Thursday, August 29, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 105

 Singer Building, New York City, New York, 1908


As noted in an earlier postcard Thursday, I.C. Lee’s friend, Edward Cheasty, traveled all over buying goods for his Second Avenue Haberdashery store in Seattle.   Cheasty would send postcards to Lee letting him know where he was and that he was “buying novelties for your inspection” at the store.  Postcards were very popular in the early 1900s.  The fact that the Lee’s kept the cards suggests that since they got lots of postcards from various friends, they were probably more interested in the cards and where they came from than in the message in the case of Cheasty’s.   

There are a couple of interesting things about this card.  First, although it does have a divided back with a space for a message, Cheasty has written his message on the picture side of the card, as was the rule up until 1907, and spread the address across the dividing line on the reverse.  The date of the cancellation is February 21, 1908.  This was the first year that divided back postcards were in use, which may explain why he wrote on the front side. 

Second, the picture shows the Singer building in New York City, New York.  The building was completed in 1908 and with 47 stories it was the tallest building in the world that year.  The head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Frederick Bourne, commissioned the building with Ernest Flagg as architect.  The description of the main lobby sounds very grand with a “celestial radiance.”  It had a “forest of marble columns” rising to small domes of delicate plasterwork.  There were large bronze medallions at the top of the columns with the Singer monogram—needle, thread and bobbin.  Unfortunately, the building failed to get recognition by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and was demolished in 1967/68.  It was the tallest building ever to be destroyed until the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. 

Singer monogram -- needle, thread and bobbin
[Note:  the thread forms the letter "S"]

The Rotograph Company of New York City that produced postcards between 1904 and 1911 is listed as the publisher.  During those years the company produced approximately 60,000 postcards.  The parent company for Rotograph was German and the printing of the postcards was done in Germany.  Besides the United States this company distributed cards in Germany, Italy and England.

Child's toy sewing machine

Singer was the premier name in sewing machines during the early 1900s.  This little clamp on the table sewing machine is a child’s toy dating from about 1920, does not have a bobbin, but produces slipstitches and was actually used by Anna Hornnes Schroder to make clothing.  Like many new immigrants, Anna, worked for a time in the garment industry in New York after she arrived from Norway.   She continued to make her own clothing and that of her children long after she stopped working as a seamstress.  Anna had an earlier sewing machine, dated about 1910, I think, but it was not kept.  In 1920 she bought the small toy sewing machine for her daughter, Betty, and in 1926 they bought a new sewing machine for Anna. 

1926 Singer Sewing machine

Oral history for the Schroder family includes stories about Axel’s mother, Hansine Schroder, bringing enough woolen material with her from Denmark that Anna was able to make clothes for both her children for many years.  The sewing machine from 1926 is still in the family but the case was damaged in a fire and because the machine has not been used since Betty passed away it not known if it is still operational.  Dating the sewing machine was possible by using the serial number and the Singer Company web site that lists the numbers and corresponding years of production.  Singer did produce a "Featherweight" sewing machine that was portable but if this one is supposed to be featherweight it certainly is not--it is made of metal and very heavy! 

The front plate is silver colored and has an intricate design.

For more information see:

Monday, August 26, 2013

What's for dinner? Quiche!


Since Bob broke his leg I have been cooking in his kitchen with his pans, utensils, and stove and having to learn how to do without some of my favorite recipes and equipment.  We had some leftover ham and decided to try a quiche for dinner so I looked one up on and made some adjustments to come up with something closer to what I would make at home.  It turned out well enough that the two of us ate ½ of the rather large pan full.  


1 to 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt

Blend flour, salt and butter in medium sized bowl until crumbly.  Mix egg and water in a cup and add to the flour mix.  Stir and work with hands until the dough makes a very soft ball.  Add extra flour if necessary (if the dough is too sticky or gooey).  Let rest for about 5 min.


3 slices of cooked ham, cubed
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons diced onion
½ green pepper, diced
1 large mushroom, halved & sliced
3 eggs
2 cups half & half
Salt & pepper to taste**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Butter a 9” pie pan.  Spread the pastry dough in the pan covering the bottom and coming up to just above the lip.  Crimp the edge if there is enough dough.  Bake for about 5 min.  The crust should still be soft and pliable.  If the dough has pulled away from the sides of the pan, push it back into place.   Gently mix the half & half & eggs together in a small bowl with a wire whip or fork.  Put the ham, cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese in the pan.  Pour in the egg mixture over it all.  Bake for 1 hour or until the top is nicely browned and a knife comes clean when stuck in the center of the quiche.  Let sit for 10 minutes, eat while hot or warm.  Serve with fruit and/or green salad.




