Sunday, November 30, 2014

Over the Top -- Chapter IV -- November 30, 2014

Arthur Guy Empey was a member of the US Cavalry who resigned to volunteer for the British Army during World War One. He was wounded during the Battle of the Somme. When the US entered the war, he tried to rejoin the US Army, but was rejected because of his wounds and possibly because of some disparaging comments about American draftees. He wrote a book, Over the Top, about his experiences during the war. With the 100th anniversary of the war, I thought it might be interesting to post his story. Empey later became a prolific pulp magazine author, a movie star and producer, and a playwright.

"Kultur," the German word for "culture," was used as an insult to the Germans and their way of making war.  Lewis and Vickers were common types of machine guns used by the British Army. 

From "Tommy's Dictionary of the Trenches" by Empey:
"'Strafeing.' Tommy's chief sport—shelling the Germans. Taken from Fritz's own dictionary."

CHAPTER I -- From Mufti to Khaki
CHAPTER II -- Blighty to Rest Billets
CHAPTER III -- I Go to Church


THE next morning the draft was inspected by our General, and we were assigned to different companies. The boys in the Brigade had nicknamed this general Old Pepper, and he certainly earned the sobriquet. I was assigned to B Company with another American named Stewart.

For the next ten days we "rested," repairing roads for the Frenchies, drilling, and digging bombing trenches.  One morning we were informed that we were going up the line, and our march began.  It took us three days to reach reserve billets — each day's march bringing the sound of the guns nearer and nearer. At night, way off in the distance we could see their flashes, which lighted up the sky with a red glare.  Against the horizon we could see numerous observation balloons or "sausages" as they are called, On the afternoon of the third day's march I witnessed my first aeroplane being shelled. A thrill ran through me and I gazed in awe. The aeroplane was making wide circles in the air, while little puffs of white smoke were bursting all around it. These puffs appeared like tiny balls of cotton while after each burst could be heard a dull "plop." The Sergeant of my platoon informed us that it was a German aeroplane and I wondered how he could tell from such a distance because the plane deemed like a little black speck in the sky. I expressed my doubt as to whether it was English, French, or German. With a look of contempt he further informed us that the allied anti-aircraft shells when exploding emitted white smoke while the German shells gave forth black smoke, and, as he expressed it, "It must be an Allemand because our pom-poms are shelling, and I know our batteries are not off their bally nappers and are certainly not strafeing our own planes, and another piece of advice—don't chuck your weight about until you've been up the line and learnt something."  I immediately quit "chucking my weight about" from that time on.

Just before reaching reserve billets we were marching along, laughing, and singing one of Tommy's trench ditties—

"I want to go home, I want to go home,
I don't want to go to the trenches no more
Where sausages and whizz-bangs are galore.
Take me over the sea, where the Allemand can't get at me,

Oh, my, I don't want to die,
I want to go home "—

when overhead came a "swish" through the air, rapidly followed by three others. Then about two hundred yards to our left in a large field, four columns of black earth and smoke rose into the air, and the ground trembled from the report,—the explosion of four German five-nine's, or "coalboxes." A sharp whistle blast, immediately followed by two short ones, rang out from the head of our column. This was to take up "artillery formation." We divided into small squads and went into the fields on the right and left of the road, and crouched on the ground. No other shells followed this salvo. It was our first baptism by shell fire. From the waist up I was all enthusiasm, but from there down, everything was missing. I thought I should die with fright.

After awhile, we re-formed into columns of fours, and proceeded on our way.

About five that night, we reached the ruined village of H , and I got my first sight of the awful destruction caused by German Kultur.

Marching down the main street we came to the heart of the village, and took up quarters in shellproof cellars (shell proof until hit by a shell). Shells were constantly whistling over the village and bursting in our rear, searching for our artillery. These cellars were cold, damp, and smelly, and overrun with large rats—big black fellows. Most of the Tommies slept with their overcoats over their faces. I did not. In the middle of the night I woke up in terror. The cold, clammy feet of a rat had passed over my face. I immediately smothered myself in my overcoat, but could not sleep for the rest of that night.

