Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let's Shake Off Winter Blahs and Farewell Painted Ladies

Got the Winter Blahs? We're here to help. Join us in 

A MEME Blog Hop!
Easy Peasy "rules"

Post a MEME during the week (use your own pic or an easy meme maker app) - and if you can't think of anything, pass on encouraging words from one of your reviews, or an inspiring quote!
Visit others
That's it!

Then the awesome hostesses will hop around and Ooo and Ahh and choose one entry each to win an ebook. AND two lucky random participants will win a $20 GC. Enter and spread some warmth!





Woodland, California's restored 1875 Clapp & Jones Steamer

Excerpt from Farewell Painted Ladies
C. Lee McKenzie

When mechanical engineer Paul Hodge unveiled his steamer for its first public test in 1841, it must have been an incredible sight to see. Imagine a fourteen foot long hot metal cylinder, weighing seven tons, snorting and fuming black smoke in front of New York's City Hall. 

That day, as the crowd looked on, the stoker tossed more coal into the fire door and steam pressure in the great iron belly soared. Two men aimed the leather fire hose above the roof of City Hall, and the pumps began their powerful tempo, shooting a stream of water at the rate of ten thousand pounds per minute one hundred and sixty-two feet straight over the cupola. The engine noise buried the onlookers' gasps.

The Hodge steamer had flaws. Men could not pull its bulk to a fire and, although the designer had intended it would propel itself through the streets by steam, it wasn't dependable. In any case, the Hodge engine's arrival presaged change. It performed an effective job of delivering a strong, steady stream of water; required fewer men to operate; and, most importantly, it never tired.  

In 1841, the volunteer firemen must have watched from the sidelines, jaws set and arms folded across their chests. They didn't need to tell each other their thoughts. Their determination to defeat this upstart mechanical freak filled the air as blackly as the engine's smoke. From then on, these men did whatever they could to make the steamer fail
 on the job. They slashed hoses, diverted coal deliveries and stirred dissent between the engine and hand pumper companies at every opportunity. They'd never been above thrashing it out on the streets, and now they turned their energy to defeat a new rival. The volunteers were proud men not given to walking away from a fight, especially this one which, if lost, meant the end to their way of life. 





By now you know I was deep into antique fire equipment and their history at one time. I even got teary when I read about the last of the Painted Ladies being mothballed. But change comes and those 1841 steam engine interlopers became dinosaurs not too long after they displaced the hand pumpers.

I still have several articles tucked among my TBDWL (To Be Dealt With Later) file, and pulling these posts together have made me think about actually doing something about those articles. 



Quote for the Week: "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10." Bill Gates


Have you enjoyed reading about the early fire equipment or was it a bore? Will you join the Meme Hop or are you hopped out?

71 comments:

  1. Fareweel Painted Ladies sounds great, wonderful write up about it.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was. I still would like to do more of the history.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Well, that's an interesting question. I thought that was on this post, but guess not. Fixed it.

      Delete
  3. Hi Lee - those painted ladies .. they come out here in the summer and parade our lanes, showing off their wares at various events - magnificent beasts ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the winter, so fat, knock on whatever, the blahs haven't hit.

    I loved the except and all the recent posts on antique fire equipment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kind of like winter, too. I have a terrible time staying indoors when it's summer.

      Delete
  5. As you know, I like the posts about old firefighting equipment and have began working again on my Virginia City story--one of the more interesting pieces of equipment was a Babcock Chemical extinguisher that created foam to cover the fire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that one. The interesting about these steamers is they had to be trailed by the Babcock to put out the fires they created while steaming to the fire. Loved that bit of history.

      Delete
  6. Sounds like a great idea to shake away the blahs. I certainly need to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a bit of fun to keep the synapses firing.

      Delete
  7. Fantastic excerpt! And I'm excited for the MEME blog hop. :) Have a lovely week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been looking more closely at memes since this started.

      Delete
  8. I signed up for the bloghop! Haven't done one in forever so I think it's time. BTW - what do we post on??? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check out the top of this post again, Sheri. I've put the rules there. Sorry they were late in appearing.

      Delete
  9. Things that had to be done in the past would drive people crazy today. The blahs gone would be grand.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was wondering the same thing as Alex...what's the theme for the blog hop? What do you write for the post?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just come up with a meme, Chrys. This is an easy one time shot kind of hop. My kind. :-)

      Delete
  11. I can see a novel in here... It's sad how some people fight change, particularly when it's obviously for the good. I've signed up for the hop, and like others am wondering what we're to post. I'm going to assume something light-hearted, inspirational, humorous, and/or encouraging.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Not sure if I have time for the Meme bloghop, but I will say that the "Alligators Overhead" trailer looks great. Did you hire someone to do that or did you do it yourself?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I paid the big bucks for it. But it has been worthwhile. I like watching once in a while.

      Delete
  13. What a fun blog hop. I'm swamped this week so I won't join in. Have fun though.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like winter so I don't have the blahs but the hop still sounds like fun! If I trusted myself to make a meme I would give it a try but I am so hopeless with anything like that LOL.

    I enjoyed the excerpt very much! Love history so this really interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I'm good at memes either, but I thought I'd dabble and see what I came up with. Always good to try something new.

      Delete
  15. ooooh, don't they brave horsies look pretty?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do. That had to be an exciting scene in a city.

      Delete
  16. It would be wonderful if you did something with the articles. I don't have the winter blahs, but I look forward to the entries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They should be fun. I'm now a fan of Memes!

      Delete
  17. Another great article! :) Love the pics too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the vintage ones. I feel as if I could step right in there.

