Thursday, March 29, 2007

One of the most beautiful phonographs made by the Edison Company.. The Edison "Fireside" with a special cygnet horn ....Made in 1910

The Fireside phonograph was in production from 1909 till 1915 by the Edison Company. They made many of them. But I have always thought this was the most beautiful combination. A hand painted metal horn made to look like oak, and the Fireside model A of 1910.
It was one of the more inexpensive machines made by the company, but by and far one of the more attractive ones as well.
The Fireside was the last hurrah in the open horn Edison phonograph field. It was still selling well after every other outside horn model was discontinued. It was the last of the outside horn Edison dinosaurs to vanish...Selling amazingly well, into 1915.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Benny Hill...1924-1992 ...What is it with famous comedians ...So many seem to want to rob their graves.

Benny Hill...and his grave with a marble slab over it...His grave was attacked and his coffin smashed to find the valuables that were supposed to be there.
He was an amazing talent, he was also a very strange man. He was very fond of Jack Benny, and used his name as a tribute.
He was also a great fan of Charles Chaplin, and when he was invited to Chaplin's home, Hill was amazed by how much Chaplin had on video of Hill's work.
Michael Jackson was also a big fan of Hill.
It seems his life was not the happiest. Interesting that is often the lot of comedians...
He lived in quiet seclusion.....
Had a massive collection of videos of all kinds and seems to have spent a good deal of his life watching them.....
He lived all alone and was found dead in April of 1992 in his armchair in front of his TV.
His death was due to a heart attack and he had been dead several days.
He was quite over weight and the doctor had asked him to try to loose but he declined..............
He died and was buried in Southampton, England in Holly brook Cemetery...In October of 1992 his grave was pillaged and the coffin lid smashed as vandals tore apart the grave of Hill in search of what they thought were great valuables....
There appears to have been nothing...But his body was placed back and the lid was replaced on his coffin. .................
There was heavy marble slab placed over his grave...and Benny Hill is now like his friend Charlie Chaplin, who suffered a similar, secure, and peacefully dead.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

James G. Blaine 1830-1893...The great book set he wrote in the 1880's..."Twenty Years of Congress".. Was written more than once.

Twenty years of Congress by James G. Blaine. Who was Speaker of the House, Senator, Presidential candidate, Secretary of State, author, and much more. But most of all a perfectionist. This picture and faceplate are from the book seen above. These books were from the Library of Congressman Augustus Cutler ..(1827-1897), who served in the 44th and 45th U.S. Congress ..from 1875 to 1879.

These books have an interesting story to them. Not dealing with who owned them, but the story of how they had been written.
They took several years and are considered great historic masterpieces. But as told by Chancey DePew in 1922 in his wonderful book...My memories of 80 years...when DePew was 93 years of age........For Blaine it was not so easy a book to write.
He told Mr. DePew one day he was in low spirits as he had just destroyed the first volume of his Twenty years of Congress. It was ready to go to the printer. but he had dictated it and felt it lacked much.
He put it this way to DePew..."I dictated the whole of it, but I find that accuracy and elegance can only be had at the end of a pen. I shall rewrite the memoirs in ink. "
So the entire set was rewritten by Blaine...It is a wonderful history by one of the more fascinating characters of the later 19th century.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Nation Mourns...The Funeral March for Abraham Lincoln. ..1865 ... This is something you rarely see today..

Here is a great rarity...The Funeral March for Abraham Lincoln. It was a popular thing to do in the Victorian age to write funeral marches for everything. But in this case it has merit. This is indeed a rare piece and one worth sharing, as few get to see things like this.
This was published in April 1865, and was most probably writen and published within days of Lincoln's assassination. I am sure that many of these sheets were made, but so few are found today.
So today's treat in rare history is this musical piece, that most probably was played at many of the massive events and funerals that honored Lincoln till he was finally laid to rest in early May of 1865.

The RMS. Mauritania 1907-1935...She held the blue ribbon for 22 years...

The RMS. Mauritania shown here in a painting at speed.... .....

She was the queen of the seas for many years. I will put in some pictures and articles about her soon...But she was the sister of the Lusitania. She outlived her sister by 20 years and was a beloved relic by the time of her retirement. In the next week or two I will put in a good story with pictures of this famous vessel.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The little signet ring that saved my grandfathers life on the fields of France...Nov. 9, 1918

My grandfathers name card from World War One. It was given to his mother in 1917 as he prepared to go to War. Company B...4th New Jersey Infantry
William Henry Rothmeier (1899-1968) This is the picture he left with his mother in 1917. He left with a ring given to him by his parents.

The ring with light shining on it...Just as it shone on November 9, 1918

The ring which belonged to my grandfather...The ring that saved his life.

