Friday, April 28, 2017

Occupational Shaving Mug: The John Bull No. 1 Steam Engine with two open coaches

John Bull Steam Engine No. 1

This rare occupational shaving mug shows a clear image of a unique and historical train engine: The Robert L. Stevens or John Bull Steam Engine.

Fig. 7 shows the celebrated John Bull, which is now in the National Museum, Washington, D. C. It was the first engine for the Camden and Amboy Railroad, now a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was designed and built by Stephenson & Company, of Newcastle upon Tyne. This engine represents another step in locomotive construction, for while it somewhat resembles the De Witt Clinton, the cylinders are placed at the smoke box end of the engine, and the smoke box is of the same pattern as used to-day; both these improvements were embodied in the before mentioned Planet engine designed by Stephenson early in the year 1830. 
- From The Evolution of the American Locomotive

Close-up of the John Bull No 1 engine

Close-up of the two open coaches

The John Bull and train as it looked in 1831; drawn by Isaac Dripps in 1887.

Only a year after the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&0)  tested Peter Cooper’s American  built engine in 1830, New Jersey’s fledgling Camden and Amboy Railroad ordered a locomotive for its service from Robert Stephenson and Company (C&A) in Newcastle, England, builders of the most modern and sophisticated engines in the world.  Upon completion and testing the engine was disassembled and crated up and dispatched to the States on a Trans-Atlantic Packet. 
The crates were disembarked on September 1.  The parts arrived without plans, drawings, or assembly instructions of any kind.  It was left to C&A engineer Isaac Dripps to figure out how the hell to put the damn thing together and get it to run.  He must have been pretty good because the company was able to run their tests in just two weeks.  The test proved two things—that the engine did move very well, at least over short distances, on rails, and that the boiler did not blow up. 
The company was scrambling to lay track and operating limited passenger and freight operations with horse drawn cars.  As a marketing and public relations ploy it was decided to run an excursion over the test track with the new engine on November 12.  State legislators, local dignitaries, and Napoleon’s nephew Prince Achille Murat and his American born wife, Catherine Willis Gray were among the guest passengers.  Mme. Murat was so eager to be remembered as the first woman to ride a steam-powered train in America that she jostled ahead of other ladies to step into one of the open coaches first.  And it must have worked, because here we are remembering her. 
A few weeks later, the engine finally entered revenue service.  The company designated it as No. 1 and named it Robert L. Stevens after the president of the C&A.  Railroad employees, however, were soon calling the engine Old John Bull in honor of its English origins.  That was soon shortened to John Bull.  Over time the nick name supplanted the official name.

Soon after the engine arrived, the Camden and Amboy mechanics made the following changes and additions: As the railroad curves were very sharp, the coupling rods and cranks were removed and a lateral play of 1-½ in. given to the leading axle, to which a cowcatcher was connected. The wooden wheels were replaced by cast iron wheels. The dome was moved forward to the former man hole and the boiler lagged with wood. A bell was placed on the boiler and a headlight on the smoke box. A new tender was subsequently built, having a small cab on the rear for the accommodation of a brakeman, who, if anything went wrong with the cars, could signal the engine driver to stop. The engine then presented the appearance shown in Fig. 8. From a cut in the Railroad Gazette of March 9, 1877. it appears that a cab and a large wood-burning chimney were subsequently added, but both these were removed some time before the engine was placed in the United States National Museum.

As far as the writer can discover, this was the first engine equipped with a bell, headlight and cowcatcher, although bells were used on English locomotives as far back as 1827.

The John Bull in 1877

On September 15, 1831 it ran for the first time—a test run—on this side of the Atlantic in New Jersey.  Exactly 150 years later it became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution fired it up and ran it out on September 15, 1981.

The John Bull today in the National Museum, Washington, D. C

More information:

John Bull Pulls his Weight
The Evolution of the American Locomotive
The National Museum of American History
Wikipedia: John Bull Locomotive

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Outstanding Occupational Shaving Mug: Handcar with Two Workmen - Tom Close

Occupational Shaving Mug: Handcar with Two Workmen - Tom Close

Outstanding occupational shaving mug showing two men on a handcar. This mug is in excellent condition. The gilt is remarkably fine and distinct. Note the detailed work on the decorative framing. The scene itself is bright and clear showing the two men in typical dress standing on the handcar in a rich green landscape.


I attempted to figure out what type of handcar it was. Using the extensive research from Dr Lary Shaffer's Rebuilding a Sheffield No 1 Railroad Handcar, the handcar on the mug seems closest to The "Buda" pictured above. Of course, the artist may have simplified the image and omitted many details. It could just as easily be a Sheffield, as far as I can tell.

For a more complete history of the Railroad Handcar, check out Railroad Handcar History by Mason Clark.

From Wikipedia: Handcars:

Handcars were critical to the operation of railroads during a time when railroads were essential forms of transportation in America, from about 1850 to 1910. There may have been handcars as early as the late 1840s but they were quite common during the American Civil War. They were a very important tool in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. There were many thousands of them built. They were commonly assigned to a "section" of track, the section being between about 6 to 10 miles long, depending upon the traffic and speed experienced on the section. Each section would have a section crew that would maintain that piece of track. Each section usually had a section house which was used to store tools and the section's handcar. Roughly 130,000 miles of track had been constructed in America by 1900. Thus, considering there was a handcar assigned to every ten miles of that track, there would have been a minimum of 13,000 handcars operating in the United States. Motor section cars began to appear in the very early 1900s, or a few years earlier. They quickly replaced handcars. Those handcars that were not scrapped as part of the World War One, were probably scrapped for World War Two. It is not clear how many handcars survived. They can be found in railroad museums and some are in private hands.

