Kavanagh & Smith have made it through another winter and their new building is paying off. They see an increase in the call for larger kettles. Restaurants, pubs and bars begin using them. The Jacket Kettles that Joe makes seem to be a hit. Joe & George hire an apprentice. Joe’s first helper. A young teen boy looking to learn his trade. Joe needs the labor and is happy for the assistance.
Joe & George buy a horse & cart. They have been considering this for a year but now it’s almost a requirement. They had intended to use it to ply their wares through the neighborhoods. As it turns out, they need the cart for deliveries now. The larger commercial cooking vessels need to be hauled to the customer. George delivers to local eateries as they gain food service customers. The work is there and they are determined to get as much of it as they can.
Summer starts early. June turns the Lombard Street building into a hot box, but the partners are undaunted as they are thrilled at the prospects for new work. George begins speaking to steamship captains and the owners of these ships. George was a Navy Man and his familiarity with ships gives him an “in” with these gentlemen. The steamships are becoming more common in Baltimore. These ships need repairs. Repairs of brass and copper tubes and parts. A new avenue opens up for the Shop. When ships are in port, they have a limited time there. When repairs are needed, they must be done fast. If the work can be done, Joe & George can charge a premium. The ships’ captains though concerned with price are much more concerned with the time frame. Joe’s skills and quickness land them some ship work.
A breezy fall day is spent working on a municipal fountain. Yet, another commercial application for Joe’s smithing skills. Fountains are made from copper than embedded in stone. The guts of them are copper through and through. So, Kavanagh & Smith starts bending copper for fountains. This work is time-consuming and can be intricate, but Joe learns the how-to’s quickly. Fountain work becomes a mainstay of the Shop. We still work on them today.
Kavanagh & Smith are busy. It’s been a year of growth and success. They hire a second apprentice as the volume and variety of work continues to expand. Now, a four man crew, the Shop is off to a fine start in its new building. I’m sure Joe was excited at the new prospects. Still making his pitchers and pots for your average folk, but now with a stable of commercial customers. He must have been proud. Of course, there are no guarantees in business. Things can change on a dime but for now, Joe must have known they were on the right track.
Christmas Day is a day of no work and a day of celebration and family. The Kavanaghs attended Church than sat down for a family meal. Home life for the Kavanaghs was about family and togetherness. I wish I knew a bit more about their life outside of work. I can only speculate. I feel certain that the home on Albemarle Street was full of song and laughter. Through the years, there have been a lot of Kavanagh musicians. I feel quite sure this was true of this generation, as well. Singing about their faith, their homeland and life in general. I’m sure it was a Merry Christmas, but Joe is still preoccupied. He sips his whiskey and thinks. A whiskey of his own distilling. He still tweeks the column still in search of that smoother blend and that higher proof. He ponders as his family celebrates around him.
Ulysses S. Grant is the President of the United States. The Transcontinental Railroad is completed when the “ golden spike” is driven in to the last rail. The National Women’s Suffrage Association is formed. The Cincinnati Red Stockings become the first fully professional baseball team. The first intercollegiate American football game is played. Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery.
There are 33 states in the Union. Reconstruction will soon give way to the Gilded Age.