1962 Colt Kavanagh

January 15

The Shop starts the year well. It’s not busy like June but it’s a strong beginning workwise. They have a mix of bending jobs and a couple of distillery repairs. They sell some brewery fittings too and today the crew work on a copper liner for a boiler. Eddie has retired but still shows up at 201 S. Central anyway. He tells Jack he is bored and if he comes in he can record and note the jobs they are doing now. That will help for future quotes and it will give him something to do. He comes in just about every day for five hours or so and Jack is fine with it, but would prefer his father enjoy his retirement in other ways; still, Jack knows that Eddie has little to keep him occupied. Jack’s mother died the year before last and Eddie is lonely and is very accustomed to working. Eddie spends his time in the upstairs office and reviews past jobs and sketches. He records and organizes their drawings and makes notations as to the time taken to do the job and the cost of the materials and supplies needed. Sometimes he just sits and reads the newspaper too. The Shop is a comfort to him. It has been located at the corner of Pratt and Central for fifty years now and Eddie worked in that building the entire time.

B N M J Scouting
The Kavanagh Girls in their girl scout uniforms. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane, Early 1960s.

January 22

It’s a cold day but torches do help and today some steel tubes are annealed and bent for Maryland Cup Co. They have become a regular tube bending customer with orders coming in at least once a month. Charlie Owens drives the Shop’s truck to Owings Mills, picks up the tubes and they are to be bent to 10 degrees on a 48” Radius. It takes a few passes through the rolling machine for each tube and then they are closely checked for both degree and radius of bend. After examining them, a few small tweaks are made and they are finished.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Cup Company job. January 22, 1962.

February 14

A tank is re-tinned for Montebello Liquors. The tank is a big one, over 1400 gallons and the job takes about a week for three men. This work must be done on site so the workers climb into the tank and move around inside of it tinning any spots that need it. They go over the tank carefully to get the entire surfaced re-covered. The boiling tin is brushed over the tank’s walls as evenly and smoothly as possible. It’s a fair bit of work and makes for a very nice Valentine’s Day job.

The Shop’s job book entry. Montebello Liquors job. February 14, 1962.

February 27

Betty tells Jack she is pregnant with baby number eight. Jack is as excited as he could be. Their house is full already but he and Betty love kids. Betty lost a baby last year early in the pregnancy. She was hit hard by it as she was several years ago with her first miscarriage. She is happy again and can’t wait for #8. Jack and Betty seem to be natural parents. A house with seven little girls can not be easy to handle but their daughters are all happy, growing, going to school and don’t seem to be missing anything in their lives except… maybe a brother.

Ann Kavanagh. 1962.

March 7

It’s Ash Wednesday in Baltimore and it is snowing. Several members of the crew shovel a path but it’s not much more than four inches. In western MD, there is nearly a foot but the real damage is done in Ocean City where high tides reach nine and a half feet over its norm and the town is overwhelmed with water. Seventy-five homes and businesses are destroyed and a great deal of the beach is washed away. A total of forty-three people die in the storm along the East Coast. Baltimore gets off easy and the damage to OC is dealt with quickly. The town works hard through the winter to be ready for the summer season. Some residents sell out and this spurs some investment as the properties are bought up and a slew of hotels begin taking the place of residential homes. Jack will read about his favorite beach town in the paper tomorrow but today he is happy that the snow is just a small inconvenience to the Shop and the work goes on.

March 20

The Shop’s year continues strong with more customers calling about bending pipes for mechanical and structural uses. There are requests for heavier pipes and these take a lot of time. If the pipe or tube is too big for the Leonard Pneumatic Bender, they must be bent in the roller and the heavier the material, the more passes it takes through the machine which adds up to more hours. Jack is giving some thought to purchasing a hydraulic mandrel bender. This pulls big pipe around a die using hydraulic pistons. It would amp up their power and if they have the right tools, it can speed up their hours a great deal. Jack makes a call about a machine he has heard of made by a company called Pines Bending.

April 3

Jack has ordered the new hydraulic bender from Pines and it will arrive in the next two weeks. Today, several small tubes are bent by Jack for Sinai Hospital. It’s a repair to their equipment and the maintenance department calls Jack about it and an order is placed. Jack knew from the beginning he would have to bend these himself and priced it accordingly. His father is in the upstairs office like most days. Eddie smokes a cigar, he is trying to quit cigarettes at the advice of his doctor, reads the paper and makes notes on finished jobs. He records most of them and includes a comment or two with some.

The Shop’s job book entry. Sinai Hospital job. April 3, 1962.

April 14

The Orioles’ Opening Day is on a Saturday this year and the Kavanagh’s are there. It’s Jack’s first chance to go to the first game of the baseball season and he takes advantage of it. It’s a chilly spring day and that keeps some fans away but Jack, Betty and all seven girls drive to Memorial Stadium and watch the Birds beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0. Gus Triandos and Brooks Robinson homer for two of the runs, the third scoring on a sacrifice fly by Shortstop Jerry Adair. Robinson adds a double as well and is becoming a fan favorite. Pitching is the difference in this one though with Chuck Estrada and Dick Hall combining on a two hit shutout of the Red Sox. Estrada gets the win and Hall the save. Jack is smiling as he drives all his girls home in the Plymouth Station Wagon. He turns right onto Madison Street from Edison Highway and they are close to home. This was a real enjoyable win and Jack will be smiling all night over it.