Occupational Shaving Mug: Handcar with Two Workmen - Tom Close

Occupational Shaving Mug: Handcar with Two Workmen - Tom Close



This is from an interesting account by Dr Lary Shaffer, who rebuilt a railroad handcar. He milled his own wood to replace the wheel inserts and planking, re-straightened bent axels and lovingly restored every minute aspect of his handcar. It was clearly a labor of love. Check out his site for a lot of information and photographs of railroad handcars.

When I was a kid in upstate New York, maybe 12 years-old, childhood buddies John Hine and Tom Loveday and I used to hike along the rails of our local short line railroad, the Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville RR Co. It was a friendly little railroad, where the train personel would wave and blow the horn, rather than call the cops. One day while we were taking a rest next to the collapsing Broadablin section house, I noticed some rusty metal in the grass. It was the remains of an old railroad handcar with the wood mostly rotted away and the metal spread out like a dinosaur skeleton. 
I went to the railroad offices and they sold me the pile of scrap iron for $2. I wish that I had been smart enough to take pictures of it before I moved anything, but, after all, I was a jerky 12 year-old kid. My dad kindly drove to Broadalbin in the station wagon and helped me load the metal into the car. I scrounged some pieces of track from a local leather mill and rebult the handcar with lumber yard 2 X 4s as best I could with hand tools and my 12 year-old skills. It worked. Friends and I played on it in the yard. I grew up and left home. The handcar sat outdoors for about 25 years until I had a home of my own with a cellar where I could store the parts. By then the lumber yard wood had rotted and I was almost back to where I had started in Broadalbin.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Occupational Shaving Mug: Horse Drawn Steam Fire Engine for the New York Fire Department for George P. McKenna

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

The scene is intense and dramatic: three horses pulling a steam fire engine, a driver leaning forward holding the reins, two helmeted fireman on the back. Smoke and a hint of flame rise out of the boiler. There is a sense of dynamic action. They are on their way to a fire. The name on the mug is George P. McKenna. Beside the name are the initials,  N.Y. F. D. - the New York Fire Department.

The New York Fire Department is one of the oldest in the country, tracing its beginnings as far back as 1648. From a brief mention in the Fire Protection Service, Volume 79, 1920 , George P. McKenna worked as a Battalion Chief for the Fire Department in the 1920s. And seeing as The New York City Fire Museum states that "the last horse-drawn engine was put out of service in December of 1922," this dates the mug accurately.

It is one of the finest mugs in the collection, not only for the quality of its craftsmanship, but for its prestigious history.

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

Engine No. 8
Horse-drawn Steam Fire Engine
for the New York Fire Department

"Until the mid-19th century, most fire engines were maneuvered by men, but the introduction of horse-drawn fire engines considerably improved the response time to incidents. The first self-propelled steam-driven fire engine was built in New York in 1841. It was the target of sabotage by firefighters and its use was discontinued, and motorized fire engines did not become commonplace until the early 20th century." 
- Wikipedia: Fire Engine


"The 20th century saw a change in how the FDNY fought fire. When New York City was consolidated in 1898, the Department went from being led by three commissioners, to one, John J. Scannell, and the incumbent Chief of Department, Hugh Bonner. These two men took command of 989 paid firefighters from Brooklyn and Long Island City, 3,687 volunteers from Queens and Staten Island, and controlled 121 engines, forty-six trucks, a hose wagon, and a water tower. 
"With a greater number of people and square mileage to protect, the FDNY had to adapt new firefighting strategies. The Croton Aqueduct had provided New Yorkers with plenty of water for drinking and bathing, but there wasn’t enough pressure for the demands of high-rise firefighting. During the first decades of the 1900s, the city built four high-pressure pumping stations. As technology improved, these stations were replaced, during the 1950s, by apparatus that could pump 1000 gpm of water. 
"After the tragic Triangle and Equitable building fires in 1911 and 1912, the Department aggressively inspected buildings, enforced fire codes, and investigated arson through the Bureaus of Fire Prevention and Fire Investigation. This also marked the time when the FDNY recognized the equal importance of fire prevention and suppression. 
"Just as the volunteers were slow to give up their hand-drawn pumpers, the paid department was slow to make the transition from horses to the internal combustion engine. Motorization of the department began in 1911 and the last horse-drawn engine was put out of service in December of 1922. This, like many other department changes, was necessary to keep up with the demands of the growing city."
The New York City Fire Museum

Fire Protection Service, Volume 79, 1920

Proposed Alteration in Organization of New York Fire Department
A committee of battalion chiefs and captains of the New York Fire Department called on Commissioner Drennan recently to place before him the proposition of abolishing the Acting Chiefs Battalion, in the interests of uniformity and permanent rand and also to show Mr. Drennan how it can be done economically.  
The committee consisted of the following: Battalion Chiefs James W Hefferman, Patrick Walsh, Richard Marshall, Luke Flanagan and George McKenna, and Captains John J. T. Waldron, Edward Flaherty, Ferdinand Buetenerhorn and James Purdy. The committee was told the matter “would receive due consideration at the proper time.” 
- Fire Protection Service, Volume 79, 1920

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

Occupational Shaving Mug:
George P. McKenna N.Y.F.D.

I also discovered this for a younger McKenna, perhaps a son?

"First Grade Fireman George McKenna receives the William H. Todd memorial medial of valor from James Herbert Todd, Jr., grandson of the founder of the Todd Shipyards Corporation, for his heroism in attempting to frustrate the suicide leap of John Warde from the Hotel Gotham, Manhattan, last July. Fireman McKenna was lowered by ropes from the 18th floor in an effort to catch Warde. The presentation was one of many made at the World's Fair to members of the Police and Fire Department who performed conspicuous acts of bravery during 1938." 
Brooklyn Eagle, June 2, 1939

Monday, November 17, 2014

Occupational Shaving Mug: John Hutchison and the Corliss Steam Engine

John Hutchison - Steam Engine

This beautiful occupational shaving mug shows an early stationary steam engine and has the name John Hutchison in gold above it. There is a warm sepia tone to the image and a craftsman's pride in the quality of the work. 

