Category Archives: Industry

Coal of Bellingham Bay


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Excerpt from:  Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean by Joseph Henry, Spencer Fullerton Baird – 1856

This coal is found interstratified with sandstones and shales on the shores of Bellingham bay.  Lieutenant W.P. Trowbridge, U.S.A., while superintending the construction of light-houses on that part of the coast, made a careful measurement of the strata of the section in which the beds of coal are exposed, of which the results have been published in the geological report of Mr. W.P. Blake, contained in vol. V, U.S.P.R.S. Reports.

The section exposed, when measured by Lieutenant Trowbridge, consisted of about [2,000 feet] of shales, sandstones, and coal, of which the coal presented the enormous aggregate of 110 feet.  It is possible, however, that the series is, in part, composed of repetitions of the same members, as the strata are inclined at a high angle, and are much convoluted and disturbed in all that region.  

Many of the shales are fossiliferous, and vegetable impressions are particularly abundant. T hese consist, for the most part, of the impressions of dicotyledonous leaves, and are similar in general character; and some of them specifically identical with those collected on Frazer’s river by the United States Exploring Expedition, under Capt. Charles Wilkes.  Among them are species of Platanus, Acer, Alnus, etc, as yet undescribed.  There is also a Taxus, or Taxodium, and a Juniperus.  It is probable that all the dicotyledonous species there represented are extinct.  The coniferae may not be so.  A sufficient number of well marked specimens has, however, not yet been collected to determine this question.

The flora of the coal deposits of Bellingham bay is remarkably like that of the lignite beds of the upper Missouri, the genera being nearly all represented on the Missouri, and some of the species are identical.

The lignite beds of the Missouri are undoubtedly Miocene, and it is very difficult to distinguish some of the species found in them from those of the Miocenes of Austria and of the Island of Mull.

The strata exposed on Bellingham bay, both in their lithological character and their fossils, are closely related to the sandstones and shales of the Columbia and Coose bay, and are, probably, portions of the great San Francisco group, which forms the most striking feature of the geology of the coast mountains.

The mines at Bellingham bay were among the first opened on the western coast, and have already furnished a large quantity of coal for the San Francisco market.


Further Reading and External Links

Bellingham Coal –

Sir William Bellingham of the Royal Navy


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Mineral Riches of Central Italy


Marble Mountains CarraraITALY is pre-eminently a marble-producing country.  It is to this fact that we must, in a great measure, ascribe the splendour of her palaces and other public and private structures, in which not only the architectural ornaments, but frequently, as in the case of the cathedral at Milan, the entire edifice, is built of the finest marble.  We almost instinctively associate the names of Greece or of Italy with statuary and other white marbles.  The employment of this stone, so invaluable for ornamental work, from the ease with which it can be chiselled, dates from the remotest antiquity, for we find various works of art sculptured in it by the Greeks and the early inhabitants of Italy.  Long before the foundation of Rome, the Etruscans possessed skilful sculptors, whose productions were afterwards held in high estimation by the Romans.

At the present day, few if any quarries are worked in Greece, so that almost all the statuary and white architectural marble employed throughout Europe and America is derived from the Apuan Alps.

From the circumstance of the marbles at Carrara (Massa Carrara) being found within a few miles of the ancient port of Luna, where it was employed in making the wall of the town, we may understand how the Romans should have turned their attention to it at an early period.

In the 16th century, the excavation of statuary marble was extended to Seravezza (Lucca), a town about ten miles east of Carrara, in the same range of mountains, while only within the last thirty years the marbles above the intermediate town of Massa (Massa Carrara) have been worked.  These towns are situated at the foot of the mountains on the three little rivers, Carrione, Seravezza, and Frigido respectively.  Each of these rivers flows through a deep valley it has cut for itself in the rock, numerous torrents on either side forming so many lateral valleys, so that the mountains have ridges often as sharp as the roof of a house.  Two quarries of white marble also belong to the intermediate commune of Montignoso.  On the north side of the Apuan Alps, behind Carrara and Seravezza, are the two communes of Vagli-sotto and Fivizzano, where the marbles are equally abundant, but have not yet been worked.

