Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Balloons Go Up in Smoke -- August 31, 2021

Abilene Weekly Reflector, 01-September-1921

100 years ago today, on 31-August-1921, a hangar fire at the Naval Air Station Rockaway destroyed US Navy blimps D-6 and H-1, and observation balloon Z-6. D-6 was not a rigid airship.

Largest of Nation's Airships Destroyed

(Associated Press)
New York, Aug. 31. --
The dirigible balloon D-6 and its hangar were destroyed by fire at Rockaway Point naval air station today. An explosion of gasoline tanks within the hangar caused the fire. No casualties.

New York, Aug. 31. -- The dirigible balloon D-6, a rigid airship and the largest naval aircraft of its type, the Blimp H-l and the Kite balloon X-6 were destroyed by a fire which also razed the hangars today at Rockaway Point naval air station.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Afghan War Over -- August 30, 2021

In the Afghan War, American troops were on the ground longer than they were in the Revolutionary War or Vietnam. President Joe Biden, who had promised to bring all the American soldiers home by September 11, has pulled out the last of our soldiers. 

We managed to evacuate almost all Americans and many of the people who helped us. 

The US-backed government disintegrated almost instantly. 

I don't remember where I found the photo of Yoko Ono and John Lennon.

People who remained silent when our former so-called president cut and ran from Syria, leaving our allies to the mercy of the government, are attacking President Biden, even though he implemented the deal that our former so-called president had made with the Taliban. 

13 service people died in a suicide bombing, and some people went crazy. President Biden showed his respect when they returned to the US.  

COVID-19, Vaccine, Masks, Church, Baseball and School -- August 30, 2021


The Delta Variant of the Corona Virus is much more infectious than the earlier variants. Even people who have been vaccinated are catching it, but usually do not get as sick. Hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing in states run by vaccine deniers, including Texas and Florida.

The City and County of San Francisco has imposed a requirement for people attending indoor events to have proof of vaccination and to wear a mask. 


The Giants are still in first place, with the best record in baseball. Signing Kris Bryant as a free agent has worked out well.  

Good Shepherd Church in Pacifica will resume Saturday afternoon masses in September. Good Shepherd School resumed classes. All teachers and children and visitors are required to wear masks on campus. All kids were required to attend in person, or join a home schooling program paid for by the Archdiocese. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The New Light-6 Coupe-Roadster -- August 29, 2021

Arizona Republican, 14-August-1921

Studebaker offered the the Special Six, the Big Six and the Light Six to its customers in 1921. Brother John M Studebaker had travelled to California during the Gold Rush and made good money building wheelbarrows. One is on display at the El Dorado County Historical Museum in Placerville.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Bierstadt -- The Sierra Nevada -- August 27, 2021

Smithsonian American Art Museum

I have always enjoyed the paintings of Albert Bierstadt. He painted "The Sierra Nevada" in 1873. It is preserved at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Charlie Watts and Don Everly, RIP -- August 24, 2021


Charlie Watts has died. He always had a distinctive look and a distinctive sound on the drums. Now there are only two surviving original members of the Rolling Stones. Charlie also played jazz. There is a great story about Charlie and a glass door. 

Don Everly has died. I remember the Everly Brothers from the earliest times that I listened to the radio, even though by that time they had stopped having hits in the US. 

Seventeen Officers and Men of the United States Navy Meet Death in Collapse of Giant Dirigible -- August 24, 2021

Pensacola Journal, 25-August-1921

The US Navy arranged to buy British Zeppelin R-38 while it was under construction. The US renamed it ZR-2. While undergoing a test on 24-August-1921, the Zeppelin broke in two, and the forward portion burned and exploded. The whole wreck crashed into the Humber River. 44 members of the 49-man crew died. 17 American sailors were aboard and all but one died. After accepting the ship, the Americans were going to fly ZR-2 across the Atlantic. Lieutenant-Commander Richard Byrd, who was not aboard, later became a famous polar explorer. 


Only Five Men of the Forty-Nine Who Were Making
the Trial Trip of the ZR-2 Known
to Have Been Saved.


Vessel Flying About 1,000 Feet Over Hull Was
Seen to Buckle Amidships and Plunge
Downward Over the City.

(By The Associated Press) 
HULL, England, Aug. 24. -- Seventeen officers and men of the United States navy and twenty-seven officers and men of the British navy met death today in the collapse of the great dirigible ZR-2 over the city of Hull.

Every one of the Americans on board the ill-fated craft perished as far as could be ascertained at midnight tonight.

Only five men of the forty-nine who were making the trip in the dirigible prior to me vessel being turned over to the United States are known to have been saved.

The American officers who started the trip included:
Commander Louis II. Maxfield, 
Lieutenant-Commander Emory W. Coil, 
Lieutenant Henry W. Hoyt. 
Lieutenant Marcus H. Esterly, 
Lieutenant Commander Valentine N. Baig, 
and Lieutenant Charles G. Little.

The American enlisted men who went up with the craft from Howden were:
C. I. Aller, 
Robert Coons, 
L. E. Crowel, 
J. T. Hancock, 
William Julius, 
M. Lay, 
A. L. Loftin, 
A. I. Pettit, 
W. J. Steele, 
N. O. Walker 
and George Welsh.

The British losses include the famous air veteran, Brigadier-General E. M. Maitland, and all the other officers on board, except Lieutenant Wann, the commander of the ZR-2.

Starting from Howden Tuesday morning on a test flight to Pulham, the big aircraft had been afloat for 34 hours, at times in bad weather, and was returning to the Pulham airdrome at the time of the disaster, which constitutes the most terrible of its kind in peace times.

The ZR-2, which was a sister-ship of the famous R-34, the first dirigible to cross the Atlantic, was on her final test trip prior to being accepted by the United States navy and taken across the Atlantic by an American crew especially trained for that purpose. She was 690 feet long and was built to carry a crew of thirty. Her speed was estimated at 70 miles an hour.

