed Boettner. Weaver's parachute caught fire and he was caught beneath the falling ship and wan killed.

Parachute in Flames

K. M. Norton, cameraman for a morning newspaper, jumped, but his parachute caught fire. He landed In the street below, breaking both legs and sustaining internal injuries.

Karl H. Davenport, publicity man for an amusement park, for some reason did not jump, and he was carried to his death in the blazing ship.

Carl Otto, another mechanic, was caught in the wreckage and died.

The dead are:
CARPENTER, Jacob, 16, bank messenger.
BERGER, Helen, bank stenographer.
DAVENPORT, Earl H., publicity man in the "blimp."
FLORENCE, Maria, bank clerk.
GALLAGHER, Mary, bank stenographer.
MILES, Irene, bank stenographer.
MEYEr, Evelyn, bank stenographer.
MUNZER. Edwin, bank clerk.
OTTO, Carl, bank telegrapher.
SCANLAN, Joseph, bank messenger.
WEAVER, Carl, mechanic in the dirigible, Akron, Ohio.

Boettner, pilot of the machine, was taken into custody last night until an investigation can be made.

The council, at a meeting last night, passed a resolution ordering the corporation counsel to draft an ordinance which prohibits aircraft from flying over the city.

With hastily gathered furniture, the bank reopened today. A loss of $50,000 in bonds, supposed to have been burned, was announced.

President John J. Mitchell hesitated to estimate the amount of property loss involved.

"I'm thinking of the deaths of those people whom I knew personally," he said. He thought $15,000 would replace fixtures.

Mitchell indicated the Goodyear company had offered to settle damages and "do whatever was right" for families of the victims.

Pilot J. A. Boettner at first blamed static for the burning of his machine. Later he said sparks from the rotary motor -- an experiment for "blimps" -- may have set the gas bag afire. The motors, he said, were intended to "pull" instead of drive a machine. Attached as they were, he said, exhaust flames may have been blown against the fabric.