*For the really lazy I think a tube of extra flaky biscuit dough could be used instead of making pastry from scratch.  Just press it into the pie pan and bake for a few minutes before adding the filling.

** Both the ham and the cheese can be salty so it may not need additional salt.

Omit the ham and add another vegetable in its place such as chopped broccoli, chopped spinach, or sliced zucchini to make a vegetarian dish.

For the original recipe check out  (Quiche Lorraine)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 104

 Poitiers -- Palais de Justice – Tour Maubergon


The postcard shows only a portion of the Palais de Justice or Palace of Justice in Poitiers, France.  Located on the highest spot in the town originally the palace was constructed or reconstructed in the 9th century above an already existing Roman wall for Louis the Pious the son of Charlemagne when the Merovingian kingdom of Aquitaine was re-established.  That building was destroyed by fire in 1018.  It was completely rebuilt by the Count-Dukes of Aquitaine when they were at the pinnacle of their power.  Count William IX added the donjon or fortified castle tower known as the tour Maubergeon in 1104.  The keep, which was substantially damaged by fire in 1346, has four smaller square towers projecting from the corners.

Eleanor of Aquitaine added the Salle des Pas Perdus or hall of lost footsteps as a dining hall between 1191 and 1204.  Named thus because of its size, 50 meters or about 164 feet long by 17 meters or 55 feet wide, a footfall was silenced by the vastness.  It is perhaps the largest hall in contemporary Europe.  Unfortunately the hall has not retained its original beamed ceiling but has been covered by chestnut woodwork constructed in 1862.  The walls have been daubed and painted to look like stone. 

My French friend who sent this card wrote that it was in this room that the king dispensed justice.  The hall was renamed la salle du Roi or the royal hall.  Le parlement royal sat there from 1418 to 1436.  There are three large fireplaces or ovens in a row at one end of the room, each one large enough to cook an entire cow. 

During the French Revolution parts of the building including statues were vandalized.  Although it may be difficult to see, evidence of this can be noted on the postcard.  The middle statue at the roof line on the right side of the building has had the head removed.

The postcard is dated 20 September 1904 and the stamp is placed on the picture side but the card has been cancelled on both sides.  One cancellation mark is on the address side of the card in the place where one would expect a stamp to be normally affixed and the other cancellation mark is on the stamp itself.  The message says "Thank you, a thousand kisses."  Maurice.  It is addressed to a military Captain and leaves us with the mystery of what this close friend or relative may have done.  Another interesting thing is the notation that the postage is good for France, Algeria and Tunisia.  In 1904 both Algeria and Tunisia would have been under French rule, subject to French taxes, and men conscripted into French military service.  Tunisia was a French protectorate from 1881 to 1956.  French Algeria lasted from 1830 to 1962.

For more information, please see:

Thank you to my friend as always for sending the card and letter.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 103

 Cut fir tree, 4 1/2 feet square by 74 feet long, ca 1912

The condition of this week’s postcard is poor.  There are spots, folds, and wear but the subject matter was interesting and amazing due to the size of the cut piece of timber and the identity of the photographers.  The card is unused, numbered as 3025 and was published by the Lowman & Hanford Co. of Seattle.  The photographers are identified at the top center as Nowell & Rognon. Frank Nowell, who was the official photographer of the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, and Orville Rognon were only partners for approximately 2 years (1911 to 1913) so it is possible to place the date of this picture as during that time period, perhaps ca 1912. 

The size of the timber shown suggests that the diameter of the tree was probably about 10 feet and the tree was 4½ feet thick even at the height of 74 feet so it must have been much taller since it would have started tapering before it reached the pinnacle.  Some of these old trees reached heights of 200 or 300 feet and were 1,000 years old or older.

Frank Nowell (1864-1950) was a well-known Seattle photographer and his credit appears on most of the pictures from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.  Orville Rognon (1880-1958) was lesser known in Seattle but when he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1913 he became known as the Yukon Photographer.  Because of the type and quality of the photographs and the unique numbering system that Frank Nowell used it is likely that most of the pictures with the Nowell & Rognon label were actually taken by Nowell.  Nowell was deemed the better photographer.  Rognon used his own numbering system on his pictures. 

The timber and logging industries together with sawmills were major businesses in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the century.  Frederick Weyerhauser and his 15 partners purchased 900,000 acres of forested land from the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1900.  This was the largest land purchase in the United States up to that time.   With proper conservation methods it was hoped that the timber operation could continue forever.  Weyerhauser suggested the name of the new company be “The Universal Timber Company” but his partners thought it should be named in his honor instead and overruled his suggestion. 

