Saturday, September 29, 2018

Frank Luke -- September 29, 2018

Arizona Republican, 12-December-1918
American balloon buster Frank Luke, whose career at the front lasted from 12-September-1918 to 29-September-1918, destroyed 14 enemy balloons and 4 airplanes.  Arizona, which had only been a state since 1912, was very proud of him.  Luke was wounded by machine gun fire from the ground while attacking a balloon on 29-September-1918.  He pulled his service sidearm to shoot at approaching German shoulders, but died of his wound.  The Germans buried him.  When I went to look for newspaper reports of his death, I found that it was not reported until after the Armistice.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Mohave County Miner, 30-November-1918

Friday, September 28, 2018

Marty Balin, RIP -- September 28, 2018

was sad to learn of the death of Marty Balin, one of the founders of the Jefferson Airplane. I used to ride the bus past their house on Fulton Street. A friend's mother was upset that they painted it black, because it had been her grandparents' home.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Olds Horseless Carriage -- September 27, 2018

Scientific American, 21-November-1896
Ransom E Olds founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, which later became the Olds Motor Works. Even before he founded the company, he built this horseless carriage.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

I stand with Dr Christine Blasey Ford -- September 26, 2018

I am sorry that Dr Christine Blasey Ford had to subject herself to all this calumny, but I am grateful that she did it to try to stop a predator from being appointed to a lifetime job on the Supreme Court.

I also believe Deborah Ramirez.

A man with a sense of honor would have withdrawn his nomination by now.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

New Cat #57 -- September 25, 2018

I took the photo on 22-August-2018.  I forgot to post a cat picture for August.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Blind Lemon Jefferson 125 -- September 24, 2018
Blues master Blind Lemon Jefferson was probably born 125 years ago today, on 24-September-1893. Despite his blindness, he played the guitar and sang all around the south.   He recorded for Paramount Records and had several  hits.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Original! Brilliant! Diversified! -- September 23, 2018

Alta California, 11-May-1857
Henry Charles Lee and HM Bennett offered their Great North American Circus in San Francisco and Northern California in 1856 and 1857.  The Abbot company of Concord, New Hampshire, built the famous Concord stagecoaches for Wells Fargo.

Original ! Brilliant ! Diversified !

THIS GREAT COMPANY, BY FAR THE MOST COMPLETE IN THE UNITED STATES, will open in San Francisco, on the Vacant Lot next to the International Hotel, on

The FAME of the Artists, Male and Female, precludes the necessity of a specification of their Genius and Attainments, as they ARE KNOWN.

THE RING DEPARTMENT comprises the greatest force of Male and Female Equestrians, Gymnasts, Vaulters, Clowns, Acrobats, Posture Masters, Equilibrists, Contortionists, Jugglers, Rope Performers, Tumblers, etc., ever concentrated in one establishment; together with the most superb stud of HIGHLY TRAINED PERPORMING HORSES and educated Ponies in the world, enabling the management to present displays of Dashing Horsemanship and extraordinary Athletic Exercises, in infinite variety, and of the most wonderful character.

This Magnificent, New and Costly Outfit, has cost a princely fortune. It was gotten up, regardless of expense, by our Agent Mr. FRANK RIVERS, who has spent the last year in the Atlantic states and Europe. The magnificent Carriages and Baggage Vans are from the hands of the, celebrated manufacturers, Messrs. J. S. and E. A. ABBOT, of Concord, New Hampshire. The gorgeous Band Wagon and Advertising Wagon are from the Premium Manufacturers, Messrs. FIELDING BROTHERS, New York. The Harness, which is the most costly that has ever been manufactured in the United Stales -- the mountings and minarettes of bells being of pure silver -- are from the well-known manufacturers, J. KELSH and SON, Philadelphia.

THE BAND HARNESS and the BEAUTIFUL CHIMES OF SILVER BELLS, must be seen to b« appreciated, as they will baffle all description.