Mom & Betty May Queen
Betty Ann Kavanagh dressed as the May Queen with her mother, Betty. In front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. My 1962.
BettyAnn & Nanny
Betty Ann dressed as the May Queen with her grandmother, Bernardine Crew (Nanny). In front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. May 1962.

May 4

The Kavanagh’s have been active parishioners at St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary Catholic Church for generations. They attend mass weekly and are supportive and involved in the church’s activities. Today is a special day as Betty Ann is the May Queen of the May Procession at St. Elizabeth’s. The Church has an annual procession and mass to celebrate the Virgin Mary. It starts in the Church and then proceeds through Patterson Park. A parade of students, faculty and church members walk as they sing with a group of girls representing Mary and her court and younger boys as pages. It’s a spring tradition that goes back a long time. Each year an 8th grade girl is chosen to represent Mary and this year, it is Betty Ann. The words, “Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today. Queen of the Angels. Queen of the May” are sung as they honor the mother of Christ. Betty Ann wears the crown of flowers then places them on the statue of Mary when the Procession is finished. Many neighbors comes out each year and line up along the parade route both in front of St. Elizabeth’s Church and the park. It’s a celebrated event in the neighborhood and with Betty Ann chosen as the May Queen, it’s a very special one for the Kavanagh’s this year.

St. Elizabeth’s May Procession with Betty Ann as the May Queen marching along Baltimore Street in front of the Church. May 1962.
St. Elizabeth’s May Process. Betty Ann Kavanagh as May Queen. May 1962.
Untitled-73 copy
St. Elizabeth’s May Procession as it finishes in front of he Church. Corner of Lakewood and Baltimore. May 1962.

May 21

Two copper tops for a still are fabricated for Majestic Distillery. It’s more of their traditional coppersmith/distilling work and Jack is happy to have it. Eddie is more interested in this job then most of the work they receive now. It’s handled primarily by Funke and Owens, their most seasoned smiths. Eddie spends almost an hour in the Shop observing and watching the men work. He gives some pointers and tips which they don’t really need but Eddie seems to enjoy doing it. Soon enough, he is walking up the stairs to his small office to record and smoke.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. May 21, 1962.

June 9

The Kavanagh’s attend another Orioles game on a Saturday afternoon. The Birds are hosting the New York Yankees and Jack, a pregnant Betty and their seven daughters are in the crowd of nearly 30,000. It’s a warm eighty degree afternoon and perfect for baseball. New York gets the best of Baltimore winning 7-3 but Jack has a great time with his kids and wife at the game. He loves taking them out to Memorial Stadium and enjoys talking about each play and the players with the girls. They pepper him with questions throughout and he loves it. Jack decides to bring them out to more games and maybe they can find a way to buy season tickets. He will talk to Betty about it.

June 18

A professor from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine-Department of Microbiology calls the Shop and Jack thinks the man may have the wrong number. He does not. He is seeking someone to make some rectangular copper tanks for their research. After a brief chat, Jack realizes this is something they can do and he gives the man a price. The professor doesn’t hesitate but places an order. To make the tanks, copper sheet is cut then straight lines are annealed to allow the sides to be bent. They are pulled up 90 degrees to make a rectangular box: essentially a tank. Next, the seams are soldered shut very tight so they can seal,  and the inside is tinned.  When the tanks are completed, Jack makes note of this one in his head. Johns Hopkins is a big famous school and doing some work for them is something to remember. He also hopes it leads to more.

The Shop’s job book entry. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine job. June 18, 1962.

July 16

National Brewery orders some replacement nose couplings from the Joseph Kavanagh Company. The Shop has these in stock and if custom adjustments need to be made, they can take care of that too. Despite losing some brewery work to the pipe fitters union, they continue to receive orders for parts regularly from Gunther’s, Hamm and National. As long as the Shop continues to sell these from stock, Jack makes sure to keep making them during any idle time.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. July 16, 1962.

August 3

Jack rolls three brass pipes for a new customer, Southern Plate and Glass Co. The bends are relatively easy but the key is to keep the brass in as good a condition as possible to minimize any clean up or re-polishing. With Funke’s help, the pieces are rolled and turn out very well. A quick clean is all it takes and the customer can pick up. Jack still enjoys spending a few hours in the Shop each day. It’s complicated with calls, even with his secretary, Julie’s help. He has to move from office to Shop 10-20 times a day but having a couple of hours uninterrupted working metal is a treat. It’s what he was trained for and has done for over twenty years. Still, he has to work as quickly as possible to check his calls and do the necessary paperwork for each day. Jack quotes and preps jobs for his men. He has to stay ahead of them as well as do his own Shop jobs. His days are busy but Julie is a great help and the men who work for him are skilled hard-workers. His father can give him advice when needed but Eddie prefers a smaller role now. He loves being at the Shop but knows its Jack’s place to run now and that’s what Eddie wants.

The Shop’s job book entry. Southern Plate & Glass Co. job. August 6, 1962.

