PUZZLING

Folks visiting Auburn Valley State Park learn of the Garrett family, which first settled in the area in 1726, followed by the Marshall family 33 years later. Descendants of both families established water-powered grist and saw mills along the Red Clay Creek, which served as a stepping stone to becoming significant enterprises manufacturing snuff and paper. There is one other Delaware family, the Pusey family, that got their start on the same 2-mile stretch of the Red Clay. The Puseys later became Delaware’s largest manufacturers of cotton fabric products in the mid-1800s in Wilmington.

The Auburn/Yorklyn Puseys, related to the Pusey family that founded Pusey & Jones in Wilmington, were awarded multiple patents for improvements to spinning machines and for ice-making equipment. It is a patent of Joseph Pusey, a descendent of Jacob Pusey who owned Auburn Mill, that stands out as unique in that the patent is not for a machine or has anything to do with machinery or the textile industry or anything typical of what the various Pusey companies were involved in. The greater Pusey family business interests in Wilmington included textiles, ship building, railroad equipment, papermaking equipment of which some is in Auburn Factory, and industrial machinery. The non-business nature of this patent is way off the beaten trail of typical Pusey patents. What was Joseph’s patent for? As a hint, it is something designed for children; however, many adults might find it of interest.

Answer
In the early 1730s, settler John Garrett constructed a grist mill that resides today as the core of Marshall Brothers Paper Mill as perhaps some of the interior basement walls. Garrett eventually moved downstream on the Red Clay Creek a half mile to construct a snuff mill leaving the grist mill to his son Horatio Gates Garrett to operate as a paper mill. Horatio, for reasons lost in the cobwebs of time, was unsuccessful, perhaps because he couldn’t compete with the economies of scale present in Wilmington’s papermaking industry. On February 16, 1813 the original Garrett homestead and mill was sold at Sheriff’s Sale for $14,450 to Thomas Lea, a prosperous flour miller on Brandywine Creek. Lea’s nephew, Jacob Pusey, had an interest in the cotton trade and convinced his uncle to let him use the Garrett mill for making cotton fabrics for hosiery use. Lea referred to the former Garrett mill as Auburn Mill a name which is believed to have given rise to the area being called Auburn.

Jacob outfitted Auburn Mill by early 1814 with 1,224 spindles and other supporting textile machinery. He soon employed 43 workers. The mill employed 6 men, earning $6 per week (an 1830s work week being 6 working days of 11 hours/day); 12 women, earning $2 per week; and 25 children, earning $1.25 per week. After Lea dies around 1824, his widow sells some of Lea’s mills to reduce debt including the former Garrett mill and its 114-acres to Jacob Pusey for $10,500. By the early 1830s, Pusey’s Mill at Auburn as it is now known, is processing 70,000 and 100,000 lbs. of cotton into fabric per year primarily used for hosiery. Below is a modern photo of a similar English textile factory resembling what the inside of Pusey’s cotton mill at Auburn may have looked like.

In later years, Jacob’s sons Joseph Mendenhall Pusey and Edward Pusey, who were born in the Horatio Garrett home off what was then called Old Public Road (now Benge Road), took responsibility for daily operation of Pusey’s Mill at Auburn. With business booming, Jacob and son Joseph M. established a cotton wadding and cotton rope manufactory at Front and Tatnall Streets leaving brothers Lea and Edward to operate Pusey’s Mill on the Red Clay. Needing additional manufacturing space, the Pusey family purchased land at 13th and Poplar (now Clifford Brown Walk) Streets in Wilmington in 1860 where they construct a new cotton milling and manufacturing plant.

In 1868 the Pusey’s Delaware Cotton Mill, alternately called Wilmington Cotton Mill, a modern steam-powered, state-of-the-art textile mill along the Brandywine Creek, outproduced Auburn’s Pusey’s Mill resulting in the water powered Red Clay mill being offered for sale. Purchased by William & James Clark, they repurposed the mill for wool instead of cotton still running on water power. The Clark brothers were familiar with the woolen trade as sons of Henry Clark who operated a woolen mill on Hyde Run near Greenbank.

After a fire in 1869 destroys Auburn Factory as the Clark’s named it, the mill was left vacant until 1880 when it was rebuilt by the Clarks. In 1886 William bought out James’ interest. Another fire in 1888 destroyed Auburn Factory. Auburn Factory caught the interest of Israel & Elwood Marshall and Franklin Ewart in 1890 for use as a paper mill. Marshall & Ewart Company would go on to rebuild Auburn Factory for the 3rd time and produce a special blend of cotton rag based industrial paper required for the manufacturing of vulcanized fiber.

While most may be familiar with Pusey & Jones Company along the Christina and Delaware Rivers which was owned and operated by relatives of Jacob Pusey, the Brandywine Creek Pusey operation eventually passed to Lea and Edward Pusey. A major cotton textile manufacturer employing more than one hundred workers at its peak, Pusey’s operation became the largest in the state by the late 1800s. Lea Pusey expanded his interests becoming a major bagged stove coal distributor in Wilmington between 1860 to 1880. By 1900 the nearly century old Pusey operation was no longer competitive with larger more efficient operations in the southern states and went into receivership.

In answering this month’s question, some may have thought of another Pusey patent; for the matchbook. Joshua Pusey, yet another relative but a practicing lawyer from Lima, PA, loved cigars and hated carrying boxes of match sticks. He invented and patented the matchbook and Pusey & Jones developed the machinery to make the matchbooks.

The Pusey we’re thinking of in answer to our question is Joseph M. Pusey of Wilmington who patented a simple puzzle in 1907. The puzzle is presented as a square board with a hole drilled near each corner. With the board are two wooden dowels or posts with a pin or slot at one end, and two wooden dowels with a pin or slot at one end but also with short string attached, both strings being equal in length. With the posts inserted in the holes of the board, as stated in the patent, the object is to connect all the posts together with the two cords without lapping the cords or forming a double line of them in any direction, such that a cord covers each line of the X and the four sides of the [] (square) enclosing the X.

Would you like to try an solve Pusey’s Puzzle? From the patent we’ve reproduced Figure One so that it can be printed out. Click on the image and print several copies of it or draw the equivalent freehand on a blank sheet of paper. In the center is a square box [] which contains an X. The object is to “shadow” or “cover” each of the black lines (X and [] ) only one time.

Using a Red pencil (or any color of your choice) start at the dark gray Pin 2 at the lower left and route a line to any of the three remaining posts. Continue on with the red line to a 2nd post and then on to your 3rd post covering one of the paths at the center of the panel with each stroke between pins. Then with a Blue pencil (or your color choice again) do the same thing starting with the lighter Pin 2 at the lower right and route a line to any one of the posts as you did with the first line. Continue on with the blue line to a 2nd post and then on to your 3rd post covering one of the paths at the center of the panel. As you route the line, don’t lift your pen until you touch three additional posts after leaving the lower left/right post. You may have a red and blue line together on any post however you may NOT have a parallel red and blue lines anywhere and a line once leaving the ‘2’ position can only contact the other posts one time!