The GORGEOUS WARDROBE, by far outstripping all Pageants on either side of the Atlantic, was manufactured by Miss FLORENCE NEEDHAM, of New York.

The MAMMOTH WATER-PROOF PAVILION -- manufactured by CHAS. AMORY, Esq., of San Francisco -- will be brilliantly illuminated with gas, which must be acknowledged to be a decided improvement over all former styles of lighting.

THE BAND is made up of the best Musical Talent in California, and will comprise a Brass and String Band, being under the direction of J. R. PARSONS,  the best Cornet player in California.

Among the distinguished Artists selected from the Atlantic states and Europe, will be found --
MISS LOUISE MELVILLE -- Her First Appearance In San Francisco;
MISS SOPHIA WORELL -- Her First Appearance in California;
MISS IRENE WORRELL -- Her First Appearance in California;
LA PETIT JENNIE WORRELL -- Her First Appearance in California;

The Managers take pleasure in being able to announce that they have effected an engagement with tbe BEST CLOWN in the United States, viz:

Wm. Worrell,

(Late of Gen. WELCH'S Great National Circus,) with his Juvenile Graces, Sophia, Irene and La Petit Jennie. His name will be a sufficient guaranty that Wit, without coarseness. Fun without vulgarity and Mirth without end, will characterize the comic department of the Exhibition -- his First Appearance in California.
MONS. ROCHETTE -- The Pioneer Clown and Herculean Performer.

The Distinguished features of this huge establishment are --
1st -- It is the largest Circus ever in this State.
2d -- Every Act put in the Ring is better than has ever before been witnessed here.
3d -- lt is the most Extensively Equipped Circus ever in the State.
4th -- The Band is the best ever attached to any Circus.
5th -- Many of the best Performers were never before in this State.
6th -- Many of the Arts are entirely new here, have never before been witnessed in this State, and could not be executed by all the Circuses in America combined.
7th -- It is not -- as is customary of late -- a small part of a Circus, with very large bills -- but it is an old fashioned Circus, with all the modern improvements.
8th -- lt is the only Company that furnishes good cushioned seats to every lady visitor.
Lastly -- lt is the only Circus Establishment that performs everything as represented in the Bills and Advertisements.

Box .......... $1 00|Pit .......... $00 50
There will be a separate entrance for Ladies.
The doors will open at 7 o'clock, P. M. The Entertainment will commence at 8 o'clock.
There will be attentive ushers to wait upon Ladies and Family Parties to seats.
The Police Department will be under the supervision of efficient officers.
General Agent.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Vanishing Whippet -- September 21, 2018

Magician Howard Thurston established himself as a successful vaudeville performer, then joined with Harry Kellar on his farewell tour. When Kellar retired in 1908, Thurston carried on as his successor. Thurston continued performing until he suffered a stroke in 1935.

The Whippet was a small car produced by Willys-Overland from 1926 to 1931.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cocoanuts 50,000 -- September 20, 2018

Daily Alta California, 09-July-1882
Until the early 1960s, the San Francisco Produce Market occupied the area along the waterfront north of the Ferry Building.  My first relative to come to San Francisco sold bananas there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Tools of Ignorance -- September 19, 2018

Spaulding's Base Ball Guide and Official League Book for 1879
The mask at the top is identified as "Geo. Wright's Catcher's Mask."  George Wright is famous as the shortstop for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, but he also played at catcher.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

France Loses Greatest Athlete and Brave Aviator -- September 18, 2018

Perth Amboy News, 14-November-1918
Maurice Boyau was a French ace who was a successful balloon buster.  Before the war, he had been an international rugby player.  On 18-September-1918, German ace Georg von Hantelmann shot Boyau down and killed him.  Boyau's final tally was 31, including 26 balloons.