Next evening, we took over our sector of the line. In single file we wended our way through a zigzag communication trench, six inches deep with mud. This trench was called "Whiskey Street." On our way up to the front line an occasional flare of bursting shrapnel would light up the sky and we could hear the fragments slapping the ground above us on our right and left. Then a Fritz would traverse back and forth with his "typewriter" or machine gun. The bullets made a sharp cracking noise overhead

The boy in front of me named Prentice crumpled up without a word. A piece of shell had gone through his shrapnel-proof helmet. I felt sick and weak.

In about thirty minutes we reached the front line. It was dark as pitch. Every now and then a German star shell would pierce the blackness out in front with its silvery light. I was trembling all over, and felt very lonely and afraid. All orders were given in whispers. The company we relieved filed past us and disappeared into the blackness of the communication trench leading to the rear. As they passed us, they whispered, "The best o' luck mates."

I sat on the fire step of the trench with the rest of the men. In each traverse two of the older men had been put on guard with their heads sticking over the top, and with their eyes trying to pierce the blackness in "No Man's Land." In this trench there were only two dugouts, and these were used by Lewis and Vickers, machine gunners, so it was the fire step for ours. Pretty soon it started to rain. We put on our "macks," but they were not much protection. The rain trickled down our backs, and it was not long before we were wet and cold. How I passed that night I will never know, but without any unusual occurrence, dawn arrived.

The word "stand down" was passed along the line, and the sentries got down off the fire step. Pretty soon the rum issue came along, and it was a Godsend. It warmed our chilled bodies and put new life into us. Then from the communication trenches came dixies or iron pots, filled with steaming tea, which had two wooden stakes through their handles, and were carried by two men. I filled my canteen and drank the hot tea without taking it from my lips. It was not long before I was asleep in the mud on the fire step.

My ambition had been attained! I was in a front-line trench on the Western Front, and oh, how I wished I were back in Jersey City.

Next: CHAPTER V -- Mud, Rats and Shells

Saturday, November 29, 2014

1950 Copa Barcelona -- November 29, 2014

I don't usually pay much attention to auto racing after World War II, but this is a really nice poster for the 1950 Copa Barcelona. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

News of the Week 28-November-1914 -- November 28, 2014

The 21-November-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"British troops gathering at St. Albans, England to resist possible invasion.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  There was fear of an invasion early in the war, but the great strength of the Royal Navy made anything more than raids unlikely. 

"The Kronprinzessin Cecilie held in Boston harbor to escape capture by British.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie sailed for North German Lloyd between Bremen and New York.  She was on her way to Germany from the United States when the war started.  She turned back to America.  After the US entered the war, the government commandeered her to use as a troop ship and renamed her Mount Vernon. 

"Celebrating Trafalgar Day in England.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Trafalgar Day, October 21, celebrates Admiral Horatio Nelson's 1805 victory over the French and Spanish fleets. 

"Salvation Army, in Boston, making bandages for Europe's wounded.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  During the war, making bandages was an important act. 

"Belgian troops advancing to the Yser to meet Germans.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  The Belgians did what they could to resist the German invasion. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 -- November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.

The original Life Magazine was a humorous weekly that was published from 1883 to 1936. Here is the cover of their 26-November-1924 Thanksgiving Number. It represents the first Thanksgiving at Plimouth Plantation in 1621, "from The Birch Bark News, November 1621."  Notice that there are no Native Americans.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

The image comes from (

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Joe DiMaggio 100 -- November 25, 2014

Joe Dimaggio, one of the greatest baseball players, was born 100 years ago today in Martinez.  He grew up in San Francisco. One of my grandfather's younger friends played against him at North Beach Playground. He played for the San Francisco Seals.  Here we have a photo of him in uniform.  Later he played for the New York Yankees. 


I'm very sorry to hear that Pablo Sandoval is leaving the Giants to go to the Red Sox.  He has done a lot of good for the Giants.  The Red Sox fans will not be as patient with him when he gets into a slump.  Good luck, Panda.  Thank you for all the memories. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

She is Now a Crack Clipper -- November 24, 2014

The drawing is from the 01-November-1896 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.

The Lancing Was Formerly a Smart Ocean Steamer.
Two Years Ago She Was Sold and Transformed Into a Sailing Ship.
Narrow Escape Daring a Brush With the Progreso Off the Golden Gate.