The stationary steam engine is depicted in precise detail. It is a variation of the Corliss Steam Engine, which was invented and named after William Henry Corliss in 1849. Corliss Steam Engines were much more efficient than the other steam engines of the time and were instrumental in moving industry away from Mill Ponds and direct-water powered engines. 

"This was the most efficient steam engine design until the invention of the Uniflow design,
followed by the steam turbine.  There are still a few of these in operation today!" - source

John Hutchison - Steam Engine

John Hutchison - Steam Engine

Who was John Hutchison and how was he connected to this stationary steam engine? In my research, I discovered a beautiful story about Robert Burns, the Scottish Poet, and the invention of one of the first steam engines built for a steam boat. John Hutchison was the name of the blacksmith who actually constructed it. He also made shoes for Robert Burns' horse and had a poem written about him. (See below.) However, as interesting as this is, the dates are unfortunately wrong by almost one hundred years. 

James Watt invented the first steam engine that could provide continuous rotative motion in 1781, although there were earlier versions of steam engines going back a couple of hundred years. William Symington was the first to put a steam engine into a pleasure boat in 1785. And the blacksmith John Hutchison worked on a variation of this "steam boat" in 1788. 

Shaving mugs range from the 1870s to the 1920s. And the Corliss Steam Engine is from 1849. It is tempting to consider a relation between the blacksmith John Hutchison and the one named on the shaving mug but a cursory look into the rich and complex Hutchison genealogy provides nothing obvious. (Curiously, there are quite a few Hutchisons in the Fulton family tree. Robert Fulton, of course, is credited with inventing the first "commercially viable" steam boat. However, there is no direct family connection that I can find.)

The Operative Miller, Volume 14 from 1909 has another tantalizing potential reference:

In the first column is a notice offering a Corliss Engine for sale. And in the middle column is an advertisement for John Hutchison Manufacturing Company - which was based in Jackson, Michigan.

Than, there is also this mention in The Northwestern Miller, Volume 43 from January 22, 1897:

"Resolved, that we extend a vote of thanks to the Knickerboker company and the John Hutchison Mfg, Co. for the interesting exhibit of special machinery made by them, and to George T. Smith for his interesting paper on "Milling Methods". 

Could John Hutchison's special machinery have been a variation of a Corliss Steam Engine that would revolutionize current milling methods? Was his Corliss Steam Engine so significant to him that he choose to memorialize it on his shaving mug as a way of representing his profession?

Following this lead, I found in Michigan Reports: Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Michigan, Volume 107 (1895) a case, John Hutchison Mfg v. Pinch, with this interesting exchange:

Defendants testimony upon this subject was that, upon January 11, 1890, Mr. Hutchison and Mr. Crandall, a millwright employed by plaintiff, were, in company with Mr. Horn, defendants miller, examining the mill for the purpose of seeing what machinery was required.  During the examination, Mr. Horn said to Mr. Hutchison nod Mr. Crandall: 
It seems to me you are going to put in a good deal of machinery here. We have got all the machinery our power will carry, and, if you are going to add any machinery that will take more power, we have got to make some other arrangements. 
Mr. Hutchison then said that the machinery they were going to put in would run a great deal lighter than the old machinery, and that it would run with less power than was then required. 
There is an order for equipment related to milling but no mention of a steam engine. However, there is a compelling argument to made that what Hutchison is talking about is a more efficient engine that for the millwork. The Corliss Steam Engine is precisely that sort of engine.

In The Operative Miller, Volume 16 (1911), there is this notice regarding the Corliss Steam Engine and Mills:

Murray Corliss Engines. A miniature catalog, the press work and illustrations of which are a work of art, has been issued by the Murray Iron Works Company, of Burlington, Iowa. It contains brief descriptions of the Murray Corliss engine as a while and the various detailed parts. The engine, which has for many years been very popular with the millers, is built in a variety of styles and sizes to suit every possible requirement. The catalog also contains illustrations and descriptions of various types of Murray boilers and air compressors, which are largely being used in mills in every part of the country. A copy of the catalog will be sent on application to the Murray Iron Works Company.

1896 Ad-Murray Iron Works Co., Corliss Steam Engine

Another interesting element of the Hutchison shaving mug is that it shows a belt. Bruce Petty in his discussion of Corliss Steam Engines states:

The engine was usually housed in its own room of a factory in order to keep it free of dust and dirt.[...] With a large leather Flat Belt around the flywheel would then furnish power to a drive shaft inside the factory. This belt may be several hundred feet long and up to six feet wide. There were a number of companies that made these belts like the one shown below. 
Corliss Steam Engines
 This photograph taken in 1913, is the Press Room where Flat Belts are made up from hundreds of cow hides. This 72 inch wide Flat Belt is four layers thick with a driving capacity of 2000 horse power. 

Many Corliss Steam Engines, many over 100 years old, are still working today. Although most are just fascinating museum pieces:

After extensive research and evaluation, here is what can be said about the Hutchison shaving mug: John Hutchison owned a manufacturing and supply company for mills. Around this time the Corliss Steam Engine was instrumental in revolutionizing the way mills worked, supplanting direct water as a source of power and operating with far greater efficiency. Additionally, the Corliss Steam Engine was a thing of awesome mechanical beauty. For an owner of a manufacturing company, it was a perfect emblem of power, innovation and success to have depicted on your shaving mug. Much more interesting than a building or a collection of supply parts.

There also may be a genealogical connection between him and his Scottish ancestor of the same name. It is pleasing to believe so, that after his blacksmith ancestor worked to construct the first steam engine for a boat, this later day John would have a successful business based upon a beautiful elaboration of that earlier machine.

