Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Famous American's 1928 poster.

This poster was in my grandfather's scrap-book that he kept from 1927 to 1931 It lists everyone who was important in America at the time. I see no women, person's of any other nationality, color, or even any great writers, thinkers of that time. Just Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt.  There are only four contemporary figures on the poster. Lindbergh, Ruth, Dempsey, and Rosendahl.   

 I would think that most of the people on this poster would be known save for Rosendahl. This man was the commander of the Airship's in America, such as the USS. Los Angeles. However, the only airship shown here is the Graf Zeppelin which had made its debut in Germany in this year and would start international flights from Europe to the United States in 1928.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let the lunacy begin. December 21, 2012

Here we go again with more stupidity.  This is as bad as last year when that clown Harold Camping convinced equally clueless people that Jesus was coming for them and the world was going to end.

Those people  gave away all their money, possessions, jobs in some cases, school, and went willy - nilly  in towns with signs and loudspeakers. I know I had to fight through these people to get to my bus every day.

Speaking of buses, one of those people even spent all of their savings to buy signs on buses and subways in New York City.  Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars telling New York the world would end on the date the Grand Moron Camping had decreed.

Well one person who did NOT give up their money was Camping. He had even done this craziness before and people still listened to him.  This smooth operator just made more money.  Well that bit of lunacy is over.

   Now we have this one.

December 21 2012.  This has been assisted by that movie (2012) and real lack of intellect.

 Well now we have nut jobs who are preparing for the end, I am not sure how many are giving away money yet. But I will be happy to look after it for you  :)

Has anyone in this whole batch of alarmists thought about "Leap Year"? I have not heard a thing about that. If it has not been factored into this event, it would have taken place years ago. Even if it was factored in you really have to wonder why such a silly story affects so many people?

In this modern age we think we are more intelligent. We think we know more. But the more I look I see a population of people who do not have to think.  They just go to a computer and it does the thinking for them. The end result is we become fatter and more lazy.

 Also sadly clueless.

So let the madness begin.......

 I am sure the press will be filled with stories of nuts who lose it on that day and of the watchers who will be waiting patiently for the end to come.

They should all go over to Harold Camping's  house and join that nut awaiting another end of the world event.

It will be fun to watch  ...  Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 16, 2012

To the dear children of Sandy Hook

What can one say when innocence is hurt and destroyed by anger, hate and evil.

I only wish and I am sure I am not alone in saying this. That us older people, who have lived our lives, could have died rather than those lovely children.

It sickens me to think of such a thing happening. But it has happened before in the world and will sadly happen again. But why?

 Children hold no malice. They have a purity that as adults we can hardly fathom. They see the world with an innocence that is like the gentle fabric of a flower. So easily damaged and so easily hurt.

My heart goes out to the parents, the brothers and sisters, grandparents and to the teachers and their families.

Words have such weak powers,  when one is suffering from such an affliction.

Nothing more to say......

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vote for Abraham Lincoln!!!...Some Republican doings on Oct 3, 1860 from the original newspaper

Here is some wonderful history in the raw. The original newspaper accounts of Seward and Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois. This newspaper is full of information of about Republican Clubs, Lincoln, Steven Douglas, William Seward, and many others. It is one of those rare sources of primary information.  Enjoy!

Self proclaimed to be one of the most interesting and novel inventions at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. And they were.

This device would take a photograph, develop it, and produce a picture in a minute. All for a nickel. It was a big hit at the fair. I am sure they continued to be so at places like Coney Island and other places of amusement in the early part of the 20th century. This Ad came from Billboard magazine dated April 16, 1904. So their self proclaimed success was a fact in 1904.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Leeds Records and the many labels that came the Talk-O-Phone Company 1904 - 1909

The Leeds Record made by the Talk - O - Phone Company. Also known as Leeds and Catlin. They are known to many in the recording collecting, research world. It is an uncommon label. It is one of the most  beautiful labels to grace a piece of hard rubber and shellac.

