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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Byron Harmon Fest (Part One of three)

I have so many post cards printed by Byron Harmon that I have decided to simply scan them and publish them so that you can enjoy them, too. The photographs are all taken west of the Spiral Tunnels in British Columbia.

A quick check into Wikipedia will help you to understand where these pictures were taken:
Mount Chancellor, Mount Field, Mount Stephen, Stoney Creek Bridge, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels, etc.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. May I also suggest that if you are ever in Banff, Alberta that you visit the gallery of his granddaughter...

Here are the first eight pictures:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Hmmm... Made in the USA

From Wikipedia: "Chancellor Peak is a 3,266-metre (10,715-foot) mountain
summit located in Yoho National Park, in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, Canada. Its nearest higher peak is Mount Vaux, 4.0 km (2.5 mi) to the north-northwest. Both are part of the Ottertail Range. Chancellor Peak is a landmark in the Kicking Horse River valley. The mountain was named 1898 to honor Sir John Alexander Boyd (1837–1916), who was Chancellor of the High Court of Justice of the Province of Ontario. The first ascent of Chancellor Peak was made on July 30, 1901 by James Outram, J. Henry Scattergood, and George M. Weed, with Christian Hasler Sr. as guide. Outram wrote of it: "The Chancellor, that mighty pyramid from whose frowning precipices, black and forbidding, loom aloft nigh upon 7,000 feet above the Kicking Horse River cannot fail to impress the traveler with a sense of awe and grandeur, as he approaches eastward from the grim gateway of the lower canyon." The mountain's name became official in 1924 when approved by the Geographical Names Board of Canada."
But that is not why I chose to reflect on this post card. I believe that this post card was printed by the Curt Otto Teich Company. My attention was drawn to the texture of the card. It is a texture invented by and perfected by Curt Otto Teich. The number of the post card (in the bottom right-hand corner)
is also a pattern used by the same company. It tells me that this post card is printed in 1934 (the first "4A") using the "Art Colortone" method (the "H" in the number). The back of the card, however, only hints that this might be the case (MADE IN THE U. S. A.). The carefully chosen words "Distributed by" also lead me to the same conclusion. Byron Harmon was a famous photographer who produced many of his own post cards. I have included many of them in my previous postings.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I Did Not Know This...

I have a lot of pictures of the Spiral Tunnels in my train post card collection. Until today, I did not realize that the trains exiting Spiral Tunnel Number 2
immediately crossed over the Kicking Horse River. The picture on the front of this post card makes that fact perfectly clear! It is a picture of the Imperial Limited, which was the Canadian Pacific Railway's luxury express train. It ran non-stop between Montreal and Vancouver. The train is exiting the second spiral tunnel and crossing over a bridge. The post card was printed and published by The Gowan, Sutton
Company, Limited in Vancouver, British Columbia. A publisher of real photo and printed postcards of the Canadian West. Not only did they produce cards depicting large cities, they captured many hard to reach views within the Canadian Territories. Many of their cards were hand tinted in a simple manner striving for style rather than realism, which created cards in vastly differing quality. While the real photo cards were made in Canada their printed cards were made in England.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Largest.... EVER!

The locomotive shown on the front of this post card is truly an essential part of this Express Train as declared in the title on the card: "Canadian Pacific
Railway Express Train". The driving wheels are 84 inches in diameter; that means that each revolution of the wheels moved the train forward 22 feet. Once the pistons got into the rhythm, this locomotive could easily go 60 miles an hour. These were the largest driving wheels ever used on the trains of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) used this particular locomotive to haul passengers from Montreal to Ottawa and back. It was the CPR's attempt to cut into the lucrative business of the Canada Atlantic Railway, which already had a similar route. The CPR's 113 mile long tracks were completed in 1898 and the first passenger trains started running in the fall of the next year. The train could make the trip in two hours and 20 minutes.

The locomotive pictured on the front of this post card is an Atlantic-type of engine (using the Whyte system of classification) which means that the wheel arrangement was 4-4-2. You can see that the pistons have two chambers in the front of the driving wheels. This is a clue that the locomotive used the Vauclain system to drive the wheels. The system used the steam from the boiler twice; once at high pressure and the exhaust from this became a lower pressure piston driver. This system was said to be more economical, but it turned out that these savings were offset by the extra wear and tear on the system.

This locomotive was built by the CPR's DeLorimer Works at Montreal in 1899 and scrapped in 1917.
The post card was published by the Valentine & Sons Publishing Company. They began publishing in 1907 in Montreal, so a picture of a locomotive like this would make perfect sense for them to print. This was published by the Canadian office for Valentine’s of Dundee, Scotland. They published souvenir books, greeting cards and view-cards of Canadian scenery in sets numbered with a three digit prefix and a three digit suffix (you can see it in the bottom right-hand corner of the post card). These tinted halftone and collotype cards were printed in Great Britain (as is mentioned on the back of the card, running up the left side of the card. Valentine sold their Canadian branch in 1923.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Take a Ride Back in Time on...