Can’t figure it out? Send an email to questions@auburnheights.org, and we’ll send you the patent, which includes the solution we’ve highlighted in color!

PUZZLED

Folks visiting Auburn Valley State Park learn of the Garrett family that first settled in the area in 1726 followed by the Marshall family 33 years later. Descendants of both families established water-powered grist and saw mills along the Red Clay Creek which served as a stepping stone to becoming significant enterprises manufacturing snuff and paper. There is one other Delaware family, the Pusey family, that got their start on the same 2-mile stretch of the Red Clay. The Puseys later became Delaware’s largest manufacturers of cotton fabric products in the mid-1800s in Wilmington.

The Auburn/Yorklyn Puseys, related to the Pusey family that founded Pusey & Jones in Wilmington, were awarded multiple patents for improvements to spinning machines and for ice-making equipment. It is a patent of Joseph Pusey, a descendent of Jacob Pusey who owned Auburn Mill, that stands out as unique in that the patent is not for a machine or has anything to do with machinery or the textile industry or anything typical of what the various Pusey companies were involved in. The greater Pusey family business interests in Wilmington included textiles, ship building, railroad equipment, papermaking equipment of which some is in Auburn Factory, and industrial machinery. The non-business nature of this patent is way off the beaten trail of typical Pusey patents. What was Joseph’s patent for? As a hint, it is something designed for children however many adults might find it of interest.

 

Answer
In the early 1730s, settler John Garrett constructed a grist mill that resides today as the core of Marshall Brothers Paper Mill as perhaps some of the interior basement walls. Garrett eventually moved downstream on the Red Clay Creek a half mile to construct a snuff mill leaving the grist mill to his son Horatio Gates Garrett to operate as a paper mill. Horatio, for reasons lost in the cobwebs of time, was unsuccessful, perhaps because he couldn’t compete with the economies of scale present in Wilmington’s papermaking industry. On February 16, 1813 the original Garrett homestead and mill was sold at Sheriff’s Sale for $14,450 to Thomas Lea, a prosperous flour miller on Brandywine Creek. Lea’s nephew, Jacob Pusey, had an interest in the cotton trade and convinced his uncle to let him use the Garrett mill for making cotton fabrics for hosiery use. Lea referred to the former Garrett mill as Auburn Mill a name which is believed to have given rise to the area being called Auburn.

Jacob outfitted Auburn Mill by early 1814 with 1,224 spindles and other supporting textile machinery. He soon employed 43 workers. The mill employed 6 men, earning $6 per week (an 1830s work week being 6 working days of 11 hours/day); 12 women, earning $2 per week; and 25 children, earning $1.25 per week. After Lea dies around 1824, his widow sells some of Lea’s mills to reduce debt including the former Garrett mill and its 114-acres to Jacob Pusey for $10,500. By the early 1830s, Pusey’s Mill at Auburn as it is now known, is processing 70,000 and 100,000 lbs. of cotton into fabric per year primarily used for hosiery. Below is a modern photo of a similar English textile factory resembling what the inside of Pusey’s cotton mill at Auburn may have looked like.

In later years, Jacob’s sons Joseph Mendenhall Pusey and Edward Pusey, who were born in the Horatio Garrett home off what was then called Old Public Road (now Benge Road), took responsibility for daily operation of Pusey’s Mill at Auburn. With business booming, Jacob and son Joseph M. established a cotton wadding and cotton rope manufactory at Front and Tatnall Streets leaving brothers Lea and Edward to operate Pusey’s Mill on the Red Clay. Needing additional manufacturing space, the Pusey family purchased land at 13th and Poplar (now Clifford Brown Walk) Streets in Wilmington in 1860 where they construct a new cotton milling and manufacturing plant.

In 1868 the Pusey’s Delaware Cotton Mill, alternately called Wilmington Cotton Mill, a modern steam-powered, state-of-the-art textile mill along the Brandywine Creek, outproduced Auburn’s Pusey’s Mill resulting in the water powered Red Clay mill being offered for sale. Purchased by William & James Clark, they repurposed the mill for wool instead of cotton still running on water power. The Clark brothers were familiar with the woolen trade as sons of Henry Clark who operated a woolen mill on Hyde Run near Greenbank.

After a fire in 1869 destroys Auburn Factory as the Clark’s named it, the mill was left vacant until 1880 when it was rebuilt by the Clarks. In 1886 William bought out James’ interest. Another fire in 1888 destroyed Auburn Factory. Auburn Factory caught the interest of Israel & Elwood Marshall and Franklin Ewart in 1890 for use as a paper mill. Marshall & Ewart Company would go on to rebuild Auburn Factory for the 3rd time and produce a special blend of cotton rag based industrial paper required for the manufacturing of vulcanized fiber.

While most may be familiar with Pusey & Jones Company along the Christina and Delaware Rivers which was owned and operated by relatives of Jacob Pusey, the Brandywine Creek Pusey operation eventually passed to Lea and Edward Pusey. A major cotton textile manufacturer employing more than one hundred workers at its peak, Pusey’s operation became the largest in the state by the late 1800s. Lea Pusey expanded his interests becoming a major bagged stove coal distributor in Wilmington between 1860 to 1880. By 1900 the nearly century old Pusey operation was no longer competitive with larger more efficient operations in the southern states and went into receivership.

In answering this month’s question some may have thought of another Pusey patent; for the matchbook. Joshua Pusey, yet another relative but a practicing lawyer from Lima, PA, loved cigars and hated carrying boxes of match sticks. He invented and patented the matchbook and Pusey & Jones developed the machinery to make the matchbooks.

The Pusey we’re thinking of in answer to our question is Joseph M. Pusey of Wilmington who patented a simple puzzle in 1907. The puzzle is presented as a square board with a hole drilled near each corner. With the board are two wooden dowels or posts with a pin or slot at one end, and two wooden dowels with a pin or slot at one end but also with short string attached, both strings being equal in length. With the posts inserted in the holes of the board, as stated in the patent, the object is to connect all the posts together with the two cords without lapping the cords or forming a double line of them in any direction, such that a cord covers each line of the X and the four sides of the [] (square) enclosing the X.

 

Would you like to try and solve Pusey’s Puzzle?
From the patent we’ve reproduced Figure One so that it can be printed out. Click on the image and print several copies of it or draw the equivalent freehand on a blank sheet of paper. In the center is a square box [] which contains an X. The object is to ‘shadow’ or ‘cover’ each of the black lines (X and [] ) only one time.