They were around in the first decade of the 20th century and produced some interesting, although not the most well recorded pieces. They did not really have a vast powerhouse of patent support for what they did. They infringed on the many Victor and Columbia patents that existed and to these companies they were more an annoyance than a heavy competitor. But they did sell records. There was many a court battle with both companies and finally by 1909 the company had assumed room temp.

What is also interesting about this company is that they did not let a song that they wanted pass their grasp even if they could not get artists to record it. They were not above just dubbing recordings from other companies stock. I have listened to a number of these recordings and you can easily hear the dubbed recordings. These were often by bands, orchestras, singers and the like. I have also noticed that the records that were dubbed seemed to be shaped different. I have found that most of the Leeds that were directly recorded have a raised area on the outer rim of the record. Those that I have seen (that is not too many) that were dubbed did not have this? Also I found crude numbers written in reverse rather than stamped in reverse which was their practice. But the written number had nothing to do with the record number. So in many respects the label and company leaves more questions than answers.

There are perhaps more than ten labels that resulted from this company. Most were quick lived and used to divert attention perhaps from the courts, Victor or Columbia. Perhaps the most successful of the labels they put out was the Imperial label. It seems to have been the most successful and long lived of their short lived company. Many other labels by this company were put out for short periods of time and used the Imperial, Leeds, perhaps anyone's masters. I though I would share a few of these labels with you. I was looking around and pulled out a few examples of Talk-O-Phone records on other labels. I am not showing all of the labels, just a few to give you a taste. What is interesting is how widespread the use of Imperial masters were on other labels. Lastly, the Talk-O-Phone masters found their way to grace the labels of many other companies in the early part of the 20th century.

This Busy-Bee record uses a Talk-O-Phone  master. There were many recordings on this label made from Imperial masters. The Busy-Bee records were unique in that they just used other companies masters under their own label. Most of the masters were of early and obsolete performances that had no real appeal to the large companies but to the buyers who bought records on a tight budget. Busy-Bee was a wonder for them.

Here we have an Oxford disc record using a Talk-O-Phone master. Oxford was a Sears and Roebuck Company label that like Busy Bee made none of their own recordings. They just used usually but not always older matrices from companies like Zonophone, Columbia, Talk-O-Phone, every now and then Victor and what ever else might find its way cheaply to them. It appears that the Oxford label was produced in a rather high quality way. Since a vast majority of its output was Zonophone masters. It makes sense to assume that Victor was involved in their making.

Many of these companies would remove spoken announcements from the masters that they sold or leased to Oxford. This was for several reasons. First off, it would look rather awkward to have an Oxford record proudly proclaim it was a Columbia one. Secondly, it allowed many companies to used some of their ancient masters dating back to 1901 and give them a second life. There were many early Columbia masters around dating from 1901-02 making records for these secondary labels till the later part of the nineteen teens. The lack of an announcement would at least  hide the fact that the new records were being made from masters that dated from a year or two of the McKinley assassination.

The Sun Record was another short lived Talk-O-Phone record label that used some great talent and perhaps borrowed a little from here and there. Henry Burr (Harry McClaskey) one of the leading recording artists of the time is featured here. Having a singer like Burr would makes sales take off as he was one of the most popular singers on record at the time.

The Nassau label was another short lived label of the Talk-O-Phone Company. Made also in the Plant that seems to have made everything. I have heard that the pressings for most of these recordings were in Connecticut, but outside of that I can sadly not say much but say that these records are tremendously rare today.

Here is another quick and late label of the Talk-O-Phone Company. The Sir Henri label. This was a double sided disc made in the 1908-09 period. Right at the end of the companies life. I cannot say anything much about this label except it is also amazingly rare today. It is perhaps one of the last labels put out by the company. The company would be out of business by 1909 and its history and products would fall into total oblivion. But now as researchers dig and study. Our understandings and knowledge of these rare recordings will expand.