August 5

Jack and Betty are watching the 6:00 pm news on this Sunday and hear actress Marilyn Monroe has died of an overdose of barbiturates. Both are shocked at this news as Miss Monroe was so young and was a big star. They are saddened at this tragedy and pray for her and her family. They discuss it and can’t believe that she had this problem with these pills. They don’t understand it but Hollywood is a place where even the successful seem to have so much pressure. They talk about her death for a few minutes until their girls join them in the living room then they hush up about it. Their daughters gather with them for their usual Sunday night TV viewing of “Father Knows Best,” Walt Disney and Jack’s favorite show, “Car 54, Where Are You?”

Jack baby pic with football
Jack Kavanagh. Jr. September 1962.

September 3

It’s the first Monday in September which means it’s Labor Day in the US and a federal holiday. The Shop is closed and that’s good because Betty Kavanagh is in the hospital and the baby is coming. Jack is home with his daughters waiting for news from his wife. Betty’s dear friend Katherine, the young woman who helps with the girls, will come over later this evening for a few hours and Jack can head to the hospital. For now, Jack waits patiently for the phone to ring after feeding the girls their dinner. Finally at 7:00 pm Betty calls and Jack grabs the phone in a flash.

“Betty? Is that you?” Jack hollers into the phone.

“Yes, it’s me. Everything is fine. The baby is here. He’s beautiful.” she answers as she smiles in the delivery room of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Jack breathes a sigh of relief. “I’m so happy, Betty. I’m glad you’re both okay. I bet she’s beautiful.”

“Jack? Didn’t you hear me?  He’s a boy. We have a son.” she exclaims into the phone.

Her husband pauses for just a moment, “Oh Betty, don’t kid around. You know I love my girls. What’s important is you are both okay. I love her. You know that.”

“Jack, I’m not kidding. It’s a boy. He’s a boy.” she replies quizzically.

“I love all my girls, Betty. What are you talking about? I love this one too. Of course.” Jack says, wondering what Betty is talking about.

Betty shakes her head, “Oh gracious Jack. What’s wrong with you?” she thrust the phone into  the doctor’s hand. “Here you tell him. He doesn’t believe me”

Suddenly a male voice, the doctor’s voice comes through the receiver in Jack’s hand. “Mr. Kavanagh? Mr. Kavanagh, you have a son. It’s a boy, Mr. Kavanagh. It’s a boy.”

Jack stares stunned at the phone. A son. He loves his girls. They are all Daddy’s little girls and he wouldn’t want it any other way but a son. He has a boy. It hits him quick and visions of all those things he did as a boy rush through his head. All those memories flood to mind and thoughts of the years working with his father too. “Thank you, Doctor. Thank you.” he grins into the phone,”Put Betty back on.”

“Oh Betty, a boy. A boy. I love you.” Jack gushes to his wife.

“Yes, I told you that.” she smiles back to Jack through the telephone. “What will we name him?”

“Name him? Well, I was thinking if we had a boy, well, how about Colt? Colt Kavanagh for the Colts. It’s a good name Betty and it sounds perfect.” Jack says.

“Colt? COLT? You are thinking Colt Kavanagh?” Betty glares and stares in disbelief.

Jack quickly answers her, “Yes, Betty. It’s a good name. It sounds so Baltimore. Colt Kavanagh. Listen to it. Colt Kavanagh. It has a nice ring to it.”

“Ring to it? Colt? What are you thinking?” she takes a breath then replies with a strong certainty in her voice, “No Jack. I don’t think it will be Colt. We’ll name him after his father, Jack.”

“Jack? I like Colt, hon. I like the sound of it.” Jack says,  a bit less sure of himself.

Betty chuckles softly, “No, Jack. He will be John Joseph Kavanagh and we’ll call him Jack Jr. That’s what sounds right and that has a nice ring to it.”

“Jack Jr.?” Jack’s grin widens with a strange sense of pride and he quickly relents, “Okay, Betty. That does sound right. He’s Jack Junior.”

Jack baby pic1
Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1962.

September 16

It’s the first Colts game of the season and Jack is going to the game. His friend Urb can’t make it so this year his brother-in-law Bumpsy(Howard) and his wife Shirley come along. The Colts face the LA Rams and win a close one 30-27 before 54,000 crazy fans. Bumpsy and Shirley have a great time with Jack and they make plans to go to another game later in the Fall. The Colts have a fair season finishing 7-7 but that’s not even close to making the postseason. They settle for fourth place.

September 19

The new Pines Bender is put to its first test today as some 2” Pipes need to be bent on a 5” radius for the Steel Tower and Erection Co. This would be impossible without the new hydraulic bender. They take their time balancing all the tools and getting the set up right. The first bend shows how easily the machine pulls the pipe and Jack is even more impressed with this machine. The pipes are bent and the job goes faster than expected. Jack is confident in this machine, knowing that time, experience with it and more tools will make it even more valuable to them.

The Shop’s job book entry. Steel Tower & Erection Co. job. September 19, 1962.