Download Pusey’s Puzzle Here

Using a Red pencil (or any color of your choice) start at the dark gray Pin 2 at the lower left and route a line to any of the three remaining posts. Continue on with the red line to a 2nd post and then on to your 3rd post covering one of the paths at the center of the panel with each stroke between pins. Then with a Blue pencil (or your color choice again) do the same thing starting with the lighter Pin 2 at the lower right and route a line to any one of the posts as you did with the first line. Continue on with the blue line to a 2nd post and then on to your 3rd post covering one of the paths at the center of the panel. As you route the line, don’t lift your pen until you touch three additional posts after leaving the lower left/right post. You may have a red and blue line together on any post however you may NOT have a parallel red and blue lines anywhere and a line once leaving the ‘2’ position can only contact the other posts one time!

Can’t figure it out? Send an email to questions ‘at’ auburnheights ‘dot’ org and we’ll send you the patent which includes the solution we’ve highlighted in color!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MISMATCHED STATION

This Month’s Q&A was submitted by FAH member, Elliott M. Warburton, a young historian attending A.I. DuPont High School.

Photographic records of the stations along the original Wilmington & Western Rail Road thankfully exist for all stations. Pictured is an Intaglio engraving produced print of the railroad’s first Wilmington Station (left) and Wilmington Freight Depot (right) from Lippincotts Magazine, April 1873 showing typical construction. We can confirm that the stations that once stood along the line were mostly identical, and all appeared similar to our community’s beloved Yorklyn Station. That is, except for one. There is one station, known to have stood alongside the Branch, that is completely different in design from not only Yorklyn Station, but every other station constructed along the line. It appears to be, in an 1895 photograph by Charles Philips, a two-story, peaked roof structure, with absolutely no similarities to Yorklyn Station or any of the others at all. What station is this, and why is it so different from any other station along the line?

 

Answer

Throughout the history of Yorklyn, there have been numerous structures that have architecturally become staples of the community. Within this category, we have places like Auburn Heights, various Garrett homes, and when looking back at what once was in Yorklyn, numerous ornate mills that emphasized architecture (Garrett Snuff Mill below; E. Christofano 1986) as much as they did production capabilities. One important structure, which is no longer within the boundaries of Yorklyn (but nevertheless holds much value to our community), is the Wilmington & Western Rail Road’s (WWRR) Yorklyn Station, which was moved to Greenbank in 1968. The structure was moved following Tom Marshall’s and other’s interest in the Baltimore & Ohio’s Landenberg Branch, to revive branch steam passenger service between Greenbank and Hockessin (Landenberg, the end of the original Wilmington & Western, was inaccessible by rail following the 1950s removal of the right-of-way after Valley Road in Hockessin).

But another reason the station was relocated was for proper preservation by dedicated enthusiasts. The only reason the station survived as long as it did was due to the freight services NVF still needed into the 1960’s, and the desire to have an office close to the primary remaining freight operation along the branch. Yorklyn Station was, in reality, one of nine nearly identical stations constructed by the first incarnation of the Wilmington & Western between its Wilmington origin, and it’s Landenberg terminus.

Ironically, for Landenberg station, constant relocation of the WWRR’s Wilmington Station eventually resulted in the first WWRR Wilmington Station being disassembled and reassembled in Landenberg to become Landenberg Station. As a result of the flat-roofed design of the stations, and the probability of lack of routine maintenance to all the stations in times of financial difficulty or when they were closed, Yorklyn Station became the sole surviving station by the mid-20th century. Hockessin Station, of similar design to Yorklyn Station, became the only remaining station when Hockessin Station was torn down in 1950.

The station in question, once standing near Mt. Cuba Road covered bridge, was the primary station for the Mt. Cuba community on the Christiana and Mill Creek Hundred sides of the Red Clay. It appears in an 1895 photograph by Charles Philips (shown right and close-up below, ca. 1890s, from Charles Philips Collection at Chester County Historical Society) as a two-story, peaked roof structure, with absolutely no similarities to Yorklyn Station at all. What makes Mt. Cuba’s station different from the station at Yorklyn can mainly be accredited to the fact that the structure was not actually erected by the original incarnation of the Wilmington & Western (1869-1877), but was a pre-existing structure, likely a private residence, repurposed for the railroad at Mt. Cuba.

Mt. Cuba Station actually represents a unique case in the original WWRR’s history when the company decided to use an existing structure for their infrastructure, rather than fabricate an entirely new building, as they had for every other depot along the line. Why the company may have chosen to do this may have been a result of their financial difficulties during the railroad’s construction, which possibly impaired the Company’s ability to erect a new station at Mt. Cuba (or Cuba Hill, a name often exchanged with Mt. Cuba until 1872). It is important to keep in mind that Mt. Cuba rock cut, the monstrously challenging final roadblock of the line, was within the vicinity of the station. On a railroad that started construction crews at Wilmington and Landenberg in 1871 and laid rails west and east respectively until they met at Mt. Cuba, further construction within the area had become a costly and potentially bankrupting effort for the railroad.

Another possible reason the structure may have been repurposed as a station could have been out of pure coincidence. It was in the Wilmington & Western’s best interest to build a railroad at least cost, or essentially, the easiest way possible. Unfortunately, the area around Mt. Cuba Road offers few places to go besides directly in front of what was then a private residence (see map below).

The residence, as deduced from maps and records, was likely constructed by one J. Curley between 1850 and 1865. The property changed hands from Curley to a more established Mt. Cuba resident, Thomas Vandever, sometime between 1868 and 1872. Vandever, a prosperous farmer in the Mt. Cuba area, may have seen the railroad’s approach as a chance to buy up as much land adjacent to the creek as possible in order to make a profit; a common real estate tactic at the time.

In the case of the “Curley Home,” Vandever perhaps saw the property as a chance to potentially provide a depot to the railroad in order to ship his and his neighbor’s farm goods at the least cost to the community. If a new station needed to be constructed, it might be expected a station might’ve been built farther away from the Mt. Cuba farmers. Because of this, Vandever likely purchased the home, and within a short time of his acquisition, released it to the railroad for official public use. This situation, using a pre-existing structure for a new and important role, provided a unique opportunity for the local community to use a structure in a multitude of different roles.

