Saturday, June 29, 2019

Red Devils Return to Pacifica #13 -- June 30, 2019

Pacifica is one of the two cities on the San Francisco peninsula that allow the sale of fireworks. The booths arrived last week. This is the stand at the Pedro Point shopping center. I took the photo on 29-June-2019.

Many Pacificans agree that selling fireworks is a bad idea: We have steep, brush-covered hillsides that pose a fire danger. People use the "safe and sane" fireworks to mask the unsafe and insane variety. Not to mention my cat hates the Fourth of July.

Unfortunately, our charities claim that fireworks are the only thing they can sell that will generate enough money. That can't be true. What about drugs? Weapons? They're not thinking outside of the box.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Babe Ruth Isn't Hitting 1918 Gait -- June 25, 2019

Arizona Republican, 03-June-1919
100 years ago this month, in June, 1919 Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox was in a slump.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Great Overland Rail Route -- June 21, 2019

An ad from the second month of transcontinental service.  Central Pacific passengers had to change trains at Promontory Summit.  Union Pacific hauled them from there to Omaha.  A trip from Sacramento to New York, which would require two more changes, took seven days and about 12 hours.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Louisiana Cock Pit -- June 19, 2019

New Orleans Daily Democrat, 22-February-1879
The sport of cockfighting, illegal in most states, was advertised in the newspapers in New Orleans.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Frog Legs Rag -- June 17, 2019
Scott Joplin, James Scott and Joseph Lamb were the three most important composers of classic ragtime.  James Scott went to St Louis to meet his hero, Scott Joplin.  Joplin listened to some of Scott's tunes and arranged for John Stark to publish "Frog Legs Rag."

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day, 2019 -- June 16, 2019

Happy Fathers' Day to all my fellow fathers. I miss my dad. And I miss my father-in-law. I haven't had anyone for whom to buy a card for a long time.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Alcock and Brown Fly Safely to Ireland -- June 15, 2019

New York Sun, 16-June-1919
100 years ago today, on 15-June-1919, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown landed their converted Vickers Vimy bomber in Ireland. This was be the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight.


British Aviators Land at Clifden in
County Galway in Slightly More
Than 16 Hours, a Record Time
for Airplane to Maintain Speed
They Descend With Crash Into Bog Mistaken in the Mist for Smooth Turf
Occupants Unhurt and Machine
Only Slightly Damaged
Alcock Reports by Telegraph to London and
Awaits Arrival of Officials to Verify
Flight He and Brown Suffered
Only From Fatigue

LONDON, June 15. -- Flying- further than man has ever flown in airplane before, fighting their way through blinding mist and fog over the gray Atlantic, with wealth and glory for success and death for failure, Capt. Jack Alcock and Lieut. Arthur W. Brown won their way to Ireland to-day.

Their achievement, the first crossing of the broad Atlantic in a single flight, is a great victory for Vickers biplane and Rolls-Royce engine, for pilot and navigator and for Great Britain and America, but back of it is the greatest victory of all, the victory of the airplane, unheard of a scant seventeen years ago, but now unanswerably proved a revolutionizing force in man's life. If this much can be accomplished in less than a score of years what may not the future bring? the thoughtful here are asking.

From the little town of Clifden, in County Galway, Ireland, there flashed by wire to London a few terse words from the partners in the daring enterprise, giving a scanty announcement of the accomplishment of the great feat. The flight of 1,932 land miles from St. John's to Clifden was made, according to the adventurers' own reckoning, in sixteen hours and twelve minutes. This indicates a speed of approximately 120 miles an hour, two miles in every sixty seconds ticked off by their chronometer, for the whole great distance over the unfriendly ocean lying below them. Meagre as was the information reaching London, there was enough to indicate that the flight was a desperate battle to the finish through day and night by the fliers for life and fame against the unrelenting natural forces against them.


From the gray sea beneath them rose up the most dangerous and most dreaded foe of flying man, fog. Blinding and at the same time destroying all sense of equilibrium and direction, it raised an intangible yet fearful barrier to the speeding plane. It was this same treacherous barrier that brought two of the three American seaplanes which first ventured the transatlantic flight down defeated despite the bravest efforts of their crews.

Capt. Alcock and Lieut. Brown fought against the shrouding mist together, the one to keep the plane upright in the air, the other to prevent her from wandering from her course to disaster. From sea level to two miles above the wave crests the Vickers bomber rose and fell to find a strata not shrouded with the ghastly white vapor their aerial Instincts hated and feared.
How long I hey roared defiantly through the mist is not yet known, but it is probable that it haunted them to the end, when the airplane dashed out of the clutch of the ocean over the green turf of Ireland. Even over the land it is probable that the mist persevered to some degree in its effort to bring disaster to the daring pair, for Capt. Alcock tried in vain to find a suitable landing place for the big bomber. All he sought was a smooth field, but he could find none.

The plane hummed in over the coast line of County Galway and circled about the wireless aerials of the great Clifden wireless station, vainly seeking a long meadow. The sudden appearance of the great airplane, whose size and markings proved it to be none other than the machine which faded from man's view and ken sixteen hours before, thrilled the wireless men on watch as they had never been thrilled before, and they dashed out to greet and aid the fliers.

The poor visibility dulled Capt. Alcock's keen eyesight, and he selected what appeared to be a fairly smooth stretch of turf. As he brought the tail and landing wheels gently downward The machine bounced and crashed down again. The spot, so smooth from above in the poor light, was actually a rough bog, inevitably the plane crashed, breaking the landing gear and damaging the fuselage.

The wireless men who rushed to the damaged machine found both men somewhat dazed and both deafened by the unceasing roar of the engines, which had steadily beat upon their ear drums during the long hours of day and night. The landing was made at 9 :40 A. M. British summer time.

Despite their condition the men were able to climb out of the cramped cockpit, in which they must have endured mental and physical tortures, and walk to the wireless station, where they telegraphed the news to their friends. They had breakfast -- a hearty breakfast and an unexpected breakfast -- for the two had promised themselves and their friends in Newfoundland was "luncheon one day in St. John's, luncheon next day in Ireland."

"This is the best way to cross the Atlantic," Lieut. Brown commented after he had taken the fine edge off his appetite with a real Irish meal.

Report He Flew Upside Down.

At times, despite the great skill of Capt. Alcock, skill that brought him safely through many hours of flying in the flimsy mac-bines of the pre-war era, and through the many dangers of wartime aviation, the plane all but crashed into the sea in spin or nose dive. Each time his mind and body acting together In perfect unison brought the plane back to the horizontnal once more, despite the fact that all around him stretched the white blanket.

It was reported here that Capt. Alcock even flew upside down for a time near the surface of the water, hut this is doubted, because not even his great skill could right tbc great bomber In time to escape a plunge into the water if this were so. The big bombing planes are not built for "stunting," and bis engine must have stopped In such circumstances, their gas supply from the upper wing cut off by the inversion almost immediately. Planes that can fly upside down have pressure gasolene feeds. The gas is in one tank in such a machine, the tank firmly secured in place. On the machine Alcock flew the gas fed by gravity from the upper wing tank, and the heavy tanks probably would have torn loose from the fuselage had the machine been inverted for more than a second.

Radio Sending Apparatus Injured.