I write this on the date of 12/12/12. The last records of the company were made well over 103 years ago.  I am sure as times goes on some diligent researcher will find out much more than those of us who have studied this from the 1970's. In the 1970's when I started collecting and researching no one knew much of anything about this company. Nor did we have the wonder of the age....The internet. New technology is helping old technology to be found, shared, and explored.  I will look to see if I can add some more labels to this article. I am sure I have some put away somewhere.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New York Times March 1965... Maria Callas returns to the Met

Very interesting review. It seems it was pretty much over for her vocally, but still there were those who wished to see her no matter what. Not only was she a great singer in her day. But also a great actress on stage and Tosca was one of her great triumphs musically and artistically. She would have a loyal following through out her career and right to the end. She was one of the greats in opera. She may not have always hit the notes, but she sang it with a passion and artistry that would dazzle the mind.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The first records with labels. Johnson's "Improved Gram- O - Phone" record of 1900

I have talked here before about the early Berliner Gramophone records and the efforts of his assistant Eldridge R. Johnson to take over after the Berliner Gramophone Company was forced out of business. I will write more in the future about some of the early record labels that would come out in the first five years of the 20th century. But today I wanted to show you what the very first records with a label looked like.

 These were the first attempt by Johnson to survive after Berliner's end. The company that Johnson first came up with was called the "Consolidated Gramophone Company". It was based in Philadelphia. Today there are precious few examples of that first type of label. But it stands as the first of it's kind.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I often wonder what we lost when talking pictures came in.

In 2006 I was part of a number of people filming for Warner Pictures in celebrating the 80th anniversary of talking pictures. It was all about the Warner Brothers Vitaphone talking picture called the Jazz Singer.

 Each of us, after being made up and mic'ed, went to a sound stage and talked a bit about our area of expertise and how it affected talking pictures. These were all put into a film made by Warner's about when movies learned to talk.

It was released in 2007 called "The Jazz Singer" a 3 disc DVD set.  I am proud to be a part of it and can always at my desire see it and hear it. It was a 80 year collection of the wonder of talking pictures. All of us spoke glowingly about attempts and the greatness of sound pictures.

 Talking pictures came out officially in 1927. Although there had been many attempts, some successful, some not before that time. The Jazz Singer is the film we all generally agree was the first "official" talking picture.

But what I wish to say here is, was sound an improvement?

 In many ways I can see it was not. First off, silent pictures were an art form unto themselves. It was pantomime and music together. It was a very advanced art form and for the first time there was an art that had no nationality. It was understood in India, in Germany, in Russia . Because the actors spoke in an international tongue. That was pantomime.

Remember that all of the great silents were accompanied by music.  In NYC all the great silents were shown with a 100 piece orchestra. Many smaller theaters around the world used organs or lastly piano. But this was an art. You would watch the film from start to finish and never stop watching. Because it was a visual and musical experience. There was no popcorn, candy, sodas. You could not take your eyes off the screen. If you did you would miss something. The actors eyes told us so much. The silents were amazing pieces of art.

For many of you I am sure you are thinking of these early jerky films. In which the people are moving too fast and the film looks funny and jerky. That was not the style of the great silent movies starting in the early teens. Those early silent films from 1900 were primitive and the beginnings of an art form. To compare the early silents of 1900 to the amazing pieces of art in the teens and twenties,  would be like comparing the Jazz Singer to Raiders of the Lost Ark. They have little in common. they are of different eras.

The filming  in those great silents was as advanced as it would be 50 years later. In fact in many cases better.

 Today you can go to a movie. get a soda and popcorn and candy bars etc. Cause you do not have to watch the screen so intently. Cause you hear it too. Actors today do not have to perform to the extent that those in the silents did. Today movies are very interesting. But they are not the high art of the silents. We also have to remember that many of our stars today are paled in comparison with their predecessors.

I am of the opinion that there is little in common between the silent picture and the talkie. The silent was an art form that was a world wide one. Talkies can be dubbed, but they never has the artistic quality of the original. One just needs to see a few Godzilla movies to see that.

Today the silent  movies are forgotten. But they will always remain one of man's greatest artist achievements.

Losing them was a loss to art ....and the world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Spanish Reales. The first international coin. Today many are found in shipwrecks. Also they would influence the coinage system in the United States.