Excerpt from The Mineral Resources of Central Italy by William Paget Jervis – 1862


Further Reading and External Links

The Marble Museum of Carrara

Carrara Marble Minerals

The Growth of the Athenian Empire

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The Growth of the Athenian Empire  479-462 BC

A Greek BoatThe history of this time with its rush of events and its startling changes exhibits on the Athenian side a picture of astonishing and almost preternatural energy.  The transition from the Athenian hegemony to the Athenian empire was doubtless gradual, so that no one could determine precisely where the former ends and the latter begins: but it had been consummated before the thirty years’ truce, which was concluded fourteen years before the Peloponnesian War, and it was in fact the substantial cause of that war.  Empire then came to be held by Athens, partly as a fact established, resting on acquiescence rather than attachment or consent in the minds of the subjects, partly as a corollary from necessity of union combined with her superior force: while this latter point, superiority of force as a legitimate title, stood more and more forward, both in the language of her speakers and in the conceptions of her citizens.  Nay, the Athenian orators of the middle of the Peloponnesian War venture to affirm that their empire had been of this same character ever since the repulse of the Persians: an inaccuracy so manifest, that if we could suppose the speech made by the Athenian Euphemus at Camarina in 415 B.C., to have been heard by Themistocles or Aristides fifty years before, it would have been alike offensive to the prudence of the one and to the justice of the other.

The imperial state of Athens, that which she held at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, when her allies, except Chios and Lesbos, were tributary subjects, and when the AEgean Sea was an Athenian lake, was of course the period of her greatest splendour and greatest action upon the Grecian world.  It was also the period most impressive to historians, orators, and philosophers, suggesting the idea of some one state exercising dominion over the AEgean, as the natural condition of Greece, so that if Athens lost such dominion, it would be transferred to Sparta, holding out the dispersed maritime Greeks as a tempting prize for the aggressive schemes of some new conqueror, and even bringing up by association into men’s fancies the mythical Minos of Crete, and others, as having been rulers of the AEgean in times anterior to Athens.

Even those who lived under the full-grown Athenian empire had before them no good accounts of the incidents between 479-450 B.C.; for we may gather from the intimation of Thucydides, as well as from his barrenness of facts, that while there were chroniclers both for the Persian invasion and for the times before, no one cared for the times immediately succeeding.  Hence, the little light which has fallen upon this blank has all been borrowed – if we except the careful Thucydides – from a subsequent age; and the Athenian hegemony has been treated as a mere commencement of the Athenian empire: credit has been given to Athens for a long-sighted ambition, aiming from the Persian War downwards at results which perhaps Themistocles may have partially divined, but which only time and successive accidents opened even to distant view.

Excerpt from The Historians’ History of the World by Henry Smith Williams – 1907


Further Reading and External Links

iTunes U – FREE Video – Ancient Greek History

More on Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece for

Social Change and Postage

Postage and Social Changes in the 19th Century

Penny BlackA strenuous campaign for penny postage was begun in [1837] by Rowland Hill.  The existing practice was to charge for postage in proportion to the distance covered.  To send a letter from one part of London to another cost a penny; to send one from London to Edinburgh cost more than a shilling.  Daniel O’Connell complained that an Irish labourer in England, writing to and hearing from his family weekly, would spend more than one-fifth of his wages in postage.

Payment was usually made on delivery, and Rowland Hill has told us how his mother sometimes dreaded the arrival of a letter, lest she should not have the money to pay for it.  It sometimes happened that the poor, to get intelligence of each other’s welfare, would agree to send only an addressed sheet of paper; this the receiver would refuse to accept from the postman, who would carry it off, but its coming would show that the sender was well.  While the poor felt the heavy burden of postage, peers, members of the House of Commons, and high officials had the “franking” privilege, by which their own and their friends’ letters addressed by the holders of the privilege were carried free of charge.

Large areas of England were wholly without a postal service.  Cobden had his print-works in Sabden, a town with 12,000 inhabitants, but without a post-office.  And the existing inadequate system was cumbrous and expensive.   Elaborate accounts were kept with each postmaster for the unpaid letters sent to him, and upon routine, rather than upon the carriage of letters, the revenue was spent.  Hill proved, indeed, that the average cost of carrying letters was much less than a penny for each, and he urged that it was fair to make a uniform charge for all letters.  But the official world arrayed itself against him.  The authorities would not allow Hill into the London Post-Office to examine its workings, and they declared that the postal service could never deal with the immense mass of correspondence which cheap postage would invite.  But the business world supported the proposal, and in [1839] Lord Melbourne’s government established the penny post.  As Mr. Gladstone said, the improvement “ran like wildfire through the civilized world,” and it has become one of the most important factors in modern civilization.