Capt. Alcock explained the silence of the radio of the airplane, a silence which had filled their friends and, indeed the people of two waiting continents, with dread by the explanation that shortly after the start the little windmill or propeller which operated the generator of the apparatus had blown completely off in the great blast of the propellers soon after the airplane left Newfoundland. This prevented the using of the sending apparatus, but wireless signals could he heard In the north Atlantic.

"We were much Jammed by strong wireless signals not intended for us," he added.

Capt. Alcock also despatched immediately official notification that he had landed and requested instructions of the Aero Club as to what they should do next. In this message the pilot merely gave the time of the flight, sixteen hours and twelve minutes. Seventy-two hours from the coast line of Newfoundland or other island or part of North America to the coast line of the British Isle was allowed to contestants In the Daily Mail $50,000 prize flight, but the Vickers had needed less than a fourth of that time to win.

Inspector Is on the Way.

"Keep machine Intact until observer arrives," the Aero Club telegraphed in reply to Capt. Alcock. It is necessary for the winning of the contest that an officer of the Royal Air Force must identify certain marks placed on the machine on the other side of the Atlantic. The Air Ministry said that probably one of the officers of the air service would leave Dublin by airplane to speed across Ireland to relieve the weary teammates, but so far no word that this has been done has reached here.

The speed made by the plane indicates that the gale of thirty or forty miles an hour which speeded the fliers eastward on their trip when they left Signal Hill behind them must have continued to help them for some lime on their long flight or else they encountered with the fog and drizzle another favorable wind further out.

The wind at the start of the trip was of great service to the two voyagers, for not only did It help lift the heavily laden plane off the landing field, but it aided In the most difficult part of the flight, the first miles in which the plane, with speeding engines, dragged Its great weight of fuel heavily through the air. Disaster was more to be feared at this stage of the flight, when the engines were not yet warmed to their task, than at any other. As It happened, however, fog and not the burden of the overloaded plane was the principal difficulty of the trip.

Alcock's Hopes Exceeded.

How greatly the flight exceeded the expectations of Capt. Alcock is seen by the fact that he said before the start he hoped to average eighty-five miles an hour, startlng at about seventy or seventy-five and speeding the lightened plane at the end of the trip. Actually he made thirty five miles an hour more than he had hoped, which compensated somewhat for the doubled danger brought by the fog.

The words two miles a minute convey more of the idea of the speed made by the plane throughout the jump across the ocean than does 120 miles an hour, but the great speed is even better emphasized by saying that in each second of that long flight the great plane dashed 176 feet nearer her goal. Neither the fastest express train nor the swiftest automobile could hope to cover more than half the two thousand miles under ordinary conditions on the ground In the same time.

Remarkable as the long flight would be even under perfect weather conditions, it is even more creditable to the dauntless teammates because of the mist which threatened them. Skilled pilots here who have themselves bucked mist and drizzle on the battle front in France are most enthusiastic in their praise of Capt. Alcock, for to them the fog is a real enemy, more hated than by seamen. In that blinding screen Capt. Alcock very easily might have so lost his air developed sense of equilibrium that the biplane would dive straight downward into the sea before either man, lulled by the monotony of the unceasing drone of the motors and the unchanging force of the wind beating upon their helmetted heads, realised anything was wrong.

Brown's Task Made Difficult.

To Lieut. Brown equal if not greater praise is given, for his was the difficult task of heading the swaying, wind tossed airplane direct toward Ireland. He had to face and vanquish the ordinary difficulties of navigation and then the multiplied difficulties of taking sight in the unstable craft, of calculating the varying speeds and of figuring the direction and speed of the wind by observing how far from the true course the plane drifted. This latter he could only determine by the rough method of watching the foam of a whitecap neath the plane to see whether or not it disappeared behind them in a direct line. The mist must have prevented him from seelng the sun or stars for some time at least, so that he was compelled to keep track of the position of the speeding plane by dead reckoning. As the Vickers bomber was changing its position at the rate of two miles a minute this required agile headwork.

What is considered here the most remarkable feature of the whole epoch making flight is the fact that Lieut. Brown's navigation, beset by all these difficulties, was absolutely accurate. The Vickers men were aiming for Clifden from the start. They had selected the town because it was about the centre of the western coast line of Ireland, and they feared to miss the Island entirely. Ireland is a fairly large mark, but it is a difficult one to hit from almost 2,000 miles away.

Never Had Navigated a Vessel.

Many skilled naval and merchant marine officers here, who have had their own difficulties on the stable bridge of big ships in making a landfall where they expected to do so, shook their heads dismally after the start of the flight when they learned that Lieut. Brown never had actually navigated a ship in his life and had merely studied navigation aa a hobby, a study to take his mind off the engineering problems with which he was accustomed to wrestle before the war.

No man, they said, no matter how brilliant, could understand navigation unless he had stood upon the deck of a ship with the responsibility of bringing it and its people safe into harbor. But Lieut. Brown brought his craft safe into port as surely as If he had commanded a liner for years.

Capt. Alcock jokingly had remarked in Newfoundland, It is said, that he and Brown would "hang their hats on the Cllfden aerial. That prophecy might have been fulfilled in all seriousness had the transatlantic voyager wished, so true was their course toward Ireland. And not one of the wireless men, bursting with the enthusiasm they were endeavoring to restrain in accordance with Anglo-Saxon traditions, would have frowned upon the desecration of their great plant by the fear despising visitors.

That nowhere In the great Atlantic did the Vickers plane wander far from the course determined upon by Lieut. Brown is shown by the short time in which the flight was accomplished. From twenty to twenty-two hours was the time set by the fliers themselves before the aerial voyage. They beat their own estimate by four to six hours, so their path must have been straight and sure, indeed.

They Set a Rhomb Line Course.

Alcock and Brown had determined to disregard steamship lanes with the possibilities of rescue if the motors faltered, and steer a straight, or Rhomb line. course for Cllfden. They were staking everything, on the ability of their plane to make the trip, and they did not wish to add unnecessary mileage to the journey even to give themselves what could only be called a sporting chance of rescue if they failed.

Even when, somewhere over the banks of Newfoundland, the tiny wooden propeller operating thegenerator of the wireless was blown away, leaving them cut oft from all communication with the rest of the world, preventing them from calling for rescue to all ships within a radius of 156 miles, and leaving Lieut. Brown unable to check up his reckoning of position with any vessal they passed, even then they persevered In trusting entirely to their motors and plane.

Even the dauntless Hawker kept nearer to the steamship lanes than the Vickers fliers, and to this he and Commander Grieve probably owe their lives. But the Vickers filers aimed straight as an arrow at their mark at Cllfden. The fact that no ship during day or night reported hearing them shows how far from the steamship lanes they had set their course. Apparently the men came to an agreement somewhere on the course -- a silent agreement or an agreement shouted up to ear above the thunderous roar of the motor and the shriek of the wind to do away with every provision for safety on the already super-hazardous journey which might interfere with success. They would win or die. They won.

Carried Black Cat far Lark.

Like many other airmen, seamen and men of every trade whose lives depend in large part upon their own skill and daring, and upon that something variously known as luck, chance or Providence, Capt. Alcock and Lieut. Brown were superstitious, possibly jokingly so, but superstitious nevertheless. They carried with them in the crowded cockpit of their plane two black cats for luck -- real cats of the Halloween type -- to speed their plane. Certainly it the cats had anything to say about it the flier would succeed, for cats love water In bulk aa little as fliers love fog. The black cats apparently earned their passage and, no doubt, a very hearty breakfast of Irish bacon.