The American navy was to pay $2,000,000 for the craft.

While flying at about 1,000 feet over Hull spectators saw the ZR-2 seemingly buckle amidships and plunge downward over the city and into the Humber river. One theory of the cause of the disaster is that while the ship's rudders were being tested the giant craft took a sharp turn, which caused her framework to buckle and that the explosion of a gasoline tank completed the tragedy of the air.

The actual cause, however, never may be known. A rumor had been afloat for some days that the ZR-2 was structurally weak, but this was stoutly denied by all in authority. Tens of thousands of spectators saw several men climb outside the balloon and drop from the falling mass, which was enveloped in smoke, and others jump into the Humber as the crippled craft came over the water. As the dirigible struck, the wreckage above water was burning and there was slight hope for any of the men caught inside to escape.

Tugs immediately put out into the stream and brought ashore the survivors who were taken in ambulances to hospitals. Among these was the American quartermaster, N O. Walker, who died soon after reaching the hospital from burns he had received. Lieutenant Little was also rescued from the debris alive, but succumbed to his injuries on reaching the infirmary.

A rescue tug pulled another American out of the water. He was dead. Inside his coat was the name "Commander Maxfield." Early reports were to the effect that Lieutenant Easterly had been saved. Unhappily this report proved to be without foundation.

One member of the rescuing party said that when they got alongside the burning airship the pilot of the tug asked for volunteers to board one part that still was almost intact. Jumping upon the wreckage, the rescuers ripped open part of the fabric while parts of the debris were pulled away by means of ropes. The task was a hazardous one, because of the baloonettes was still filled with gas and another explosion was feared.

Among the wreckage an American naval man was to be seen hanging by his coat to a girder in the frame of the airship. It was believed he was dead, owing to the peculiar position of the body which was not recovered. Another rescuer said one was hanging onto the tall of the ship apparently uninjured, while another was found floating in the water. Both of them were saved.

While the rescuers were at work the balloon began to turn over and the rescue party had to return to the tug.

When first seen from Hull the ZR-2 was approaching the city, coming from a southeasterly direction over the Humber toward Hull. When sailing on an even keel above the city, according to some eye witnesses, a huge cloud of dense smoke burst from the tail of the aircraft. It was thought the ZR-2 was sending out a smoke screen as an exhibition, but to the horror of thousands of spectators, it was seen she had broken in two and was taking a tremendous nose dive, which apparently would bring her down in the thronged streets.

Then there came a loud explosion and a great crash, followed by another explosion, which was accompanied by the breaking of glass in the windows on land, the whole being reminiscent of war times, when German airships bombed Hull and explosions shook the whole town. Today's concussion was so great that it wrecked windows over an area of about a mile square.

Some spectators assert that the airship began to buckle before any flame or explosion was seen or heard. The broken halves of the ZR-2 reached the water nearly a mile apart. The general opinion of the public of Hull is that the commander of the airship accomplished a remarkable feat of bravery in diverting the descent so that it would fall into the water instead of in the crowded streets.

It was a moment of terror for the populace when the disaster occurred. People in the streets rushed madly to cover, fearing that the massive wreck would fall upon and crush them. The terror gave way, however to horror as the wreck plunged into the middle of the river near the corporation pier.

During the fall of the airship three members of the crew were observed making a thrilling parachute descent. They came down into the river where they were rescued by small boats. All who jumped from the falling craft lost their lives. They had no chance for escape, for the water was covered with burning gasoline and the heat from the burning wreckage was so intense that even the rescuers experienced the greatest difficulty in approaching for some time. Barges, trawlers and small boats thronged around the debris willing to render any possible assistance.

Immediately after the disaster telephone messages came from distances up to fifty miles reporting that the people had felt an earthquake shock.

Among those on board the airship were the designer of the ZR-2, Superintendent Warren, of the works where she was built, and Flight Officers Wicks and Matheson.

ZR-2 closely resembled her sister ship, the R-34 which sailed across the Atlantic in July, 1919, although she was 41 feet longer and 7 feet greater in diameter than the R-34. Her gasoline capacity also was greater than that of her sister ship and she had a cruising radius of 6,000 miles in contrast with 4,900 miles credited to the R-34.

It had been estimated that the ZR-3 would be able to cross the 3,200 miles to the American continent in from 3 to 4 days whereas the R-34 had occupied nearly five days in her voyage.

Brigadier-General Maitland, who met death in the disaster today was one of the officers who made the trans-Atlantic voyage in the R-34. He has been in charge of the trials of the ZR-2. It was recalled today how the American members of the crew of the ZR-2 recently had chafed over the decision of General Maitland not to permit the giant craft to leave Howden until sailing conditions were perfect. Maitland was criticized more or less for what was considered over-cautiousness.

Like the ZR-2 the R-34 ended her career in disaster. She was cut in two by a violent wind and left a wreck outside her airdrome near Edinburgh in January, 1921.

This vessel had a thrilling experience on her trans-Atlantic flight, and the collapse of the ZR-2 would seem to have afforded General Maitland some justification for his hesitancy in sending the Americans across seas with the ZR-2 in the face of meteorological odds.

In the construction of the ZR-2 it was thought that many of the serious defects of the smaller ship had been remedied. The vessel underwent daily polishing or cleansing and engineers tested and repaired the six engines, the riggers inspected the controls, gas bags, valves, the outer cover and thin surface. Constant hull inspection on all dirigibles is necessary because of the breakage of small braces and wires. The outer cover fabric sometimes gets torn or blown loose at the joints and repairs were made immediately to prevent the holes from becoming larger. Gas bags were unspected by going over them with a leak finder, which registered any trace of escaping hydrogen. The fabric in the ZR-2's bags was very thin and light and when it chafed through it resulted In a loss of gas, lowered purity and life reduction.

