1914 Double Mint Gum

January 19

A strong start to the year for the Shop. The Georgetown Candy Kitchen and Ruppert Brothers from DC have ordered new kettles to be made. These two confectionery orders combined with their standard January orders from Baltimore candy companies make for a busy winter thus far. Sheet copper is cut then heated. After it is annealed(softened), it is slowly curved and shaped into the desired size of the kettle. Tops and bottoms are fabricated by heating and hammering. Finally, the associated valves and fittings are attached to complete each item. The moments using a torch in January are often the highlight of the day for any of the Shop’s smiths.

February 23

A chilly Monday starts at 7:30 a. m. The Kavanghs arrive and open the Shop for business. They chat a bit as they ready themselves for the day. All employees must be at Pratt & Central and ready to work by 8:00 a. m. Joe is a stickler for this schedule. They get to work throwing some heat at copper sheets to be bent. They are making some drip pans. These pans are placed under stills or vats to catch any small leaks. It is as simple of a thing to make as anything they do. The edges of the sheets are heated than folded over at a sharp angle. Usually by pressing and bending over a steel or iron table’s corner. Once bent, the corners need to be brazed and any final cuts are made. The crew are busy and the morning passes relatively quickly. They are afforded a half hour lunch from 12:00 – 12:30 p. m. While they eat their packed sandwiches, the discussion lands on baseball as it so often does. Young George Herman Ruth has been signed by Jack Dunne to play for the International League Baltimore Orioles. Eddie again speaks of the local club game he saw Ruth play in. He assures the crew that this young ball player will go far. The older Kavanaghs including Eddie’s father, Joe, are not quite so sure. They are excited nonetheless to see a local boy signed to play. The chat is interrupted when Joe realizes it is 12:30 and they must get back to work. The afternoon is spent on more kettle-making and fabricating some brass parts for a boiler. The afternoon passes slowly, but finally reaches 4:30 p. m. They head home. Some by cart, some by foot while Eddie roars off home on his “Flying Merkel” to the chagrin of his father.

Program from “Irish Night” to benefit St. Patrick’s Church at Albaugh’s Theatre April 29 and 30, 1914.

April 29

This Wednesday starts a wonderful two-day event for the Kavanaghs. Joe and Eddie will perform at a musical show to benefit St. Patrick’s Church. They will play tonight and tomorrow night. A large group of performers from the neighborhood and parish will be involved. Today at the Shop, a fountain is being fabricated. They drill holes in copper sheets than roll them into tubes after heating them. This work is done by Eddie and several helpers. Meanwhile, Frank and a couple lads are at Brehm’s Brewery replacing some fittings and sealing some leaks. A busy spring day for the crew. After work, the Kavanaghs gather at Albaugh’s Theater for the show. Joe sings “Cruishkeen’s Lawn” and “The Irish Exile”. Eddie sings “Nora Malone”. Both are involved in the chorus/ensemble tunes also. The two-day show is a success and some funds are raised to support the Church and its parishioners.

List of performers from program for “Irish Night”
More performers for “Irish Night”

May 10

A sunny Sunday is spent at Church in the morning and at a ballgame in the afternoon. Joe and his sons, Leo and Eddie attend an Orioles game at Oriole Park to see Ruth pitch. He has caught the eyes of many a baseball fan and scout. He is a clear standout on both the mound and at the plate. After his signing by Mr. Dunne, his teammates begin calling him Babe due to his “baby-face” and young demeanor. Ruth doesn’t disappoint as he pitches a complete game win today. The Kavanaghs enjoy the game, but Joe does bring up that this week will be busy at the Shop. He lets both his boys know that they have repair jobs at Globe Brewery and Gwynnbrook Distilling to deal with in the next few days. Leo and Eddie stay focused on watching baseball. Monday will bring all thoughts of the Shop to them. Joe thinks of the Shop every day of the year. He would tell you that it is his job to do so.

June 15

The week starts hot even for June. The topic that has dominated the crew’s discussions and continues to do so is that Babe Ruth has been sold to the Boston Red Sox. The Kavanaghs go over and over this little tidbit most of the day while they are making some pump-chambers and other parts for steamships. Their usual swathe of ship work in the summer has “steamed in” so to speak. Eddie praises Ruth and is not surprised he was not in the minor leagues for very long. Joe who always assumed he knew a lot more about baseball than most folks, tells Eddie we shall see. In Joe’s eyes, Ruth will have a long way to go to replace the great Orioles of old in his heart. McGraw and Keeler and the rest were the best ever according to Joe. He will root for any Baltimore boy who makes the major leagues, of course.

June 30

Joe reads of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. It is so far away. He doesn’t give it much thought. The Shop is very busy with kettles coming in almost every day, the repairs for steamers, breweries and distilleries. Joe is getting better and better at fielding calls, pursuing jobs and scheduling work so the Shop stays busy, but is able to meet its deadlines. His big personality and affable style seems to draw work in to the Shop. He does drive his crew hard at times. Something that his employees take note of especially his sons. They will have to learn to deal with it. His brothers, James and Frank, take it in stride. After all, Joe is Joe. They can handle him and his leadership seems to be working. They are not the big multi-state company they were under Old Uncle Joe, but they are staying busy. They are making money and have re-established the Kavanagh name and its quality.