France Loses Greatest Athlete and Brave Aviator

Recent reports from Europe state France’s greatest athlete and best-known aviator, Maurice Boyau, is missing. The news has caused the greatest sorrow as Boyau, who was recently made an officer of the Legion of Honor, with the inscription, "the bravest pilot and the most complete athlete who makes French aviation Illustrious” — was known all over France. Starting In the war as a second-class private, Boyau, who captained the rugby teams against England, Wales. New Zealand and Scotland. and who was a great association football player and all-around athlete, soon became an aviator and lieutenant, gaining twelve war crosses, the military medal, the D. 8. C. and the cross of the Knight of the Legion of Honor. Before being made an officer In the order he had shot down 35 Germans before he was himself brought down in flames in the German lines. Boyau was to have been presented on a date shortly after his disappearance with a diamond and platinum Legion of Honor cross, bought by a half penny subscription made among the athletes In France.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Women’s Suffrage Campaign -- September 17, 2018

Dearborn Independent, 24-September-1918
Today I went to Good Shepherd School in Pacifica and talked to Junior High kids about the topic of the current DAR essay contest, inspired by the upcoming centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women in the US the right to vote. I gave them background on voting rights over the years since the Constitution went into effect. They listened and they asked some good questions.  Now I'm tired.

Travel in Comfort -- September 17, 2018

San Francisco Call, 21-February-1911
This full-page ad says you can reach Chicago in three days on the Overland Limited.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

New York -- United Air Lines -- September 15, 2018

Stan Galli created this beautiful poster for United Airlines.

Some people feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Service Code for Hotel Employees -- September 13, 2018

University Missourian, Columbia, Missouri, 26-September-1910
When we visited New Orleans in 2013, we stayed at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.  Despite my red necktie, green vest and tan shoes, they treated us very well.  

Service Code for Hotel Employees

When the employees of the Monteleone hotel receive their next pay envelope they are going to find enclosed a new service code which the hotel will adopt.

The following extracts from it give an excellent idea of what will be expected of the employees in the future:

"The Hotel Monteleone is operated for the benefit and convenience of its guests.

"Without guests there could be no Hotel Monteleone.

"Never be perky, pungent or fresh. The guest pays your salary as well as mine.  He is your Immediate benefactor.

"A man may wear a red necktie, a green vest and tan shoes and still be a gentleman.

The stranger in cowhide boots, broad brim and rusty black hat may be president of a railroad or a senator from over the ridge.

You cannot afford to be superior or sullen with any patron of this hotel. I said so."

-- New Orleans Picayune

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Maria Muldaur 75 -- September 12, 2018
Happy 75th birthday to singer Maria Muldaur.  When I was a kid, "Midnight at the Oasis" was very popular.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Negro Soldiers Heroes -- September 11, 2018

Tacoma Time, 20-May-1918

I missed the 100th anniversary of 15-May-1918, when Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts were on guard duty in the Argonne Forest. Johnson fought off a German raiding party in hand-to-hand combat. Johnson also rescued Roberts, who was badly wounded.  Johnson was wounded 21 times. Johnson and Roberts were part of the famous Harlem Hellfighters, the 369th Infantry Regiment. The US Army didn't want an African American unit, so the 369th fought under French command. The French gave Johnson and Roberts the Croix de Guerre with a palm. Johnson died in poverty in 1929. Because of racism, the US Army did not award Johnson and Roberts the Purple Heart until 1996. President Barack Obama awarded Henry Johnson the Medal of Honor in 2012.

Fight Off 20 Enemy Attackers

(United Press Leased Wire.)

WASHINGTON, D. C. May 20 -- Quiet prevailed along the American front, except for aerial activity, yesterday, Gen. Pershing reported today. Two enemy machines were brought down. The statement follows: "Section A -- Aside from the activities of the air forces on both sides, the day was quiet at all points occupied by our troops. Our aviators brought down two hostile machines.

"Section B -- Reports in hand show a notable instance of bravery and devotion shown by two soldiers of an American colored regiment operating in a French sector.

Attacked by 20.

"Before daylight on May 15, Private Henry Johnson and Private Roberts, while on sentry duty at some distance from one another, were attacked by the German raiding party, estimated at 20 men, who advanced in two groups, attacking at once from flank and rear.

