1872 Year Seven

January 25

Baltimore continues to grow. The city has more residents. An influx of immigrants keeps pushing the population and the city. Kavanagh & Smith have stayed relatively busy over the winter. It’s always a good sign as the warmer months are most often the Shop’s busy times. A busy winter always infers a good year to come. It doesn’t always work out that way but, it’s a good omen. Joe and his crew are working on some copper tubes and fittings for a fountain. It’s finished about mid-day then Joe sets his young helpers to making some of the larger commercial jacket kettles. Joe is getting a bit of a name for himself in the food service industry. Confectioners have taken a notice and they’ve made several kettles for roasting peanuts and making candy. That’s just fine with Joe. The more work the better.

April 21

It’s a Sunday. Usually a day for Church and family. Joe has some work to do. Some ornate handles that a customer has requested on their kettle. Joe decides to go into work after Church and take care of it. He informs his mother that “ he is going down to the Shop.”. This may be the first reference to the business in this way. I suppose it was a gradual thing. Over time, the business is routinely called the Shop. Phrases such as “ Going down to the Shop” or “I’ll be in the Shop” become very much a common part of the Kavanagh lexicon. Everyone else says I’m going to work but, Kavanaghs say “ I’m going to the Shop.” This is still true today.

June 24

Joe has had some small success with the distilling industry. Several chances to do repairs on some equipment. Finally, today he receives an order to make a still for Monticello Distilling. This facility has just been re-built after a horrible flood of the Jones Falls in 1868. They make the Maryland Rye that Joe is familiar with. He knows this is a tremendous opportunity. He’s given the go-ahead to design and build the Continuous Still for them. Perhaps, a leap of faith by the owners or a move to try to compete with some of the larger distilleries. Either way, Joseph M. Kavanagh starts working on his first still for sale.

July 8

Joe’s still is completed. He delivers it himself in the company’s horse & cart. He installs it and leaves it in the hands of Monticello’s crew. He returns to the Shop anxious to hear how well it works.

July 9

The Democratic National Convention is held in Baltimore. I imagine Joe was interested and read the newspaper accounts. At this time, he was a Lincoln Republican so , perhaps, he was not that interested. The Democrats choose Horace Greeley as their candidate for the Presidency.

July 15

The owners of Monticello Distilling are very happy. They report to Joe that this rye is outstanding. They flavor it with the right mix of rye, corn, barley and aromatics. It has a smooth taste but still carries that wallop from Joe’s still. The whiskey is a higher proof for sure. An unexpected benefit of Joe’s arduous efforts to keep the columns as round as he can is the efficiency of the still. They are netting out a bit more by volume from the mash. Joe’s proud of himself, surely, but he’s mostly chomping at the bit to do more. He’s sure that the best way to expand the Shop is via the distilling industry.

September 3

Joe & George have lunch in the Shop and discuss their next move. Since July, the Shop’s work has increased dramatically. They still have their bread and butter. Household copper items, commercial cooking vessels, fountains and the occasional steamship repairs, but now these are augmented by the still work. Joe has made another still for a small company and done several modifications for Monticello and others. They discuss hiring another apprentice. They decide to wait through the winter and decide on that. Joe tells George that he’s targeting one of the larger distilleries in town, Orient Distilling. They are located in the Canton part of Baltimore. Close enough to the Shop for convenience and a large enough facility to provide a lot of work. They too make the MD Rye that Joe knows so well.



The incumbent Ulysses S. Grant defeats Horace Greeley in a landslide to win the Presidency. Greeley dies about 3 months later. Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first national park. The Centenary Biblical Institute is founded in Baltimore. This will become Morgan State University in time. Boston burns for two days in the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Author Zane Grey and future Baltimore Oriole Wee Willie Keeler are born.

There are still 37 states in the Union.

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