In the rejoicing of the crowd who read the extra editions of the London paper there was at first an element of doubt. They remembered the first report of Harry Hawker's fate; that he had fallen but forty miles from the Irish coast.

Friday, June 14, 2019

British Plane Starts Flight to Ireland -- June 14, 2019

New York Sun, 15-June-1919
100 years ago today, on 14-June-1919, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown set out in a converted Vickers Vimy bomber to make a non-stop flight from Newfoundland to Ireland. This would be the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight.


Captain Alcock and Arthur W.
Brown Leave St. John's in Vickers-Vimy Two Motored Machine in Attempt to Cross Ocean
Plane So Heavily Laden With Fuel That It
Barely Escapes Crash Into Forest
Before Reaching Open Sea
Second Attempt By English Aviators Will
Be Followed by Third in Handley Page
Plane With Four Motors

ST. JOHN'S, N. F., June 14.-- At midnight local time, the Admiralty wireless station here had received no report concerning the Vickers-Vimy bomber piloted by Capt. John Alcock and Lieut. Arthur Whitten Brown, which hopped off for Ireland at 1:43 P. M to-day, St. John's time.

ST. JOHN'S, N. F June 14. -- Capt. John Alcock and Lieut. Arthur Whitten Brown flew out to sea to-day in a Vickers-Vimy two motored plane in the second attempt ever made to span the great Atlantic in a single flight.

Undaunted by the fact that to succeed they must fly further than man has ever flown before, and that to fail probably means death, the two men climbed eagerly into the cramped cockpit which is to be their station for almost a day and night.

With smiling faces they waved the good-by the terrific blast of their two engines would not permit to be spoken. Slowly the unwieldy plane, laden far beyond the limits of safety with gasolene, bumped forward over the rough field into the breath of a wresterly wind of thirty miles an hour. Gradually she gathered speed, a hundred yards from the starting point her wind spread wings lifted her into the air and she glided smoothly forward just over the earth.

Then it seemed to the spectators, rigid in their tense watching, that disaster was to befall the venturesome pair before they were actually launched on their daring journey. Less than half a mile ahead of them loomed a forest. The plane was but a few feet off the ground, and to the watchers this distance did not increase, although the plane was dashing at more than a mile a minute toward the threatening barrier of trees.

As it grew smaller the crash into the forest seemed to grow more certain, but somehow the airmanship of Capt. Alcock lifted his weighty craft through the thin air and he barely skimmed over the leafy tops. To some it seemed his undercarriage brushed them. Then it was that the tumultuous applause broke out to speed the voyagers.

Over Forest to Open Ocean.

Slowly, imperceptibly, the great bomber gained altitude as she passed out of sight. For some minutes after her disappearance inland the watchers waited tensely for her return. When she finally came into view to the northwest she had risen well into the air, aided by the friendly west wind that buoyed her heavy weight up. Now she was flying with the wind and adding its speed to her own. When she passed the coast line she had reached an altitude of more than 1,000 feet and was travelling at least 100 miles an hour. With engines roaring rhythmically she dashed seaward and was quickly lost from view.

The machine took off at 1:13 P. M. Greenwich time (12:13 A. M. New York time). If motors, men and plane stand the terrible strain upon them during the flight of nearly 2,000 miles she should reach Ireland by 2 or 3 P. M. Greenwich time (10 or 11 A. M. New York time). In the anxious hours and minutes following the fading of the bomber into the eastern sky word was eagerly awaited from the wireless of the fast flying plane, but none came. Several explanations of this were advanced by those who waited, one that Lieut. Brown was too busily occupied with the task of setting a course for far distant Ireland to waste time sending farewell messages at the very outset. Another was that the radio apparatus, none too reliable even when tested on the ground, had proved defective in the air to-day, as it had collapsed in a previous flight several days ago.

No Word From the Fliers.

No word came out of the Atlantic to ease the anxiety of watchers who remained near the radio station at St. John's most of the night. The great radio cracked out questions all night to ships at sea without result. The steamship Digby, which was almost a hundred miles off the coast at the time the plane took the air, arrived at port here to-night. She reported that although both crew and radio men were on the alert for any sign or signal from the Vickers plane, which should have passed within sight, their watchfulness was futile.

The very ship that brought this news, regarded almost as ominous by many of the anxious people, brought also another man eager to stake his life in an endurance dash across the Atlantic. Lieut. C. H. Diddlecombe arrived to navigate Capt. Raynham's Martinsyde. Another who arrived was Major Fisk, manager of the Boulton and Paul Company, who came to select an aerodrome for three airplanes his company intends to try a "hop" with in the first week of August. Some new radiators for the Handley-Page machine were also on board. The installation of these may delay the giant bomber several days.

Weather Ideal for Flight.

Although the weather here was ideal for the flight, the fliers headed eastward into the fog which shrouds the Newfoundland, banks, a fog which is one of the many dreaded obstacles which will beset the Vickers plane on her day long flight. To Capt. Alcock the fog meant doubled difficulty in keeping the laden plane on an even keel and to Lieut. Brown the shutting off of land from which to reckon and from the sun by which he must steer his course.

The odds, it is generally admitted, except among the youthful optimists who themselves are here to make the great flight, are against the venturing airmen, as they were against Harry Hawker. Nevertheless Capt. Alcock and Lieut. Brown were smilingly confident that they would get across. Confidence indeed is the keynote of the venture, for each of the two flyers, confidence in the heavy plane, the straining motors, in the ability of his teammate to do his share and in himself. Should the navigation of Lieut. Brown fail, the bomber would fly aimlessly In the general direction of East, driven about by winds of unknown strength and direction.

Appeals Sent Through Fog.

As the afternoon proceeded the great wireless at Cape Race and at the other stations along the coast talked with steamships far at sea, warning them to he on the lookout for the Vickers plane. They answered that they were feeling their way along In a dense fog and could see or hear nothing.

It is probable that Capt. Alcock will endeavor to fly above the fog so that Lieut. Brown may get his bearings, but should it be too high it may be difficult to surmount It at the start of the journey. As the journey continues the plane will become lighter and will fly faster. At the start, Capt. Alcock estimated, his speed would not be better than seventy or seventy-five miles an hour plus the easterly speed of the wind. Toward the end of the journey the lightened plane will be pushed ahead at ninety-five or a hundred miles an hour. The average Capt. Alcock hopes to make is eighty-five miles an hour.

Although It It possible that the waiting world will hear no word direct from the speeding plane, radio flashes may come in from ships at sea that the voyagers have been sighted. Every vessel in the North Atlantic equipped with a radio set has been warned by, the British Air Ministry from London to be on the lookout for the voyagers.

At least two ships beside the Digby are known to be In the North Atlantic somewhere near the course of the fliers, and it is probable that there are a number more such as the little Danish tramp steamship which picked up Harry Hawker.

Ships In Path of Flight.