October 16

The New York Yankees defeat the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The series goes the duration at seven games with New York prevailing for its twentieth championship. The final game is a nail-biter and the Yanks win 1-0. The only run scores from third on a double play hit into by Yankee Tony Kubyek. The Giants threaten in the bottom of the ninth but with men on second and third, Willie Mccovey hits a scorching line drive that is caught by second baseman Bobby Richards to end the game and the Series. Just like every year, the Kavanagh’s follow the World Series closely. Jack watched the second and third games with Eddie at his house. Spending Saturday and Sunday afternoon with him discussing the games as they watch and comparing them to others they have seen. Both father and son hope for a day when the Orioles will be playing later into October and vying for a championship. This season is a disappointing one for the Birds. They drop to seventh place in the American League with a record of 77- 85. A new influx of young players showed some talent but the results are not there in the win column.

October 22

President Kennedy makes an address to the nation informing them that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. That’s just a few miles away from Florida and he announces the US has sent its ships to blockade the island nation to keep anymore weapons from being placed there. The world takes a step closer to war. Not just war but cataclysmic nuclear war. Jack is stunned. He trusts Kennedy and admires the man but he fears any escalation of this standoff between the world’s two super powers. Jack fought in a war and the true horrors of it had a permanent effect on him. He is proud of his service but he saw war personally. He visited Iwo Jima, Midway and most of his time on the USS Strickland was in the Pacific. That war was bad enough for him but a nuclear one could end it all. He prays along with most Americans that the President will find some solution and keep this fragile peace the world has.

October 28

After several weeks of neither side blinking, the Soviets pull their missiles out of Cuba. Americans breathe a sigh of relief including the Kavanagh’s. Jack is proud of his President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy who is lauded for standing up to the Russians and forcing them to back down. The reality which most Americans do not know is that Kennedy has agreed to pull American nuclear missiles out of Turkey to placate the Soviets and thus the deal is struck.

November 13

5- 3” O.D. steel tubes are finished today for Universal Machine Co. These are thin wall and needed to be filled with rosin. Yesterday, the rosin was melted into its bubbling mass then poured carefully into the plugged tubes. Today the rosin is hard and the tubes are rolled through the machine and they hold up well due to the solid rosin supporting the walls of the tube. When completed, they are hung up and the rosin is melted back out. A messy job but something they do fairly regularly when it’s needed.

The Shop’s job book entry. Universal Machine job. November 13, 1962.

December 20

Harvey Stambaugh has an order in the Shop for a tube to be bent into an offset. It’s something for their own use and does not have to be perfect. A simple hand sketch is sent over by Harvey and the tube is bent and returned to him as quickly as possible. Stambaugh is a good customer and fast becoming one of the Shop’s regulars. Harvey and company generally send two or more orders each month to the Kavanagh’s.

The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons job. December 19, 1962.

December 24

The Shop’s Christmas Eve Party is today. After a Monday morning of work, the place is quickly converted into a hall complete with Christmas tree. It has been a good year all around for the Kavanagh’s. The Shop’s year started better than usual and kept going through all of 1962. Jack and Betty welcomed their first son and pragmatically, Jack finally has an heir to the Shop. The girls could own as Jack’s cousin Mary and her mother do but it would be inconceivable in the 1960s for women to work in the Shop. Those were the times. The assumption is that Jack Jr. or Little Jack will certainly work there. He will be the next generation as the tradition has been since 1866. They also purchased a new machine that has sped up jobs and brought in new work. Jack Sr. knows that the key is tools and he has John Benser, the Shop’s machinist, making all he can for the Pines Bender. It’s appropriate that Jack Jr. be born the same year as the Pines is bought because Jack will become the master of that machine. He learns the mechanics of bending with these machines very well and knows its capabilities and limitation better than anyone but the manufacturer. Perhaps more than them. The Christmas party is loud and a couple of songs are sung but it breaks up before evening is upon them. It is just a few hours with friends, employees and customers eating, drinking and celebrating but it’s an annual tradition and they enjoy it. After Jack drives a couple of workers home, he takes his family back to Lakewood Avenue for the holiday. His wife, his seven girls and his son, Jack who was very nearly called Colt Kavanagh.



John F. Kennedy is the President of the United States. The US Navy Seals are founded. John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth. The Space Needle in Seattle is completed. The first Wal-mart, Target and Kmart stores open. “The Beverly Hillbillies” premiers on TV. The films “Dr No” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are released. Spider-man makes his first appearance in Marvel comics. Jodie Foster, Jon Bon Jovi, Bo Jackson, Pam Shriver, and Andre Braugher are born. Ernie Kovacs, William Faulkner and E. E. Cummings die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

Jack baby pic with football2
Jack Kavanagh Jr. September 1962.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents






1961 Eddie Retires

January 5

36 year old Jack Kavanagh takes calls in the small office of the Joseph Kavanagh Company and spends part of the day working in the Shop. His father Eddie is still despondent over his wife’s death and he shows up every day at work but is distracted and defers to Jack to take calls. He helps Jack quote prices and does the schedule for each week but is not quite up to talking to customers. He was married to Annie for forty-two years and his grief is deep. Jack does what he can for his father, working more hours and spending what time he can with him at his father’s home at 434 N. Lakewood Avenue. Jack and his family live across the street so he is close and is able to check on him every night. The Shop has a typical start to the year with most of their customers slow but the occasional boiler job or heating coil does roll into the place. They continue to receive more pipe and tube bending jobs. Steiner-Fulton Co. orders some 1 1/2” Aluminum pipes to be annealed and bent for a railing. The customer has the rails in stock and sends them to 201 S. Central so the Shop has no material costs. It’s just a labor job. Jack and two other fellows get the pieces annealed and bent in a few hours.