My grandfather William Henry Rothmeier was born in West Hoboken, New Jersey in early 1899. He was a interesting boy. He liked to read, and learn about the goings on around the world. He kept a daily ledger (diary)..From the time of his youth till nearly the end of his life.
When I was a little boy I used to go through his diaries and enjoy reading what he had to say about life and current events. Sadly they no longer exist....My grandmother threw them out.
I remember looking at the day I was born...He wrote as I remember.."Today I am a grandfather, my grandson's name is Jack. Good luck in life to you ."...I sadly only looked at that date .. I was 13 years old at the time. Oh how I wish I had them now.
My grandmother had my grandfathers metals in a box. I used to enjoy looking at them too...Till she threw them out!
My grandmother was losing it I think....When she was somewhat lucid I asked her several questions about my grandfather. One was a signet ring very lovingly wrapped up in a cloth. She told me the story of that ring and it is one I will always remember....I wish to share it with you.........

My grandfather was a soldier in World War One. He joined in 1917 as soon as Woodrow Wilson declared war. My grandfather was soon inducted into the army and then was ready to leave for France. ..Before he left he spend some time with his grand parents..(my great great grandparents)...Jacob and Theresa Schick were an old couple who had married and lived in New York right after the Civil war.
Jacob was a Union Veteran and had been born in 1842.
Theresa was born in 1841.... Jacob at this time was 75 years old. he was not well. He had been a blacksmith from the late 1850's on. Now the sands of time had pretty much run their course. My grandfather had pictures taken with his grandmother and then left this picture that you see here with his family as he sailed on the Mauritania to France.

He had on him as he left his ring...That was given to him by his parents. On the ring it had his initials ....WHR.

He fought in all the major campaigns of the war....He was in the thick of it all. ...He made it through it all amazingly...Finally in November 1918 the news buzzing around was that the war was soon to end....Everyone was happy.

On November 9, 1918 my grandfather was by a batch of bushes in France...when a massive shrapnel shell came crashing down...It ripped the back of his leg off....opening up a major artery. He was in shock and and rolling under the bushes in pain . He was dirty in drab clothes and no one saw him. But while he was going into his death spasms..there was a fellow who saw a flashing glint of reflective light.
This fellow was not liked by any of the other soldiers as he was known to be a crook. He went to the bush where he saw the reflecting light and there he found my grandfather in very bad condition. ....
This fellow (I wish I knew his name) made a bandage from his kit...and used his gun to create a tight wrap and splint around the very strongly bleeding leg. It was spraying blood and this fellow stopped the bleeding to some degree. He told my grandfather that he saw the flash of light from his ring! Amazing!!!
This was a great thing to happen to both men as my grandfather was saved from certain death and this fellow who no one wanted to be around became known as a hero.
Now after the bleeding was controlled the damage was assessed. It was not very good and there was a thought that the leg would have to be amputated. But somehow it was kept. But 50% of the back of his leg was forever gone. He walked with a cane pretty much the rest of his life.

He was put into an army hospital on November 10, 1918 and the next day the war ended. The Army hospital he was in was a massive tent. On November 14 the tent collapsed and the major support pole fell on many missed my grandfather by only a few feet.
Once again he cheated death.... In 1919 my grandfather returned to the United States on the SS La France....He was very much a broken man...but he was alive. He always said that the little ring saved his life.
In 1925 He married, and 10 years later my mother was born....Sadly as my real grandmother died in childbirth...
My grandfather remarried in 1941, and this was the grandmother I knew....I remember as a little boy asking my grandfather so many questions about WWI. He would tell little parts of it....But just before he died...He took that ring and wrapped it up ...and saved it for me.

I started to wear that ring as soon as my fingers were big enough. ...Starting in 1973....It has been with me and on me ever since...... That special ring from 1917...That saved my grandfathers life....and gave me life so to speak.....I really love this ring and its amazing history........ I wish I could have told him. But he died when was 10 years old. But if I could then say thank you I would have said it this way, as I always did as a little boy..."Thank you Pop Pop."

Friday, March 09, 2007

Saint Bernadette...This lovely dead lady is not as she really should be.... This tourist attraction makes a lot of money!

The body of Saint Bernadette in its large glass display case. Below you see the two Bernadette's the original one and the other from the wax museum. Where they made her much prettier than before and gave her a nose job! People fall for this....People love to be fooled.