The ships known to be in the general line over which the Vickers bomber will fly are the cable steamship Mackay Bennett, some 250 miles from Newfoundland at work repairing ocean cables, and the steamship Sachem, about 761 miles from shore. If the wireless outfit of the Vickers-Vimy has failed the task of Lieut. Brown of keeping the plane headed direct for Ireland will be much more difficult, for he depended, as did Commander Grieve, Hawker's navigator, on radio flashes from ships encountered to give him his latitude and longitude at intervals to check up his own figures.

The difficulties of navigation in the air are many times those of the ordinary type. For speed Lieut. Brown can only reckon the revolutions of the engine. This of course varies according to the weight carried by the plane. He has no way of accurately determining how far the wind is bearing him away from his course. The use of the sextant is much more difficult upon a bobbing unsteady plane than upon the deck of a ship. Lieut. Brown has obviated this difficulty to some extent hy the use of the Byrd bubble sextant which guided the American seaplanes to the Azores.

If a head wind should be encountered on the journey eastward the plane may exhaust Its gasolene supply before reaching Ireland, although it carries enough for 2,200 miles, which gives the voyagers a margin of 200 miles. If he finds his gasolene supply running but Capt. Alcock is able to husband it by shutting off one of the two motors. This would cut down his speed to little more than sixty or seventy miles an hour, but the gasolene consumption would be cut almost in half.

The ability of the Vickers-Vimy bomber to travel on one engine gives her a big advantage over Harry Hawker's single motored Sopwith, for engine failure with Hawker meant an instant glide into the sea, while for the Vickers plane it merely means reduced speed unless the second engine, under the strain of carrying the entire load, collapses like the first.

The Handley-Page machine, which has four motors, is theoretically the safest of the three planes for the transatlantic flight, although the weight of her four engines and their fuel supply does not permit her to carry more than enough gasolene to complete the flight.

Should Alcock's plan succeed there will be no Daily Mail prize ot $50,000 awaiting Admiral Kerr and his fellow voyagers. Their flight, however, Admiral Kerr has said, is as much for the purpose of making observations of aerial conditions over the North Atlantic as for winning the prize, so they will start the hazardous flight nevertheless.

Should the Vickers plane drop into the sea Captain Alcock and Lieut. Brown have a chance of safety, varying according to the progress they have made in the journey before being forced to descend. Unlike Harry Hawker, who carried a flimsy boat, Capt. Alcock will depend upon the buoyancy of one of his gasolene tanks for safety. Both Alcock and Brown will endeavor to cling to a tank resting on the fuselage of the plane behind the cockpit in which they sit if their plane sinks. The "'gas" In this tank will be used first. How long their plane remains afloat depends upon the amount of gasolene remaining in its many tanks. Both men wear life saving vests, which, will keep them afloat for some time.

To provide space for the huge amount of gasolene carried, 565 gallons, weighing about 5,600 pounds, was a problem which was solved only after much study. The nose of their craft is formed of a gasolene tank and behind the cockpit concealed In the fuselage are six more. The central section of the upper wing also contains gasolene in a wing shaped tank.

The fliers are cramped in their cockpit and will probably endure much suffering during their twenty-four hours of unchanging posture. They are surrounded by instruments and can hardly shift their positions.

The Sporting Side of It.

Should Alcock and Brown win out in the sporting chance they are taking, for it can only be called a sporting chance, England and the United States will unite in rejoicing, for Alcock Is a Britisher and Brown Is an American, although he was born In Scotland and is nominally a citizen of Great Britain. Brown's father and mother are Americans, and he himself, on reaching 21, selected American rather than British citizenship when he had the option of choosing. He is technically British, however, as he became a citizen of Great Britain when he entered the British army to do his bit at the outbreak of the war.

The plane Itself was built in England, as were the Rolls-Royce engines which drive it but the airplane was invented in the United States.

The airplane, engines, and men are together one of the finest combinations that aeronautics has produced. The machine, motors and men have all been tested to the utmost in the hard strain of war time flying, and all proved their merit. Whether the combination is equal to the mighty taek of spanning the great Atlantic in a single day will be decided by sundown to-morrow. Those who gathered to see them set off to-day were undecided whether the strength of men and steel could yet conquer the Atlantic, but all agreed that a gallant battle would be fought.

The start of the transatlantic flight lacked every element of the spectacular that Anglo-Saxon minds could eliminate. The final preparations were carried, out with cheerful simplicity and were absolutely devoid of ceremony or of dramatics. The mechanics, grimy-faced and anxious, whose skill and judgment may mean the success or failure of the flight and the life or death of two men, went over-their big machine inch by inch, their hands and eyes testing and re-testing, until even their critical minds could not conceive of a defect.

The value of the mechanics' careful scrutiny was shown when they detected a defective petrol feed pipe leading to the starboard engine just before the two men climbed aboard the bomber. A slight discoloration of the wing was enough to warn the experts of the tiny leak, which might have opened sufficiently during flying conditions to waste gallons of fuel or stop the motor entirely.

For fifteen minutes the two engines were permitted to run to warm themselves up to the proper temperature for the great strain they were to undergo in lifting the weighty plane oft the ground.

Alcock and Brown sat together on the ground during this tryout exchanging bits of wit and humor with P. M. Muller, the Vickers manager. and other-friends. Their ears were turned to catch the slightest intimation by an off note in the great roar of the engines, but outwardly they seemed without a care in the world. They are both constitutionally men of action and found the waiting during the erection and testing ot the Vickers plane in Newfoundland exceedingly irksome.

Later the motors were stopped for a time and the two men ate a light luncheon. By that time the camera men were busy, and every bite was photographed, much to the amusement of the two.

As the time drew near for the start Capt. Alcock shook hands with Mr. Muller and said cheerfully:

"See you In London."

He added that the people waiting at St. John's would hear from the plane by radio before they went to bed.

Then both men, their lithe bodies looking clumsy in their thick, unwieldy flying clothes, clambered briskly Into their cockpit.

For another fifteen minutes the engines roared whllt the fliers listened and the plane shuddered under the blast of her own propellers, held back by chocks under her wheels. Then, sharply, Alcock raised one hand, the mechanics pulled the chocks from under the wheels and the plane taxied off.

Both Gifted Naturally and by
Experience for Trip.

The Vickers-Vimy transatlantic attempt will be a success if the engines and the structure of the plane prove as reliable during the flight as the men guiding the big bomber have shown themselves in the past. Both men have war records and rendered much valiant service before finally being brought down as prisoners during aerial exploits almost as hazardous as their present attempt to span the ocean.

Capt. John Alcock, leader of the expedition, was one of the comparatively few Britons who could fly before the outbreak of the war. His knowledge of aviation made him exceedingly valuable as an instructor, when Britain, unprepared, set out In 1914 to build up an air service to repel the raids of Zeppelins and big German biplanes. Capt. Alcock, who was born in Manchester in 1892, took out his first flying license in 1912. His principal pre-war exploit was the winning of second place in a great sporting event, the flight from London to Manchester and return, which awoke many Englishmen to the realization that flying was a fact and not a theory.

Lieut. Arthur Whitten Brown, who fulfills the triple duty of navigator, wireless man and relief pilot on the Vickers craft is almost the physical opposite of his companion, although both were quick thinking and quick acting, traits picked up, or at least strengthened, by their experience in the war. Lieut. Brown, who is thirty-two is quiet, thinly built and sharp of features, his companion is dark and his eyes gray. He resembles his chief in that he, too is of a cheerful disposition. Indeed, all the flyers who intend to dare the Atlantic may be described as constitutionally optimistic, for the spanning of the ocean by airplane is at present distinctly a job for an optimist.