The following is taken directly from the hand brochure provided by the Nelson Electric Tramway Society:
"Streetcar 23 was built in 1906 by the Stephenson Car Company of New Jersey as number 3334 for the Forest City Railway Company. Nicknamed
the '3 Cent Line', its one street operation was absorbed by the Cleveland Railway Company in 1908. At the time, the car was converted to single end operation and renumbered to 934. The City of Nelson purchased the classy red car in 1924 as number 3. Cars 1 & 2 were repainted to match the new arrival and a loop was built at Lakeside Park. The fleet was renumbered 21, 22, 23 in 1933 to make the system look larger. But Nelson still had the smallest fleet in the British Empire! Car 23 remained in service until 1949 when the streetcar system was replaced by buses. Car 23 served as a skating rink shelter, dog kennel and craft shop until a group of enthusiasts along with the Chamber of Commerce and Selkirk College were able to obtain grants to restore the car. Selkirk students rebuilt the body from 1982 to 1988." This is what the streetcar looks like today:

I highly recommend that, if you are anywhere near Nelson, British Columbia, you stop by and take a ride on the streetcar. The staff are 100% volunteers and very friendly. You might even be shown a magic trick or two when you visit their museum,
shown here to your left with their other vintage streetcar: Number 400. It was built in 1921 by the Preston Car and Coach Company in Ontario. It ran in Victoria, BC from 1922 to 1946. After serving as a bunkhouse for the Mayo Lumber Company it was cosmetically restored for display in a museum. It took the Nelson Electric Tramway Society 20 years to restore it back to operating condition.

Check out the society's website:

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

From "The First in Canada"

The Canadian Pacific Railway follows the path of the Fraser River for a very
long distance. Therefore, I cannot pinpoint the exact location where this picture was taken. However, I can tell you that it was taken in British Columbia; the Fraser River flows for 1,375 kilometers, all of it being in British Columbia. The Canadian Pacific Railway follows part of its path through the mountains. You can see that this train is on the side of mountain as it travels along the rails.

The picture is not the most exciting thing about this post card. What excites me is that this post card was printed and published by one of the first companies in Canada to print picture post cards.
William Warwick was a publisher, printer, and bookbinder. His company became the official printer for the Provincial Government of Ontario. It was one of the first to print postcards in Canada producing over 4,000 tinted halftone view-cards in line block with a dull pallet. Many of their card sets also have very decorative borders and some with crests. The business was destroyed by fire in 1904 but they rebuilt and continued publishing. Following William Warwick’s death, the name of the business was changed to “Wm. Warwick & Son”, the firm consisting of Mrs. Warwick and eldest son Guy. In 1885, when the second son, George R. Warwick was admitted to the partnership, Mrs. Warwick retired and the firm name became “Warwick & Sons”. Arthur F. Rutter was taken into the partnership in 1886 and Charles E. Warwick, the youngest son, was also made a member of the firm. In 1893 the firm name was changed from “Warwick & Sons” to “Warwick Bros. & Rutter”. The company existed from 1848 to 1933; its last address was on King Street near Spadina in Toronto.
This is what one of their post cards looked like on the back. Notice that it cost two cents to send the post card all way to Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Through the Selkirk Mountains

One of the conditions for British Columbia to join the Canadian Confederation was that Canada would connect the new province to the rest of the country by railway. Early in the negotiations a route for the railway was surveyed. The best route through the Rocky Mountains was determined
to be the northerly Yellowhead Pass route now used by the Canadian National Railway. However, by the time the Canadian Pacific Railway was established in 1881, a more southerly route was desired. There were several reasons, three of which were: 1) a railway across the southern part of Canada would help to guarantee not being taken over by the United States; 2) the southern route would be shorter and, thus, save money; and 3) the majority of the population of British Columbia was in the south of the province.

The first part of the newly chosen route leaving the prairies included going through the Kicking Horse Pass. But, that was all of the planning that had been done. As the railway progressed across the prairies toward the mountain the CPR was getting desperate to find a route through the Selkirk Mountains. Major A. B. Rogers was hired in April 1881 by the CPR to find the route through a pass in the Selkirks. He was promised that the pass would be named after him and he would receive a bonus of $5,000 if he would find a way to get through the mountians. Rogers' survey party started out from what is now Revelstoke and went up the Illecillewaet River. It took them two summers, but in 1882, he discovered that the longed for pass really did exist. He was presented with a cheque for $5,000 and the pass is truly named after him.

The trains first went through the pass in winter in 1886. The heavy snows of the pass that winter were taken as a warning sign by the CPR. The first defense was to build wooden snow sheds along the route. However, dried wood in the summers receiving a shower of sparks from passing steam locomotives proved them to be a fire hazard. It wasn't until 62 men were killed in one avalanche while clearing snow from another avalanche in 1910 that the CPR decided to construct a tunnel through the mountain. The construction of an eight-kilometer tunnel under Rogers Pass and through Mount MacDonald was begun in 1912. The Connaught Railroad Tunnel opened in 1916.

It currently sits in what is known as Glacier National Park and can be reached using the Trans-Canada Highway.

By looking at the back of the post card we can see that it was posted in the mail on July 30, 1923; that makes it 96 years old! There isn't much of a message on it, but we can see that it was sent from a man, who happened to be in Victoria, BC to an unmarried woman in Newark, New Jersey. I googled the address and today there is a two story apartment building sitting at that address. The post card was published by the Coast Publishing Company. They were at 318 Homer Street in Vancouver from 1907 until into the 1950s. They were a publisher of view-cards and cards of Native Americans. Their first cards were issued as tinted halftones and they latter moved on to linens, and then photochromes. All their cards were printed in the United States. Today, that address is very close to the Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver, British Columbia.