John Hutchison - Steam Engine

The first reference to a John Hutchison, blacksmith, who constructed a steam engine to power a boat. From The First Steamboat and Robert Burns
In "Families of Wanlockhead", note is taken of the Miller steamboat and the connexion of two natives of Leadhills who were educated in Wanlockhead. James Taylor, whose father was an overseer of the mines in Wanlockhead, after graduating from Edinburgh University, secured a position as tutor in the family of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, near Dumfries. While thus engaged, he persuaded Miller of the feasibility of using a steam engine to power a boat. With Miller¹s backing he engaged William Symington, another Leadhills native educated in Wanlockhead and an inventive engineer who had constructed a steam propelled carriage in 1786, to design the engine, and John Hutchison, blacksmith at the mines, to build it. The first trial of the experimental steam boat in October 1788 witnessed by Burns, then a tenant of Miller's, among others ‹ was considered a great success. Nothing more came of this venture, mainly because Symington's later model, developed for commercial use, was tested in a narrow waterway where its side wheels damaged the banks. Queen Victoria recognized Taylor's part in this achievement with a pension of £100 for his widow. This later led to
controversy over who deserves credit for the invention of steam navigation. While the ingenuity and success of the design undoubtedly belong to Symington, Miller, Taylor and Hutchison also deserve recognition for the parts they played.

James Taylor's older brother, John, who had succeeded their father as an overseer, was himself involved, if indirectly, with Burns. During John Taylor's tenure as overseer, Robert Burns, on one of his journeys over his ten parishes as an exciseman, had arrived at Wanlockhead on a winter day, when the roads were slippery with ice and his mare, Jenny Geddes, kept her feet with difficulty. The blacksmith, John Hutchison ‹ referred to above could not accede to Burns's request to frost the mare's shoes without the approval of the overseer. Taylor gave his permission, whereupon Burns, staying at the inn, called for pen and ink and wrote the verses to John Taylor titled, "Pegasus at Wanlockhead". 
With Pegasus upon a day.
Apollo weary flying
(Through frosty hills the journey lay),
On foot the way was plying. 
Poor slipshod giddy Pegasus
Was but a sorry walker;
To Vulcan then Apollo goes
To get a frosty caulker. 
Obliging Vulcan fell to work,
Threw by his coat and bonnet,
And did Sol's business in a crack;
Sol paid him with a sonnet. 
Ye Vulcan's sons of Wanlockhead,
Pity my sad disaster!
My Pegasus is poorly shod,
I'll pay you like my master. 
Upon receiving the overseer's instructions, Hutchison "at once flew to his tools, sharpened the horse's shoes, and, it is recorded, lived thirty years to say he had never been 'saed weel' paid for his labour as by Burns, 'who paid him in siller, paid him in drink, and paid him in a sang.'" (The quotation is from J Moir Porteous in "God's Treasure-house in Scotland".) A footnote to these references to Robert Taylor and his two sons is that he was a son of the John Taylor who lies buried in the Leadhills Cemetery with the gravestone inscription that refers to him as having lived to the age of 137. This claim is open to question but there is substantial evidence to support it.

Another tantalizing reference to the mysterious blacksmith, John Hutchison from  'God's treasure-house in Scotland'; a history of times, mines, and lands in the Southern Highlands by the Rev. James Moir Porteous (1876):

One proof of superior intelligence and energy is furnished in the fact that the first trial of steamboat navigation on Dalswinton Loch, about 1786, was the work of three men drawn from thence. James Taylor, grandson of the very aged man referred to, and graduate of Edinburgh University in 1785, became tutor in the family of Mr Patrick Miller of Dalswinton.  Being conversant with the steam engines of this district, he contended with Mr Miller that steam-engines alone were powerful enough to propel vessels through the water, who at length sent for William Symington, engineer, and John Hutchison, blacksmith, from Wanlockhead, to make the machinery, which was fitted to a small vessel. Mr William Symington was a schoolfellow of James Tay1or, who introduced him as an ingenious young man. In 1787 Mr Miller published a description of a triple vessel propelled with paddle wheels moved by cranks, originally intended to be worked by men. ln 1789 Mr Symington was employed to construct one on the Forth and Clyde Canal, which, destroying the banks, was removed.  It has been said that the family of Mr Miller, Lord Brougham, and the poet Burns were present at the first trial on Dalswinton Loch.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fraternal Shaving Mugs: Independent Order of Odd Fellows


The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is one of the oldest and largest fraternal organizations in the world. It is one of the most common types of fraternal shaving mugs. There are a great variety of Odd Fellows mugs representing the many different walks of life that make up their membership.  The common characteristic of all of them are the Three Links logo, usually (but not always) with the letters F., L. and T., standing for Friendship, Love and Truth, in the center. Other common design elements are taken from the more esoteric aspects of the Odd Fellows: the all-seeing eye, the ceremonial tent and crossed swords or staves.

In Fraternally Yours by Bernie Lucko, he speculates that "the origin of the name Odd Fellows dates to 55 A.D. Soldiers of the Jewish legion of the Roman Army, during the reign of Nero, were known for their singular camaraderie and an uncanny ability to recognize each other by signs after night. Titus  Caesar  called  them  Odd Fellows." However, official Odd Fellow sources claim that "the altruistic and friendly society came to be known as "Odd Fellows" because it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind." Personally, I like Bernie's origin better. There is a certain mysteriousness to it. The official version sounds a bit apocryphal, however nobel its intentions.

Above is a short video about the Odd Fellows, produced by the Odd Fellows. I found it informative and entertaining for the most part. There are several instances that I would take with a grain of salt. But there is no denying that the Odd Fellows have done good things for a great number of people and communities.