Lieut. Brown's interest in aviation, it is said, was first from an engineering standpoint, when he was connected with the British Westinghouse Company, which is now associated with Vickers, Ltd. This Is the great British manufacturing concern, the aviation department of which built the big bomber in which they fly, and which entered the machine in the London Daily Mail contest. When the war began. Lieut Brown joined the university and public school training corps. After some training he became attached to a Manchester regiment and went Into France with this outfit In 1915. Later he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, where he served as an observer.

In November. 1915. Lieut. Brown set out in a squadron on a long distance reconnaissance far behind the German lines. The carburetor of the plane went wrong in the air and the plane was compelled to glide to the ground. Brown was too busy destroying important military papers to brace himself when the plane landed on rough ground, and the crash landing jammed him so tightly into a comer of the cockpit that he had to be cut out. His thigh and one leg were broken and he was badly cut.

After treatment in German hospitals he was transferred to a German prison camp and eventually was sent to Switzerland. In 1917 he reached England. For the remainder of the war he was occupied in technical work for the Air Ministry.

Lieut. Brown, despite his comparative youth, has a reputation aa an engineer In England, he is a member of several engineering organizations and is a keen follower of the latest improvements in both gasolene motors and airplanes.

In addition to his accomplishments in this line he is said to be thoroughly familiar with radio operation, and a good navigator. It was because of his knowledge of navigation that he appreciated the merit of the Byrd bubble sextant, Invented by Lieut-Commander R. E. Byrd, U. 8. N., and used in the navy transatlantic flight. Lieut. Brown got one of these instruments from the American Navy. which is eager to assist the British fliers. He expects it will be of great aid In making accurate observations in the pitching, tossing airplane.

New York Sun, 15-June-1919

Like Hawker's Sopwith Is
Land Machine but Has
Two Engines.
"Will Fly at 90 Miles -- Crew's
Safety Lies Only in

Both the Vickers-Vimy and the Handley-Page machines were constructed in England during the war with a single object in view, to rain bombs upon Berlin with the frequency and terrific definition that the Germans had hoped to reach in their Zeppelin raids on the British capital.

Their outstanding characteristics as bombing planes, great cruising range, heavy weight carrying capacity, reliability and swift speed, made them almost ideal machines for the transatlantic flight, toward which the eyes of British flying men turned when the necessity tor bombing Berlin was past.

The Vickers-Vimy, although over shadowed by the huge Handley-Page in turn dwarfs the little Sopwith in which Harry Hawker set out to blaze the North Atlantic trail. The Vickers-Vimy wing spread Is 67 feet, while that of the Sopwith was 46 feet 6 inches. The plane, like the Australian's, is a land machine. Capt. Alcock and Lieut. Brown are taking the same chance as did Hawker, with the exception that in their case they have two engines to rely upon and will not drop their landing carriage and wheels as he did. On the other hand, they will carry no collapsible boat.

Capt. Alcock and Lieut. Brown sit side by side in the rounded nose of the machine, with an instrument board containing all the oil, gasolene, air and engine speed and altitude gauges in front of them. Their cockpit Is just in front of the wings. On either side of them, mounted between the wings are the two Rolls-Royce engines, with their spinning, invisible, four-bladed propellers in front of them acting as tractors.

Both upper and lower plane are of the same length, unlike the American seaplanes, whose great upper wing is about thirty feet longer than the lower. Both wings are fitted with ailerons, making it possible to bank the plane sharply and rapidly. The gap between them is ten feet. From the nose in which pilot and navigator sit to the rudder behind the length of the plane is 42 feet 8 inches. Its height is 15 feet 3 Inches. The wing area is 1,330 square feet.

Equipped as a bomber, with a crew of three men, a bomb load of 1,148 pounds, 470 gallons of gasolene and other military material such as a machine gun, ammunition, etc., the machine weighed 12,300 pounds and could fly at 100 miles an hour. The weight of the armament and bombs is now used for the great gasolene supply necessary. Both the gunner's cockpit, behind the wings, and the bomb rack have been replaced by great tanks.

The plane now carries 367 gallons of gasolene, which should give it a range of about 2,450 miles, nearly SOO miles more than is necessary for the "hop." This distance can be covered only if the plane travels at its cruising speed; that is, the speed at which its engines burn the least amount of fuel a mile. In the Vimy-Vickers this cruising speed is ninety miles an hour. The maximum speed of the plane is a few miles over 100.

Even with one engine out of commission the Vimy-Vickerrs could "limp" along at seventy miles an hour. Captain Alcock has firmly expressed the opinion that his plane would finish the flight even if one engine failed many miles from land. In any event, he could stay in the air long enough to call by wireless for aid and to hunt for a ship near which to land if motor trouble hit the plane midway in the journey.

Great strain is taken off the pilot in the long journey by the fact that the machine Is exceedingly stable. Its inherent stability is such, it is said, that being fitted with a compensating mechanism, it can be flown upward, downward or on the level without a hand on the "stick." In other words, the plane will fly Itself, although the pilot cannot, of course, relax his mental as well as his physical exertions. As both Alcock and Brown are skilled pilots they can spell each other at the controls, however.

Despite the size of the machine the controls are so arranged and balanced that it takes very little exertion to fly the machine. The amount necessary varies, of course, according to the smoothness or bumpiness of the air.

Behind the cockpit in which Capt. Alcock and Lieut. Brown will fly through the night on their hazardous trip, stretches the fuselage or framework of the machine In which the gasolene tanks are housed. They are below the level of the engines, so that the gasolene is raised to a tank concealed in the upper wing by pumps driven by tiny little windmills which whir violently in the great air blast of the big propellers. From the upper wing the gasolene flows downward by gravity feed to the two engines.

The motors are Rolls-Royce products, as are those of all the other British contestants. They are of 350 horsepower each and are generally believed to be the most reliable British airplane motor at the present time. They spin the great four-bladed propellers at the rate of 1,080 revolutions per minute. The diameter of the four-bladed propellers Is ten feet, two inches. More than twice the amount of gasolene carried by Hawker, who had only 330 gallons, will be fed to these two motors during the journey.

The engines are built with a streamline casing fitted about them so that they offer the least possible resistance to the great rush of the plane through the air. The radiators, just behind the propellers, are octagonal.

The great bomber had its trial flight in Newfoundland June 9. At that time Capt. Alcock said his plane made 112 miles an hour, although this, of course, was not with the full load with which he will head eastward.

The Byrd bubble sextant, an instrument invented by Lieut.-Commander R. K. Byrd. U. S. N., will be used by Lieut. Brown in laying the course of the big bomber. This sextant was used to guide the NC-4 to Europe. In addition to his duties as navigator, Lieut. Brown will act as operator of the wireless set aboard the biplane. This apparatus, which has a range of 250 miles, will be used by Lieut. Brown to talk to ships to get such data as location, wind direction, etc. It may save the lives of the daring pair if it becomes necessary to send out the S. O. S.. which means their brave attempt is ending in failure and disaster.