Most of the old growth trees of the size to produce a cut piece as large as that shown on the card are now gone.  New trees are planted but it takes years and years for trees to grow and second growth trees are not normally left standing long enough to achieve such a size. 

For more information please see:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

It was two years ago this week that the Beware of the Rug blog came into being.  Originally the idea was to provide a way to keep in touch with family members but it has branched out.  Thank you to all of you who come and read these posts.  I appreciate those of you who contact me and share postcards and other information with me.  It is fun in turn to share things with others through the blog.  It has been delightful to meet and connect with cousins.  I enjoy taking photos and it is very nice to receive so many compliments about the pictures that appear.  I will continue to post things like the postcards and stamps and other items that I hope you will enjoy.

In case you are curious about the statistics--

From a very modest beginning with only a couple of page views per month the blog now gets almost 3,000 page views per month.  The total number of page views for the past 2 years is nearing 37,000.  Visitors look in from countries all over the world. 

Thanks so much. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 102

 Shrine Island, Alaska


Here is another scenic postcard from Alaska.  This one shows Shrine Island near Juneau and is dated 1949.  No publishing information is available on the card; however, under the handwritten place name the photographers are listed as “Ordway/Neff.” 

Frederick (Fred) K. Ordway (ca 1903-1938) and his wife Laura settled in the Juneau area of Alaska in 1926.  He worked as an electrician for a short period of time before opening his own photo shop—Ordway’s Photo Service.  Ordway was known as “Alaska’s Flying Photographer.”  The Alaska State Library has a collection of 199 of his pictures covering a variety of Alaskan subjects—fishing, whaling, mining, native culture, woodcutting, dog sleds, mountain scenery etc.   Tragically he was killed in a monoplane accident off the coast of Oregon in 1938 at the age of about 35.  He was taking pictures at the time of his death.  His wife, Laura, who was also a photographer and a free lance writer, together with one of their employees, Amy Lou, continued to run the Photo Shop after his death.  Most of the photos taken from 1942 to 1946 with the Ordway credit were actually taken by Amy Lou.  The photograph on the postcard is not dated but it is included in the 199 pictures in the Ordway collection at the Alaska State Library.

Shrine Island was named for the shrine of St. Therese.  The chapel is constructed from local beach stone and is situated in the center of the island.  There are several trails many of hard packed dirt that are wheelchair accessible.  There are also rental cabins available.  Many visitors to the Juneau area are pleased to have the chance to see this lovely spot.  The fishing is excellent here with most of the fish caught King Salmon. 

This Catholic Church was originally built in the 1930s and over the years there have been and continue to be additions and improvements.  In addition to the rental cabins there is also a lodge (1932), a columbarium, (1998), the Merciful Love Labyrinth (2001), the Good Sheppard Grotto and Rosary Trail, and a Pieta statue.  The facility is used as a religious retreat as well as for vacation or recreational stays. 

For more information, please see:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tonga Ridge and the saga of the broken leg

The day started out bright and sunny and we were looking forward to an easy hike, just the two of us, at Tonga Ridge near the small town of Skykomish, Washington on the way to Stevens Pass.  This is in another section of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  My car has less clearance so we took Bob’s car because he knew once we got off the highway the county and forest service roads would be gravel and dirt.  The dirt road would climb up the mountain for about 8 miles before we reached the trail head at 4300 ft.  The trail is pretty steep right at the start but levels out at about 4800 ft and follows along the ridge line giving peek-a-boo views of snow-capped mountains and the forest.  It is very beautiful up there.  Note:  The trail head is completely unimproved, a very difficult turn around for vehicles and no facilities at all.  The nearest privy was at Ranger station at the foot of the mountain 9 plus miles away. 

A view from the trail

There had been a fire several years before resulting in some areas with little vegetation between the trees but new growth alongside the trail itself; however, most of the trail is in deep forest with plenty of undergrowth.  The trail is narrow and has rocks and roots like many of the trails we have been on previously. Lots and lots of Huckleberry bushes but no ripe berries yet.  The flowers were similar to ones we have seen before on other alpine hikes.  We noted with interest that the Lupine was almost finished but there were still some plants in full bloom.  There was a lot of Pearly Everlasting, some Rosy Spirea, Foxglove, Heather, Lousewort, Penstemon, the red Indian Paintbrush, Bunchberry, Fireweed and much to our delight a plethora of Tiger Lilies. 