Rare Double Fraternal - IOOF and IORM

Rare Double Fraternal - IOOF and IORM

Rare Double Fraternal - IOOF and IORM

From the Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows:

"In 17th Century England, people were facing a lot of challenges. Life was tough, often lawless and desperate. Medicine was still crude and in a primitive stage. Life expectancy was about 45 to 50. There were lots of sickness, orphaned kids, widowed mothers and many people cannot afford to pay a decent burial for the dead.  
So, ordinary people from different trades and walks of life found it necessary to group together as brothers and sisters and contribute some of their hard-earned wages to a common fund which they could use for unfortunate times such as sickness, losing a job and even death. They would work together to help each other and the unfortunate families back on their feet, whether it was rebuilding a barn that had burned or putting in a new crop after a devastating season. 
Such altruistic and friendly society came to be known as "Odd Fellows" because it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. It was believed that they were "an odd bunch of fellows" who would behave in such a selfless and seemingly impractical fashion. Odd Fellows are also known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth.  
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819 when Thomas Wildey and four members of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England. At that time, the city was suffering both a yellow fever epidemic and mass unemployment so they dedicated the organization to "Visit the sick, relieve the distress, bury the dead and educate the orphans." 
Odd Fellowship became the 1st national fraternity to include both men and women when it adopted the beautiful Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851. This degree is based on the teachings found in the Holy Bible, and was written by the Honorable Schuyler Colfax who was Vice President of the United States during the period 1868-1873. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were also the first fraternal organization to establish homes for our senior members and for orphaned children.  
Today, Odd Fellows and Rebekahs continue to exist with nearly 10,000 lodges in approximately 26 countries consisting of men and women who united together for mutual aid and conviviality, providing social and practical support for each other and their communities in every way possible. Even though we have come a long way now, there are still more needs to be done. Working together to achieve these goals and help our fellow men creates a bond that cannot be described – a brotherhood and sisterhood of benevolence that can only be felt as an active participant. Working together, we can really help make a difference!"

From Fraternally Yours by Bernie Lucko:

"In 1745, less than three decades after the founding of the Masonic Order in England, the Ancient and Honorable, Loyal Odd Fellows Was organized in Oakly Arms, Great Britain. It was not until April 26, 1819 in Baltimore, Md., that the society was established in the United States as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). 
They met in Seven Star Tavern until their boisterousness forced them to meet in another place. The IOOF has three initiatory degrees: Friendship, Brotherly Love and Truth. The letters F-L-T are frequently found on IOOF mugs. In 1915 the Odd Fellow Review  claimed  3,418,833  members, gathered largely, though not wholly, from the wage-earning class. 
The official story of the origin of the name Odd Fellows dates to 55 A.D. Soldiers of the Jewish legion of the Roman Army, during the reign of Nero, were known for their singular camaraderie and an uncanny ability to recognize each other by signs after night. Titus  Caesar  called  them  Odd Fellows. It is further reported that Agricola, one of Titus Caesars generals, invaded Wales, spreading these Odd Fellows from Rome to Great Britain. 
Since Freemasons could go on to higher degrees, this pressure lead to the founding of the Encampment Lodge within the IOOF. So, beginning in 1885, there were three additional degrees added: Patriarchal, Golden Rule and Royal Purple. The lodge also bestows a higher honorary degree, the Grand Decoration  of Chivalry, which corresponds to the Masonic 33rd degree. In the past, the IOOF placed considerable emphasis on sickness and death benefits although the lodge has never provided insurance for its members. 
Throughout  the  rituals of many fraternal organizations there was a theme of light and darkness. One of the variations of this symbolic allusion is used by the IOOF as each candidate is received as a man in darkness and in chains. The three-link chain has been adopted as a symbol of unity, brotherhood and good Will. The all-seeing eye is also a symbol associated with several fraternal orders. It has religious significance, symbolizing in all instances a watchfulness over our actions. 
IOOF shaving mugs come in great variations depending on the degrees and rank of members. Every mug, however, has, at a minimum, the three link chain."

Regarding the name the origin of the name, Odd Fellows, there is this on Wikipedia:

Several theories aim to explain the meaning of the name "Odd Fellows". 
One says that they were called "odd" because in the beginning of Odd Fellowship in the 18th century, at the time of industrialization, it was rather odd to find people who followed noble values such as benevolence, charity and fraternalism. 
A variation on that theory states: "The Odd Fellows, at least according to one story, got its curious name from the fact that it was a lodge that opened its doors to the working class who at that time did not ordinarily belong to fraternal orders—and were thus 'odd'. This may or may not be true as the Odd Fellows have been around for a long time and a good many things get lost in the fog of history." 
Another theory states that Odd Fellows were people who engaged in miscellaneous or "odd" trades. In the 18th century, major trades were organized in guilds or other forms of syndicate, but smaller trades did not have any social or financial security. For that reason, people who exercised unusual trades joined together to form a larger group of "odd" fellows. 
A slightly different version of this second theory states: "By the 13th century, the tradesmen's Guilds had become established and prosperous. During the 14th Century, with the growth of trade, the guild 'Masters' moved to protect their power (and wealth) by restricting access to the Guilds. In response, the less experienced (and less wealthy) 'Fellows' set up their own rival Guilds. In smaller towns and villages, there weren't enough Fellows from the same trade to set up a local Guild, so Fellows from a number of trades banded together to form a local Guild of Fellows from an odd assortment of trades. Hence, Guilds of Odd Fellows."