In flight the ZR-2 was operated as far as possible along the lines of a sea-going veasesl. The ship altitude comparatively was 2,000 feet. The crew of the ZR-2 selected to bring her across the Atlantic to the United States, included 14 officers, 10 riggers, 16 mechanics and two radio men. Only a few of these were aboard, however, when the giant air craft plunged Into the waters of the Humber today.


MAXFIELD, Louis Henry, Commander,
U. S. N., Navy Cross, born in St. Paul. Minn.. Nov. 19, 1883.

Commander Maxfield, who was to have commanded the ZR-2 on its trip across the Atlantic, is a native of Saint Paul, Minn. Appointed to the Naval academy from Minnesota in 1903, he graduated with the class of 1907. He was one of the pioneers in U. S. naval aviation, having received his designation as air pilot, heavier-than-air branch, after training at Pensacola during the pre-war period. In 1917 Commander Maxfield went to Akron, Ohio, where he was stationed in lighter-than-air and qualified as a pilot. For several months during the spring and summer, of 1917, he was in command of the U. S. naval air station at Palmboeuf. His next assignment was in the department, Washington, where he was lighter-than-air aid in the office of operations. He was subsequently sent to England, where he has been commanding officer of the airship detachment at Howden.

COIL, Emory Wilbur, Lieutenant-Commander,
U. S. N., born at Westboro, Mass., Sept. 28, 1888.

Lieutenant-Commander Coil was appointed from that state to the Naval academy and graduated with the class of 1911. He entered the aviation service in December, 1910, and trained at Pensacola in heavier-than-air, transferring to the lighter-than-air section in March, 1917. He was a student at Akron in 1917, and there qualified as a lighter-than-air pilot. His next assignment was the command of the Rockaway naval air station. When Commander Maxfield went to Europe in 1917, Lieutenant-Commander Coil took his place as aid for lighter-than-air in operations, navy department. He was subsequently sent to England to serve as a member of the allied aeronautical commission of control. During the past year he has acted as executive officer of the airship detachment at Howden.

HOYT, Henry Willets, Lieutenant,
U. S. N., Navy Cross, born at Clearwater, Fla., May 26. 1890.

Lieutenant Hoyt was appointed to the Naval academy, from Florida and graduated from the academy with the class of 1914. During the pre-war period, Lieutenant Hoyt specialized in kite balloon duty at sea. He also was a student at Akron in 1917, and after qualifying as a lighter-than-air pilot at that place, served for a short time at the Hampton Roads naval air station, and then returned to Akron to assume command of the station there for a short time. He was subsequently in charge of the lighter-than-air with the Pacific air force, until he was sent to Howden as a member of the airship detachment at that place.

ESTERLY, Marcus Herbert, Lieutenant,
U. S. N. R. F., born June 30, 1891, in Columbiana, Ohio.

Lieutenant Esterly enrolled in the Naval reserve force October 11, 1917, was promoted to ensign January 24, 1918, to lieutenant (j.g.) March 13, 1919, and lieutenant January 20, 1920. He was ordered to active duty as an officer February 1, 1918, and has been on active duty continuously since that date.

BIEG, Valentine Nicholas, Lieutenant Commander,
U. S. N., born at Alexandria, Va., Oct. 24, 1889.

Lieutenant-Commander Beig was appointed to the Naval academy from Virginia, and graduated from the academy with the class of 1910. During the war Lieutenant-Commander Beig served onboard the U. S. S. Trippe (March 26-May 10, 1917; at Philadelphia in connection with the fitting out of the U. S. S. Dent, and on board this destroyer as executive officer, when she was put into commission.

LITTLE, Charles Gray, Lieutenant,
U. S. N. R. F., born July 9, 1895, in Newburyport, Mass.

Lieutenant Little enrolled in the naval reserve force May 9, 1917, was promoted to ensign November 6, 1917, to lieutenant (j.g.) June 28, 1918, and lieutenant, January 6, 1917, and served on active duty until the expiration of his enrollment and re-enrolled May 9, 1921.



EMORY W. COIL, U. S. N., Westboro,
U. S. N Clearwater, Fla.
Alexandria, Va.
U. S. N. R. F., Newburyport,


Denver, Colo.
AD PETTITT, C. B. M, New York
Commerce, Texas.

South Carolina.
London, England.
Bainbridge, Ind.


Prepared to Seek Authority for
Construction of New Ship
of the ZR-2 Type.

(By The Associated Press.)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24. --
Expressions of deep regret were voiced by government officials without exception today over the total destruction of the giant airship ZR-2 with a heavy loss of American and British lives. Pride in the acquisition of the new Queen of the Air and hopes of tremendous development in military and commercial aeronautics had lent interest to the proposed trans-Atlantic flight of the British-built air cruiser even beyond that which It normally would have aroused.

Latest advices to the navy department indicated that of the seventeen members of the hand-picked American crew on board during the test, only one, Quartermaster Norman O. Walker of Commerce, Texas., had survived.

London dispatches however, put the American loss at 17, declaring "every American aboard" was lost.

"It is a terrible thing," was the sad comment of Secretary Denby, as he received cabled dispatches giving the details of the catastrophe.

Mr. Denby immediately forwarded to the British air ministry a message expressing the sympathy of the navy department.

"The navy department of the United States extends to the air ministry and the British navy deepest sympathy in the appalling disaster to the ZR-2," the message said. "We hope our early reports will prove exaggerated as to loss of life."

Far from being discouraged by the disaster, naval aviation officials immediately prepared to seek authority for construction of a new ship of the ZR-2 type in the United States.

"We will carry on; build and operate as many ZR-2's as may be authorized by congress," Admiral William A. Moffett, chief of the naval bureau of aeronautics said tonight, "so that these brave, men may not have lost their lives in vain."

Other aviation officers while greatly distressed, declared they had lost faith in rigid airships. They pointed out that Germany had built and successfully operated 140 ships of similar design, many of only slightly less carrying capacity, while English constructors had turned out 16.

The only serious accidents recorded against these, so far as naval files indicate was the wreck of an early German Zeppelin over Lake Constance before the war and the smashing of the British R-34 when she ran afoul of her hangar.