"Both men fought bravely in hand to hand encounters, one resorting to the use of a bolo knife after his rifle jammed and further fighting with bayonet and butt became impossible. There is evidence that at least one and probably a second German was severely cut. A third Is known to have been shot

"Attention is drawn to the fact that the two colored sentries were attacked and continued fighting after receiving wounds and despite the use of grenades by a superior force. They should be given credit for preventing by their bravery the capture of any of our men. Three of our men were wounded, two by grenade. All are recovering, and the wounds in two cases were slight.

Present Colors.

"Maj. Lufbery was killed in flight during which he had been in combat. He was seen to fall from his machine, which fell a short distance from him. He was possibly wounded or dead before he fell. Earlier reports stated that he was, at the time, in long running fight and was flying upHide down at 2,000 feet.

"Last night one of our aviators engaged two German planes and brought down one in the vicinity of Apremont.

"This morning Lieut. Douglas Campbell, flying at 4500 meters, brought down a hostile biplane in the vicinity of Fliry. The hostile plane fell within our lines.

"On May 15 a descendant of one of the French officers who served with the American revolutionary forces presented in the name of the descendants of all such officers a stand of national and regimental colors to two regiments of newly arrived American division.

"The flags bore the inscription, "From the sons of the French champions of American liberty to the American champions for France and humanity."


(United Press Leased Wire.)

WITH THE AMERICAN ARMY IN LORRAINE, May 20.-— Lieut. Douglas Campbell of Mount Hamilton, Cal., brought down his second German airplane this afternoon.

The fight took place at a great height. The German plane crashed into the American lines.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Planet Comics -- September 9, 2018
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.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Union Jack -- September 7, 2018

Sexton Blake, a British detective, first appeared in 1893.  In 1894, he began appearing in the weekly The Union Jack.  By the late 1890s, Blake had become an imitation of Sherlock Holmes.  By 1920, he had become a more distinct character.  Blake appeared in Union Jack, and The Sexton Blake Library until 1963.  He also appeared on the stage, in comic books, radio and television.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Claire Chennault 125 -- September 6, 2018

Life, 10-August-1942
Claire Chennault learned to fly in the US Army during World War One.  After the war, he specialized in pursuit (fighter) tactics.  After becoming a captain, he couldn't advance further because of conflicts with superiors and poor health, so he resigned in 1937.  Chennault went to China, becoming the chief air advisor of Chiang Kai-shek. Chennault returned to Washington, DC to organize the American Volunteer Group.  In 1941, the American pilots, mostly men who had given up their military commissions, started flying Curtiss P-40B Tomahawks against the Japanese invaders.  The Americans became known as the Flying Tigers.

Seven months after Pearl Harbor, the AVG was incorporated in the US Army Air Force.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Home-Coming of the Pacemaker Oregon -- September 5, 2018

San Francisco Call, 17-May-1896

From the 17-May-1896 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. Oregon was a pre-Dreadnought battleship, built at San Francisco's Union Iron Works. When the Spanish-American War was on the brink of erupting, Oregon sailed around the Horn to the east coast in three weeks. This provided ammunition for proponents of a Panama Canal. Oregon served in the fleet that destroyed the Spanish fleet at Santiago de Cuba on 03-July-1898. In 1915 she visited the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Starting in 1925, she was preserved at Portland, Oregon as a museum ship. When World War II broke out, she was converted to a barge.

USS Philadelphia was a protected cruiser. Monadnock was a modern monitor. Comanche (actually Camanche) was a Civil War-era monitor. Zaragoza was a Mexican corvette.  

Coulter did not do the drawing at the bottom.  

How the Big "White Queen" of the Navy Triumphantly Returned With Her Great Record.
Greeted With Honors by the Waiting Fleet — ln the Swell She Made the Ships Bowed Proudly to Her — An International Salute.

With brooms aloft the battle-ship Oregon literally swept into port yesterday morning the queen of her class. Very triumphant was her home-coming, this noble creation of steel and steam. Flags waved around her, whistles screamed at her, and the other vessels bowed to her on the swell she made as she went by.