The Shop’s job book entry. Steiner-Fulton Co. job. January 5, 1961.

January 20

John F. Kennedy is sworn in as President of the United States and Jack listens on the radio. He’s a great admirer of Kennedy and is excited that this young Irish Catholic man has taken the highest office in the nation. Jack is a loyal Democrat having served in the Maryland House of Delegates and run for City Council in the 1950s. He has high hopes for JFK and believes he will do great things for America.

JoAnn and Ann Kavanagh. 1961.

February 21

Jack suggests to his father that they hire a secretary to help in the office as the crew work busily on a cold winter day. Several workers are with Charlie Owens at Montebello Liquors. They are installing two bottling tanks the Shop has re-tinned. February has been busier than usual with some emergency work, one for a boiler and this one for Montebello. Eddie thinks a secretary is unnecessary but Jack needs the help answering the phone and taking messages. Some help with the books would be welcome too. Eddie knows both of these things are true and the only other option is for him to be more involved with both so he agrees. Jack is surprised his father is convinced so quickly. He makes some calls in search of someone with a clerical background to help him.

The Shop’s job book entry. Montebello Liquors job. February 21, 1961.

March 6

The Shop hires a young woman named Julie as a full time secretary. She comes highly recommended by a friend of Jack’s and will answer the phone and take care of the office when Jack is out in the Shop. Eddie prefers to quote only the brewery and distillery jobs that come in and record the time and material on past jobs. He’s always been a stickler for records and both he and his son use them for bids. Jack suggests his father work in Eddie’s father Joe’s old office upstairs. Joe would make calls and review old jobs while he was up there. Eddie surprisingly likes the ideas and he starts spending most of his day in the upstairs office of the Shop. It is used primarily to store records and drawings. Eddie begins typing them into job books and noting the cost and time necessary to do each job. He thinks these will make a good reference for future quotes and jobs.

March 20

The younger Harvey Stambaugh calls Jack and tells him he’s got some tubes he needs made into U-bends. U-bends are used in heat exchangers and are as described, tubes with a “u” or 180 degree bend in the middle of them. Harvey needs them in a day and he wants to bring them over tomorrow. Jack says they can take care of it, but Harvey needs a price first. He tells Jack he always needs a price before preceding. One of Stambaugh’s estimators, Mr. Newkirk calls with the specifics. Jack quotes him a number and first thing the next morning, Stambaugh’s truck is carrying the tubes from Woodall Street through downtown and to Central Avenue. They jump on this tube job quickly and they are ready for pick up by early in the afternoon. Stambaugh has become a regular customer in the last few years besides Jack really likes Harvey. He’s about 20 years Jack’s senior but his youthful looks make the age difference seem much smaller. Harvey is a jovial and gregarious character and Jack usually gets a laugh from his phone calls.

The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons job. March 21, 1961.

April 11

The Orioles home opener is today and they face off against the new expansion Los Angeles Angels. The Birds get beat by this upstart club 7-2. The game is on the radio in the Shop and the office as Kavanagh’s and crew follow closely. The fans are disappointed but it’s only one game. Last years’ second place finished has increased their hopes for this season. Confidence in the Birds is high this year in Baltimore and that definitely includes the Kavanagh’s.

The Kavanagh girls in their girl scout uniforms. Nancy, Mary, Betty Ann(left to right) Late 1950s.

April 19

Jack reads the newspaper story about the Bay of Pigs. An attempted counter-revolution in Cuba that ends in disaster after two days of fighting. Jack shakes his head at this story. It’s a terrible waste of life and worse yet, a complete failure. The Fidel Castro regime in Cuba had nationalized American industries there last year and now they are firmly entrenched and they have even more reason to oppose US interests and influence in the region.

May 5

Alan Sheppard becomes the first American in space today. Americans watch and listen as the first of the Mercury astronauts is successfully launched into orbit. This first brief flight into space is only a stepping stone to far greater things.

Betty Nancy Mary Scouting
Kavanagh girls in their girl scout uniforms. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary(left to right). 1960.

May 25

President Kennedy announces plans to land an American on the moon by the end of the decade. Jack can’t believe it. It was amazing to send a man into space but to land on the moon seems far-fetched. Jack is a big supporter of JFK and if Kennedy says we should do it, Jack is sure we will. It still seems like the stuff of his childhood matinee films and dreams but a trip to the moon will be a reality soon enough.

June 1

The work at the Shop has stayed steady as the summer starts. Today a job for Majestic Distillery is finished. A dump strainer is fabricated per Eddie’s quote. Julie received the call and Jack told her to speak to his father. These are the sort of quotes Eddie still enjoys doing. Julie is helpful to both father and son. She keeps thing going along well when Jack is in the Shop and she keeps an eye on Eddie upstairs and gets anything he needs. Eddie still gets a bit of a charge out of a quote that becomes a job but otherwise he focuses on those old jobs. Typing them up and notating whether the Shop made money or not and how that occurred. They will prove useful over the years but part of Eddie’s interest is nostalgic. It’s as if he is reviewing the years of work at the Shop, going over it all in his mind.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. June 1, 1961.