Official dispatches to the department did not contain any information upon which experts could base an opinion as to the cause of the disaster. The opinion was expressed, however that the theory of an explosion of hydrogen gas in one or more of the fourteen compartments might be dismissed at once. Construction of these sections and other precautionary measures taken in designing the actual containers of the gas, it was said, rendered this possibility very remote.

The theory most generally expressed was that a structural weakness developed, similar to that reported officially by American observers under date of July 18, rupturing the envelope so as to bring the hot gasses of the engine exhaust into contact with the hydrogen, or that a buckling of structural braces might have punctured the fuel containers permitting the escaping gasoline to come into contact with the exhaust lines.

Another possible cause of the accident, but considered remote, involved a buckling of structural braces over or near one of the six "power eggs" which carried the 350 horse-power engines.

The report of July 18 describing the accident of the day before pointed out that the ship was able to stay aloft more than four hours while the crew made an examination.

"From a cause as yet undetermined," the report said, "two intermediate transverse frames at an intermediate longitudinal frame buckled just aft of frame seven."

Repairs were immediately made and structural parts similar to those which had failed were strengthened, a subsequent report said, suggesting that the damage had been caused by overloading one section during the progress of construction. It is presumed here that a thorough survey of the entire ship was made at the time of those repairs to determine whether other sections had been strained.

"Lacking an official report as to the sailing list," recording those who were on board today, the department was unable to publish a casualty list.

Although the ZR-2 had not been accepted formally, under contract with the British air ministry, several payments had been made by the United States toward the cost of construction. It was estimated at the navy department that these payments total $1,500,000, or three-fourths of the total cost.

"Under law and by naval custom no material or vessel ever is considered to be within the jurisdiction of the department until it has finally passed by inspectors or completed prescribed tests and formally turned over. Under this rule, title to the ZR-2 would be considered to have been wholly with the British owners today," naval officers declared.

At the close of purchase contract provided that in the event of loss of the ship during her flight to the United States, each party to the contract would assume half of the cost of construction.

Byrd Among Survivors.

LYNCHBURG, Va., Aug. 24 -- Lieutenant-Commander R. E. Byrd, Jr.. navigation expert of the dirigible ZR-2 is among the survivors, according to a Washington dispatch to The News, quoting a cablegram received at Washington. Commander Byrd Is a son of R. B. Byrd, former United States attorney for the western district of Virginia and a nephew of Representative H. D. Flood, of Virginia.

Halliburton Safe.

MACON, Ga., Aug. 24 -- Shine S. Halliburton, chief engineer, on the ZR-2, is safe, according to a cablegram received tonight by his brother, T. H. Halliburton. The message was dated Hull, England, and signed "Shine."

Lay Native of Alabama.

GREENSBORO, N. C, Aug. 24 -- Chief Petty Officer Maurice Lay, who lost his life in the destruction of the ZR-2 today, was a native of Alabama, but regarded Greensboro as his home. He was married to Miss Mabel Ridge in this city In 1918. His widow survives.


The telephones in The Journal office were kept busy last night answering inquiries from anxious friends of officers and men who were thought to be on the ill-fated dirigible ZR-2.

Lieutenant Ralph G. Pennoyer, who was slated to be one of the officers to make the trip across the Atlantic, was not on the craft yesterday on the trial trip.

Lieutenant Pennoyer was well known in Pensacola, having married while stationed here, Miss May Curtis, who made this city her home for some time. Mrs. Pennoyer was known as a wonderful dancer, and taught dancing at the San Carlos.

Other officers who were slated to make the trip from England with the ZR-2. but who were not with the craft yesterday, many of whom are known in Pensacola, having at some time or other been stationed at the naval air station, are:

Lieutenant-Commander Richard E. Byrd. Jr., Lieutenant Joseph B. Anderson, Lieutenant Clifford A. Tinker, Lieutenant Telford B. Null, Lieutenant John B. Lawrence, and Chief Machinist Shine S. Halliburton.


Many Reasons Given as to What
Might Have Been Cause
of the Explosion.

(By The Associated Press.)
LONDON, Aug. 24 --
Newton White, aviation attaché of the American embassy and Lieutenant-Commander Richard E. Byrd, of the American air service, who was to assist in the navigation of the ZR-2 to the United States went to Hull tonight to take charge of the bodies of the American naval officers and men killed in the disaster.

American naval officers here expressed the opinion that the wreck of the ZR-2 was due to hydrogen escaping from one of the ship's gas bags being ignited by the exhaust from one of her six motors. What they say they are unable to understand, however, is how it was possible that a gas leak sufficient to make an explosion possible could have occurred without it having been discovered through the pressure gauge fitted to each gas bag.

One of the points in the construction of the airship which her builders repeatedly pointed out to visitors at Bedford where the ZR-2 was built was the way in which her six motor gondolas were slung several feet from the outer shell of the craft. This, the builders declared, would greatly safeguard the ship from the danger of leaking gas coming in contact with the backfire flame from a motor.

One conjecture as to what may have caused the disaster is based on the assumption that the ZR-2 might have sprung a girder while riding out the severe storm over England early Thursday night.

Largest Dirigible Ever Built
Had Estimated Speed of
70 Miles an Hour.

When the ZR-2 started on her trial flight from Howden Tuesday she had on board Commander Louis H. Maxfield, of the United States navy, who had been designated by the American navy department to bring the ZR-2 from England to the United States; Brigadier General S. M. Maitland, the British marshal; Colonel Campbell, who supervised the work of designing the dirigible, five other American officers, seven engineers and three riggers, in addition to the regular British crew.

The ZR-2 was the largest dirigible ever built, the dimensions being as follows:
Length 695 feet, diameter 85 feet, capacity 2,700,000 cubic feet, total lifting capacity 83 tons.