Crowd to View Big British

Roosevelt Flying Field, adjoining Camp Mills, at Mineola, was selected yesterday as the landing spot for the big British dirigible, R-34, which is scheduled soon to undertake a transatlantic flight from England. Roosevelt field was selected after numerous other landing places along the Atlantic coast had been inspected by the British officers.

Work on the field will begin immediately, so that everything will be in readiness to receive the dirigible, which, it is understood, will start the cross ocean air jaunt just as soon as arrangements for her reception here are completed. All that needs to be done at Roosevelt Field Is to sink a series of anchors to hold the dirigible once she lands. Everything else is waiting for her, since gas and all other supplies are easily obtainable at the big Mineola flying field.

Among the other advantages which prompted the inspecting British officers to settle upon Roosevelt Field was the fact that she can be viewed In the air there by as many thousands of persons as want to get a took at her, and the field Is big enough also to let all the thousands who want to inspect her after she is tied to her anchors. The R-34 is 534 feet long and carries three boats below the gas bag.

Cut by Congress May Force
Schemes Abandonment.
Special Despatch to The Sun.

Washington, June 14. -- Secretary of the Navy Daniels announced to-day that plans for a flight across the Pacific were under consideration. Details have not yet been taken up, but the general idea is to follow up the pioneer work so successfully begun by the NC-4 under Lieutenant-Commander Read.

Mr. Daniels pointed out, however, that the plan could not be carried out if the Naval Affairs Committee insisted on maintaining its stand that the naval aviation appropriation should be cut to $15,000,000.

"Such a meagre appropriation will mean that We cannot fly across the Pacific this year or next year." said Mr. Daniels. "It will mean that we will stand still instead of progressing. Coming after our greatest of achievements in crossing the Atlantic Ocean through the air, that action of the committee in cutting off aviation with barely enough to permit it to stand still, let alone progress, is particularly distressing and discouraging to the aviation men who have plans for even bigger things in their minds."

Great Britain, Mr. Daniels pointed out, was making an appropriation of $300,000,000 for her joint army and navy air service. France and Italy also were taking steps to develop air machines on a large scale.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

It Had to Be on Sunday Morning -- June 13, 2019

Philadelphia Ledger, 09-June-1919
I love Fontaine Fox's The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Comic Book -- Captain Midnight -- June 11, 2019
Captain Jim Albright was a brave aviator who served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War One. He earned the name Captain Midnight when he returned from a critical mission at the stroke of midnight.

I remember reading about Captain Midnight in Jim Harmon's The Great Radio Heroes. The show began as a fifteen-minute daily radio serial in 1938. Soon after, the Captain and his Secret Squadron were fighting Axis villains. In 1942, the Captain appeared in a syndicated comic strip, a Fawcett comic book, and a Columbia movie serial. The radio show ended in 1949. In 1954-1957, he appeared in a television series.

I heard some radio episodes played on Gene Nelson's show on KSFO and elsewhere.

When I read Harmon's description of the many premiums available to radio listeners, badges, medals, games and especially decoders, I wanted to get them, but I couldn't figure out how. I think that chapter prompted my interest in cryptography.

Flag Day is coming.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pulp -- Flying Aces -- June 9, 2019
The cover of this issue of Flying Aces features silhouettes of warplanes and a large American flag.

Flag Day is coming.

Friday, June 7, 2019

It Is to Be Used to Destroy the City of Havana -- June 7, 2019

San Francisco Call, 27-November-1896
There were many sightings of unidentified flying objects in the United States during the late 1890s. I wonder what people saw. The Cuban junta may have been the Cuban Revolutionary Party, founded by José Martí. Martí was killed in battle in 1896. No one seems very concerned about the inventor proposing to destroy Havana. The "Normal student" who was at Mrs Young's house was studying to be a teacher at what is now San Jose State University.  A "boniface" is someone who runs a restaurant or a hotel.

This is our sixth 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"

W. H. H. Hart Tells of the Length of the Airship.
It Is to Be Used to Destroy the City of Havana For the Junta.
No Trouble to Navigate the Sky Now That a Perfect Storage Battery Is Invented.

The subject of the airship and lights seen by the people of half a dozen counties has not lost any of the interest in the public mind. Notwithstanding the fact that the weather was very cold last evening hundreds of people on both sides of the bay spent considerable time out of doors looking for the mysterious lights to reappear and skip across the sky.

Up to a late hour no lights were seen, and the impression was that the inventor and his assistants were taking a night off and enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner and a little rest.

The legal representative, however, says that the men never rest, but are hard at work improving and perfecting defective parts oi the machinery. He promises that ere long the public will have positive proof that the ship exists.

Attorney W. H. H. Hart is as enthusiastic over the airship in which he is interested as though the matter were that of praise instead of ridicule on the part of the unbelieving. He seems to be thoroughly convinced that he has a good thing, and if there are those who regard the whole affair as a hoax or a fake, Mr. Hart says they will have to remain in ignorance so much longer.

That it exists and has made successful flights be has no doubt, although he has not seen it.

Of those who are convinced that there is such a thing as an airship Mr. Hart said: "It will be a matter of only a very short time before they can say, 'I told you so.' Even if I had not personal knowledge, I would be very careful about branding the thing as a fake. The position of The CALL has been fair and impartial. It has simply published the statements of those who saw that which they believed to be an airship, and has made no attempt to convince the general public that these people were either fools or had wheels in their heads."

The attorney, in the course of a long conversation upon this all-important subject, explained a number of features that heretofore have not been made public. In the first place he gave the length of the airship as about 125 feet and of a width in proportion to its length. This corresponds to the statement of W. J. Taylor of East Oakland, who said the airship he saw on Wednesday evening looked like a large whale. Another important disclosure was that the inventor and Mr. Hurt nave already discussed a proposition to construct another airship of not over fifty feet in length, to be used for war purposes principally.

"The one the inventor has now," said Mr. Hart, "is too large and uses up too much power in running against the wind — that is, it presents too much surface to the wind — and the one we are thinking of constructing will carry the same apparatus and power. The amount of power now used to operate the big airship will last twice as long and do much more service if applied to a smaller ship."

"Do you seriously consider the building of another airship?" was asked. "Yes, if there is any inducement. I see in to-day's paper that the Cuban Junta wants to purchase Cuba's liberty from Spain for a hundred million dollars. Now our ship would secure the same results at a much less figure. I talked with the inventor yesterday morning and he said that if the Cubans would give him $10,000,000 be would wipe out the Spanish stronghold of Cuba."

"Would he demand the cash in advance or its equivalent in securities?"

"Oh, no. The new Cuban Government would be good for such a debt. All he would want would be the dynamite. He would furnish the rest and do the job."

The attorney spoke of how the inventor with his airship and deadly explosive would do the job with as little emotion as though it was a nest of rats instead of a city of wealth, power and beauty. Resuming, he said:

"If such an agreement or contract is made the airship can be taken to New York and shipped by steamer to Cuba. My suggestion is that it be landed not far from the scene of operations. I advised that a balloon be used to raise the airship to the desired height, so as to save the power stored in the storage battery. When the ship is raised to the desired height the balloon can be cut loose and the airship go about its business. When it gets through dropping dynamite into Havana it would still have plenty of power left to get back to where it started from."

"And the inventor will do this job for 110,000,000?"