We commonly view Yorklyn Station as being utilitarian during its time in Yorklyn. Yorklyn Station was railroad property from its construction to its final days in its original home in 1968. But as for Mt. Cuba Station, after being a private residence, the structure became a focal point of community activities, not only providing a rail connection to Wilmington and beyond, but providing a place for auctions, public gatherings, and other events of interest. Not to mention, a system of sidings (north of Mt. Cuba Road, shown on map) at Mt. Cuba were some of the largest along the line that weren’t tied to production facilities like Garrett Snuff Mills or the Marshall Rolling Mills in Marshallton. Mt. Cuba Station acted as one of the most capable places along the line for processing livestock, farm products, and smaller local milling shipments. It is also known that the station acted as one of the major centers for the region’s milk shipments along the WWRR. Just beyond the station was a picnic grove, still in use today, that the Wilmington & Western used heavily for special events and excursions in the 1870s.

The appearance of the station as different and older, though contrary to railroad President Joshua Heald’s view on WWRR stations, is an important reminder to some of the decisions made by the Wilmington & Western Rail Road during its construction period. But more importantly to us, Mt. Cuba Station shows exactly how crucial these structures were for the communities they served. Though different in design, the Mt. Cuba Station still proved an important community center for Mt. Cuba, similar to how we have come to retrospectively view Yorklyn Station as the center of our community when we still had the chance to have it nearby.

With the closure of places like the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove by 1900, the town lost an important tourist attraction that drew people to the community. A 1927 Baltimore & Ohio photograph of the station (above right), the best one that can be produced of the site, shows the aging structure falling into disrepair, far beyond any state of grandeur as an original WWRR station. Officially, a benchmark date for the “dissolution” of the Mt. Cuba community could be seen as July 15, 1933 when the community’s post office officially closed. Without passenger service, which had been discontinued in 1930, it is assumed the station and home fell into disrepair. Due to the absence of any visible infrastructure at Mt. Cuba revealed on Delaware State Aerial Photographs from 1937, it can be assumed the 80-year-old home and station were lost to the same fate as stations like Ashland, Hockessin, and Landenberg (pictured below just before razing; New Garden Historical Society), leaving Yorklyn Station as yet another important survivor of the railroading age of the Red Clay Valley.

THE SPRING MOTOR

When one visits Auburn Valley State Park to tour the Marshall mansion, the Marshall Steam Museum, or Marshall Brothers paper mill a visitor takes a trip back in time exploring living as it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While visitors enjoy the contents of the mansion or a ride in a steam car, they often overlook the backstory that is being told. For example, docents are often asked, “How fast can a Stanley go?” In 1906 a Stanley set the world speed record of 127.6 miles per hour, but that was a special-purpose vehicle. On today’s roads a Stanley has no problem doing 35 MPH while maintaining boiler steam pressure. Visitors will often comment, “that’s slow”  as they use today’s modern vehicle speeds as their comparison.

When reminded of the high-crown dirt roads of the early 20th century and that it was the late 1910s before Delaware started thinking about paving rural roads, visitors realize driving at speeds of more than perhaps 10 MPH on those rural roads produced a very bumpy and potentially hazardous travel experience. Horse-drawn carriages and stage coaches might sustain 10 MPH and travel 100 miles in a day depending on road conditions, weight of the coach/carriage pulled, weather, etc. The motor carriage (steam, electric, or internal combustion powered) was an improvement but a long way from what we experience today. Visitors often relate what they see and experience at Auburn Heights to modern interpretation. Once reminded of the backstory present a century ago, an Auburn Heights experience often takes on a whole different meaning.

For the next few months, the Friends of Auburn Heights presents Changing Tunes: Evolution of Music at Home. The exhibit explores the evolving technology that brought music into the home and out onto the street from the 1880s through today. Many of the objects on display are still operational, and at select times on Steamin’ Days and museum open afternoons on Thursdays and Fridays, the musical instruments are demonstrated so visitors may hear how times and tunes have changed.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, mechanical music machines were amazing devices and beautiful to listen to, but today the backstory mustn’t be overlooked. These are purely mechanical music-making machines that applied mankind’s most basic understandings of science to produce sound. There are no digital electronics, no batteries, no circuit boards, or similar things we take for granted today. The music is preserved and replayed multiple times through the use of pins on cylinders, holes in paper, or varying width/depth spiral grooves. The “motor” powering the music machine doesn’t require electricity from a wall receptacle or battery.

An 1800s music machine contains but few mechanical parts and needed oiling, or other occasional maintenance. Sound is created and amplified in a purely mechanical way from its creation with the pluck of a metal strip or the vibration caused by moving air across a thin strip of metal that resonates. Amplification of recorded sound is afforded by mechanical diaphragms and resonance chambers. A listener is permitted to hear only ‘a’ selection before a change of cylinder, or disk, or roll must be performed to hear the next selection. A listening experience was but a few minutes duration unlike the “set it and forget it” nature of today’s music devices, which provide an “endless music experience.” Ownership in the 1800s of an automated music machine implied the owner to be successful or be from an “old money” family.

Just as mill ponds were the energy source for water wheels powering the mills along the Red Clay Creek, and boilers pressurized with steam suppled energy to steam engines during the magic age of steam, the astute observer will note the mechanical music machines rely on a miniaturized purely mechanical power storage system. What is this power storage system?

 

Answer

Many of the mechanical music machines demonstrated as part of the Changing Tunes exhibit rely on a human to provide a temporary “charge” to the music machine in order for it to function while others are more primitive requiring human power continuously applied (hand cranking) for operation. Mechanical music machines that used “stored power” are charged mechanically through a human turning a crank. The kinetic energy of cranking is stored mechanically, at potential energy, in a strip of steel known as a spring the music machine will subsequently use for the playing of a tune. The circular motion with one’s hand on a crank is transformed by gearing into for storage using a long strip of metal called a mainspring.

While Auburn Heights was constructed with “modern direct current electrical lighting,” the mansion’s Regina music box and other music-making antques throughout the house and museum don’t include a power cord or battery to provide power for their operation unlike music devices today. In fact, from 1897 until the start of the 1910s, even plugging in an electrical device was not possible as the modern-day wall receptacle wasn’t invented until 1904! Power for these antique mechanical music machines could only be supplied by a mainspring or continuous cranking by the listener as these were the primary power sources used more than a century ago. The mainspring is part of a the “spring motor” powering the music box or even a clock. Spring motors have been around since the 15th century, if not earlier, powering all sorts of devices.

Power springs and spring motors may be “charged” usually by cranking a crank or twisting a key. When power is needed, the spring’s stored potential energy is released as rotational kinetic energy to drive the music box, a grandfather’s clock, or child’s toy. The compact size and simple design of a mainspring and spring motor make them relatively worry-free in application. Through a train of gears and speed governing devices, all mechanical in nature as well, a very precise delivery of power results. The beauty of the spring motor was it could provide power for longer periods of time, up to 30 days in the case of some mechanical clocks.