The aircraft was operated by six engines. She was estimated to have a cruising radius of 70 miles per hour, giving a capacity to make an aggregate of 6,000 miles of uninterrupted flight. She had a capacity for officers and crew of forty-two men. The gasoline supply was 10,900 gallons. It was estimated that she would cross the Atlantic in 72 hours.

The huge aircraft had four gondolas suspended from the framework. These provided sleeping quarters for the officers and crew and an electrical apparatus for cooking meals. Her wireless set was expected to keep the monster craft in close touch with both shores of the Atlantic and to have a radius exceeding 2,500 miles.

Seen in flight the ZR-2 closely resembled her sister ship the R-34 with a bewildering confusion of aluminum girders, rows of gasoline and water tanks, acres of gas bags and a miscellany of guy wires, pipes, swivels and hinges. A telephonic system connected the entire airship so that the pilot at the wheel was in direct communication with every part of the craft. Electric lights kept the craft brilliantly Illuminated.

A London dispatch of Sunday last quoted the Observer as asserting that during the first trials of the ZR-2 a tendency of the giant dirigible to "hump" developed and that an inspection revealed the fact that certain girders had bent and that lattice work had buckled under the strain. Remedial measures were taken, the newspaper said, including considerable reinforcement of the frame work along much of the airplane's length. In addition to the structural trouble the Observer asserted the ZR-2 had been handicapped by engine difficulty.

The purchase price of the ZR-2 was to be $2,000,000. This, it is assumed, was to become effective after the aircraft had completed her trials and was delivered to and accepted by the American authorities. The British air service had been careful however, to avoid a premature delivery as they had wished to be assured that everything connected with the structural arrangement of the dirigible was in satisfactory condition. It was for this reason chiefly that the flight which terminated so disastrously yesterday begun. The monetary loss, under the circumstances apparently falls on the contractors and those instrumental in building the ship.

Pensacola Journal, 29-August-1921

Pensacola Journal, 29-August-1921

Bisbee Daily Review, 25-August-1921

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Sea to Great Lakes Flyer -- August 23, 2021

San Francisco Call, 04-May-1921

The Overland Limited was the premiere transcontinental train of the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. "The Sea to Great Lakes Flyer."

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Declare War on Ku Klux Klan in KY. -- August 21, 2021

Chicago Whip, 27-August-1921

Even when the second Ku Klux Klan reached the height of their powers in the 1920s, some people stood up to them. Louisville Kentucky Mayor George Weissinger Smith said he would use "every lawful means to prevent and suppress its growth in our community." Trenton, New Jersey Commissioner of Public Safety George P LaBarre said he "would 'send to jail and shoot down in cold blood, if necessary,' members of such an organization found taking the law into their own hands."


LOUISVILLE. Ky., Aug. 27. -- Terming the Ku Klux Klan an organization "all thoughtful men must be convinced must he a menace to the peace and good understanding between the people of Louisville." Mayor Smith today issued a statement asserting that he would use "every lawful means to prevent and suppress its growth in our community." The mayor's statement came on the heels of announcement in local newspapers advertising for recruits for the order.

TRENTON. N. .J., Aug 27. -- A letter. written on Ku Klux Klan stationary, soliciting citizens to join the order, was turned over to Commissioner of Public Safety LaBarre by a local newspaper. Commissioner LaBarre announced that he could do nothing in the absence of an overt act, but would "send to jail and shoot down in cold blood, if necessary," members of such an organization found taking the law into their own hands.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Orville Wright 150 -- August 19, 2021


Orville Wright, who with his brother Wilbur, built the first airplane capable of fully controlled flight, was born 150 years ago today, 19-August-1871. The two brothers grew up in Ohio and showed a great talent for mechanics, building a printing press and building and selling bicycles. They became interested in flying machines and approached their work using scientific methods. They built a wind tunnel and tested airfoil sections and realized that a propeller was a rotating wing. They built gliders to test their mechanism for three-axis control. On 17-December-1903, they flew the heavier than air Wright Flyer under control, taking off and landing without external assistance.

The brothers worked to improve their flying machines and build a business. Wilbur toured Europe and made many demonstration flights. Wilbur died of typhoid on 30-May-1912.

Orville sold the Wright Company in 1915. His last flight was on an early Lockheed Constellation in 1944. Orville died on 30-January-1948.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

How Many More Lives, American Lives, Is It Worth -- August 17, 2021

The Afghan military has disintegrated, the Afghan government has fled and the Taliban have occupied Kabul. The Republicans blame everything on Joe Biden. They ignore recent history. President Joe Biden gave a strong speech on the subject. A few excerpts:

I stand squarely behind my decision.

American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong. Incredibly well equipped. A force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies. We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force, something the Taliban doesn’t have. Taliban does not have an air force. We provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.

There are some very brave and capable Afghan special forces units and soldiers. But if Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance to the Taliban now, there is no chance that one year — one more year, five more years or 20 more years — that U.S. military boots on the ground would have made any difference.

Here’s what I believe to my core: It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not. The political leaders of Afghanistan were unable to come together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country when the chips were down. They would never have done so while U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan bearing the brunt of the fighting for them. And our true strategic competitors, China and Russia, would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention into stabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely.

So I’m left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay: How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not? How many more lives, American lives, is it worth, how many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? I’m clear on my answer: I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past. The mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States, of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country, of attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U.S. forces. Those are the mistakes we cannot continue to repeat because we have significant vital interest in the world that we cannot afford to ignore.

I’m now the fourth American president to preside over war in Afghanistan. Two Democrats and two Republicans. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth president. I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference. Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here. I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.

Some Jazz Band -- August 17, 2021

Chicago Whip, 13-August-1921

Chicago's Entertainer Cafe featured "Some Jazz Band." I wonder which one.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Like Oranges? Drink Orange Crush -- August 15, 2021

Americus Times-Recorder, 04-August-1921

Orange Crush was created in 1911. I like the design of this ad. Now and then I enjoy a Diet Orange Crush.