The British ship Lancing now discharging at Green-street wharf is one of the handsomest vessels in port. She was originally a steamer and was built for the French Transatlantic Company a quarter of a century ago. At that time the vessel was known as the Periere, having been named after the millionaire president of the company. She cost nearly a million dollars to build and at that time was the fastest vessel on the run between Europe and New York. Her best average was sixteen knots an hour, but during the last run from Swansea to this port under sail the vessel made as good as 18 knots
on many occasions.

After posing as a record-breaker for five years the Periere was ousted from her proud position by some of the new transatlantic liners and later she was sold to a syndicate. Captain Hatfield, her commander, took charge of the vessel and changed her into the present magnificent specimen of marine architecture. She is fitted with water ballast which can be loaded or unloaded at the rate of 100 tons an hour. The cabin accommodations are of the best and all in all the Lancing is one of the finest and most commodious vessels that come to San Francisco.

Captain Hatfield is well known here, and a more genial or better-liked master does not come to this port. On this occasion he is accompanied by his wife and daughter.

The erstwhile steamer, and now smartest sailing vessel afloat, nearly met her fate on the 21st inst. She was almost in collision with the steamer Progreso, and both vessels carry marks of the encounter.

Talking about the matter yesterday Captain Hatfield said:

"It was just after midnight, and a high wind was blowing. We were feeling our way toward the Golden Gate when all of a sudden there was a cry of  'Light on the starboard bow!' Before the echoes had ceased an immense steamer came rushing out of the gloom and a disastrous collision seemed inevitable. The Lancing's helm was put hard over, and it seemed an eternity before the ship fell off.

"We just cleared the steamer's bowsprit and cathead while our forebrace fouled his bridge.

"I could almost have jumped aboard as she passed our stern and rushed out of sight into the fog. The whole affair only took up a minute of time and nothing could have saved either vessel if they had come together."

Captain "Alec" Swanson brought the Lancing into port. She came in under sail and at the time, the bar was breaking.

"I never handled a finer vessel in my life, and she is the 'dryest' ship I ever set foot on," was the pilot's comment.  Captain Hatfield was lost in thought for a moment and then he said: "Captain Swanson, the ship can take care of herself for a few moments: let's go and splice the mainbrace."

"No, sir," was the answer. "When I meet you ashore we'll have a drink together, but not at sea. What I meant by a dry ship is that, in spite of her beam, I have never crossed the bar when it was breaking in a vessel that takes as little water aboard as this one."

The accompanying sketch is drawn from a picture furnished Mr. Coulter by Captain Hatfield.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rain -- November 23, 2014

It been raining much of the time since Wednesday.  It has been nice. 

Actress Leila Hyams appeared in Freaks and Island of Lost Souls.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

1911 Rolls-Royce Model 40/50 Silver Ghost Tourer -- November 22, 2014

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June, 2013 to drool over their collection of classic autos.  I had a large-scale Matchbox model of the 1911 Rolls-Royce Model 40/50 Silver Ghost Tourer.  The Silver Ghost, which was in production for 20 years, has always been considered one of the best cars. 

You will notice that the horn bulb is missing.  (051/dsc_0083, 0085)

Friday, November 21, 2014

News of the Week 21-November-1914 - November 21, 2014

The 21-November-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels. 

"U.S. Battleship New York passing under Brooklyn Bridge after making speed trial.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Film Mfg. Co."  USS New York (BB-34) served in both World Wars. 

"Loading J. D. Rockefeller's chartered steamer for Belgians' relief.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  After the German invasion, the people of occupied Belgium were starving.  Many Americans tried to provide relief. 

"French troops going to the front.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  You can't see it in the photo, but their trousers would have been bright red and their coats would have been blue. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Number -- November 20, 2014

Collier's Magazine published most Sherlock Holmes stories in the United States.  The 15-August-1908 issue included the first part of "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Feature Books -- Secret Agent X-9 -- November 19, 2014

Feature Books started in 1937.  Each issue was devoted to a single character.  Initially, it reprinted comic strips, but for about two years the 1940s it published original comic adaptions of novels, including The Maltese Falcon.  Then it returned to reprinting comic strips. 