No such ship was ever riveted together, for among her sisters she is the fleetest. Her average speed of 16.79 knots beats the Massachusetts' 16.15, beats the Indiana's 15.61. When the peerless Oregon was laid on paper she was told to go fifteen knots an hour. Then the Scotts hammered that idea into the ribs, beams, plates and engines. The great trial proves that they builded better than they knew, and the new battle-ship has outraced her theoretical speed.

Yesterday morning the Oregon weighed anchor at Santa Cruz, where she had taken a night's cool-off after she had set the pace for the battle-ships of the world. It was plowing across the ocean and a heavy swell was on, but when the "big one" got herself in motion she simply went through the billows. Nothing in the way of water can stop the Oregon, for what can withstand about 10,000 tons of metal driven by a force estimated at over 10,000 registered horsepower? At 11:30 she was sighted off the Heads and the whole "harbor" went out to meet the great white queen.

She slowed down to a few knots speed, and, with her tug escort, came up the bay. There never was such an imposing water scene. The battle-ship moved slowly among the shipping lying at anchor and the vessels screaming their steam whistle welcomes around her. Bunting waved from every mast on the bay and from every staff on the docks. The ship herself had her ribbons on, and from the great military mast blew outward in a wide sweep the "homeward pennant." This long streamer always flies in the breeze that sends the absent cruiser home.

The battle-ship passed in close to the wharves, giving crowds of people thereon an opportunity to see the new addition to the navy. Captain Minor Goodall on the bridge handled the ponderous mass with extreme caution, well knowing that a slight starboard wheel might run down some anchored vessel or a few spokes to port drive 10,000 tons of steel into the docks and possibly plow up the concrete ferry foundations, which have been built to outlive all time.

As the Oregon went by the Philadelphia the people on the latter vessel read the formers trial speed. and the legend, "Scott has the Cramps," a deplorably bad pun, if nothing else. The men of the Cramps cruiser cheered the que»n battle-ship in the spirit of "brotherly love. "The Monadnock was seen steaming down the bay from Vallejo, but she was too far away to join in the reception tendered her big Pacific Coast sister.

When the battle-ship steamed by the Comanche that decrepit craft seemed to draw up together and sink a little lower. A vessel built thirty years ago is old, very old, and must feel its age and helplessness. What a difference — not only of years — between the two standing side by side for a few instants. The Comanche has 5 inches of armor belt and 10 inches on her turret, while the Oregon has 18 inches armor belt and 17 on the turrets. The Comanche has a 350-horsepower engine and the Oregon 9500. The Comanche could once go six knots, while the new battle-ship adds ten to that record.

The Oregon carries four 13-inch, eight 8-inch, four 6-inch and a secondary battery, and the Comancbe carries two parodies. Should the Oregon's steam launch ever take a notion to ram the Comanche, it will indeed be "ring out the old, ring in the new."

After passing out of the thickest of the moored shipping, the Oregon let out a few links and began to put the bay behind her, just in practical demonstration of what she had done. The waves on the ram went up the incline a little higher, and the wake astern had more foam in it.

The battle-ship was only going twelve knots, but there is so much of her and her motion is so apparent that she seems to be racing away and will soon drop below the horizon.

Off the Union Iron Works the Oregon got her "home" reception, and the volume and spirit of it was truly royal. Every whistle shrieked to split its metal throat and every workman dropped his tools to cheer for the great, beautiful, perfect thing he had helped to create. They wanted all the world to know that they built the "White Queen," the first battle ship of the seas.

Presently the Zaragosa's guns began to roar, and so Mexico saluted first with powder her sister republic's latest fighter.

