1899 Candy and Quackery

January 6

The holidays have come and gone. The Shop has not missed a beat as far as work goes. The candy and ice cream manufacturers have sent their winter repair work. Several new customers join the list, J. W. Ruppert & Bros. and the H. H. Cassidy Company. The more sweets the sweeter the Shop gets. Uncle Joe is more than pleased at the way things are beginning this year.

January 12

The Baltimore Municipal Art Society is founded.

February 13

The Shop is closed. A huge blizzard has hit the East Coast. There was snow as far south as Florida. The snow falls all day and piles up. The Kavanaghs and crew get an unexpected long weekend.

February 14

Today is spent with shovels in hand. The Shop’s workers dig the place out so they can get back to business.

March 28

Construction for the new Naval Academy buildings begins. Joe and his boys have plenty to do as Spring arrives. They have their usual stills, kettles and beer vats to make. Now, they also have some storage tanks to fabricate. They’ve received an order from Strauss & Gunst Distillers in Richmond, VA. They are whole sale distributors for wine and spirits. They require a 100 gallon tank. This will be their biggest yet. Young Joe is most responsible for this. He has been manning the phones calling all who he thinks might need the Shop’s services.

April 15

Opening Day is a Saturday again. The Shop’s workers discuss the team and its chances. John McGraw is the player/manager this year replacing Ned Hanlon. Hanlon took the team to the now defunct Temple Cup four years in a row. The Kavanaghs are skeptical, but they do like Mr. McGraw. They open up at home against the New York Giants. The Birds win 5- 3. Uncle Joe’s workers remain very busy. Today a peanut kettle is fabricated for Lauer and Suter. Another confectionery customer.

June 1

The work keeps coming in to the Shop. They have over a month’s worth of jobs on the books. Today they are making some pans and parts for Sharp and Dohme. One of those patent medicine companies. Uncle Joe took their work, but he felt rather dubious of their products. The younger Joe, however, finds these companies amusing. He is delighted with their industry. He recalls seeing traveling wagons with men selling this stuff during his musical travels. He calls Sharp and Dohme and professes his interest in their products. He is his usual gregarious self. Before he hangs up, the Shop has received another order from them. Young Joe decides to do the same with their competitors.

June 5

Frank is finished with school for the semester. He returns to the Shop and is greeted warmly by his fellow workers especially his brothers. Uncle Joe will try to take him to the next level in his training this summer. The standard parade of steamship repairs for this time of year begins. Replacement stacks, ballast pump-chambers and more.

July 4

The country celebrates its birthday for the last time in the 1800s. The workers enjoy a day off. Young Joe, James, Frank and Joe’s son Leo spend the day at Union Park. The Orioles sweep a doubleheader from the Boston Beaneaters. A good day for the Birds, but they are stuck in 5th place at this point.

August 14

A blistering hot week begins. Humid and stifling. There is nothing to be done, but work and sweat. More work from Baltimore Brewing. Martin is in Richmond Va. visiting Strauss & Gunst. Eugene and James are in Cleveland. Uncle Joe spends the day working with Frank. He is still an apprentice, but is learning quickly. The rest of the boys are making kettles. More candy work has come in to the building. The sweets and the quackery will never match up to the alcohol industry work they get, but it is a steady compliment to keep things rolling along and money coming into the business.

September 11

Frank has returned to school. His uncle is quite pleased with his progress. He should be able to complete his apprenticeship next summer. The workers are making more stills today. Several 40 gallon units and three 10 gallon units for patent medicine. Uncle Joe is astonished at the amount of work being pushed out each week. The crew has clearly hit its stride.

October 12

The boys are busily constructing a 300 gallon tank and the assorted parts for it. The workers discuss the disappointing season the Orioles have had. They will have to settle for 4th place this year. The men do their jobs and go with the old adage, “there’s always next year.”

October 22

It’s a Sunday. After mass, Uncle Joe retires to his home on High Street. He considers the week that is about to start. Martin will be in South Carolina. Eugene will be in Buffalo, NY. James will be in Cleveland. Each with two other men. The road trips are increasing, but so is the revenue from this long reach of customers that he has. He plots his week. He will speak to his younger namesake tomorrow. They have a lot of things to do in the Shop itself. They will just have to make due with nearly a third of the crew on site this week.

November 13

The winter is on its way. It may have arrived a bit early on this very chilly Monday. The Shop has two months of work scheduled. They have never been in this position going into the winter. Young Joe keeps working the phone and pulling in more jobs. The crew led by Martin and Eugene keep getting it done. Today’s big project is a 500 gallon tank. This one for Cohn, Bell and Company. It takes six men to fabricate. These storage tanks seem to be getting bigger and bigger.

December 31

New Year’s Eve is a Sunday. The Kavanaghs attend mass at St. Vincent’s together. Afterward, they celebrate with song, dance and a few drinks. Uncle Joe quietly watches his nephews in the revelry. He is impressed with all of them. He has put together a great team. Individuals with unique talents that when assembled together are able to do great things. This was his best year ever financially. Success is not on the cusp. It is here. He has a large chunk of the alcohol production industry, both whiskey and beer. He has many local customers in food service especially candy. He even has those folks selling cures for headaches, backaches, baldness etc. The patent medicine business which is called quackery today. He has the steamships and all the general copper work that he started doing in 1866. Joe has plenty to do and an amazing team to do it. He is unconcerned about the winter this year.




William McKinley is the President of the United States. The Philippine-American War begins. After defeating Spain, the Philippine Islands were ceded to the U. S. Hostilities with locals began quickly. Voting machine are approved by Congress for Federal Elections. Henry Bliss becomes the first American killed by a motor vehicle in use. The Bronx Zoo opens. Vice-President Garret Hobart dies in office. Gold is discovered in Nome, Alaska. Al Capone, Duke Ellington, Ernest Hemingway, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart are born.

There remain 45 states in the Union.

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