Secret Agent X-9 was a comic strip created by Dashiell Hammett and drawn by Alex Raymond.  Hammett left first, and then Raymond. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pulp -- Fight Stories -- November 18, 2014

The cover of this issue of Fight Stories advertised "The Brown Panther," the "Ring-Story of Harry Wills."  Wills was an African American heavyweight boxer who fought in the Teens and Twenties.  After the controversies that surrounded heavyweight champ Jack Johnson, it was difficult for African American boxers to get fights with white boxers.  Wills spent years trying to get a fight with champ Jack Dempsey.  Dempsey said he was willing, but his promoters were not. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Joe McGinnity -- November 17, 2014

Inspired by the book Few and Chosen: Defining Giants Greatness Across the Eras by Giants great Bobby Thomson and Phil Pepe, I thought I would devote my nickname meme to Giants players for the next several months. 

Iron Man Joe McGinnity pitched professionally from 1899 to 1925.  In 1903, he pitched 44 complete games, out of 47 started, which is a modern major league record (1900 and after).  He also had two saves and pitched 434 innings.  He was the last man to pitch both ends of a double header.  These things are not why he was called Iron Man.  He worked in an iron foundry during the offseason. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Landing on a Comet -- November 16, 2014

European Space Agency
I remember when the European Space Agency launched Rosetta in 2004.  Last week, Rosetta met with Comet 67P and lauched the Philae lander. Philae reached the surface of the comet safely, but in the shadow of a cliff, so its solar panels are not helping to recharge the battery. This is still a wonderful accomplishment for the human race. I wish America could get people excited about space again.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Alvin Dark, RIP -- November 15, 2014

I was sad to learn of the passing of great Giants shortstop and manager Alvin Dark.  Willie Mays gave Dark and Eddie Stanky credit for helping him to adjust when he joined the Giants.  When Dark managed the San Francisco Giants, some Latin players felt that he divided the team and did not respect them. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

News of the Week 14-November-1914 - November 14, 2014

The 14-November-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels. 

"The Belgian retreat from Antwerp.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial." The war began when the Germans violated the neutrality of Belgium by invading that country on their way to invade France.

"Belgians in armored auto returning with war trophies.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Film Mfg. Co." The Italians had used armored cars in the 1911-1912 war with the Turks, but the Belgians were the first to use them during World War One. This may be one of their improvised Minerva Armored Cars.

"Fifty lives lost in mine disaster at Royalton, Ill.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  Fifty-one miners died when Franklin Coal and Coke's North Mine exploded. 

"England's prisoners of war at Detention Camp, near Aldershot.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."Aldershot, a major center of the British Army, housed German POWs during the war. 

"Buying horses in New York for the Allies' armies.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  The British, French and Russians purchased many horses in America.  Armies in World War One depended on horses for pulling wagons and artillery.

"Arrival of English wounded at West Ham Hospital.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  West Ham was a borough of London. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Vieux Carré and Other Sections -- November 13, 2014

In this scene from The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans (1903) we see Chartres Street (pronounced Charters) in the View Carré, or French Quarter.  Louis Phillippe. Duke of Chartres, visited New Orleans in 1796 while he was exiled after the French Revolution.  He later King of the French (not King of France) in 1830 and was forced to abdicate in 1848. 