History of the Odd Fellowship in The Three Link Fraternity - Odd Fellowship in California by Don R. Smith and Wayne Roberts:

"Although some books claim to trace Odd Fellowship back to Roman times when members of the Roman Legions in England were called "Fellow Citizens", what is said to be the earliest printed record of an Odd Fellows Lodge appears in a reference to a lodge meeting at a Globe Tavern in England, in 1748. This lodge was numbered nine, so apparently there were at least nine associated Odd Fellows lodges at that time. 
Other evidence suggests that our origins were in an organization known as the Ancient Order of Bucks which thrived in England in the 18th Century, and had as its emblem three bucks with their antlers intertwined. These men had as their leader a "Most Noble Grand" and met in club rooms and taverns. One of their principal emblems was "a bundle of sticks," familiar to modern Odd Fellows as signifying strength in union. They dropped "Bucks" from the name in 1802. Whatever the origin, solid evidence begins to be found in the late 18th Century. By 1796 Odd Fellow organizations were numerous in England, and each was independent from the others. Fraternal groups such as the Odd Fellows were suppressed in England for a time, but by 1803 the Odd Fellows were revived by an organization called "London Union Odd Fellows," which later became known as the "Grand Lodge of England" and assumed authority over all Odd Fellow lodges in that country. 
Victory Lodge in Manchester declared itself independent of the Grand Lodge of England in 1809. In 1814, the six Odd Fellows lodges in the Manchester area met and formed The Manchester Unity of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which elected officers and proceeded to standardize degree work of the lodges." [...]
"Among the first records of the Order in America is that of five Brothers of the English Order who met in New York City in 1806, and formed Shakespeare Lodge No. 1.
The founders were three boat builders, a comedian and a vocalist - a group befitting the name "Odd Fellows," indeed. The lodge was self instituted, a common practice in those times.  Their first candidate was a retired actor who was the keeper of the tavern where they met. Accounts state that lodge meetings were accompanied by merry making and mirth, and that the wares of the tavern were freely indulged in. This lodge was dissolved in 1813 due to poor attendance brought on by controversy over the War of 1812.

Another lodge of which little is known existed briefly in New York in 1816. In 1818, Shakespeare Lodge in New York was re-instituted, in the Red Cow tavern, operated by a former member who had in his keeping the books and papers of the former lodge. They claimed to have received a charter from the Manchester Unity which gave them authority over all other Odd Fellows Lodges in the United States, but this authority was not accepted by other lodges. Several more lodges were founded in the New York City area, and one in Philadelphia, due to the efforts of the Brothers of Shakespeare Lodge.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows as we know it today began in Baltimore, Maryland, where five members of the Order from England founded Washington Lodge No. 1 on April 26,1819, by self-institution. One of these Brothers was Thomas Wildey, the first Noble Grand and the man revered as the founder of Odd Fellowship in North America. A charter was received from Duke of York Lodge in Preston, England, in 1820, a year and a half after its self-institution."

The Old Odd Fellows Building in Bellingham, WA

The Odd Fellows Building in Edison, WA

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Bundy Brothers Mug: Lost History and Wished-for Connections

This somewhat unassuming occupational shaving mug is interesting for several reasons. First, it is the only mug I have ever seen for brothers. Second, is the name: Bundy. And finally, the depiction of an engine, tender and two rail cars. What was the occupation of the Bundy Brothers in relation to railroads? Who were the Bundy Brothers? Why only one mug for the both? Were they any relation to some of the more famous Bundys? (I don't even consider Ted.)

I will tell you right now that I found no answers to these questions. And what follows is simply a record of my fruitless research into the history of this mug. It is a story of lost history and wished for connections. However, the process itself is revealing in that it shows how often an object refuses to surrender its history. This was one of those mugs that I sensed has a history to it. (I still do.) Unfortunately, I was unable to find it. 

The Bundy bloodline in the United States has had many influential figures in politics and positions of power. There are those that believe the family has been allied with the Illuminati, an ancient secret society that supposedly works to control the affairs of the world powers. The following quote, from The Bundy Bloodline: Families in the world who are allied with the Illuminati, references several "Bundy Brothers":
Most Americans would not recognize the Bundy family as a powerful elite family. However, during recent history two Bundy brothers held the key positions that controlled most of the information that was fed to U.S. Presidents during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. When Johnson took over after J. F. Kennedy was assassinated McGeorge Bundy was in the key position as Nat. Sec. Advisor to determine what the President did and didn’t hear. His brother was in a key State Dept. position. Both Bundy brothers were also fraternal brothers of the Illuminati Order of the Skull and Bones. Interestingly, Jonas Mills Bundy (1835-1891) was a key advisor to President Grant, President Garfield, and President Chester A. Arthur. McGeorge Bundy and his brother William P. Bundy have held important C. F. R. and important Bilderberger positions.
As much as I would love to be possession of one of these Bundy Brothers' shaving mug, I can find no connection to the railroad. If, for example, it were a Skull and Bones on the mug, I would make an argument otherwise.

Next potential candidate is The Bundy Manufacturing Company, the earliest precursor to what would later be known as IBM. It was founded by two brothers, Willard and Harlow. Willard invented the first time clock. He and his brother were commonly known as "the Bundy Brothers". As tempting as it might be to say this was their shaving mug, the fact that there is the occupational image is a train and not some sort of time-keeping device or a simple clock, rules these famous Bundy Brothers out as past owners. 

Looking for connections between a railroad and the name Bundy, I discovered there was a William "Black Bill" Bundy Jr. whose family operated a station on an "Underground Railroad" in the mid-1800s to help runaway slaves making their way to freedom in the North. Again, a fascinating bit of history, but there was no brother. And the railroad image on the mug, while clever, would have been too revealing. 

Finally, there was a company in Cooperstown, New York in the late 1800s named Bundy Brothers & Cruttenden, which specialized in "dry goods, wallpaper, furniture and carpets." In the transcript proceeding from the Court of Appeals: New York: Vol.83 (1907), the State of New York is appealing a "certificate of convenience and necessity" that was previously granted to the Cooperstown and Northern Railway Company. Cruttenden is asked about his business with the Bundy Brothers and what impact the train will have on his companies freighting costs. And again, it would be wonderful to discover that Cruttenden and the Bundy Brothers later bought into this railroad and thus establishing a connection to the shaving mug with the train. But I can find no evidence to back this up. 