 

OWNED BY A COMPETITOR

Opened in October 1872, the Wilmington & Western Rail Road flourished for several years before falling to receivership and being reorganized as the Delaware Western Railroad. The Delaware Western was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) in March 1881 as a means to enable additional tracks to be laid in Delaware. Today, what remains of the original 19.7-mile route still connects Marshallton and Hockessin (originally connected Wilmington, DE with Landenberg, PA). In 1888, renamed as the Landenberg Branch of the B&O, the line once displaying Delaware Western on the locomotives, freight and passenger cars, now displayed B&O livery.

By 1890, the B&O was in financial trouble due to the rate structure of freight operations even though the railroad made generous profit on passenger operations. The B&O sold their telegraph service to Western Union, express freight operations to United States Express Company, and their sleeping car equipment and franchises to Pullman Company as a means to show annual profits to the stockholders. By the late 1890s,the financial tricks to keep the railroad solvent were exhausted and reorganization without foreclosure was actively considered. Bankruptcy occurred in 1896. Reorganization allowed the B&O by the early 1900s to appear very successful once again. In the mid-1930s the B&O maintained more than 6,300 miles of track and advertised itself as “Linking 13 Great States with the Nation.”

Another railroad took control of the B&O during the 1896 bankruptcy period just mentioned. Which railroad took a majority stock interest in the B&O during this reorganization?

Answer
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the nation’s first common carrier railroad, and at the time the nation’s oldest railroad, sold more than half the outstanding shares of common and preferred stock to the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), one of the B&O’s strongest competitors, to help finance the reorganization effort. As a result, when the B&O exited reorganization, it could be argued that the PRR effectively ‘owned’ the B&O although the PRR chose not to push the situation because of increasing antitrust investigations underway by the U.S. Government.  The PRR chose to seat five individuals on the B&O Board but let the railroad maintain its independence of operations and management as the B&O. Because of government antitrust actions, in 1906 the PRR divested its controlling interest in the B&O by selling shares to Union Pacific and other railroads and investors.

From the 1930s into the 1970s, all of the nation’s railroads experienced a slow decline in passenger ridership and freight tons carried per mile. While the Great Depression saw a heavy decline of railroad traffic in general and a number of bankruptcies, the automobile and trucking industry contributed to the continued degradation of the nation’s passenger and freight railroads. By the early 1960s few railroads in the U.S. remained profitable.

The B&O was typical of nation’s east coast railroads as most were either dealing with red ink in their financial ledgers or they were already in bankruptcy, reorganization, or consolidation. As the Baltimore and Ohio continued to lose money, the directors sought out a financially sound company with deep roots in American railroad history with which to merge. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O) formally took control of the B&O in 1963. The combined B&O and C&O purchased Western Maryland Railroad forming Chessie System in 1972.

In similar fashion, the U.S. Government consolidated passenger traffic into Amtrak and formed Conrail in 1976 from several east coast railroads in bankruptcy. In 1980 further railroad consolidations saw Chessie System become part of the newly formed CSX Corporation. CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway, agreed to acquire Conrail in 1998 by splitting it into two roughly-equal parts with both owning some shared assets in New Jersey, Detroit, and Philadelphia.

After a failed abandonment attempt of the Landenberg Branch in 1972 by Chessie System, CSX was granted abandonment of the former B&O Landenberg Branch in 1982. Historic Red Clay Valley, incorporated, the organization founded by Thomas C. Marshall and others in the 1960s to operate steam tourist trains on the Landenberg Branch, raised $90,000 to purchase the 64-acre right-of-way and a diesel locomotive from CSX. HRCV formed Wilmington & Western Railway (WWRY) for track maintenance and to make freight moves that have become increasingly rare occurrences.

THE WHEEL MONKEY

National Train Day (generally celebrated the 1st or 2nd weekend of May, depending on organization) was begun in 2008 by Amtrak to celebrate not only their start of operations in May 1971 but what all railroads have contributed to the growth of the United States. Amtrak ended their official celebration practice eight years later in 2016, although the recognition continues unofficially.

As rail accidents had been on the increase throughout the 1960s, President Nixon signed into law the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970. This act extended the Department of Transportation’s role in fostering the safe operation of railroads by assigning a defined safety role for the Federal Railroad Administration more comparable to the safety roles performed by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard.

As a result, items like those pictured below were defined with the workers using them often called “wheel monkeys.” What are/were the items below used for in the railroad industry?

Answer
Investigations revealed that many railroad incidents and accidents were the result of poorly maintained railroad wheels and track structure. As a result, stricter regulations were put in place in 1970 for all railroads to follow regarding the routine maintenance of railroad wheels and track structures including the contours of rails and wheels. The three gauges pictured above were developed to determine an acceptable vs failing condition for in-service wheel defects routinely observed. The FRA developed a set of minimum requirements any wheel in service had to meet and the gauges above, along with others, allowed quick determination if a wheel complied with minimally acceptable wear and use criteria or had to be removed from service as defective.

As a result of the Act, railroad incidents involving track and car wheels dropped considerably. Today, many of these measurements are done electronically using cameras, ultrasonic, and magnetic resonance testing techniques as cars pass through freight yards. While it may still be possible to hear a railroad car moving past with a wheel thumping like a hammer on a kettle drum (due to having had the wheel slid and a flat spot developing) when one is stopped at a railroad crossing, the car is either being relocated for wheel replacement or about to be flagged as no longer serviceable in need of wheel replacement when it reaches the next interchange yard.

The YouTube video below details how the gauges above are used to make a quick confirmation that a railroad wheel is defective and must be removed for maintenance. A wheel out of compliance may be placed on a wheel lathe at a railroad shop and recontoured to passing status several times before it becomes scrap and must be returned to a foundry for melting back into other steel products.

BOGEY

Trap shooting is the oldest shotgun sport in America having evolved from the shooting of live pigeons in England during the late 1700s. By the middle 1800s, pigeon shooting clubs had sprung up across America and the capture of live pigeons could not keep up with demand. Various alternates for the live birds were tried including glass balls filled with pigeon feathers as is on display in Auburn Heights mansion. In 1880 George Ligowsky of Cincinnati, OH invented the clay target, known as the “clay pigeon.” The first U.S. National Championship was held in New Orleans, LA, in 1885. In 1921 T. Clarence Marshall established the Yorklyn Gun Club, which lasted until 1950.

Pigeons were caught in wooden boxes called “traps” and is from which the name for the sport originates. While “trappers” were the individuals that caught the live pigeons, the term was carried over to the sport to become the name given the individual that released Ligowsky’s clay pigeons into the air. The spring-loaded device that originally flung a clay pigeon into the air would be cocked and loaded by the trapper. A strong tug on a cord by the trapper released the clay pigeon into the air and is the basis for the term “pull” said by a shooter when he’s ready for a clay pigeon to be released.