The terms "Vieux Carré," "Faubourg Ste. Marie," "Faubourg Marigny," are often used throughout this Guide. It may be said
The "Vieux Carré,"
or "old square," is that interesting section of the French Quarter that was laid out by Bienville when he came from Biloxi to build his city in 1718. The cleared space had a frontage of twelve squares, and comprised all the land that lay between Esplanade Street on the north, Canal Street on the south, the Levee on the east and Rampart Street on the west. The names of the streets running parallel with the river were Levee, Chartres above the Cathedral, Condé below it; Royal. Bourbon, Dauphine, Burgundy, Rampart, so-called because being the city limit on the west, ramparts were erected all along the line. Crossing these streets from the river, were Bienville, Conti, St. Louis, Toulouse, St. Peter, Orleans. St. Anno, Dumaine and St. Philip. Later, when the Ursuline Nuns came over, the old street on which was their property received the name of Ursuline, from their convent in Chartres Street. The "Barracks," or soldiers' quarters, were located two squares from the convent, hence the name, "Barracks Street," or "Quartier." Intervening was the Military Hospital, which gave to the street directly below Ursuline the name "Hospital." "The Esplanade" was located in the beautiful street that runs below Barracks, from the river to the woods. The names of those original streets have remained, un-changed through all these years. They are dear to the people, because they are the living reminders of a beautiful historic past.
The "Faubourg Ste. Marie"
lies on the upper side of Canal Street. It was the first distinct ''American" Section of New Orleans, and extended from the "Terre Commune" or Government Reservation (now Common Street) outside the walls of the ancient city to the line marked by Delord Street. It was owned by a wealthy planter named Jean Gravier, and was first called the "Ville Gravier." After the cession of Louisiana to the United States and the Americans came pouring into the city from the West, there was a contest for mastery between the Creoles with their elegant manners and luxurious homes, and the hardy, thrifty band of invaders. Finally, there grew so much jealousy and distrust that the Governor and State officials began to feel the difficulties of their position, and trouble seemed imminent. At this juncture the coolness of the American Governor and the foremost American citizens prevailed. The Americans decided, to have a city of their own, beyond the ancient French limits. Gravier was willing to divide his land into lots and streets, and found a ready sale among the discontented Americans. Gravier changed the name of the section to the "Faubourg Ste. Marie," in honor of his mother, whose name was Mary. This was the beginning of the beautiful American city that lies above Canal Street, and which now stretches to the verge of Southport.
The "Faubourg Marigny"
was the ancient plantation of Philippe Mandeville de Marigny. a provincial magnate, who entertained Louis Philippe and his brothers when they were exiles in New Orleans. The Faubourg extended from Esplanade Street to St. Ferdinand and from the river to St. Claude Street. When Marigny decided to build his own city, that should outrival either the "Vieux Carré" cr the "Faubourg Ste. Marie," he cut up the plantation into lots and streets. A portion became one of the most fashionable residence centres of old New Orleans. But the tide of progress flowed upward, and the dreams of Marigny were never realized.
Algiers was known in early Creole days as the "Plantations of the King" This was the name given by Bienville. In time swarms of negro slaves alone inhabited it. They were constantly at work and all day their quaint negro ballads could be heard. The Creoles showing their propensity for giving nicknames, rechristened the "King's Plantation" "Algiers," and the name clings to this day. It is now the Fifth District of New Orleans, and has a large population of thrifty white people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

They Know Their Jazz -- November 12, 2014

Talking Machine World, February, 1928

Okeh made many records aimed at minority groups.  Jazz and blues artists Louis Armstrong and Victoria Spivey made many records for the company.  Okeh 40966 featured Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra.  Trumbauer was a saxophone player who wrote, arranged and lead.  The band on this session included his friend cornetist Bix Beiderbecke.  Bix was a major figure in 1920s jazz.  He influenced many later trumpet players 

Be sure to click on this ad from Talking Machine World to see a larger version.  I like the John Held, Jr-derived images. 

Both sides of 40966 are available on YouTube:

Justin Ring was a pseudonym used by Sam Lanin.  Lanin was a popular orchestra leader who made many records during the 1920s.  His brother Lester became a famous leader in the 1930s and beyond.  The two sides of Okeh 40977 are also YouTube:

Seger Ellis played the piano and sang.  I did not look too hard to find any of the items on the two records listed.  His style is an acquired taste.  I haven't acquired it. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day, 2014 -- November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service to your country.
This is the 96th anniversary of Armistice Day.  I am trying to pay attention to the Centennial of World War One in this blog.  All the men and women who fought in the war are gone, but we can still remember their sacrifices. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

German Terror, Emden, Destroyed -- November 10, 2014

100 years ago yesterday, on 09-November-1914, the Battle of Cocos took place in the Indian Ocean.  The German East Asia Squadron led by Vice Admiral Count Maximillian von Spee had abandoned the German base at Tisingtao, China when the war started because he knew the Japanese would soon attack and overwhelm it. Fregattenkapitän Karl von Müller, commander of the light cruiser Emden, received permission to sail independently and attack British commerce in the Indian Ocean. In twelve weeks, Emden took fourteen prizes and destroyed one French and one Russian warship. People admired Müller because he tried hard to avoid taking human life. Spee's squadron destroyed a British squadron in the Battle of Coronel:

Britsh ships hunting for Emden found her on 09-November-1914 when she attacked a coaling station on the Cocos Islands. 