Americus Times-Recorder, 01-August-1921

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Larry Graham 75 -- August 14, 2021

Larry Graham, an amazing bassist in many musical genres, was born 75 years ago today, on 14-August-2021. I have been listening to his music for most of my life, starting with Sly and the Family Stone, then with Graham Central Station and then with Betty Davis.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Coca-Cola -- Served Properly! -- August 13, 2021

Washington Evening Star, 10-August-1921

This ad prescribes the proper method for making a glass of Coca-Cola. "Guard against the natural mistakes of too much syrup and too large a glass."

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

FDR Polio, 100 Years -- August 11, 2021

100 years ago today, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio. He made a heroic fight and was able to return to politics and save the United States from the Great Depression and lead us through World War Two. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Carl Payne, RIP -- August 10, 2021

Carl Payne, 10-time winner of the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest, transit operator, police officer, San Francisco ambassador and great all-around guy, has died. Above we see him giving an exhibition performance at the 2016 contest. He was born in Pittsburgh, but settled in San Francisco after he served in the Marine Corps. 

He went to work for Muni and stayed for 29 years. He spent 28 years working in the Cable Car Division. The only person who has come close to his record of ten Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest championships is Byron Cobb, who has won eight times. Payne travelled the world, appeared with symphony orchestras, and shared his joy for life with everyone. 

While working on the cable cars, Payne became an expert at spotting pickpockets. When he left Muni, he applied to join the San Francisco Police Department. He passed the test, but was told that he was over the maximum age. He sued the department and eventually won. He spent 25 years with the police. After retiring from the SFPD, he became a Golden Gate Park ranger. He had to give that up when he started to have health issues. 

The image above shows him giving an exhibition at the 2013 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest. Four former champs gave an exhibition at the 2017 contest: Al Quintana (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994), Ken Lunardi (1997, 2002, 2006), Frank Ware (1999, 2004) and Carl Payne (1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989).

Monday, August 9, 2021

Fell With a Flying Machine -- August 9, 2021


San Francisco Call, 13-August-1896

Otto Lilienthal was a German engineer and a veteran of the Franco-Prussian who was devoted to studying and eventually to copying the flight of birds. He built gliders and made a successful series of flights that were all well documented. 125 years ago today, on 09-August-1896, he lost control and dived into the ground, where he fractured his spine. He died the next day. 

His writings and photographs influenced many students of flight, including the Wright Brothers. 

Fatal Accident to an Almost Successful

BERLIN, Germany, Aug. 12.— Herr Lilienthal, an engineer, who for many years has experimented in the building of flying machines, met with an accident yesterday that resulted in his death. He started with one of his machines, to fly from a hill to Rhinow, near Berlin. The apparatus worked all right for a few minutes, and Lilienthal flew quite a distance, when suddenly the machinery of the apparatus got out of order and man and machine fell to the ground. Lilienthal was so badly injured that he died in the hospital to which he was removed.


Sunday, August 8, 2021

Happy International Cat Day -- August 8, 2021

Tigerlily wishes everyone a happy International Cat Day.

I took the photo on 12-May-2021.

We watched the closing ceremony of the 2020, sort of, Summer Olympics. Paris next. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Comic Book -- Mad Magazine -- August 7, 2021


The late, lamented Mad Magazine roasted the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. We have enjoyed watching the 2020 Summer Olympics being held in 2021 in Tokyo.


Friday, August 6, 2021

JR Richard, RIP -- August 6, 2021


While the Giants were making a huge comeback against the Astros last night -- down 4-0 going into the ninth, tied it in the ninth and won it in the tenth -- Mike Krukow announced that JR Richards had died. I remember when he pitched for the Astros. He was almost impossible to hit. Then he had a stroke when he was 30. I remember reading in the Sporting Green that he had been complaining about his neck hurting and his arm feeling heavy. Some people accused him of being a malingerer. He tried to come back, but didn't make. He lost his money and was homeless for a while. He became a minister. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

First Baseball Broadcast 100 -- August 5, 2021


Catholic Weekly, 22-September-1961

100 years ago today, on 05-August-1921, pioneering Pittsburgh radio station KDKA made what they feel is the first radio broadcast of a baseball game. Someone took notes during the game and dropped them over the wall to a kid who ran back to the station. An announcer read the notes. The Pirates beat the Phillies 8-5.

Arizona Republican, 06-August-1921

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Pulp -- All America Sports Magazine -- August 4, 2021


The 2020 Summer Olympics, currently being held in Tokyo in 2021, have been interesting. I couldn't find any pulp magazine covers which directly referred to the Olympics, but I like this cover from All America Sports Magazine.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Toonerville Trolley -- One of the Worst Accidents That Ever Occurred on the Line -- August 3, 2021

Perth Amboy Evening News, 01-August-1921

I love Fontaine Fox's The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains. The bottle of good stuff contained bootleg whiskey, which was illegal under Prohibition.

Moving Picture World, 23-July-1921

There was a popular series of live-action Toonerville Folks two reel movies. Dan Mason played The Skipper. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Enrico Caruso Dies and World Grieves for Loss of Tenor -- August 2, 2021

Washington Evening Star, 02-August-1921

Neapolitan tenor Enrico Caruso died 100 years ago today, on 02-August-1921. My Italian grandfather was a great fan. Caruso is often mentioned in San Francisco because of his quick exit after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

Noted Singer Suddenly
Passes Away at Home
in Naples.

Greatest of Operatic Stars and Idol
of Multitudes Had Triumphant

By the Associated Press.
NAPLES, August 2. -- Enrico Caruso, world famous tenor, died here today. The condition of the singer, which had been considered satisfactory until recently, became grave yesterday, peritonitis developing, and another operation being considered necessary. From the beginning of his relapse, however, there was serious concern over the outcome, and last night his life was despaired of. During the night the condition of the patient grew steadily worse, and the career of the great artist came to an end with his death at an early hour this morning.