In trap shooting a clay pigeon is released into a flightpath somewhat parallel to the shotgun’s barrel whereas with skeet shooting the target is released to fly perpendicular to the shotgun’s barrel. The term “bogey” refers to a clay pigeon that is released at an extreme angle (up to 22.5-degrees) to the line between the shooter and trap house.
 
The term “bogey” is often heard in reference to an unknown or unidentified aircraft in wartime. Tom Marshall and his aircraft crew would have been on the lookout for “bogey aircraft” during their weather flights of World War II. The wheel assembly at either end of a railroad car, while called a truck in America, is referred to as a bogey in Europe. A bogey in golf refers to requiring one more stroke than the defined par for a given hole on the course. A golfer that plays “bogey golf” required 90 shots on a par 72 golf course. Clarence Marshall might have purchased “bogey tubes.” What are “bogey tubes”?
 

Answer
Another use of the term “bogey” is a defined standard of performance to be met. The term was often encountered when purchasing audions, also known as vacuum or electron tubes at the start of the 1900s. On display in the Marshall Steam Museum is a very early Westinghouse shortwave radio. Inside the radio are three electron tubes. The three tubes as well as the other electronic components had optimum or bogey values defined which insured the optimum performance of the radio.

The vacuum tubes in the radio had limited life (generally only a couple years). As radio performance degraded, Clarence would have to replace the vacuum tubes. While numerous companies such as RCA, Philips, and Western Electric made replacement tubes, spending more money for “bogey tubes” ensured optimum performance for the radio. Bogey tubes are those tubes were all required critical specifications were within the specified tolerance for the given performance value.

The two large power tubes in the image below normally should not display a blue glow. The only color should be the orange of the heated filaments similar to the smaller tubes at left. The blue glow is plasma discharge occurring with air molecules inside the glass envelope indicating the tube is becoming “gassy” by losing its vacuum. The tube’s performance will degrade as additional leakage occurs until failure. The orange glow produced by the incandescent filament is similar to a light bulb’s operation and the filament eventually burns up as more oxygen enters the glass envelope.

In the early days of electronics manufacturing, seven levels quality control were sometimes used to define how a manufactured component could be used. The highest quality level, a bogey component such as a bogey tube, was assigned quality control levels 1 through 4. These would be sold as the premium, highest quality components and commanded the highest prices. Level 1 tubes, with performance levels exactly meeting specification with little variance, would be destined for internal company use as well as military products. Level 2 components would go into company products with level 3 units sold to other companies for use in their products. Level 4, was just within specification, were often sold as retail product in America and to foreign companies. Level 5 and 6 would have one or more quality control parameters out of specification but still perform reasonably well. These off-specification units would be sold to foreign markets for use by equipment makers and experimenters and hobbyists. Level 7 had most specification parameters out of range and end up being sold to recyclers.

YORKLYN FAKE NEWS

Fake News, also referred to as yellow journalism in the past, is the publishing or sharing of misleading information, presented in a news format, with the purpose of causing damage or harm to a business, person, government, or similar. According to scholars, the last time levels of fake news usage reached epidemic levels similar to what we experience today was in the 1890s. In 1894 Frederick Burr Opper penned a cartoon highlighting reporters anxious to spread fake news to their readership.

Displayed are two articles found in the Evening Journal and one in The Sun in 1900 and 1901. All three articles involve Israel Marshall and are obviously fake news reporting. The Marshall family were of Quaker belief making a reference to becoming a large manufacturer of a tobacco product dubious. While not banned, alcohol and tobacco products were generally avoided by the Marshalls.

The Marshall’s expertise was in making industrial rag paper and their three paper mills were operating near maximum capacity. If anything, they might have considered a fourth papermaking plant and not competing with their neighbor, the Garrett family, who produced 1.5 million pounds of smokeless tobacco products annually by 1900.

While ink can be indelible, papers generally were not a century ago. In the late 1800s, ‘indelible pencils’, also known as ‘copying pencils’, were the means used for copying documents. An individual composed a document using an indelible pencil containing a water-soluble dye mixed with the graphite. When the document was complete, a piece of moist tissue paper, placed on the document and pressed with a warm iron, transferred the dye from the graphite writing to the tissue paper providing a copy that could be read through the tissue paper when placed against a window pane.

Why might these fake news articles have appeared in local newspapers?

 

Answer
The ‘new mill’ referenced is no doubt the Insulite Mill that was constructed in 1899-1900 diagonally across from the Marshall Brothers Mill on Benge Road. While what follows is speculative, it is based on known facts of the time.

Israel and Elwood Marshall supplied the vulcanized fibre manufacturing market industrial rag paper for several decades prior to 1900. The Marshall companies of T.S. Marshall & Son (Marshalls Bridge, PA), Marshall Brothers (Yorklyn, DE), and Marshall & Mitchell (Wooddale, DE) were premier suppliers of vulcanizing paper to more than a half dozen firms in Wilmington, Newport, Stanton, and Newark.

Israel would have visited vulcanized fibre organizations numerous times to understood how each made their vulcanized fibre when he was called upon to develop a custom paper for a particular firm. Records reference Marshall papers returned for failure to vulcanizing properly which Israel might have investigated with a trip to the vulcanized fibre company. This access provided Israel a unique perspective and insight into the best (and not so good) ways of converting Marshall rag paper into fibre using zinc chloride as well as the many problems that plagued the labor-intensive manufacturing processes.

From Israel’s fibre company visits we can logically deduce that by the late 1890s Israel would have started to develop concepts relating to an automated vulcanized fibre manufacturing process using Marshall cotton rag paper as the primary raw material. The issue for Israel would have been how to physically prototype his automated fiber-making process without alerting his paper customers that he was doing so! Fortunately for Israel there were several means to do this at his disposal.

In 1898 Israel and Elwood had started the Fibre Specialty Company in Kennett Square to make the Hercules line of vulcanized fibre cases, trunks, suitcases, and similar products. Marshall rag paper went to one of the vulcanized fibre companies for conversion into fiber sheet which Fibre Specialty then purchased for the construction of their manufactured products. There are general ledger entries indicating Marshall Brothers specialty papers went directly to Fibre Specialty for conversion into finished products.

Israel’s 1887 patent for the ‘Manufacture of Water-Proof Building-Paper’ (Patent 356,367) which may have been made at the Homestead Mill during the 1880s. This patent describes a replacement product for tar paper that was saturated with resin, tallow, lard, or similar. Sold through the Marshall paper store in Wilmington under the name of Pioneer Building Paper, it was advertised for its lack of odor unlike the coal-tar based papers it competed with. The Marshalls also advertised their paper for carpet underlayment among other uses as the included ads from the period indicate. The patent describes a manufacturing process very much mimicking vulcanized fibre production.

