1927 Vocation

January 3

The year starts well at the Shop. One of their confectionery customers, the Darby Candy Company, is expanding its factory and has ordered a dozen new large kettles to be fabricated, a very nice job to start the year. January & February are the months when the Shop’s candy and ice cream customers get their repairs and replacements done. The Darby order makes for an outstanding month to start the year. Brothers Joe and James take it as a good sign that the year will be as successful as the last.

February 10

Joe reads the newspaper in the small corner office of the Shop. Ty Cobb has signed with the Philadelphia Athletics. Cobb was released by Detroit after a tough year as player/manager. Joe is such a fan of Cobb and to have him playing for Connie Mack in Philly is a chance Joe won’t be able to pass up. He makes plans to take a trip to Philadelphia to see a ballgame this year. The Shop is still busy. They have more kettles for sweets to make, but also several boiler jobs have come along. Copper liners and some flanges are made, as well as valves and fittings for the boiler tanks. The Shop is busy enough that the men have begun working alternating Saturdays already.

March 28

The Shop spends a busy Spring making a municipal fountain and a railing for a school. In the case of the fountain, copper sheet is heated and rolled into tube; then the tube is gradually pulled around grooved blocks to bend it, a slow process but the Kavanaghs and crew are accustomed to it. The railing is bent in a similar fashion, even more slowly. The brass railing is a more irregular curve and is bent inch by inch very gradually to prevent any errors. Eddie leads the crew on this one. He has the most steady hand of all the smiths and also a great eye for the finished product. Eddie had great discernment of what the customer needed and how to give them the best product. The Kavanagh’s continue to work every other Saturday and plan to do so throughout the year if possible.

May 22

On this Sunday, Joe listens to the radio, marveling at news accounts of Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic flying solo. Joe cannot imagine the courage it would take to attempt such a trip. The world is getting a little smaller all the time. Joe gives some thought to the coming week at the Shop. The crew will be working on several beer vats and a large water tank. The tank is 3000 gallons. The Kavanagh’s will have half of their crew working on this one. It must be made, tested, then disassembled before being delivered to the customer next month.

June 18

Joe visits Philadelphia to take in an Athletics game. He wants to see his hero Ty Cobb playing for his old acquaintance, Connie Mack. He would love to meet Cobb but it doesn’t happen. Mr. Mack is busy with game preparation and Cobb is nowhere to be seen on the field until the start of the ball game. The Athletics are hosting the Chicago White Sox. Philly wins 6-2 led by catcher, Mickey Cochrane who homers and drives in three runs. Cobb goes one out of three for the day, a pretty good game, well worth the trip to Philadelphia .

July 17

Eddie attends a Knights of Columbus Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is a very rare week off work for Eddie but he is an active member of the Knights of Columbus. Eddie belongs to several church and community groups. The Kavanaghs believe in being very involved with the community and especially with the Church. Of course, Eddie is also General Secretary of the Coppersmiths Local. As a natural organizer, he enjoys being involved with these groups. The Shop is flush with steamship work. Stacks, fittings and gauges are made from brass. The crew works in the heat. The conversation is about baseball and Eddie not being at work. A Shop tradition is if someone is not at work for a day or two, especially a Kavanagh, everything that goes wrong is their fault. Eddie receives a lot of blame this week.

August 19

A very hot humid Friday ends the week. The crew has this Saturday off and they’re happy for it. It was a long week of heat and fire at the Joseph Kavanagh Company. The men are working on a large order of Navy replacement parts, some very small copper pipe elbows. The elbows are bent fairly easily but must be annealed first. It is much easier to heat these in the Shop’s annealing oven than by torch, but it raises the temperature in the building to stifling heights. The Kavanagh’s and crew suffer through the week but are happy for the work. It has been a good year so far and now the men enjoy a two day break from their labors.

October 8

The Yankees sweep the Pirates four games to none to win the World Series. The Yanks have an incredible lineup led by Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The media calls them “Murderer’s Row” and they win 111 games. Ruth homers twice in the series to lead New York. The deciding game ends in unusual fashion. In the bottom of the ninth with the score tied, Johnny Miljus uncorks a wild one and Earle Combs scampers home from third to win the game and the series. It is still the only World Series to end on a wild pitch. The annual seasonal debate between Joe and Eddie about Cobb and Ruth continues. Eddie boasts that Ruth mashed a ridiculous 60 homers this year while Joe emphasizes that Cobb has reached 4,000 hits for his career. Ty Cobb is the first to do so and Joe is sure that no one else will ever hit that many in a career again. Also, for the year Cobb bats a respectable .357 besting Ruth by one point. Still, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind including Joe’s that Cobb’s career is nearing the end. Ruth, Gehrig and the rest of the pin-striped Yankees are in their prime.

November 19

Eddie and Anna attend a showing of the new film, the Jazz Singer. It is the latest thing, a movie with sound, a “talkie.” They enjoy the film a great deal especially the musical accompaniment. Their boys, Ed(9) and Jack(3) spend the Saturday afternoon at Collington Avenue with Eddie’s parents. While Eddie’s sister, Anna plays the piano for the boys, Jo prepares lamb stew for them all for dinner. During dinner Eddie and Anna praise the movie and the music. Joe is interested but is sure none of these films will ever compare to live performance. Joe always said there was nothing like vaudeville.

December 3

Anna Kavanagh tells her parents she has received a calling. She wishes to join a convent and become a cloistered Visitation nun. Her mother, Johanna is very upset. She wants her daughter close at home and wants her to have a family. If Anna joins the Visitation, she can not come home. She can only be seen at certain times and under certain conditions. Joe wants his daughter to be happy but defers to his wife on this. Johanna makes clear her feelings without appearing disappointed. Anna has felt this calling and she is decided.

December 23

It is time for the Christmas party at the Shop. The usual festivities are held a day early on a Friday with the Kavanagh’s, their crew and customers. The Shop is decorated in the typical makeshift fashion it is each year, a tree decorated with a handful of ornaments and some odd ends from the Shop: spirals of brass that remain from drilled holes and small copper tube elbows. There is much food and some drink. Prohibition is on but in Baltimore, you can always find some whiskey. The group sings and celebrates the holiday. The year has been successful. They have a steady stream of work again though they have lower sales than before Prohibition, smaller sales and a smaller crew but they are making money again. The same familiar faces, men they have had for years, including family. Joe and Jo are troubled about Anna’s decision. To receive a calling is a great gift in the Catholic faith. Still, Jo feels she is losing another daughter. The parents will support Anna but not without some reservations. The Shop faces another winter but this time with more confidence. They seem to have found their niche again. The Roaring Twenties are on and hopes are high. The future is now with talking motion pictures and airplanes.



Calvin Coolidge is the President but he announces he will not seek re-election next year. The first transatlantic phone call is made. The Federal Radio Commission which will become the FCC is formed. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is founded. CBS Radio is created with 47 stations. The first armored car robbery is committed in Pennsylvania. The musical “Show Boat” premiers on Broadway. Erma Bombeck, Neil Simon, George C. Scott, Eartha Kitt and Harry Belafonte are born.

There are 48 states in the Union

Eddie Kavanagh on the far right with fellow Knights of Columbus at a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. July 1927.



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