Here are a few examples of Spanish Reales coins. These are from a shipwreck that was found in the Gulf of Mexico. All were minted in 1783. It is three 8 Reales and a 2 reales coin. Spain at one time held claim to many parts of the world. It had massive holdings in Central and South America. It was here that massive amounts of silver were found and made into coins.

These coins would be shipped to Spain and used in various ways. It was a currency for Spain yes. But, it was also a currency for most of the world. These coins would be found all over Asia and to prove they were Silver the Chinese would make what are called Chop Marks on them. There are many of these coins today that have Chop Marks. It is amazing in the age of sail these coins were on just about every part of the globe.

 These were the coins that would finance the American Revolution. What is more interesting is that these coins were legal tender in the United States till 1857!  The American Silver Dollar was based on the 8 Reales coin. The American Quarter was based on the 2 Reales as the 4 Reales would influence the half dollar.   There are other parts that are interesting, The 8 Reales was at times chopped into 4 pieces. Each would equal 2/10ths of the value  They were called 2 bits. That is the slang from the 18th to early 20th century for the Quarter.  So these coins were not only international, but influenced the American coinage system.

Laying down the cornerstone of Grant's Tomb in New York City 1892. From a somewhat damaged original newspaper account.

An Ecstatic Democratic Editor in 1885 on the inauguration of Cleveland.

I guess he was happy!  He was so happy he wrote "Jews-hard" rather than a "Jews-harp" and "aunny" for "sunny" and didn't quite make it with his spelling of inaguration.. Oh well, he was just overcome with the thought that the Republicans were gone after 24 years. It was time the Wiscomico Herald became a mouthpiece for the democrats and this editor went on the wagon.

Obituary of General Sam Houston 1863

Elected Governor.

History of Senator John Logan of Illinois. Circa 1884

He captured Jeff Davis in 1865. Who? George Munger. From an article about him in 1885

The History of the American Flag as written in 1861.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Original newspaper clipping about the Andersonville Prison Camp at the end of the Civil War

Here is history and to a degree fraud in the making. Felix La Baume (Co. E. 39th NY vol.)  His artwork inflamed many and later his testimony against the head of the camp Wirz, let to the latter's hanging. While yes there were troubles in the camp, Wirz was not any worse than others. It was basically the testimony of this artist La Baume that led to his conviction and death.

Soon after the the hanging of Wirz, it was found out that La Baume, who claimed to be a descendant of Lafayette, was a fraud. His real name was Felix Oeser, from what would become in 1871 Germany. Not only did he fabricate his identity, he also fabricated his testimony against Wirz. So while we may look at this drawing and many aspects of it may be correct, it is still suspect as to all of what it shows. For if he lied about the camp, why wouldn't he lie in his drawings?  Felix Oeser vanished after his identity was found and never appears again in the annals of history. But he did leave his mark, and many still refer to him by his fake name.    

The rock New York City is built on ....Schist!!! Be careful how you say that!

This is the rock New York City is built on. It is called Schist. So New York is built on to tons of Schist. I find it a most beautiful stone. It has flakes of many minerals in it and reflects the lights of the scanner in the lower picture.  Everyone knows NYC is built on rock, but what kind is another story. So here you are.

My how things age. I found a picture of me from oh so long ago

Here I am in 1975 for posing for my graduation picture without glasses, which I usually wore. The collar of the shirt was huge. That was the style. Bell bottoms, silk shirts, wide ties, leisure suits, and of course long hair. That picture was taken 37 years ago. I think I could sell it as an antique now. But all things age and change and all of us have. So for fun take a look at the High School picture and get a chuckle out of it. It was a different time.  I guess I should add what I am like now. To put it best aged. I tried to find a picture in some what the same pose, but found none. The closest I could find was this, taken in September of this year.

The new and the old, together.  Things age and change... Especially us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Little books like this were very helpful when dealing with cars in the early part of the 20th century.

Books like this were so important to many a car owner. In the old days of the early part of the 20th century you did not have car garages everywhere. In fact there were not too many places to get gasoline. So you always had to take care of matters. Flat tires were a common problem and they took place often. You would sometimes need two or 3 spare tires if you were taking a trip.