To manufacture finished goods such as cases and trunks and create specialty paper products, a supplier of manufacturing equipment must have been required. Wilmington Malleable Iron Company manufactured presses, punches, and steam bending machines suitable for working vulcanized fibre and other materials. While we don’t know if Israel and Elwood purchased machinery from William H. Bayley, president to Wilmington Malleable Iron Company, the possibility seems likely. Note that the reference to T.S. Marshall (Thomas Smedley Marshall – Israel & Elwood’s father) was probably T.E. Marshall (Thomas Elwood Marshall, Israel’s younger brother) as T.S Marshall had passed away in 1887.

In addition, American Tobacco Company, recent new owner of the Garrett Snuff Mills, was erecting another snuff mill adjacent to the former Garrett Snuff Mill #2. Constructed to replace the Garrett’s Philadelphia store where smokeless tobacco products were manually packed, the new mill utilized modern automated packing equipment. While the actual Garrett equipment supplier is unknown, packing equipment was another product produced by the Wilmington Malleable Iron Company. The newspaper article relating to erecting a large snuff mill definitely qualifies as fake news either by honest error on the part of the writer or on the part of those providing the information so as not to tip off competitors as to actual plans.

The Marshalls may have wished to expand the production of Pioneer Building Paper which was first made at their Homestead Paper Mill at Marshalls Bridge, PA. The Insulite Mill construction was started in 1899 and completed in 1900. On the first floor, Pusey & Jones equipment used by some of the local vulcanized fibre companies, was installed. While it is difficult to know for sure, it is entirely possible for Pioneer Building Paper to have been manufactured on the ground floor of the new Yorklyn mill using fiber-making equipment.

It is interesting to note that in 1901 the Marshall’s received a trademark for ‘Insulite’, a paper for electrical insulating use. We know from Marshall Brothers general ledger entries that Israel produced cotton rag papers containing asbestos, mica, and other minerals mixed with the pulp at Yorklyn! The asbestos and mica impregnated rag papers, made in the Marshall Brothers Mill, while not suitable for vulcanizing, might have been treated in the Insulite Mill with similar coating materials used in making Pioneer Building Paper. Various resins and lacquers found use in the electrical industry a century ago to bind materials together, especially electrical insulating materials. The Marshalls sold their Insulite paper for 20-cents per pound. The manufacture of ‘Insulite’ at Yorklyn might explain the newspaper articles describing indelible papers in that the reporter confused ‘insulite’ with ‘indelible’.

On the second floor of the Insulite Mill, Israel prototyped his eventually patented Endless Fibre Machine. While the first floor might have been making Insulite paper or even vulcanized fibre using equipment and processes in common use at the time, on the second floor, Israel and a couple of trusted employees, worked undisturbed on development of the endless fibre machine! We know that at the end of 1904 the Marshalls incorporated National Fibre & Insulation and began construction of the #1 Fibre Mill. Tom Marshall has written that equipment from the Insulite Mill was relocated to the #1 Fibre Mill after the building was reconstructed a second time in 1905 as a result of a tornado destroying the still under construction mill building (shown above from the Clarence Marshall Collection at Hagley Digital Archive).

MAZDA CANDLES

During the early adolescence of the automotive age, many motorists not only carried a complete toolbox in their trunks, the glove compartments of their vehicles often included kits of automotive fuses, replacement lamps, cotter keys, and other driver replaceable automotive items. Pictured are two automotive era lamp kits, one from General Electric and the other from Westinghouse. Both companies offered trademarked MAZDA lamps rated at 6-8 volts and produced until the start of World War II. 
 
In 1906, General Electric Corporation developed the first tungsten filament, electric illuminating lamp. GE introduced the MAZDA brand of tungsten lamps as a revolutionary new lighting technology in 1909, which has endured into the 21st century. Tungsten filaments do not off-gas material turning the inside of a glass envelope black and tungsten filaments are economical to produce. A MAZDA lamp consumed less power than their carbon filament equivalent, but were more expensive to purchase due to their extended lifetimes than the more common technology carbon filament bulbs installed by automotive manufacturers.
 
The MAZDA name means “light of wisdom” in the language of Zoroastrian, which is an early Iranian language. GE licensed the MAZDA name, bulb manufacturing process, and scientific technology to their primary competitor, Westinghouse, and others. GE desired to establish lighting standards for bulb and socket sizes, illumination patterns, intensities, color temperatures, and ratings, along with other technical attributes. 
 
Close examination of the bulbs pictured reveals the MAZDA logo along with the operating voltage of 6-8 volts. Early automobiles operated with a 6-volt electrical system unlike the 12-volt systems used in automobiles today. You’ll note the bulbs are marked 32&21C or 15C or 3C. What does this alphanumeric marking indicate with respect to the bulb’s performance?
 

Answer
While many credit Edison as having “invented” the electric lamp, this is inaccurate. Sir Humphry Davy demonstrated illumination using electricity in 1809 but the glowing filament burned out within minutes. Joseph Swan experimented with various incandescent light ideas starting in 1850 but his major weakness was the lack of a perfect vacuum inside the glass envelop and his bulbs self-extinguished in a few hours.

Edison’s most significant contribution was the development of a long-burning filament material when placed in a near-perfect vacuum ensuring a bulb burned for hundreds of hours. Edison and his partners then designed the equipment and distribution infrastructure to generate electricity with water or steam power and to distribute that direct current power on a commercial scale. Edison’s electrical manufacturing operations provided wire, switches, sockets, and wiring hardware for use in residences and small businesses where his improved electric lamp could be used.

Ironically Edison’s earliest bulbs used a cotton sewing fiber strengthened by zinc chloride immersion prior to carbonization into a lamp filament. If cotton and zinc chloride sound familiar, it is because cotton rag paper immersed in zinc chloride become vulcanized fibre! Edison perfected a means to remove all of the air within the glass envelope which with his cotton, and later bamboo filaments, allowed the commercialization of electric lamps. Edison used carbonized sewing threads until 1880, after which he transitioned to Bristol board (a form of carbonized paper) resulting in lamps burning for 600 hours.

Electric lamps on vehicles started in 1898 with the Columbia Electric Car made by the Electric Vehicle Company in Hartford, CT. The main problem limiting adoption of carbon filament bulbs earlier than the 1910s was the fragile carbon filament. Heated to a near molten incandescence, filaments easily shattered when bounced about on rough dirt roads of the era. More reliable kerosene, carbide, and acetylene gas lighting systems remained the standard for automotive lighting until after 1912.