Excerpt from The British Nation by George McKinnon Wrong – 1903


Further Reading and External Links

Rowland Hill – Postal Reformer on Wikipedia 



Social Change and Steam

The Great Western off New YorkThe First Trans-Atlantic Steamer

“In [1818] a steamship plied from New York to New Orleans as a packet, touching at Charlestown and the Havana.” (P. 269.)

(In [1819] the “Savannah” crossed in twenty-six days from New York to Liverpool, and afterwards went to St. Petersburg, using sail only during the greater part of the time.  Her voyage is too well known to be further noticed here, except to emphasize the fact that from St. Petersburg she returned to her port of departure in the United States.)

“During the year [1819] a vessel rigged as a ship, but furnished also with a steam-engine, was built at New York for the purpose of plying as a packet between that port and Charlestown, Cuba, and New Orleans.  Nothing was wanting except sufficient tonnage to have enabled this vessel to cross the Atlantic in a time as short as that employed by the steamships ‘Great Western’ and ‘Liverpool’ (P. 272.).

In [1820] steam packets were established between Holyhead and Dublin.  The regularity and safety with which the passages between Holyhead and Dublin were performed, established the fact of the superior safety of steamers in storms and dangerous seas.  Communications by lines of packets were speedily established between different points of the British Isles and from Great Britain to the Continent and have long existed to Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Calais, and Havre; and there are numerous steam packets plying between different parts of England and Ireland.  The most important line is that between London and Leith, in which the largest steam vessels built before those intended for the navy or crossing the Atlantic were employed.”

Excerpt from The First Trans-Atlantic Steamer by James Walker – 1898


Further Reading and External Links

Learn more about the British Steamship on Wikipedia


Social Change and the Telegraph


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The Telegraph and Social Changes in the 19th Century

In [1829] Morse paid another visit to Europe, and spent over three years in the principal art centres of the continent.  He had already lectured on the fine arts at the New York Athenaeum, and during his absence in Europe was appointed professor of the literature of the arts of design in the University of New York City.

On his return voyage to the United States, in [1832], Morse first essayed a practical application of the principles of the telegraph. A fellow-passenger, Dr. Charles T. Jackson, who had studied in the laboratories of Paris, described an experiment by which electricity had been instantaneously transmitted over a long length of wire.  Morse then suggested that messages could be thus transmitted by electricity.  Before the end of the voyage Morse had sketched a complete set of apparatus, and was laboring to formulate an alphabet.  After arriving in New York he continued his experiments, and by the end of that year had a great part of the necessary apparatus constructed.  But it was not till [1835] that he completed his first model of a recording instrument.  He was now able to show a telegraph in full operation over half a mile of wire stretched round a room.  Parts of the great scheme were due to the suggestions of others.  The inventor sought information from every available source.

Morse gave an exhibition of his apparatus to the students in the University of New York City.  Among those present was Alfred Vail, who invited Morse to Speedwell.  Vail’s father promised to assist with money in perfecting the invention.  It was estimated that a sum of two thousand dollars would be necessary to secure the patent and construct the required apparatus.  Morse had devised a system of leaden types, by which signals were recorded; but Vail constructed an instrument on a different principle, involving the lever or “point,” which produced dots and dashes.  His next step was to devise an alphabetical code.  This led to the production of the dot and dash alphabet known as the “Morse.”  In January, [1838], the completion of the machine was announced.  Judge Vail went into the operating room, and found his son at one end of a three-mile wire, stretched round the walls, and Morse at the other.  He wrote on paper, “A patient waiter is no loser,” and handing it to his son, said, “If you can dispatch this from one end, and Morse can read it at the other, then I shall be convinced.”  This was immediately done.  

General operating room at Western UnionIn [1837] Morse had filed his first caveat in the Patent Office, Washington, and asked Congress for an appropriation to build a telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore.