The story is from the 10-November-1914 New York Evening Tribune. 

Emden Kept Fighting Till Cruiser Sydney Drove Her On Shore

German Warship, Which Had Sunk 22 Ships and Caused a Loss of . $10,000,000, Set on Fire During
Running Fight.


LONDON, Nov. 10. The cruiser Emden, German terror of British commerce and even of allied warships, has been sunk. She was driven ashore on an island of the Cocos group in the Indian Ocean south of Sumatra by the Australian cruiser Sydney.

The Sydney sighted the Emden yesterday morning.  With superior speed she at once closed in and gave battle. The German boat could not escape. There was a running fight, at the end of which the Emden, burning from the shells of the Australian boat, was beached.

The news of the destruction of the Emden was announced by the Admiralty to-day. Almost at the same time came word of another British victory on the sea when it was announced that the German protected cruiser Koenigsberg had been driven into port In Ruflji Island, off German East Africa. The British cruiser Chatham chased the Koenigsberg ashore.

The Admiralty declares that the Pacific and, Indian Oceans "are now clear of the enemy's warships, with the exception of the squadron off the coast of Chili."


Telling of the destruction of the Emden, the Admiralty statement declared:

"Yesterday morning news was received that the Emden, which had been completely lost since the action with the Jemtchug, had arrived at Keeling, Cocos Island, and landed an armed party to destroy the wireless station and cut the cable. The Emden was caught and forced to fight by the Australian warship Sydney, Capt. John Glossop.

"A sharp action followed in which the Sydney lost three men killed and fifteen wounded. The Emden
was driven ashore and burned. Her losses are reported to be very heavy. Every possible assistance was given the survivors by various ships which were despatched to the scene."

The Admiralty sent the following message to the commander of the Sydney:

"Warmest congratulations for the brilliant entry of the Australian navy into the war and the signal service rendered to the allied cause and peaceful commerce by the destruction of the Emden."

The Emden's career has .been the most picturesque in the Kaiser's navy. Commanded by Capt. Karl von Muller, she has swept the Pacific, capturing, or sinking more than a score of merchant vessels of the allied nations and brought her raids to a climax by boldly entering Penang harbor, where she sank the two allied warships.

Coming on the heels of the stirring war speeches of Lord Kitchener and Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, the feat of the Sydney in destroying the Emden roused London to a fever of enthusiasm to-day. The cry now is that the Good Hope and Monmouth must be avenged.

At least seventy warships have been combing the Pacific in search of the Emden Always she has eluded pursuers just when it seemed she must be ... (can't read the rest)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fairy Tale Blogathon -- November 9, 2014

Fritzi at Movies Silently is hosting the Fairy Tale Blogathon this weekend. 

My entry for the blogathon is on my new movies-mostly blog, The Big V Riot Squad:
Nursery Favorites and the Early-Teens Talkie Boom

I write about early experiments with sound films, culminating in Edison's 1913 "Nursery Favorites." 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

German Humor -- November 8, 2014

New York Sun, 08-November-2014

The New York Sun reprinted a German cartoon.  Based on the Glengarry cap, I guess this is supposed to represent a barbaric Highlander.  The Germans were afraid of the Highlanders. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

1502 at Geneva Car Barn -- November 7, 2014

I recently went to Saint Anthony-Immaculate Conception School in San Francisco to talk to the Fifth Grade about an American history essay contest:

After I was done, I walked up Cesar Chavez to Guerrero and around to San Jose Avenue.  I went up 30th Street to Dolores and caught an outbound J-Church.  There is work going on around Balboa Park and the Metro Center, so the train stopped in the middle of San Jose, just past Geneva.  As I walked to the BART station, I caught a shot of Breda 1502 leaving the Cam Beach yard and passing the Geneva car barn office building, which was built in 1901 by the San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway. It served the Market Street Railway, the United Railroads, the new Market Street Railway and finally Muni for many years. The building has been empty since the 1989 earthquake, but it has been stabilized and may become a recreation center. The banner advertises the group trying to make that happen:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ferry Tales 23-July-1912 -- November 6, 2014

 Lindsay Campbell's column "Ferry Tales" ran for many years in the San Francisco Call. This example is from 23-July-1912. In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt ran as the Progressive Party presidential candidate against Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Republican William Howard Taft. TR had run against incumbent Taft for the Republican nomination and lost. "Equal suffrage" referred to getting women the vote. They received the vote in California in 1912, but not nationally until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.  