"So he says. He asserts that he is not in need of money and that it will only take about thirty days to build a smaller airship. The material would cost considerable, as aluminum comes high. He could put the smaller ship into perfect working order for about $25,000 or $30,000, and I believe that he will construct such an airship before long."

The attorney was led off to the subject of the power need on the airship and, as before, he said that it is electricity stored in a storage battery. He has an interest, he said — a part interest — in a new storage battery so light that it practically overcomes one of the greatest obstacles of aerial navigation. Mr. Hart continued, saying:

"For a long time scientists puzzled their heads over the question how they could secure a large amount of power without carrying a large amount of weight. This has been accomplished in the Fargo storage battery in which I am interested. I can put in an airship a twenty horse power battery that will not weigh over 100 pounds that will run continuously for ten hours. It does not require any more power to run the airship that my client has operated lately."

"Has he a Fargo storage battery in his ship?"

'Well, I am not at liberty to state at present. The inventor of the Fargo storage battery and the inventor of the airship are personal friends, and as I was interested in the new battery it may account for my being called into the airship scheme. I do know that this battery would give all the power such an airship would require, and it can be easily charged from any common motor."

The destruction of Havana by an airship came once more before the eye of Mr. Hart, and he said that the charging of the storage batteries might be a matter of difficulty in the neighborhood of Havana. The destroyer would not dare to go too near to the Spanish fortifications, as it is not bullet-proof. It might be difficult to secure electricity in the little tropical island. The battery might possibly be charged on the deck of the steamer from a dynamo run by the steamer's engines, but even that would be attended by great risk considering the vigilance of the Spanish cruisers.

"Would not international complications arise out of an aerial warship leaving the United States to destroy a Spanish city in Cuba?"

"Oh, no, not at all. The parties could go outside of the jurisdiction on a chartered or purchased steamer and sign the contract and make all of the arrangements necessary. No, the United States would not become involved in any annoyance with Spain. At any rate, the inventor is ready to take the risk and send an airship to Cuba for war purposes as soon as the Junta is ready to talk business."

While much of this conversation was taking place Mr. Hart was at the Chutes showing his little boy the hot air balloon. After the huge smoke-filled bag had shot into the air with the daring athlete dangling to the end of the parachute crossbar, and the excitement was over, the attorney started for home. Just before entering the house he said: "You can tell the public that in a very short time it wi11 have positive proof that the airship is a reality and not a hoax. I assert this, although 1 have not yet seen my client's airship. I am convinced that it exists, for I know that the main obstacle, sufficient power, has been overcome, and that was all that has stood in the way of aerial navigation tor years past."

Several People Saw Lights Moving In the Air Above the City.

SAN JOSE, CAL, Nov. 26.— The mysterious airship, according to the statements of many persons of good standing, passed over this city again this evening about 7 o'clock. The lights of the machine alone a:e alleged to have been seen, but all of the parties who saw these from different quarters agree as to the character and course pursued by the supposed airship.

Robert Shiels, an employe of the San Jose Art Emporium, was on San Carlo street, near Eighth, in the company of two young ladies, when his attention was called to the moving light by persons residing in the neighborhood. Mr. Shiels claims to have previously been skeptical in regard to the airship, but stated positively that he is now satisfied he saw the lights of the machine.

He said he at first saw one light about the size of an ordinary arc electric lamp. He stood still and watched the light moving westerly. It began to lower and then two lights were visible. When it arose again only one light could be seen.

The machine, he said, eventually took a southerly course, again displaying two lights which were visible for some time and then disappeared in the distance. George Brasted said he saw the light from the Julian-street road about three miles from this city. His description of its size and course agreed with that given by Shiels.

S. S. Farley, proprietor of the Mayverne Creamery, saw one large light moving rapidly westward. A turn south was made when two lights were visible. Mr. Farley's wife, Percy Steeves and a Miss Harris, who are neighbors, were with him at the time the supposed airship (something missing - JT) and substantiate his statement.

Mrs. B. P. Young, who resides at 328 East San Carlos street, stated that her attention was called to the supposed airship by the son of Mrs. Parkinson, who resides opposite, and who was sent to her house to tell her the airship was passing over the city. She went to the door in company with her daughter and a young lady, a Normal student, and they saw the moving light as stated. Each of these persons is satisfied that the lights they saw were attached to an airship.

Several Believe That the Airship Was Over Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES. Cal., Nov. 26. — The now thoroughly famous airship, which has interested so many people in Central California for many days and nights, has apparently passed over the Tehachapi range, and was seen in Southern California last night by at least three persons of excellent reputation for truth and veracity. One of these is George Smith, the book dealer off Second and Main streets, who insists that be saw the aerial navigator and its lights while on a Pasadena car last night. Others of the passengers, Smith believes, also beheld the remarkable sight. Walter F. Parker, secretary of Mayor Rader, insists that he saw the airship while star-gazing last night, and Robert Kern, the well-known boniface, also adds his testimonial to the general credence of the reports made. None of these gentlemen ever gaze on the wine when it's red, hence their story does not need an affidavit.

It is also reported that Frank Smith, a brakeman on the Santa Barbara local train, saw mysterious lights in the San Fernando Valley last evening. The brakeman concluded that the overhead lights were meteors, and therefore did not communicate with any one on the train about the matter, but the proximity of at least three lights at the same time, moving on parallel lines, impressed him with the idea that the sight was a remarkable one. On relating his observations to a fellow railroader here to-day, he was reminded of the airship of the bay region. He afterward secured copies of The Call, read up the whole story for the first time, and is now confident that the aerial navigator is what he saw.

A remarkable feature of all the stories is that the lights were all seen at the same time and each individual describes exactly what the others saw, viz.: triple lights dancing in a zigzag way and moving on parallel lines from northwest to southeast and passing over the mountains toward Riverside.

Saw a Bright Light.

PETALUMA. Cal.. Nov. 26.— Almost the entire population of Petaluma was on the streets last evening about 7:30 o'clock, watching a distant twinkling, brilliant light moving horizontally and southward as well, which, under telescopic scrutiny, further showed what was apparently a dark cigar-shaped body, which evidently carried the light, so, though skeptics are numerous no doubt Petaluma was treated to a far-away view of the much-talked-of airship.

Viewed the Airship.

ALAMEDA, Cal., Nov. 26— During the excitement of the past three evenings over the reported airship the wags have made life miserable for many of the Alamedans. Monday night Max Gundlach and J. A. Riley, two well-known businessmen, were upon the street corner with a section of tin-conductor of a gutter-pipe, looking through it and insisting that they had a telescope and could see the outline of the aerial monster. They refused to allow anyone to look into it until they had been paid. Being so well known no one hesitated to pay the price asked. The people taken in refused to divulge the sell to others and so the joke went on indefinitely.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Dr John, RIP -- June 6, 2019
Today I was sad to learn that Dr John had died.  He was the first non-jazz musician from New Orleans that I was aware of.  I could always recognize his music and his voice.

D-Day 75 -- June 6, 2019

General Dwight D Eisenhower issued this message to his soldiers, sailors and airmen on 06-June-1944, D-Day. Click on the image to see a larger version. Thank Heaven "this great and noble undertaking" was a success.