In June, 1920, his country home was robbed of thousands of dollars in jewels, and in the same week a bomb was set in the National Theater at Havana just before his entrance in the second half of "Aida."

Scene of His Greatest Triumphs
Shocked by News.

NEW YORK. August 2 -- The death of Enrico Caruso beneath the skies of his own Italy today caused sorrow on every highway and byway of New York.

Here he was loved by all -- the poor of East Side tenements, the wealthy of 5th Avenue's stately mansions, the countless numbers who filled the seats of the Metropolitan Opera House between the sparkling pit and the somber galleries whenever the incomparable tenor sang a role.

Street sweepers stopped their work to mumble a prayer for the departed tenor; the cultured lamented the loss to art of one of its most cherished possessions. They felt the loss was not only America's, but the world's. For Caruso's superb tones have enraptured audiences the world around.

Voice Missed During Illness.

The homage paid him was never better realized than when his voice was silenced during his long illness last winter.

When he lay stricken, gallantly fighting against a death that seemed only hours away, ever expressing the hope that he might be spared until he could return to the soil that gave him birth, the meek and the mighty of every land prayed that the great tenor would be spared to them and to art a little while longer.

Princes sent messages of sympathy and hope to his bedside from every country that knew a cable station or a wireless plant. In New York, push-cart peddlers, as well as business barons and leaders of society, eagerly bought newspapers hour by hour to learn how Caruso's courageous fight was progressing.

To the hotel suite where he was suffering from one operation after another there went exquisite bouquets from florists' shops and also simple garlands that expressed the love and admiration of the poor.

Cheerfulness Admired.

On the stage Caruso always was cheerful. His gayety in responding to curtain calls, his gracious bows and unexpected tricks, his inexhaustible energy, aroused an admiration that knew no boundaries, creeds or birth.

His joy was in singing.

"I promise you that when I go to heaven I shall sing forever," he told an audience at the Friars' Club five years ago.

Sometimes, the possession of a voice that thousands considered the most perfect ever given to a man, palled upon the great tenor, and he would express regret that he could not be just an ordinary somebody.

"The burdens of my gift are greater than the rewards," he would say.

Personal friends knew Caruso to be as cheerful in private life as on the stage. Trouble seemed ever to follow him, yet he kept cheerful and undismayed.

Last December a disheartening series of mishaps preceded the illness which led to his death. On the 8th he sprained his side when making an energetic exit after the aria "Vesti la Giubba." in "Pagliacci."

Three days later he burst a blood vessel in his throat during a performance of "L'Elisir d'Amore," in Brooklyn, but he bravely carried on.

Two days before Christmas he lay in bed, his chest under treatment for "Intercostal neuralgia," but the Christmas eve audience for "La Juiva" was not denied the joy of hearing him. for he left his sickroom and sang the role of Eleazar.

Heavens Mourn Loss.

Christmas he spent in bed, and the next day came word that pleurisy had attacked him.

Week after week he battled for life, undergoing several operations. When he was sufficiently strong he went to Atlantic City for a few weeks, and then, when the warm sun of early summer came to Italy, he left New York, emaciated but smiling, confident that he would return in the fall to the thousands of music lovers who awaited him.

To the superstitious it seemed as if the very heavens today mourned the tenor's loss, for scarcely had there appeared on the streets the first extras telling of his death than it became dark as night. Great clouds, heavy with rain, draped the skies and soon New York was working by artificial light.

The last word received here from Naples was that Enrico Caruso was improving nicely, and that his voice would not be permanently impaired by his illness. When the tenor sailed from New York for Italy on May 28 he appeared still to be very ill and weak, although his physicians insisted that he was on the road to rapid recovery and would soon regain his health abroad. Caruso's illness first began during last Christmas week, when he suffered an attack of pleurisy and was confined to his suite in the Hotel Vanderbilt. His condition growing worse, the singer a few days later underwent an operation to relieve him of an accumulation of pus in the pleural cavity, exudate having collected between the pleura and the lungs themselves. It was deemed advisable to operate again for a secondary abscess.

In Critical Condition.

After these operations Caruso continued in a serious condition for more than a week and was hovering between life and death.

Early in February there was another sudden turn for the worse and he suffered an attack of heart failure. His friends were called to his bedside and two priests visited him and one administered extreme unction, the belief being the singer was near death.

A group of specialists were constantly at the bedside of Caruso fighting to save his life. They were aided in their work by the use of oxygen, which was administered to the patient in an effort to carry him through the crisis.

During the latter part of February the condition of the famous singer improved slowly, but steadily, although it was necessary for him to undergo a third operation for another small abscess. A few weeks later he was removed to Atlantic City, where he rested up preparatory to his return to Italy.

Word of the first Illness of Caruso at the time he was stricken with pleurisy came as a shock to his many friends in this country and abroad, as he had been singing with the Metropolitan Opera Company during the present season, here and in Philadelphia, and was enjoying one of the best seasons of his life.

World-Wide Interest.

Messages from all parts of the world inquiring as to his illness were received at the Caruso apartment. They came from London, Paris, Mexico City, Rome, Milan, Buenos Aires, Havana and many other countries. They were sent not only by persons known in the world of music, but from many admirers who had sat in his audiences at some time in the twenty-five years of his career as an opera star.

Up to the time of his sailing for Italy reports were current that Caruso's voice had not withstood the ravages of his many weeks of illness. These were stoutly denied by his friends and to prove their untruth the tenor, just before sailing away on board the steamship President Wilson, burst into one of his golden notes -- a particularly high one -- and held it without apparent difficulty. Thousands of friends who were gathered at the pier cheered him in his gallant effort, but he gallantly declined to give an encore "until next season."

Caruso, looking pale and much thinner, doffed his hat in acknowledgment of the greetings of the crowd. Police reserves and dock guards had great difficulty in holding in check a great crowd of admirers as they greeted Caruso when he went aboard the steamship, where his most intimate friends bid him and Mrs. Caruso farewell.