June 12

Eddie tells Jack he will retire at the end of the year. He will keep recording old jobs but thinks he’ll be finished by December. He tells his son it is his time and he has all of Eddie’s confidence. Eddie feels very old suddenly and he can’t do it anymore. He has worked at the Shop for over fifty years and is sixty-six years old.

“It’s a good thing, Pop. You did your part. You have worked here longer than anyone ever has even the first Joe. You earned a good comfortable retirement.” Jack tells his father.

Eddie pauses at his desk, “I guess. I mean I don’t know what I’ll do, Jack, but there is no point in my working here anymore. I’ll finish recording these old jobs. I think it’s important to have them as a reference point for quoting. After that, I’m gone. I’m tired too. I really am.”

“I know you are. I do and you really have given all you can to the place. Plus, you have set me up to succeed, Pop. I’ll be fine and the Shop too. I’ll take care of everything. You can relax finally. Take it easy at home. Listen and watch ball games. You can finally spend all day playing the piano if you want.” Jack says to encourage his father.

Eddie holds his hands out in front of him with a small frown on his face, “I can play some but I can’t play all day. Not like I used to. My hands aren’t as good, Jack. They get sore and tired but, yes, I’ll play.” his frown turning to a small smile. “Any night you come over, we can play together too. That’s always fun, Jack. It will be okay. I’ll find other stuff to keep me busy too.”

Jack’s brow furrows a bit at the thought his father can’t play as well anymore and the sight of his aged hands then he answers resolutely, “Sounds good to me. I love playing and we can do that. You can do whatever you want. Like I said, you earned it.”

“Maybe but what’s for sure is, you don’t need me anymore.” his eyes rise and scan the small office, “the Shop doesn’t need me anymore. It’s time I got out of the way and got out of here. It’s your time, Jack”

“You’re not in the way, Pop. You’re not but I am ready for this. I am” Jack assures his father.

“I know it, kid. I know it.” Eddie smiles broader then heads up the steps to the second floor office. Jack sits in silence as Julie records the hours from the prior day sitting at her desk across the room. She was not listening in to their conversation but certainly heard it. She is working out well. Julie helps Jack with payroll, the books and answering the phone. Jack is sure he’s ready but he worries about Eddie. Despite their chat, he knows it will be tough for Eddie to not work and if he’s limited on the piano now, that will hurt. They both love the piano and Jack can’t imagine not being able to play. His biggest worry is that Eddie will be lonely and restless without the Shop. If you work somewhere for over fifty years, it is all you know. Factor in, it is your company and it’s that much harder to walk away. Jack is concerned for Eddie but hopes he can adjust.

July 9

Jack, Betty and their girls attend an Orioles afternoon game on this Sunday. The family sees a great game as the Orioles defeat the Kansas City Athletics, 8-0. Pitcher Steve Barber throws a four hit shut out while the offense put up three runs in the first two innings, leading throughout the ball game. There are no home runs hit but both Jackie Brandt and Whitey Herzog triple while Brooks Robinson, Jerry Adair and Jim Gentile all hit doubles. The team is off to its best start ever and the excitement and hopes for a successful season continue. The Kavanagh girls have a blast as they eat fried chicken and drink iced tea made by Betty. They rarely buy food at the game. With so many children, it’s just too expensive but they always bring food from home. The kids love going to Memorial Stadium as their father does. Betty is becoming a big fan too. The Kavanagh’s go to at least a couple of games every month as this connection and allegiance to the Birds grows.

JoAnn Kavanagh pictured with the Plymouth Station Wagon. Jefferson Street. Early 1960s.

July 14

Another order for Majestic Distillery is completed. This is also from Eddie’s quotation. A set of boiler plates are drilled and cut to size. This is their old school distillery work and they knock the plates out fairly quickly. The diameter of each plate is most critical. They must fit snugly into a tank that is pressurized. It must be sealed very tightly but it’s not an issue for Kavanagh’s and crew. The plates are fabricated and installed at Majestic in quick order.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. July 14, 1961.

August 22

Eddie and Jack stand in the Shop surrounded by the crew at 9 am. The usual morning break is full of chat bout the Orioles. They are in hot pursuit of the Yankees and have won five in a row. The breaks are usually times to talk and relax for a few minute but they are rarely this loud and boisterous. The team is on a roll. After a few minutes, Eddie is quick to get the boys back at it. That’s Jack’s job these days but old habits die hard. A set of 2 1/2” pipes are bent for Washington Aluminum Co. The roller is used and the radius is achieved easily. The pipes match very close to each other and this job will be wrapped up by the end of the day. As father and son eat their lunch, they discuss the two Yankee sluggers who are chasing Babe Ruth’s single season home run record of 60. Eddie was a huge fan of the Babe’s during his playing years. Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris are both making a run at this record that seemed unbreakable. The American League season has been increased from 154 games to 162 and those extra eight games will help their cause. In addition, the AL added two expansion teams this year. Teams that are certain to perform poorly and this may add to the M & M boys’ home run totals too.