Did you ever leave a package on a ferry steamer? Did you ever retrieve it?

It is possible to do both. If you have commuted long you know all about it, but do you know why the ferry companies make it so hard on the absent minded commuter to recover his property?

Bestow that eager look elsewhere. I'm not going to answer my own question. I really want to know.

On both the Key Route and Southern Pacific the depositary for lost property is at the mole on the Alameda side in the very middle of the journey and at a place where no commuter ever has any business except to board a train or boat. And the time for either operation is limited.

Suppose, for instance, you leave a glove on a Key Route train, and let us presume that it finds its way to the lost property office. This office is at the mole and is open only at certain hours. You ask the conductor next morning about your glove and he directs you to the lost property office. When the train reaches the pier you jump off, fight your way out of the stream that is pouring boatward, and inquire for the office. Just as you find it a penetrating voice cries:

"All aboard!"

Away you scoot for your boat. You know where the place is and will get the glove on your way home. Try It.

"Very sorry," you are told, "but the office closes at 5 o'clock and the man in charge has gone."

You try it next morning. This time your geographical knowledge enables you to reach the counter and ask for your glove. The man behind the counter is a deliberate person who, in measured tones, demands a description of the lost property, wants to know when and where you lost it, and just as he starts in the direction of a locker on the opposite side of the office the voice outside says:

"All aboard!"  And you go. Finally you leave home 20 minutes earlier than usual. You get your glove about a half minute after the boat pulls out and spend 20 minutes waiting for the next.

The railroad company doesn't want your poperty, but it accumulates a pile of junk every year just because of the difficulties involved in getting owner and property together again. To a mere commuter it would seem that the ferry depot would be the logical place for these reunions. What do you think about it?

* * *

All Marin county is interested in an ingenious young woman who is devoting the time she spends on the ferry boat on her way to and from her city job, to the making of what she confided to a friend is her trousseau. Every woman knows what goes to make up a trousseau and the young woman declares that she is making "everything" on these daily journeys, but it would take an eagle eyed expert to identify which part of the "everything" is in course of production.

Everybody that travels on the same boat knows that the embroidery is elaborate and that the trousseau is going to be a dandy, but that is all? The pretty seamstress carries the particular section of trousseau on which she is working in a blue silk bag, in the side of which is a small round opening not larger than a dollar, and this small circular section is all that prying eyes are permitted to see. It is big enough to sew through, but as effective as frosted glass as a barrier to curiosity.

* * *

The Berkeley man who told this story on the after deck of the 8:20. Key Route steamer the other morning may, if he sees this, have to make an explanation to his wife. The speaker was a well known resident of the college town and his wife was in the forefront of the campaign for equal suffrage. Her husband is active in republican politics.

"My wife registered before the primaries," he confided to about 60 or more friends, acquaintances and fellow commuters. "She comes from Virginia and has always claimed to be a democrat.

"'I registered as a republican.' she told me when I got home last night.

"'Thought you were a democrat?" said I.

"'So I am," said she.

"'But you registered republican? What was the matter? Did you forget what you were?'

"'Nothing was the matter. I registered as a republican so that I can vote against Roosevelt.'

"'But how about Woodrow Wilson?" I asked her. 'Thought he was your choice for president?"

"'So he is," she said, 'and I'm going to send a dollar to his campaign fund.'"

G. L. C.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Climax Improved Geared Locomotives -- November 5, 2014

Canadian Forest Product Industries, 01-July-1914

This ad shows a Class B Climax locomotive.  The Climax was one of the three popular types of geared locomotives, along with the Shay and the Heisler.  Each was used in applications that needed tractive power and flexibility, especially in logging. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Herrmann the Great -- November 4, 2014

Alexander Herrmann was born in France. Alexander's father Samuel started the family in the magic business. Alexander's brother Compars (Carl) carried on the business and taught it to Alexander. Alexander toured the world, but chose to settle in America and become a naturalized citizen. He married Adelaide, who became his collaborator. Herrmann the Great was the most popular magician in America until he died in 1896. Madame Herrmann carried on the act, joined by his nephew Leon, who assumed the title Herrmann the Great. From Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, Including Trick Photography, edited by Albert Allis Hopkins.