      Delete
  18. really enjoyed your historic article - and gates's quote, he was a visionary.
    and thanks again for co-hosting our hop!
    happy monday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for asking me, Tara. I wasn't going to do any Hops until the AtoZ, but I rather liked the idea of a Meme Hop!

      Delete
  19. These articles are so interesting. A great part of history too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have no idea what "meme" means so I will not participate:) The article was interesting and it reminded me of watching a documentary on "Hollywood:The Beginning". This a a great 13 part documentary done in the 1970's. The first shows the very early days of film making and how people today (well, back in the 70's) think of the silents. When they showed how a silent picture was truly shown, they had a film of firemen racing towards a fire with great music to engage you. It was brilliant

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Using music to create the drama always fascinated me. Did you see The Artist? I was curious as to whether or not someone could pull off a silent film today. It did intrigue me, but not as much as the old ones. And I wouldn't be entertained by only seeing silents. I'm really a lover of good dialogue. Thanks for the info on the documentary. I'll look it up.

      Delete
  21. Thanks for sharing! The meme idea sounds kind of fun. I'd be curious to see what people do. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am too. I knew little to nothing about Memes until Tara and Christine ask me to join them in this.

      Delete
  22. Fun blog hop! Thanks for sharing about the Painted Ladies. It's fun to learn more about their history. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. For lots of people, change is a scary thing. But it's inevitable...we should learn to embrace it, take the good and ignore the bad. Easier said than done, I suppose. Also dependent on WHAT the change is all about...
    I'm all signed up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think change is often unsettling because it requires we change, too. And there's always the element of fear. What if this change affects us negatively? What if it makes us obsolete? What if we can't cope with the new stuff? I'm getting the jitters just writing this.:-)

      Delete
  24. It's strange to think that something so obviously good would be fought against so hard, but I guess that's the way of life. Change happen, and people never seem to like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure loss of jobs and a way of life around the fire house had a lot to do with the resistance to the steamers.

      Delete
  25. The Meme Bloghop sounds like fun, count me in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I'll bet your Meme is going to be great.

      Delete
  26. I have enjoyed the fire equipment history. These things must have been a sight to behold. I understand the threat to the other firefighters' way of life, but it's still strange to think they would sabotage life-saving operations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny thing is that those steamers caused a lot of fires. Coals often fell out. So they had a chemical wagon that followed them and put out the fires along the way. Glad you enjoyed the posts.

      Delete
  27. I imagine the firemen must have had many anxious moments trying to get to the fires. Enjoy the hop. I can't squeeze in a message more.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Change is hard, even if it was years ago. I guess, people stay the same. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume being uncomfortable with change is one of those universals.

      Delete
  29. Is it just me, or is January the toughest month? Definitely blah.

    Great article. You obviously put a lot of time and research into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My eyes took a big hit. I found old microfiche in the library and read the original news articles. That was, of course, before things went digital.

      Delete
  30. So interesting that this machine caused such a ruckus, but change does come hard - still any help fighting a fire??? Your stories aren't boring!
    As far as the Meme goes - I'll need help creating one, but throwing off the yoke of winter is a great idea! Today we finally got the dryer release vent uncovered so the laundry could get done. My son ventured into the deep deep snow to rescue it. :) And we now have a path from the back door to the driveway. Progress is being made!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do have progress if you found your drying release vent. Applause for your fearless son.

      Thanks for joining in the Meme fun. I'll post a few next week as a warm up for Hoppers!

      Delete
  31. Hey superstar celebrity author, Lee,

    I just typed out a great long comment and my finger slipped on the keyboard. My amazing comment vanished.

    Amazing comment, all over again, but slightly different because I cannot remember all of the amazing comment that vanished.

    Of course, you have to remember that you have an adoring worldwide audience. In the southern hemisphere, it's the summertime.

    I've known a few painted ladies in my time. Elton John sung about painted ladies.

    Interesting excerpt, Lee. Although, with my deranged mind, I kept thinking of innuendos. Yes, hard to believe.

    I shall start the "All Hopped Out" blog hop!

    Yes, as per usual, n'stuff, I'm your starstruckest fan!

    Gary :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here I'm just catching up on Hosers when you throw Elton John and his painted ladies songs into the mix. Have I heard those songs? The only one that plays over and over in my head is Candle in the Wind.

      Sorry about the lost and possible most brilliant comment ever, but this one will serve quite well.

      Always appreciate your taking the time to toodle over and say hi. Hello to Penny. She's always the super star in my mind.

      Delete
    2. Hey Lee,

      I've just sent you a link to the Elton John song in question, via an email.

      Of course, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

      Hopefully...my fingers wont slip..on the keyboooord, this time....

      Delete
    3. Got it. Am loving it. Thanks here as well. Steady on fingers!

      Delete
  32. This post was super interesting! I'd love to read more of your posts about early fire equipment. :)


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've seen the sign up for the bloghop a couple times, and I really want to come play, but I'm not sure I can. I mean, how easy is a meme? BUT there are other commitments...

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm really glad I visit your blog, Lee. I always learn so much. I was never attention during History classes at school (many years ago). I was more interested in staring out of the window. Look forward to learning more. I promise not to look out of the window :) Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Cool post about the steamer. It's like the steamer was the hero and the other guys were the antagonists.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I do love history. It's fascinating what technologies have come before those we use now.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I joined the hop!

    History fascinates me. When I graduated high school, my parents offered to take me to Disney Land, I chose Colonial Williamsburg, VA instead.

    ReplyDelete

Please say something to me, anything. Well, not anything, but a kind word will do.