“Both Mantle and Maris got a shot at Ruth’s record, Pop.” Jack says as he balls up his napkin and tosses it in the trash.

Eddie snorts, “Neither of these guys can compare to Ruth. I don’t see them hitting 60 homers, Jack. 60? Come on. They have 8 more games to do it with and they still won’t make it.”

“Maris has 49 already, Eddie. He’s close and Mantle is right behind him. Mantle is the better hitter in my opinion. He’s just been injured a lot but he can knock the heck out of the ball. I think they both got a legitimate shot.” Jack replies in a matter of fact way.

“Even at 49, he’s got 11 home runs to get. Late in the season with games counting so much, he’ll face the toughest pitchers. They will pitch around him. It’s not gonna happen, kid.” Eddie answers with the same assurance in his voice as he places a match to the end of his cigarette.

Jack waves off the cloud of smoke, “You just don’t know, Eddie. These guys can hit and they CAN’T pitch around Maris because of Mantle. I think that’s helped him some already. I’m not saying the Babe’s record will be broken. I’m saying it’s possible.”

“No matter what. These two can’t compare to Ruth. Ruth was a slugger. The greatest slugger of all time. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris. They are good hitters and players, Jack but they ain’t the Babe.” Eddie answers emphatically punctuating his statement by breathing out a large puff of smoke.

Jack leans back away from it, “I hope you’re right for the Orioles sake. We’re playing great but still nine games back. If either or both get close to 60 or pass it, the Birds are in trouble”

“No matter how many homers those two get, the Birds are already in trouble. We’re playing as good as we can but the Yanks look unstoppable this year, kid.” Eddie flicks his ash as his son nods.

“Yeah Eddie, it sure looks like its New York’s year…. Again.” Jack stands up from his desk quickly, “I better get out there and get them started.” he heads out the Shop door and checks on the crew.

The Shop’s job book entry. Washington Aluminum Co. job. August 22, 1961.

September 17

Jack and his buddy Urb Rosemary drive out to Memorial Stadium to watch the first Colts game of the season. Baltimore defeats the LA Rams 27-24 and the two friends join in with the wild crowd of fans. The Colts are cheered on loudly and enthusiastically on every play. The team will have a pretty good year finishing 8-6 in their division. Unfortunately, that’s only good enough for a tie of third place and they miss the postseason for the second straight year.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. September 25, 1961.

October 1

Roger Maris hits his 61st home run today on the last day of the season breaking Ruth’s record. Mickey Mantle falls short partly due to a hip injury at the end of the season  but still hits an impressive 54 home runs. Roger Maris’ 61 in ‘61 is an astonishing accomplishment. Eddie and Jack can’t believe it though Eddie still says he’s no Ruth. If they thought Ruth’s 60 would never be broken, they feel even more so about Maris’ 61. The Orioles are in the race for the pennant all season and win 95 games but that’s still not enough. They finish in third behind the Tigers with 103 wins and the Yankees who take the American League pennant with a whopping 109 victories.

Mary and Jane Kavanagh. Living room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Early 1960s.

October 9

The New York Yankees win four out of five to take the World Series over the Cincinnati Reds. The Yanks feature AL MVP Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and the rest of their vaunted office. The Reds are led by NL MVP Frank Robinson and Wally Post. New York dominates the Series on both sides of the game. Their pitching was anchored by Whitey Ford who wins the MVP of the Series. Ford wins two games and throws fourteen innings of shutout ball. This combined with his past World Series starts breaks Babe Ruth’s record for scoreless innings in the Series. That’s two of Ruth’s records that fall this year. New York also out played the Reds on offense scoring 27 runs to Cincinnati’s 13. It’s a lopsided championship and ends with New York winning its 19th World Series in 39 years. The Kavanagh’s are big fans and watch the series closely. They are pulling for the Reds but there is no stopping the Yanks this year.

October 28

Universal Machine Company is installing some equipment at the Maryland Cup company. Both are customers of the Shop and they need a quick bent tube fabricated. A 3”OD thin wall steel tube needs to be filled and rolled. Jack and two helpers, Schaech and Lipscomb tackle this job. His helpers have filled the tube the day prior and now Jack rolls it to the necessary radius and degree. Shaech and Lipscomb melt it out under Jack’s supervision and after some adjustments and some cleaning, it is ready to be delivered.

The Shop’s job book entry. Universal Machine Co. job. October 28, 1961.

November 1

The Shop on Central Avenue finishes a nice order for Structure Components today. Thirty-two aluminum pipes are annealed and bent. The tolerance is tight on these but the finished pieces are spot on the dimensions. It’s a nice bit of work that helps to make a good end to the year. The precision is something you can always charge more for but you have to be able to hold that tolerance consistently throughout the entire piece. All of these turn out very well and the customer is very happy.

the Shop’s job book entry. Structure Components Co. job. November 1, 1961. Page 1.
The Shop’s job book entry. Structure Components Co. job. November 1, 1961. Page 2.