The ad is from the 26-November-1895 San Francisco Call.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Muni Heritage Festival 2014 #1 -- November 2, 2014

Yesterday we went downtown for Muni's Heritage Festival. We found rare original-condition O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde cable car 42 at California and Drumm. We had a nice talk with my friend gripman Val Lupiz while he waited his turn. He is proud of the car, which did not come out after last year's festival except for a test run earlier this week. We rode out to Van Ness and back. The car operates smoothly. We had lunch at Osha Thai Restaurant, then went over to the Market Street Railway museum. Car 130 pulled out, but was not picking up passengers. We got on Blackpool Boat 228, where I took the photo of the "Nowhere in Particular" destination sing. We had a nice ride out to Pier 39 and back. The crew had to watch the pole carefully at every switch. Back at the museum, we bought a book and two calendars. We stopped to look at Cal Cable 62, the motorized Jones Street shuttle car. We missed the two bell ringing demonstrations. Then we took BART back.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Battle of Coronel -- November 1, 2014

New York Tribune, 11-November-1914

100 years ago on 01-November-1914, a British squadron led by Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock encountered the German East Asia Squadron led by Vice Admiral Count Maximillian von Spee off the Chilean coast near Coronel.  Spee had abandoned the German base at Tisingtao, China when the war started because he knew the Japanese would soon attack and overwhelm it.  Spee spread confusion across the Pacific.  Cradock had been sent to find him, but received many contradictory orders from the Admiralty. Winston Churchill, who had issued some of the contradictory orders, later called it "the saddest naval action of the war. Of the officers and men in both the squadrons that faced each other in these stormy seas far from home, nine of ten were doomed to perish.  The British were to die that night; the Germans a month later."  The light cruiser Glasgow and the auxiliary cruiser Otranto were the only British ships to escape.  The sacrifice made by Cradock and his men cost Spee much of his fuel and ammunition. 

One of Spee's ships, the Leipzig, had visited San Francisco in August:


Armored Cruiser Monmouth Sunk Outright and Good Hope Set on Fire

Glasgow Takes Refuge in Harbor.
English War Craft Under Sir Christopher Cradock Sought to Stop Them from Destroying Merchant Steamers in Southern Waters.

Valparaiso, Nov. 3. -- The German warships Gneisenau, Scharnthorst, Nurnberg, Leipsic and Dresden attacked the British fleet off Coronel, Chili, to-day. The British armored cruiser Monmouth was sunk.

The Good Hope was badly damaged, and as she was on fire is supposed to have been lost. The British cruiser Glasgow, badly damaged, took refuge in the harbor of Coronel and is now bottled up.

Sir Christopher Cradock, who commanded the squadron, was in charge of the British fleet in Mexican waters at the time the American marines occupied Vera Cruz.

The British cruisers Good Hope, Monmouth and Glasgow had been searching the coasts of South America for several weeks with the object of engaging the German cruisers, which had been destroying British merchant vessels.

Admiral Graf von Spee, commander of the German fleet in Pacific waters, who arrived here this morning, made the following report:

Admiral Graf von Spee, commander of the German fleet in Pacific waters, who arrived here this morning, made the following report:

"On Sunday, November 1, between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening, during a heavy rain and rough weather off Coronel, we sighted the British men-of-war Good Hope, Monmouth and Glasgow and the armored cruiser Otranto. 

"An engagement ensued immediately.  All the ships opened a brisk cannonade with all their artillery. 

"The Monmouth was sunk, and the Good Hope, after a great explosion on board, took fire.  Her subsequent fate is unknown, owing to darkness having set in. 

"The Glasgow and the Otranto also were damaged, but the darkness prevented our obtaining knowledge of the extent of it.

"Our ships, the Scharnhorst and Nurnberg, were not damaged.  The Gneisenau had six men wounded.  The rest of our ships also were undamaged."