Sadly, that is all I can find through my research. A series of exciting possibilities that do not connect. And so the history of the mug is lost. I had hoped that the "Bundy Brothers" would have left a small trace of their lives in the world, something to explain the train on their shaving mug. But, as is the case with so many shaving mugs, the mug is all we have. I wonder if the Bundy Bros would have ever imagined that many years after their death their curious shaving mug would be the source of unanswerable riddles on a webpage of the Internet. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Historical Occupational Shaving Mug: Steamboat "Granite State"

John M. Cowin - Granite State Steamboat - Occupational Shaving Mug

This unique occupational shaving mug shows a steamboat with the name "Granite State" on the side. The name in gilt on the mug is "John M. Cowin". From the documented sources below, I date the mug no later than 1883. Please note the exceptional detail: there are nine minutely painted human figures on the various levels of the boat. Additionally, I found a postcard of the Granite State from the Library of Congress that reveals remarkable accuracy in the depiction on the mug: the stern paddle wheel, the pilot house and stacks. According the New Orleans Public Library and A History of the Connecticut River by Wick Griswold, the Granite State was constructed in 1879 and sank from a fire in 1883.

There is a rich and fascinating history connected with the steamboat on this shaving mug: not only did the Granite State tour the Connecticut, Hudson and Ohio Rivers, but it was attacked by an angry lynch mob; involved in the rescue of survivors of another steamboat's catching fire; and finally, caught fire herself and sank at Goodspeed's Landing in Connecticut.

The Granite State - source

John M. Cowin - Granite State Steamboat - Occupational Shaving Mug

The Granite State is, of course, the nickname for New Hampshire. The Connecticut River runs through New Hampshire and supported a bustling Steamboat Business in the mid to late 1800s. In the Rising Tide: Steamboat Workers on the Connecticut River by Steve Thornton, the Granite State is mentioned as "an excursion boat that toured points on the Hudson River":

"From the Mississippi River to the Connecticut River, steamboats played a major role in building 19th-century America. In Hartford, people would wait for the State of New York to pull up to the river landing stocked with goods from other parts of the nation and around the world. Others boarded the Granite State, an excursion boat that toured points on the Hudson River. But the men who made the steamboats of the Hartford Line run—the deck hands, stevedores, and firemen—found little glamour in the work which normally meant 18-hour days, dangerous conditions, and lousy food." [emphasis mine]

Ticket for the Steamer Granite State

John M. Cowin - Granite State Steamboat - Occupational Shaving Mug

Another reference to the Granite State is found on Georgetown Steamboats Page: Pitt and Cin Packet Line:

"In Nov 1878 the nation was beginning to recover from the Long Depression which started with the Panic of 1873.  One of the causes of the severe nationwide economic decline was the extreme overbuilding of the nation’s railway system.  The post Civil War period was one of unregulated growth with the government playing no role in curbing banking and manufacturing abuses.  In addition to the ruined fortunes of many American families, it was also the origin of bitter animosity between workers and banking and business leaders.   This financial depression marked the second term of Grant’s Presidency. It was in this unquiet atmosphere, that the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line was organized.  The packets comprising the first fleet follow: 
Fleet in 1879
Packet              Depart Pittsburgh    Depart Cincinnati
Katie Stockdale Mon                                    Thu
Emma Graham Wed                                    Sat
Granite State       Fri                                      Sun

John M. Cowin - Granite State Steamboat - Occupational Shaving Mug

In a Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky for the years 1882-83, there are extensive mentions of the steamboat, Granite State. This is certainly the same boat depicted on the shaving mug. The report is a fascinating window into the times and worth quoting at length [emphasis mine]:

"Since my last official report, that is to say from January, 1882, to and including February of the present year, much service has been performed by the State Guard - three separate expeditions having been sent to Eastern Kentucky.  A shocking crime, no less than the brutal murder of two young and innocent girls, and a harmless crippled little boy was committed in or near Ashland in Boyd county. 
Other alleged beastly acts accompanied the murder, and the people, in the immediate vicinity and for that matter all over the State, were impatient for the summary execution of persons suspected and accused. Under these conditions the Presiding judge of the Sixteenth judicial District Hon. George N. Brown applied to the Chief Executive for a sufficient military force to maintain the peace, and insure a trial under the forms of law. 
By special order dated January 6. 1882 the Third Battalion composed of three Companies of Infantry was ordered to proceed to Catlettsburg in Boyd county, and there to report to judge Brown; but from information dispatched by him it was feared the three persons in arrest would be summarily dealt with, and orders were therefore telegraphed on 4th January, 1882 to Captain A. C. Respess at Maysville to proceed immediately by steamer to the point indicated. 
In compliance with the order he left Maysville that night with his Company - Mason County Guards - by the first passing steamboat, and near Portsmouth on the Ohio river met one steamer conveying the prisoners and their guard hotly pursued by another with an excited and enraged party of men alleged to be a mob. Captain Respess took charge of the prisoners, and conducted them to Maysville where the other Companies of the Battalion were assembled on the 10th of February and was moved thence, under command of Major John R. Allen, to Catlettsburg, reporting with the prisoners, Neal, Craft and Ellis to Judge Brown. 
Again on the 26th October 1882, Major Allen,  with his Battalion, then consisting of four Companies, together with Nuckols Guards - unattached - one Company of the First Regiment, and one section of the Louisville Light Artillery was ordered into active service and reported to Judge Brown at Catlettsburg on the 30th of that month. On the 2d day of November Major Allen having been directed by an order of the court to have the prisoners conveyed to Lexington for safekeeping was waited upon by a committee or pretended committee, claiming to represent a large armed force and demanding that the prisoners be turned over and delivered to them.  Major Allen replied in terms characteristic of a good soldier, he of course, refused to comply with their request, and advised the people to refrain from any unlawful act or attempt to take the prisoners by force and violence, and that he would defend them and the law to the last extremity. 
It appears that a large number of persons had assembled, who were highly excited and inflamed, and that they had determined to lynch the prisoners at all hazards.  To avoid a conflict if possible, Major Allen prudently embarked his command and the persons in charge on board the steamer Granite State, an Ohio river packet, and started from Catlcttsburg down the Big Sandy and thence on the Ohio to Maysville. 
Not to be foiled of their purpose, however, the mob, as it has been called, and I suppose properly, seized an engine and some flat-cars, running upon a railroad track parallel with the river to Ashland. It is said a sort of desultory fire was opened by those on the cars, but as the shots fell short of the boat, and were harmless it was not responded to. This however, was but a prelude to the fearful tragedy so soon to follow.  On arriving at Ashland, the mob, elated with impunity, and led on by misguided men, seized a ferryboat lying at the wharf, and rushing aboard with hostile gestures and demonstrations, they directed its course against the Granite State.  Major Allen disposed his force judiciously and awaited the attack.  Himself and men were not kept long in suspense, as the assaulting party soon opened fire-at Erst harmless, but as they approached nearer their shots began to tell. Seeing a number of men wounded, the Major gave the command to commence firing. The conflict was brief and decisive. The ferryboat was disabled and became unmanageable from the effects of the State Guard musketry fire. Some men were killed and a much larger number wounded; and leaving them, the Granite State having never stopped for a moment, proceeded on down the river.  
[...] The owners of the steamer Granite State claim that she was damaged very considerably by the fire of the mob, and I am well satisfied that the amount of damage and loss of business resulting from direct injury and ill will of her former patrons was not much exaggerated, if at all. Their claim on that account is $500, no part of which has been paid, as the Auditor decided and no doubt correctly, that he had no authority under the law for paying damages.