Since I first posted this item in 2011, many World War II veterans have died.  We lose about 350 each day.  Of 16 million American soldiers, sailors and airmen, there are about 500,000 still alive.  (

The image is from Today's Document ( at the National Archives.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Mission-Street Wharves Are the Busiest Portion of the Water Front -- June 5, 2019

San Francisco Call, 26-November-1895
William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. I like the composition of this drawing. A wharfinger managed a wharf. We saw Coulter's drawing of the SS San Benito on the rocks in January:

All Classes of Vessels Are Represented There at Present.
Return of the Wrecker Whitelaw From the Remains of the San Benito.
The Compasses Were in Perfect Order and the Vessel Was Well Equipped.

The busiest scene at the water front is to be found at Mission-street wharf. All classes of vessels are there. The big ship from Australia is unloading coal, the whaler is being refitted, the scow schooner is unloading and the American ship is taking in a general cargo for New York. Steam schooners can be seen loading and unloading and all in all Mission 1 and 2 presents the busiest scene on the front.

The Norwegian bark Stjorn and the British ship Travancore are both alongside Rosenfeld's bunkers. The whaling bark California is being fitted out for a South Sea island cruise, the McNear is almost loaded with lumber for Australia and the scow schooner Piute is taking in a general cargo. Several steam schooners and small craft are in the intermediate spaces and in consequence Wharfinger Short is more than busy.

The wrecker Whitelaw got in from the remains of the San Benito yesterday. All she brought back was the steamer's chronometer, her compasses, the signal lights, the steering wheel, the signal gun and all the small stuff that could be saved. "In all her life the Whitelaw never bucked into a heavier gale than she encountered when on her way to Point Arena," said Chief Engineer Collins yesterday. "We had a terrible time of it and yet the wrecker logged her eight and seven-eighths knots an hour right along. When we got to Point Arena the wreck was breaking up and all we could do was to save anything that the waves had spared. When the gale came up again we had to put to sea again and came right back to San Francisco. The San Benito, cargo and all, will be a total loss."

"The San Benito's compasses are now aboard the wrecker," said Captain Whitelaw. "There are seven of them and everyone is in as good condition as those of the City of Peking, and the latter vessel got in from China yesterday. The chronometer is also aboard the Whitelaw and it is in perfect order. We only had a cursory view of the wreck, but judging the stuff we saved she was one of the best formed vessels that sailed through the Golden Gate. She was better equipped than any collier I have ever seen and that is saying a good deal. Give the devil his due and say from me that on any other collier in the same circumstances the chances are that the loss of life would have been twenty-six instead of six."

When the second gale came up the Whitelaw had to run for San Francisco. It was lucky she got in as soon as she did, because at 5:30 p. m. it was blowing 66 knots an hour, while at the heads the Hydrographic Office recorded 56 knots an hour. The San Benito was fitted with Sir William Thompson's patent deep-sea sounder, and it was saved from the wreck. With other sounders the ship has to be hove to in order to make a sounding, but with the new invention an observation can be made when the vessel is at full speed. Crossing the bar Captain Whitelaw tested the new contrivance and found that he could gauge the depth of water on the bar while the Whitelaw was going full speed.

The schooner Amethyst got in yesterday, and the captain reports having passed a water-logged and dismasted schooner on the 21st inst. off Cape Blanco. It was blowing hard at the time and a very heavy sea was running, so the crew of the Amethyst could not lower a boat. The schooner Joseph and Henry was very close to the wreck at the time, and the chances are that when she reaches port some more definite information about the derelict may be obtained.

Mrs. Thorold, owner of the tug Ethel and Marion, and the captain of the little vessel had quite an altercation yesterday. The master of the vessel made a remark which the owner resented, and she went for him with her umbrella. The skipper raced up the wharf and Mrs. Thorold after him, and it was only when Officer Henneberry put in an appearance that the chase ceased. A new master will go out on the Ethel and Marion to-day.

The new steamer for the Hawaiian inter-island trade was not built by Matthew Turner but by Hall Bros, of Puget Sound. She is a splendid vessel and one of the best of her class, and has more than fulfilled the expectations of her builders. She was called the James Spiers in order tp fulfill the requirements of the California law, but when she reaches Honolulu her name will be changed to Mauna Loa.

The schooner Challenger, seventeen days from Seattle, put in last Tuesday night leaking and had to be run on the mud flats. She was in collision with a steam schooner outside the heads, but as a heavy sea was running and a gale blowing Captain Sovernd could not make out his antagonist. People on 'Chance think it was the Alice Blanchard bound north that did the damage.

The schooner Charles Hanson was unfortunate during the run from Grays Harbor. On the 19th inst. Mate Gregolison gave an order to jibe the mainsail. He went to the assistance of the men and his foot caught in a loop of the rope. With a jerk the sail tightened the tackle and the leg was broken like a pipe stem. The disabled man was put aboard the lightship Columbine and landed at Hoquiam for medical treatment. The next day Seaman Lane was washed overboard from the Hanson and never seen again.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June, 2019 Version of the Cable Car Home Page -- June 1, 2019

San Diego Historical Society
I just put the June, 2019 version of my Cable Car Home Page on the server: 

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month: San Diego Cable Railway car "Las Peñasquitas" poses in front of the powerhouse. Photograph used with the kind permission of the San Diego Historical Society.
2. On the Other California Cities page: A ten and twenty year update on the ill-fated San Diego Cable Railway

Ten years ago this month (June, 2009):
1. Picture of the Month: An engraving showing a San Diego Cable Railway combination car, Las Penasquitas. From Charles B Fairchild's book Street Railways: Their Construction, Operation and Maintenance/A Practical Handbook for Street Railway Men
2. On the Other California Cities page: More about the San Diego Cable Railway, including new images and Light Cable Road Construction, a paper written by Frank Van Vleck, who designed and built the line
3. On the More Muni Photos page: Thanks to Val Lupiz, photos of new Powell Street car 15 with a fresh coat of yellow paint.
4. June, 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the return of the cable cars after the 1982-1984 reconstruction. Added a new banner pointing to San Francisco: Cable Cars Are Here to Stay by Val Lupiz and Walter Rice
5. On the Cable Car Video page:
-- Powell Street car 3 signed as a training car
-- Powell Street car 5 inbound on Powell from Pine to Bush
-- Powell Street car 25, in its bright red paint, passes the Saint Francis Hotel
-- An F Line view of 1007 in the livery of Philadelphia's Red Arrow Lines
-- An F Line view of 1818, the green Milan car
6. Added News and Bibliography items about the upcoming 47th Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest. Also about the 25th anniversary of the return and an obituary for Levit Chavez, who worked in the Cable Car Division.

Twenty years ago this month (June, 1999):
1. Picture of the Month: Converted San Diego Cable Railway car.
2. Roll out San Diego Cable Railway on the Other California Cities page
3. Add link to new French site about cable cars. The third site on the web.
4. Add Scott Ostler column about turntable problems to the bibliography

Coming in July, 2019: On the Other California Cities page: A ten and twenty year update on Henry Casebolt's experimental overhead cable car line in Piedmont

Also Coming in July, 2019: On the San Francisco page: The 125th anniversary of the closing of San Francisco's Midwinter Fair

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-June-2019)
San Francisco Bay Ferryboats (updated 31-January-2019)
Park Trains and Tourist Trains (updated 30-September-2018)
The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion (updated spasmodically)
The Big V Riot Squad (new blog)