Large Penstemon

Small Penstemon


Red Indian Paintbrush

We had seen both the Orange and Magenta Paintbrush on other hikes but this was the first time we came across the red variety.


Tiger Lily

We were excited to see the first Tiger Lily as they are considered somewhat rare.  Once we reached the meadows there were dozens and dozens of them sometimes one stalk would have five or more flowers on it.

Near the beginning of the trail

Up by the meadows there was much more vegetation.

We stopped at a meadow and had half of our lunch, proceeded onward and had the rest of our lunch at the second large meadow.  It was now 2:45 pm and time to start back.   We had gone about ½ mile and were still 2 1/2 miles from the trail head when disaster struck.  The trail had narrowed down with a steep slope off to the side.  I do not like heights and was concentrating on my feet afraid I would fall.  There was the sound of Bob’s boot hitting a rock, I looked up and saw him tumbling down the mountainside.  Fortunately the rocks and plants provided him with a way to dig in with one foot and stop continuing downward. 

The result of the fall was a dislocated thumb that he quickly popped back into place and a non-working right leg.  It was either a bad sprain or a break.  He told me that I had to leave him there and get help, not to try and get down to him because I would not be able to get back up the hill.  I tried the cell phone but there was no service.  Reluctantly I started back toward the parking area checking my phone every so often for a signal.  Nothing.  It seemed like a long time but was probably not as long as it felt that a young woman, Haley, came up the trail toward me.  I told her what had happened and she said that her phone sometimes worked so she would go up where he was and talk to him, try to call 911, and wait with him until help arrived.  I continued down, knowing that my phone would work once I got to the car.  We had tested the phones there before starting out that morning.  I felt significantly better knowing that Bob would have some company soon.  As it later turned out Haley had some experience with Search and Rescue and together with Bob’s first aid training they were able to make a temporary splint with Bob’s sit pad and Haley’s cord. 

I went another mile or so and met a woman, Julie, coming toward me.  Julie had a phone that could get service and she called 911 but Haley had already gotten through so help was on the way.  Julie wondered if I wanted to return to Bob but this was my longest hike so far at 6 miles and I was very tired.  If I did that it would mean a total of closer to 12 miles and I didn’t think I could do that.  She looked at me and agreed that I should just continue down to the car and insisted that she accompany me to make sure I got down the mountain safely.  She said my pole was too heavy and didn’t have the right kind of end then loaned me her trekking poles and showed me how to correctly use them. 

We met the first two firemen coming fast up the trail with first aid kits.  They stopped to talk with us for just a few minutes to gather a little more information.   It wasn’t too long that more firemen came up the trail this time pulling and pushing a litter on one wheel.  They said the Ranger and Sheriff were at the parking area and Search and Rescue people were on the way.  Bob would be off the mountain before it got dark.  Very good news indeed.  An ambulance was ready and waiting, the Search & Rescue van was open and had food, a bathroom, and all sorts of equipment.  Volunteers started arriving.  Everyone was unfailingly kind to me and more and more people ran up the trail to help the firemen bring Bob down on the litter.  It was almost sunset when he finally was down and being loaded into the ambulance and about 10 or 10:30 pm by the time we got to the nearest hospital, Valley General Hospital in Monroe.  The fall had occurred at 3:30 pm.  Since I had never driven Bob's car and did not know how to get to the hospital one of the firemen, Rob, was asked to drive me down off the mountain and to the hospital.  I do not think I could have driven down by myself.  I cannot thank him enough.

The King County Search & Rescue van

At last Bob is off the mountain

Getting ready to transport

The whole group who helped

End of story:  both bones in Bob’s lower right leg were broken.  The larger bone had a spiral break the smaller bone a line fracture.  The emergency room doctor tried to reduce the spiral fracture, set it, and re-splint it but said he thought it would need surgery to get it more perfectly aligned.  X-rays proved him correct.  Wednesday Bob had surgery to implant a titanium rod.  We came home Thursday afternoon.  His leg will be wrapped for about 6 weeks.  The rod acts as an internal cast.  He can put a little weight on it already.  The surgeon said he should be back hiking in about 3 months. 

Our grateful thanks to the two kind women, Haley and Julie, who first helped me and the wonderful Skykomish Fire Department, the King County Deputy Sheriff, the very kind and friendly Ranger, King County Search and Rescue, and all the volunteers who showed up to help.  We also express our thanks and appreciation to the emergency room doctors and nurses and the surgeon and the medical staff at Valley General Hospital in Monroe.   

Friday, August 2, 2013

No Thursday postcard this week

There was no postcard Thursday this week due to a broken leg and subsequent surgery to fix it.