Cadillac introduced the electric starter motor requiring a generator and battery in 1912. As manufacturers had perfected more ruggedized carbon filament lamps to withstand the harsh impacts of normal driving, electric lighting quickly replaced the burning of petroleum products for automotive lighting represented by the 1913 Model 76 in the Marshall Collection. By the 1920s, auto manufacturers offered carbon-filament based electric lighting systems as standard equipment.

The C marking on the lamps indicate ‘candlepower’. The first lighting instruments were candles burning animal fats (tallow), beeswax, and similar materials. The British first established ‘candlepower’ as a unit of measure for illumination in 1860. One candlepower was defined as equivalent to the light output of a spermaceti candle made from the material found in the head cavity of sperm whales. When the kerosene lamp was designed, manufacturers needed a means to indicate how luminous the lamp was as compared to the candles in use at the time. Thus, it made sense to use of candlepower to indicate how many candles a given kerosene lamp might replace while providing an equivalent luminous intensity.

The classic railroad lantern with a flat wick (3/4”) produces about 10 candlepower (roughly a 7-watt nightlight bulb equivalent) of illumination. A round wick table lamp similar to a Rayo kerosene lamp generates approximately 80 candlepower (60-watt electric light bulb) of illumination while an Aladdin lamp with a gauze mantle that incandesces produces roughly 300 candlepower (250-watt electric light bulb). The use of ‘wattage’ with respect to light bulbs references the amount of power consumed and not the light intensity produced by the bulb.

Today the standard unit of measure replacing ‘candlepower’ is ‘candela’ both of which represent light intensity as perceived by the human eye. For scientific work both foot-candles (U.S. imperial system) and lux (European metric system) are defined as the amount of visible light that falls upon a flat plane or surface. A single foot-candle is equivalent to the amount of light that falls on a surface that is one foot away from a standard candle’s flame, and a lux is the amount of light that falls on a surface one meter away from a standard candle’s flame. For conversion, 1 foot-candle is the equivalent of 10.764 lux.

The lamp marked ‘32&31C’ indicates the bulb is a dual-filament headlight bulb producing 21 candlepower (15-watt electric light bulb equivalent) at low beam and 32 candlepower (25-watt electric light bulb equivalent) at high beam setting. The two smallest bulbs (parking, tail, or license plate lights) are 3-candlepower while the intermediate size bulb brake lamp bulb) is 15-candlepower.

AUBURN HEIGHTS PLUGGED IN

Over the 18 years that Tom Marshall wrote historical articles for the Weekly News, he would mention that his grandfather, Israel Marshall, built Auburn Heights with “modern” electric lights powered by a D.C. generator located in Marshall Brothers Paper Mill. Auburn Heights remained D.C. (direct current) powered until the estate was supplied A.C. power from Delaware Power & Light Company (predecessor to today’s Delmarva Power) in the 1930s.

While we’ve been inside Auburn Heights many times, it wasn’t until recently that we noticed something unique in how the mansion’s electrification was done. The mansion still retains many of the early-1900s push-button light switches with bright brass wall plates and original ceiling chandeliers and light fixtures. While scarce, one finds several two-blade (no ground) duplex electrical receptacles in most of the rooms. Only rooms such as the kitchen and study, which have seen remodeling, have more modern electrical fixtures and the occasional 3-blade grounded receptacle.

When Israel and his family moved into Auburn Heights in late 1897, the house would not have had electrical receptacles installed as they had not yet been invented! How did electrical appliances such as a fan or toaster get ‘plugged in’ during the first decade or two at Auburn Heights?

Answer
For a recent holiday event, we chose not to use the ceiling fixtures at Auburn Heights because most have modern, cold-white LED lamps installed that do not fit the period of the house with respect to color (electric lamps in the original fixtures would have emitted a yellowish spectrum candle-flame color typical of the glowing carbon lamp filaments of the era). To properly light the areas people would occupy, it was necessary to move some of the rarely used table and floor lamps to alternate locations as they mostly had proper incandescent bulbs remaining in them.

In moving the lamp fixtures, we noticed that many two-blade electrical receptacles are installed in the baseboards! We also recalled that portable appliances such as table and floor lamps, fans, irons, and heaters weren’t invented until the mid to later 1890s. While the British had invented electrical plugs and receptacles in the late 1880s, it wouldn’t be until 1904 that American Harvey Hubbell patented the first detachable electric plug (right) and receptacle for use on American electrical systems. Thus, with Auburn Heights constructed in 1897, it is unlikely electrical receptacles were installed during construction.

Edison patented his design for the first commercial electric lamp in 1880. By the mid- and late 1880s the electrification of America had begun. America’s electrification utilized simple, almost primitive, electrical components. Electrical watthour meters weren’t invented until the later 1880s and didn’t see use until the turn of the century so power initially entered a home through only a fused disconnect (electricity use was billed by the total ‘candlepower’ of electric lamps a homeowner had). From the disconnect which included a fuse, various circuits powered lighting fixtures were controlled from a pushbutton switch on a nearby wall. While Auburn Heights’ wiring is installed in the walls, many homes of the era retrofitted with electrical power had the wiring routed on the walls!

The Marshalls, known to take advantage of the latest technologies, might have purchased or were gifted appliances such as electric fans or table & floor lamps. Such devices were most likely supplied with an “Edison Base Plug” as shown above. These plugs were equivalent to the base of an Edison electric lamp but with the wiring to the appliance instead of a glass envelope to contain a glowing carbon filament. A “plug” of the era was designed such that it could be screwed into an electric lamp socket in place of the bulb (or with an adapter that accepted a plug and lamp) without causing twisting of the wire!

 

Sometime in the early 1900s, appliances would have been available with Harvey Hubbell’s earliest patented plug which is similar to today’s plug and receptacle except that the two blades are coplanar as seen in the first image. Hubbell also offered several Edison to Hubbell adapters as shown in the images below.

Within a few years Hubbell redesigned and patented a new plug configuration. Hubbell changed the coplanar blade design to a parallel blade design and implemented several improvements. This is the plug configuration we use today. During the 19-teens, appliances generally came with either Hubbell’s coplanar or parallel plug configuration. This created the need for receptacles capable of accepting either configuration of plug (see images below).

When Israel eventually did add dedicated receptacles to the mansion, one can wonder what he might have had added and when. More than likely the addition of electrical receptacles occurred in the 1930s when the house was changed over from the mills’ D.C. power to DP&L’s A.C. power. The easiest way to add receptacles is at the baseboards where fishing wires down into the basement was easiest and there is a secure piece of baseboard lumber for fastening the receptacle’s electrical box. We note baseboard receptacles at a number of locations within the mansion. As the parallel blade plug had become standard, the mansion may have had combination coplanar and parallel plane receptacles installed (similar to the right image above) reflecting the fact that existing appliances of the early 20th century still in use in the mansion relied upon coplanar plugs.