1900 Turn of the Century

January 11

The Shop has stayed very busy so far through the winter. No signs of a slowdown either. The candy and ice cream companies send in their orders. Joining with their steady stream of still and beer brewing work. The men are distracted a bit by the eminent lack of baseball. The Baltimore Orioles have folded. The team has been absorbed via contraction. The National League has shrunk from twelve teams to eight. There will be no Baltimore baseball this year. Very disappointing to the Kavanaghs, but there are rumors of a second league that will be formed. The champion of one league would play the champion of the other league in a final series.

January 29

A cold Monday starts the week. Martin will be heading to Atlanta with several boys for an installation. The rest are working on some other parts for distilleries. Condensers, Evaporators and Doublers are all made by the Shop. These increase and enhance the potency of the alcohol. Several men are working on a small boiler job. Making brass bearings. The talk of the place is the American League. A new league will, in fact, be formed. They start play next year. The inaugural group of eight teams will include a team called the Baltimore Orioles. A sigh of relief spreads through 708 E. Lombard St.

March 26

Spring arrives with some warm weather. Today’s focus for the Shop is some repair work at Globe Brewery. Eugene, James and two men are on-site. The rest of the boys are kept busy with still work and a beer vessel being fabricated for White Brewery.

May 2

Today Uncle Joe is without all of his nephews. The younger Joe and Eugene are at Brehm’s Brewery. Eugene fixing some seams in beer vessels. Young Joe is there to schmooze and dig around for more work. Martin and James are in Cleveland. Martin measuring the dimensions of a distillery while James makes some quick sketches. They will have to price and bid, but will get the job. A 70 gallon still to be fabricated and shipped, but installed by others. Uncle Joe has the remaining workers on several small items for their patent medicine customers and a fountain.

June 4

Frank Kavanagh is finished school and ready to work. He rejoins the crew at the Shop and is welcomed back warmly. Uncle Joe has his full crew including nephews again. Most of the gents are working on some pump-chambers for steamships. The steamer work has begun to roll in as it does every June. Uncle Joe works with Frank. Teaching him the trade so he can move past being an apprentice and become a full coppersmith.

August 15

A hot summer continues. Today a rush repair at Horsey’s Distilling has Martin and two men in Western Maryland. The rest are divided into several other jobs. A carbonating system and some cooking kettles and pans. Assorted variety. Uncle Joe continues training Frank. Soon, Joe will have him make his first effort at creating a pitcher.

September 7

A rainy Friday is a busy Friday. Martin is in Richmond at Strauss and Gunst. A large storage tank is being installed. Martin has 3 men with him. As soon as he returns, he will head to PA next week for a similar installation. The work keeps coming in and at a good pace. The backlog has remained at about two months this entire year. The Younger Joe works the phones. Ushering work to the Shop. Martin and the rest take care of it. Whether on site at the customer’s or working right here on Lombard Street. Uncle Joe takes great pride in this team he has put together. It is an uncle’s pride.

November 6

It is Election Day. The Kavanaghs and their crew take time out to head to the polls today. Uncle Joe and his nephews most likely all voted for McKinley. They have always been Lincoln Republicans and things are going so well for the Shop. The choice is obvious to them. Also, McKinley has chosen this charismatic war hero, Theodore Roosevelt, as his Vice-President. His exploits several years ago with the Rough Riders have become legend very quickly. McKinley defeats William Jennings Bryant for a second time.

November 12

Martin’s wife, Mary Rachel gives birth to another girl. The family welcomes Helen Kavanagh to the fold.

November 17

After a cool Saturday of work, Young Joe performs at an amateur night of entertainment to benefit the Home of the Good Shepherd. A facility for young women and children in need. Nothing makes Joe happy quite like singing, dancing and joking. He loves to be on stage. A group of musicians and comedic actors have formed the theatrical club, “The Baltimore Amateurs”. The show was at Leyman’s Hall. Joe was just one of many who sang, in solo and groups, danced, did impressions and told amusing tales. A night of fun for all. A good cause as well.

December 7

The year will finish as it started. Very busy. Martin is in New York today finishing some distillery repairs. Eugene and James are in Atlanta prepping for another repair job. The rest of the crew are busy on their still parts including a Doubler for Orient Distilling, some beer vats and the usual cooking jacket kettles. Frank has made his copper pitcher thus graduating to a full smith. The Shop has had another “best year” ever. The work is abundant and the Kavanagh team just keeps getting better. Baltimore is growing and becoming every bit a modern city. Telephone and electrical service is spreading. The city is now a hub of steamship and railroad service. A central point for goods and communication. America, Baltimore and the Shop are facing and embracing a new century.




William McKinley is re-elected to the Presidency. The 1900 census estimates the American population to be 70 million. The U. S. and Great Britain agree to build a trade canal in Nicaragua. The first Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bar is sold. The first modern hamburger is served. The Gold Standard is enacted. The Galveston Hurricane hits Texas and becomes the country’s most deadly natural disaster. Between 6000 and 12000 people die.

There are still 45 states in the Union.

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