Confident of Recovery.

When Caruso left for Italy he appeared confident that he would return to America next fall and again take his place with the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Shortly, however, after the tenor had arrived in Italy reports began to drift back to this country that he would not sing again before the American public in his old voice. Caruso, however, immediately cabled a denial of those reports, declaring that "when I want to show I have not lost my voice I will do so at the proper time and place."

Early this month word came from Italy that Caruso was not recovering as rapidly as had been expected and seemed depressed, but friends declared his voice was returning and that he sang a short time each day.

Reports reaching Rome at this time stated that Caruso would be able to sing in New York by next winter, though friends reluctantly admitted "It will never be quite the same again." Caruso was also reported to be living a secluded life in a hotel near Naples, never mixing with the other hotel guests and taking his meals in his private suite.

News Comes as Shock.

News of Caruso's death on the heels of continued reassuring reports from Italy came as a stunning shock to the music-loving world. Only last Sunday photographs of the singer in Italy were published here and they showed him cheerful and apparently in robust health.

His friends here recalled today that when he was seriously ill last winter he often expressed the wish that if he had to die he would prefer to die in his own sunny Italy, for which he always held a deep affection.

The breakdown in the tenor's health last winter followed a series of mishaps to Caruso, which culminated on December 11 in Brooklyn, when he burst a blood vessel while singing "Elisir d'Amore" at the Academy of Music.

His performance on that occasion was gallant; he struggled through the whole first act, although time an again blood choked his voice, and every now and then he was forced to change a reddened handkerchief for another deftly slipped to him by some member of the chorus.

Those in the front rows soon became aware of the singer's danger, and applauded the daring flights, in which, time after time, golden voice rose superior to the obstacle that threatened to muffle it. It was not until the combined demands of his wife, almost frantic in the wings and the pleas of his physician had been joined that Caruso finally consented to abandon the stage.

A few days before the mishap in Brooklyn Caruso slightly strained a muscle, when he stumbled and plunged into part of the stage settings at the Metropolitan Opera House during a performance of "I Pagliacci." There was a long delay between the first and second scenes, during which Caruso rested and regained composure.

After his accident in Brooklyn every effort was made to minimize that mishap and to assure the public that Caruso would soon sing again, He did sing again, his last public appearance being at the Metropolitan on Christmas eve last, in the role of Eleazar, in "La Juive." He was welcomed back with an ovation, such as only an enthusiastic Metropolitan audience could muster.

Opera-goers that night felt reassured that all was well with the glorious voice of their favorite, but on the day after Christmas came the announcement that Caruso had been stricken with pleurisy.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Krazy Kat -- The Beauties and Delights of Blue Sundays -- August 1, 2021


Washington Times, 19-August-1921

I love George Herriman's Krazy Kat. An advance man gives Krazy Kat and Ignatz tickets to a lecture on "the beauties and delights of blue Sundays." Blue laws forbade many types of business and recreation on Sundays. Krazy and Ignatz decide instead to go see Harold Lloyd in "Now or Never," and the advance man is sitting behind them. I love George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Washington Evening Star, 18-June-1921

Washington Times, 03-June-1918

August, 2021 Version of the Cable Car Home Page -- August 1, 2021

The Cable Car Home Page will be 25 years old in November.

I just put the August, 2021 version of my Cable Car Home Page on the server:

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month: "CARS ... OF THE DOUGLAS CABLE TRAMWAY", from "The Douglas Cable Tramway", an October 30, 1896 Engineering article.
2. On the Cable Trams in the UK page: Updated article on the Isle of Man's Upper Douglas Cable Tramway, including a second 1896 Engineering article, "The Douglas Cable Tramway"
3. Added News items about the return of the cable cars and more about the pandemic resurging

Ten years ago this month (August, 2011):
1. The picture of the month: A photo that I took during a visit to Angels Flight
2. On the Los Angeles Area funiculars page: A new article about a July, 2011 visit to Angels Flight.
3. Added News and Bibliography items about the return of Angels Flight and a wonderful graphic from citypass.com.

Twenty years ago this quarter (Spring, 2001):
1. Picture of the Quarter: Will Clark riding on cable car
2. Add more items to the Kitsch page, including stamps and magazine advertisements.
3. Add Selected articles from Manufacturer and Builder Magazine (1880-1884) to the Miscellany page.
4. Update How Do Cable Cars Work? page. Changed images to thumbnails. Added girder rail image from Randy Hees and other new images.
5. Bob Murphy provided a photograph of the Gertrude Street Cable Winding House, which I added to the Melbourne article. Peter Vawser provided additional information about Melbourne cable tramways.
6. Add links to Kavanaugh Transit site, North American Vintage Trolley Systems and many others.
7. Add News and Bibliography items about a truck knocking down Seattle's Iron Pergola.
8. Add News and Bibliography items about Angel's Flight runaway accident. Also updated the Los Angeles Area Funiculars page.
9. Move Kalakala article to my ferry web site.
10. Change toy cable car picture on the main page to car 51.
11. Move "The Los Angeles Cable Railway" article from Scientific American (courtesy of Tom Ehrenreich) to another server.

Coming in September, 2021: On the Los Angeles Area funiculars page: An update about Angels Flight.

150 years ago this month (1871):
August 08 - In San Francisco, the Eighth Industrial Fair of the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute opened. Andrew S Hallidie exhibited a working model of his overhead cable system for hauling ore.

125 years ago this month (1896):
August 15 - The Isle of Man's Upper Douglas Cable Tramway started service.
August 23 - The Pittsburgh Traction Company's Fifth Avenue line stopped service

25 years ago this month (1996):
August 18 - A car ran away from the barn and rammed another. A tourist lost a leg

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-August-2021)
San Francisco Bay Ferryboats (updated 31-January-2020)
Park Trains and Tourist Trains (updated 31-July-2021)
The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion (updated spasmodically)
The Big V Riot Squad (new blog)