A map of East Haddam, CT and Goodspeed's Landing 1880 - source
There are three steamboats in the image. 

In A History of the Connecticut River  by Wick Griswold, there is a definitive remark upon the Granite State's demise:
"Goodspeed's Landing was the site of another steamboat tragedy in 1883. The Granite State caught fire after an engine room explosion. Its captain managed to get it close to the dock, and passengers on the starboard side were able to get ashore over some lumber hastily tossed to the flaming boat. Those on the port side were trapped by the flames. Many escaped by jumping into the water, and some were taken off by the East Haddam ferry. One particular rotund passenger had more than one escape that night. She was put into a rowboat that immediately sank beneath her considerable weight. She was then hoisted into another rescue craft, which sank twice before onlookers were able to heave her ashore. Legend has it that she lost most of her clothing in the struggle to get to land but was able to salvage all of her jewelry. The quick reaction of the captain in grounding the vessel, coupled with the coordinated efforts of the volunteers in ferries and small craft, kept the casualty list low. The Granite State's crew did an excellent job of rousing the passengers and leading them to safety. The proud old steamer was a total loss. It was towed out into the river and burned down to the waterline."

John M. Cowin - Granite State Steamboat - Occupational Shaving Mug

Just three years before, in June of 1880, the Granite State was involved in another steamboat burning, the Seawanhaka. Here is an account of the from GenDisasters: New York, NY Steamboat SEAWANHAKA Disaster, Jun 1880:

Another shocking steam-boat disaster was added to the already long list yesterday afternoon. The steam-boat Seawanhaka, plying between this City, Sands Point, Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, and Roslyn, Long Island, took fire from an explosion forward, the origin of which nobody seems to know, at 4:55 o'clock on her afternoon trip outward. She was then between Hell Gate and Little Hell Gate. A puff of black smoke and a flash of flame out of the smokestack followed the dull thud of the explosion, and an instant afterward a huge volume of fire enveloped the forward part of the boat. 
Capt. Smith, who was at the wheel, realized the danger at once, but was unable to turn either to the right or left for several minutes on account of the steamer Granite State which was running outside of her, and several schooners which were between her and the shore. Jets of flame darted up the chain-holes, cutting off communication with the engineer, and burning the helmsman's hands so that he was compelled to make quick snatches at the spokes of the wheel, being forced to drop them instantly again. With consummate bravery he held the burning vessel on her course between the obstructing vessels, while his hands and face slowly blistered, and when he had succeeded in passing them, turned her nose sharply about and headed her direct for the sunken meadow that lies between Ward's and Randall's Islands. [...]
Meantime the greatest consternation prevailed among the passengers, and long before she struck they began to drop overboard. Those who remained were quickly driven to follow their example, and eye-witnesses describe the appearance of the surrounding water as similar to that of Rockaway Beach on a warm Sunday, so thickly was it dotted with heads. A few lingered, burning their bodies and rendering them comparatively helpless, so that nearly all in this condition were drowned. There is only too much reason to believe that several were unable to make the attempt to save themselves, and perished miserably, the steamer's hull. The Granite State stopped her engines and lowered five boats to the rescue. 

As a sort of speculative coda, there is a curious, perhaps coincidental, reference in  "The Corwin genealogy : (Curwin, Curwen, Corwine) in the United States" found on

He removed to New- York City with his father in 1824 ; became ferry-master at the Canal street (Hoboken) ferry in 1826, which position he retained for twelve years; then became a contractor, especially of wharves and bridges, building some of the largest docks, and most of the ferries about New- York City, prior to 1850. He also engaged in the steamboat business, being one third owner of the steamboat Napoleon, plying between New-York and Albany, in 1839, and several years thereafter. In the spring of 1847, he removed to Jersey City, having contracted to build the Cunard Docks, in that place, for the British steamers. 

However, this in reference to Edward Callwell, perhaps a distant relative: Callwell and Cowin having some genealogical relation.