July 13

Another Summer Monday of work and talking baseball. On Saturday, Babe Ruth won his debut for the Red Sox. The Kavanaghs scour the newspaper for details. They talk baseball as they work. Today, Eddie and two boys are at Gunther’s Brewing for some vat repairs. Eddie and company climb a ladder into the vat and solder some seams shut. The rest of the crew are busy on the steamship repair work and also making fittings and valves. Joe and his brothers have decided they should start stocking these as the demand seems to be steady for them. They produce a variety of sizes and configurations of fittings and valves. They will be readily at hand now as needed. When Eddie returns from Gunther’s he again pushes for Joe and his brothers to purchase a truck for the Shop. The old horse and cart works fine, but automobiles are here to stay. The brothers promised to give it some more thought.

August 4

War erupts in Europe. A domino effect of conflicts has spiraled Europe into war. Sides are chosen up and the conflict begins in earnest. Again, the Kavanaghs like most Americans, consider it too far away to effect them or be of much concern. President Wilson will declare U. S. neutrality as he intends to keep America out of this war. The Shop’s crew toil away in the heat. Finishing the last of the steamer work and attending to a small patent medicine still.

September 8

The Kavanaghs and crew are in the midst of a large job. Most of the crew are in on this one. It is a 2000 gallon storage tank. As always, the sheet must be heated and curved. In this case, many hours are spent by eight men to shape and then braze this one shut. It must be fabricated in whole and then disassembled for shipping. This one blocks up the Shop for 3 weeks. Joe loves it. That gives him more time to schedule work and guarantee a backlog of jobs. Joe’s main focus most days is to assure that they will have scheduled work. Busy days with as few lulls as possible. A busy Shop is a profitable Shop in his eyes.

October 14

Joe reads the newspaper first thing this Wednesday. He is rather disappointed to read that the Boston Braves have swept the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series 4- 0. This is the team Joe pulls for always. He knows it is baseball and that’s that. He turns his attention to cold-calling some customers. They have plenty of work, but that won’t stop Joe from looking for more. Today they make some cooking kettles for a local cafeteria and some brass bearings and parts for a boiler job.

November 14

The crew are working hard through this Saturday. They are backed up with work enough that they will be working all day today. Some bottling apparatus parts are being made. A column still is being fabricated for Sherwood Distilling. In the afternoon, their work is interrupted. The crew hears a loud crash right outside the building. They rush to the corner and see a man has been thrown from a vehicle onto the sidewalk. A terrible collision has occurred at the intersection. A fire alarm has sounded at the foot of Bond Street. On the way to respond, two fire department vehicles have crashed at Pratt & Central. A fire hose wagon heading east on Pratt and the fire chief’s car heading south on Central. Frank, Leo, Eddie and James Woods rush to their aid. They carry District Chief John Emerson who was thrown to the sidewalk and five other firefighters into the Shop’s office. The small roughly 10 X 10 wood office is filled with injured men. Joe calls the police and hospital immediately. They attend to them as best they can. Several are badly cut and several have broken bones. All are stunned from the impact. The Chief is rushed by car to Mercy Hospital. The rest are taken to St. Joseph’s. The Kavanaghs and crew watch silently as the ambulances drive away. Joe informs Eddie this is why we do not need a truck.

Destroyed Fire Vehicle from Accident at Pratt & Central, November 14, 1914
Fire Chief Emerson’s damaged car from 1914 accident. Photo from Baltimore American newspaper courtesy of MD Firefighters Association.

November 21

Another Saturday of work at the Joseph Kavanagh Company. This one will be just a half-day which the crew are happy to hear. The morning passes quickly as more stock fittings are made and several peanut kettles are produced. The Kavanaghs and their workers leave at noon. Eddie cruises toward Bond Street on his motorcycle. He stops at a corner candy store several blocks from home. Eddie has a bit of a sweet tooth. He intends to just run in and out quick, but he notices a young girl behind the counter. He takes his time in choosing and asks the salesgirl what she recommends. She says he should try this new flavor of gum. Wrigley just released it this year. He thanks her and introduces himself. He buys some Wrigley’s Double Mint gum and leaves. He drives off on his bike but, he knows he will be back. He likes this girl. Her name is Anna Hartman. He likes the gum too. One day he will marry this girl. She is my grandmother. And he will chew Double Mint gum for the rest of his life.

November 26

It is Thanksgiving. A day for family, food and thanks. Johanna prepares a traditional feast for her, Joe, Leo, Eddie and Anna, their daughter. Joe’s brothers do the same with their families. They celebrate in their homes, but are thankful as a group. They are very grateful that they have had this new start for the Shop. Things have turned so quickly from bad to good. They are all healthy, happy and gainfully employed. The Shop is on the right track. Joe, James and Frank have done an outstanding job of building back what was lost due to the Fire, Uncle Joe’s death and Martin’s inequities. As a family, they are truly thankful. They have no fear of a loss of work over the winter. Joe has scheduled work in advance that will carry them through the cold. Meanwhile, the War in Europe is escalating and spreading across the globe. It will grow to be the one of the largest military conflicts in history. The U. S. will stay out of it as long as possible. Eventually, most nations including ours are pulled in to what will be called “The War to End all Wars.”

Woodrow Wilson is the President of the United States. The first commercial airline opens in Florida. Ford Motor Company begins using an eight hour workday with a minimum wage of $ 5.00 per day. Weeghman Park which will become Wrigley Field opens in Chicago. USS Amcon is the first ship to pass through the Panama Canal. WW1 begins in Europe. William S. Burroughs, Jack LaLanne, Jonas Salk and Joe DiMaggio are born.

There are 48 states in the Union.

Joe Kavanagh (in suit) and a few of his crew. 1914. Pratt & Central. Photograph taken from front garage door on Central Avenue .Facing back of the building.


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