Excerpt from The Library of Historic Characters and Famous Events of All Nations and All Ages by John P Lamberton – 1900




Further Reading and External Links

A full size replica of first Samuel F.B. Morse’s demonstration model of 1837

The Invention of the Telegraph

1st Formal message sent – World Cuture Pictorial


Key West Citizen

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Key West Citizen

Marcy Bradshaw Darnall

Thrown upon his own resources at the early age of fifteen years, Marcy B. Darnall has been printer, soldier, musician and editor, filing each station with credit to himself and taking up a new line only where his own best interests were thereby served.  His unremitting devotion to whatever work he was engaged in and inherent belief that only “by learning the business” could success be attained did much to smooth the pathway, and prepare him for grasping and handling opportunity when it became his so that it was an easy transition from bandmaster in the army to business manager of a daily newspaper. 

It was no unfamiliar field upon which he entered, nor was his natural ability to adapt himself to conditions as he found them his greatest help.  That lay in his preparedness acquired by reason of his devotion to his work in former years.  As business manager of  The Key West Citizen he seems to have “found his stride” as he has met with gratifying success and has plans full of promise for the future… 

…He was appointed chief musician or bandmaster in the regular army June 18, [1901], and assigned to the duty of organizing the newly authorized Ninth Artillery Band at Fort Riley, Kan.  While leader of this band he also edited the Fort Riley Guidon, a weekly paper devoted to the interests of the Garrison, at the same time continuing his writing for various musical journals.  His band was ordered to the Key West, Fla., barracks for duty and made the change of stations in July, 1904.  In November, [1905], he secured control of The Key West Citizen, a weekly newspaper, which he conducted with his wife’s assistance, for a year, and retained his army position.  In November, [1906], a consolidation was effected with The Daily InterOcean, and he resigned his position as bandmaster in the army to become business manager of the consolidated enterprise, which was incorporated as The Citizen Publishing Company, the paper retaining the name of The Key West Citizen.  Under Mr. Darnall’s management, with the assistance of his wife as circulation manager, the circulation of The Citizen has been increased nearly 100 per cent, the size of the paper has been doubled and the gross receipts have grown over 200 per cent, all in eighteen months.  His entry into business life was a distinct loss to the musical profession in which he was considered an authority, especially in band organization and management.

Excerpt from Makers of America Volume 3 by A B Caldwell – 1909

Further Reading and External Links

Marcy B Darnall on Google Books

Marcy B Darnall and The Florence Herald

The Sponge Fishery


The Fisheries Exhibition Literature – Volume 5 – 1884

A Conference excerpt taken from The Fisheries Exhibition Literature Volume 5, for the International Fisheries Exhibition in London 1883.

Key West Sponge Market

The Sponge Fishery – The Florida Sponge grounds form three separate elongate stretches, along the southern and western coasts of the state. The first includes nearly all of the Florida Keys the second extends from Anclote Keys to Cedar Keys; and the third from just north of Cedar Keys to Saint Mark’s, in Apalachee Bay. The linear extent of these grounds is about 120 miles, and their breadth varies from a few miles to 15 or 20 miles. The total area of the Sponge grounds worked in 1880 was reckoned at about 3,000 square geographical miles, but this does not by any means cover the possibilities of the coast, as many additional sponging areas have been discovered since then.

Key West is the principal headquarters for the Sponge fleet. The Florida Sponge fishery differs from the Mediterranean in that no divers are employed. The Sponge fleet consists of over 100 vessels, ranging in size from 5 to 50 tons burden. The cruises last from four to eight weeks, at the end of which time the vessels return to Key West, a few only going to Apalachicola. The process of bleaching or liming Sponges has been extensively in vogue at Key West, but it is now meeting with much discouragement from the trade, for while it renders the Sponge much lighter in colour, it also partly destroys its fibre, and makes it less tough and durable. The Florida Sponges are all shipped from Key West and Apalachicola to New York. The value of the Florida  Sponge fishery to the fishermen averages about $200,000 annually.

“The Florida Sponge fishery originated about 1852, for, although the occurrence of Sponges on the Florida reefs was previously made known, the species were not supposed to be of commercial value. The industry has gradually developed to the present time, but during the past few years has remained at about the same standing. The demand for the better grades greatly exceeds the supply. Fully 75 per cent in value of all the Florida Sponges marketed are of the Sheepswool variety.”