Two pictures of the same person..Both pictures are of the dead woman. But the first it without the plastic surgery she seems to have received... We talk of how natural she looks.
But this is a wax face. Not her face. Look at her nose in the b/w photo you will notice a bump in the nose. In the new face there is no bump and she has a cuter nose than before. Also she had her eyebrows done. and her lips are bigger than before as well as her whole mouth. Even her chin is more pronounced now. Her hands are wax as well... I think it is nice to have to see...I find it fascinating to look at........But it is not real.
But using the same idea system that because she did not rot she is a saint...Then the same could be said of Lincoln, Washington, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who were all nearly perfectly preserved when exhumed most after 30 years or more. ...
It is stated that there were no preservatives used to preserve her body. that is not true....
The body was packed with charcoal and sawdust and in a double coffin. Well on the way to become a natural mummy.Basically, this is the technology to make pork legs into ham. From the accounts of the time it sounds like Bernadette was placed into an artificial peat bog........
So there were attempts to make the body survive. The official notes of the time state that her eyes were sunken in and her nose had basically shrunk away...So she did not look too good. She was basically made into a mummy. the hands and face you see now are not really hers..........They just made her look cute...
Just a wax idea of what she should look like. So that tells me that this is nice, but not much more than that. ...Incorruptibles should mean just that...Not having to make wax faces for people who do not rot....For if they did not...You would not have to use a mask. History should be honest. In religion even more so........
Well it is a great tourist attraction and makes a lot of money for the church and local region that is there. .....
That's show biz!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Harriet Quimby..(1875-1912) America's first licensed woman pilot..She was a great pilot.. Her greatest moment came at the worst time..April 16, 1912

Harriet Quimby..America's first woman pilot....1875-1912

Flying her plane in 1912

When Amelia Earhart was barely a teenager, Quimby was breaking the sexual role for pilots. Sadly her greatest moment came at the very worst time.

Going through the wreckage of her plane in July 1912...............
She was the first in so many things...She led by example. She was the first woman to pass a flight test and get a flying licence on August 1, 1911...
She was the darling of the air. She was the first woman to cross the English Channel in 1912...April 16th to be exact. It was amazing news!!!!...It was a great story...It had all the earmarks of a world wide hero...Only one problem........
The Titanic sank the night before.....
Her flight became back page news...No one cared...
She was flying at the Boston Air Show on July 1, 1912, when her passenger fell out of the plane she was flying ...Having lost the balance she lost control of her plane and was thrown out of her plane and fell to her death... She flew for only 11 months exactly...But she was the one who paved the way for the others who would follow in the following generation.
In a way she was as much a victim of the Titanic as well...The ship robbed her of her fame and glory....But here I thought I would introduce to you one of the most forgotten aviation pioneers....Harriet Quimby.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One of Thomas Nast's nastiest cartoons....... Making such fun of Horace Greeley at a terrible time in his life.

This very rare cartoon by Nast from November of 1872 shows a strickened Greeley being carried to the end of the race....Greeley's wife had died and he himself was loosing his mind at the time this came out.
This is a close up of the header of the cartoon. Making fun not only of Greeley, but also of the great paper he had developed.

Horace Greeley ran for President under the Democratic ticket in 1872. He ran on honor, trust, and respect. He was running against one of the most corrupt administrations in the history of the United States. That was the Grant Administration.....
Greeley was for trying to stop the awful occupation of the south. He was for intellectual healing of the country. He was running in a race where many in his own party did not like him.
Thomas Nast was a most famous illustrator.....He is quite famous for drawing the donkey and elephant for the democratic and republican parties. He is even more famous for drawing what still is the model for Santa Claus. He had a great talent, but was horrendously partisan. It was a horrid election...It was a terrible time for Greeley.
Here is some info from wikipedia.................................................
As a candidate, Greeley argued that Reconstruction was a success, the war was over, the Confederacy destroyed, and slavery was dead. It was time to pull federal troops out of the South and let the people there run their own affairs. A weak campaigner, he was mercilessly ridiculed as a fool, an extremist, a turncoat, and a crazy man who could not be trusted by the Republicans. The most vicious attacks came in cartoons by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly. Greeley ultimately ran far behind the Democratic ticket and he won only 43% of the vote.
This crushing defeat was not Greeley's only misfortune in 1872. Greeley was among several high-profile investors who were defrauded by Philip Arnold in a famous diamond and gemstone hoax. Meanwhile, as Greeley had been pursuing his political career, Whitelaw Reid, owner of the New York Herald, had gained control of the Tribune.
Not long after the election Greeley's wife died. He descended into madness and died before the electoral votes could be cast. In his final illness, spotting Reid, he cried out "You son of a bitch, you stole my newspaper," and died at 6:50 p.m. on Friday, November 29, 1872, in Pleasantville, New York at Dr. George C. S. Choate’s private hospital. Even though Greeley received no electoral votes, three of Georgia's electoral votes were left blank in honor of him.
This cartoon from November 1872 was done after Greeley's wife had died, and he himself started to loose him mind. The picture of a strickened Greeley was just too much. Thomas Nast had gone too far!
Greeley died 3 weeks after the election. He was a great man, sadly he took on politics and politics ate him up alive.
I find this to be one of the most tasteless, cruel, and heartless of any political cartoon ever made before or since.