 It was fortunate that the cars were very simple. Usually you would be the mechanic and you would try to keep your old gas buggy running. So this is a 1915 edition of this booklet and it was to many back them worth its weight in gold.  Today we scarcely give a thought to our cars when taking a trip or just going for a drive. If there is problem, you get it fixed. But in 1915, you would have to be creative, see the local blacksmith, the hardware store and maybe another fellow down the street who also had one of these gas wagons as people called them then. Probably they would pour over a book like this and try to figure out what was the matter. Or maybe make a part with some metal fashioned by the local blacksmith.

 If you owned a car for a few years back then there would have been many self repairs evident. You did not need to drive fast, so even some unique tire repairs worked. Remember the speed limit in those days would have been around 20 MPH if you could even do that on the dirt roads. So let your imagination go while some time and think of what it was like driving a 100 years ago where a breakdown was a common very common event.  Then, go to your car of today and give it a hug.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The memorial program for Asa Packer. Founder of Lehigh Univ.. Signed by the speaker at his memorial Prof. Henry Coffee

Asa Packer 1806 -1879.  He was the founder of Lehigh University and also a major politician from the Pennsylvania area.

Henry Coppee  1821-1895. He was the first President of Lehigh University from 1866 to 1875. He was previously a famous educator at West Point and an author.  

He published elementary text-books of logic (1857), of rhetoric (1859), and of English literature (1872); various manuals of drill; Grant, a Military Biography (1866); General Thomas (1893), in the Great Commanders SeriesHistory of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors (1881); and in 1862 a translation of Marmonts Esprit des institutions militaires, besides editing the Comte de Paris's Civil War in America. (from Wikipedia)

The original memorial packet as signed by President Coppee.

A most dire message to Congress by President Buchanan.. January 8, 1861

From the last printing of the House Records before the Civil War comes this message. The House records for this period are stock full all kinds of issues, demands, resignations, and captures of Federal locations in the south. It was period of great upheaval. From the House Records printed March 2, 1861 comes this message from the President. I tried to open the book to copy it as well as I can, but a little is lost due to a 150 year old book does not like to be spread too far. So I was able to capture 98% of it and you can figure out the few words that were lost. So here from Jan. 8, 1861. Comes the words from a weary and terrified chief executive on the the issues at hand.  Few histories ever use many of these messages at all and it is good to see what what the feeling was at the time by the sitting President from the original words and writings, rather than from someones interpretation of it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Valentino's last movie "Son of the Sheik"..It opened just as he died in the late summer of 1926. Here are some original ads for it.

About 25 years ago I met an old lady who had been a great fan of Rudolph Valentino. She had started her own fan club. She had a big folder of Valentino memorabilia and even had some pictures.  She was selling it all and I could not afford many of the items. Although I wish I had bought a large poster of the "Son of the Sheik". I am sure that has a very special value today. But what I was able to get from her was a large folder of newspaper clippings and a few movie items. I am sometime going to put many of the Newspaper articles up. But there are so many of them. perhaps 150 of them ..Most dealing with his funeral.  This woman also had a envelope marked Valentino questions and answers.  It was questions that were put in the paper and then he or a press agent would answer them.  She had saved all the answers.  Maybe that would be an interesting post when I get all of these papers together. As I said it is a large mass of newspapers in fragile condition. But it will be on soon   For now a few of the items that talk about his last movie which opened on Aug 30, 1926

I had not known where this folder was for a long time. in fact the last time I had looked at this was in the late 1990's. So today by chance I opened a packed box I had that I had not gone through in ages and I found the  large folder. I will add more of this later.

I will have added a picture of some of the papers from this folder kept lovingly by a great fan of Rudy.

These are great handouts for the movie that were given out at theaters. 

This is a newspaper ad for the movie.

And as mentioned the envelope with questions and answers.

She saved Valentino notes everywhere. Even in this gasoline ad book marked in pencil Valentino notes!

Lastly that file with countless newspaper articles in it.