San Francisco Call, 17-May-1896

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

National Museum of Brazil Fire -- September 4, 2018

A huge fire destroyed much of the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.  The museum had just celebrated its 200th birthday.  The museum had a collections on natural history and anthropology.  The collection of recordings of and information about indigenous languages is said to have been destroyed completely.  90% of the collection, including the oldest human fossil found in the Americas, is gone.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Ardenwood Railfair 2018 -- September 2, 2018

Today we went to the 19th annual Washington Township Railroad Fair at Ardenwood Farm in Fremont. The weather was pleasant, with a breeze that kept it from getting too hot.  Turnout was good this year.  A brakeman said the train had 2000 riders yesterday.  We saw 1890 Porter 0-4-0 Ann Marie push a newly built coach into Ardenwood Yard.  Ann Marie could not pull a passenger train for the public this year because of issues about some state rules.  They hope to resolve the situation for next year.  Ann Marie made some demonstration runs between Ardenwood Station and Deer Park.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hindenberg Off Course -- September 1, 2018

American Aviation, 01-June-1937
This editorial cartoon from the Arizona Republic shows the Hindenberg joining other lost airships.

September, 2018 Version of the Cable Car Home Page -- September 1, 2018

I just put the September, 2018 version of my Cable Car Home Page on the server: 

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month: Crowds wait at the Haight and Stanyan Street entrance to Golden Gate Park. Omnibus Railroad and Cable Company car 6 from the Oak Street line stands at the terminal on Stanyan Street. The photo was taken between 1889 when the line opened and early 1894 when the car was renumbered. (Source: OpenSFHistory / wnp37.03316.jpg).
2. On the Omnibus Railroad and Cable Company page: A ten and twenty year update on San Francisco's Omnibus Railroad and Cable Company, which built the last new cable car system in San Francisco. Includes contemporary newspaper articles.
3. On the Cable Tramways in Australia and New Zealand page: An update about a project to restore a portion of Dunedin, New Zealand's Mornington Tramway to service. Also a News item
4. On the Who page: A new article about the late Joe Lacey, who contributed much to this website.
5. On the Cable Cars in the Pacific Northwest page: A newspaper article about an 1890 fire which harmed the Spokane Cable Railway
6. On the Other California Cities page: An 1891 newspaper article interviewing James Clifton Robinson about the Los Angeles Cable Railway/Pacific Cable Railway
7. On the Cable Car Lines in Colorado page: An update about the current status of the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, a cog railroad

Ten years ago this month (September, 2008):
1. Picture of the Month: A Clay Street Hill Railroad train climbs the hill in this woodcut from "The Cable Railway Company's System of Traction Railways for Cities and Towns"
2. New item: "The Cable Railway Company's System of Traction Railways for Cities and Towns": A promotional booklet published by the cable railway trust
3. On the Omnibus Railroad page: An 1890 advertisement for the company that made the elevator in the Tenth and Howard powerhouse.
4. On the Miscellany page: Cable-Driven Transit in Alaska, photos from a cruise we took in July. A funicular in Ketchikan and an aerial tramway in Juneau
5. Added News and Bibliography items about a California Street collision

Twenty years ago this month (September, 1998):
1. Picture of the Month: Sacramento & Grant.
2. Move Omnibus Railroad to separate page. Add more information about the company. Add inline Union Hall picture.
3. Add 125th anniversary to news & bibliography
4. Add guest book
5. Add Section 16.100 of the San Francisco City Charter and current route map to the SF Miscellany section
6. Created news archive. Moved GSPO powerhouse & Mrs Klussman stories
7. Start moving back to subdirectories

125 years ago this month, on 01-September-1893, the Saint Paul City Railway's Seventh Street line was converted to electric traction

Coming in October, 2018: On the Chicago page: The 125th anniversary of Chicago Day at the World's Columbian Exposition.

Also Coming in October, 2018: on the San Francisco page: A ten and twenty year update on San Francisco's Telegraph Hill Railroad, a funicular which climbed Greenwich Street to the top of Telegraph Hill

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-September-2018)
San Francisco Bay Ferryboats (updated 31-August-2018)
Park Trains and Tourist Trains (updated 31-July-2018)
The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion (updated spasmodically)
The Big V Riot Squad (new blog)