November 25

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Eddie, Jack, Betty and their girls visit Aunt Anna(Sister Mary Agnes) at the Visitation Convent on Roland Park Avenue. She is very happy to spend some time with her family. They catch up on her teaching duties and discuss the holidays. She loves hearing from the girls about what they want for Christmas. Eddie tells his sister Anna he is retiring from the Shop. She is surprised but seems pleased. She tells her brother it’s a good idea. He needs to rest and enjoy some time away from the Shop. It’s a very pleasant visit and afterward they pile into the station wagon and drive back to Lakewood Avenue.

Mary Kavanagh next to Jack’s Plymouth Station Wagon. Early 1960s.

December 23

On this Saturday, the Shop’s Christmas Party is held and it is a quieter affair this year and a little shorter. After a morning of work, the place is cleaned and decorated including a tree. Jack runs out in the morning to get one then picks his family up for the party. Eddie comes along and he shakes hands with the employees and a few customers who stop by. This is the end for him and his friends and business associates wish him well. There is food and drink and the guest mingle and chat together. A few Christmas songs are sung but not like in the past when the old building would be filled with music. Jack drives a few members of his crew home afterward then returns quickly to the Shop because Jack and Betty are spending all day tomorrow celebrating with Betty’s family. Her mother Bernardine or Nanny as the girls call her has moved in with her son Bumpsey and his wife Shirley. They live on Bucknell Road and are hosting their first big holiday party. The girls are thrilled at the thought of Christmas Eve with Nanny. Everyone has a great time at Bucknell Road and when they get home, Jack walks across the street to see how Eddie is. He is okay and promises to spend as much of Christmas Day with the family as he can. The next day is festive on Lakewood Avenue as the girls find presents under the tree and enjoy a turkey feast with all the trimmings including parsnips, a Kavanagh staple. Eddie is there and he loves seeing the girls so excited but he wearies quickly. After a couple of hours, he walks home to take a nap. Jack checks on him later and he is fine but still seems a little lost. Without Annie and without the Shop, Eddie finds very little to do with his time. He misses the Shop but he can’t work there anymore. He’s too old and has done his part. He has worked there since he was a teenager and it really was all he knew. He settles into a life of playing a little piano, watching TV, smoking cigars and chewing Doublemint gum. The gum is his favorite and there is a pack on every flat surface in his house along with an ashtray. The Doublemint reminds him of Annie. She worked at a candy store where he first tried it and then asked her on a date the same day. He loves this gum and, in fact, 434 N. Lakewood always smelled of cigars and Doublemint Gum even after his death years later.



John F. Kennedy is the President of the United States. He sends 14,000 military advisers to Vietnam then 400 troops with helicopters. The Vietnam War has begun. Construction of the Berlin Wall begins. Bomb shelters become popular.  The Freedom Riders begin their rides in the South. The Peace Corps is founded. The 23rd Amendment is ratified granting citizens of Washington D.C. the right to vote in national elections. The electric toothbrush and the disposable diaper are invented. The films “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “West Side Story” and “The Hustler” are released. Eddie Murphy, Barack Obama, Melissa Etheridge, Wynton Marsalis and Henry Rollins are born. Ernest Hemingway dies.


There are 50 states in the Union.

7 girls
All seven of the Kavanagh girls. Front row is Betty Ann, Mary, Jane, Nancy. Back row is JoAnn, Ann, Jackie. 1961.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents



1960 Ann M. Kavanagh

January 22

The Shop has work to start the year, not a lot but about what they are accustomed to in January. Today in the Shop, some fittings are made for Hamm Brewing and a heating coil is fabricated. A copper coil is replicated from an old sample by John Benser. The tube is annealed and bent to match the old piece. The customer is a new one, Paul H. Werres Co. Eddie and Jack field calls in the small corner office, give quotes and expedite jobs. Jack is also at work in the Shop most of the time. He moves between the office and Shop frequently. He will be running a crew on a job and also prepping quotes and making calls. Eddie is still involved in the Shop periodically as needed but he spends most of the day at his desk. Eddie has adjusted quickly to his older son not working here. Ed Jr. quit last year after some accusations of drinking a couple of beers on the job at Gunther’s. His father is strict about the rules of no drinking and no matter the amount, it was a problem to him. They quarreled and many years of quarreling came to a head and that was that. It feels a little  strange for Eddie Kavanagh to have only one son working for him but he and Jack get on very well. More to the point, they work well together. Eddie trusts Jack and he sees his son learning and being comfortable running a crew. Soon it will be Jack’s time and Eddie may be able to step away and spend more time with his wife, Annie.

The Shop’s job book entry. Theo Hamm Brewing Co. January 22, 1960.

February 18

The cold winter continues and the work stays steady for the Kavanagh’s. They are working on several brass plugs and couplings for the Theo Hamm Brewing Co. Eddie and Jack were concerned they would be missing the beer work after the decision by the union last year. The pipe fitters will be handling all beer line work from now on which will hurt the Shop; the Kavanagh’s just don’t know how much yet. They still have many stock fittings and make custom ones and they continue receiving those orders. Gunther’s and National Breweries and now Hamm are regular customers for replacement and spare parts.

March 22

Spring has brought talk of baseball to the corner of Pratt and Central as well as an uptick in work. The fellows are busy on some fittings for Gunther’s and another boiler repair for Codd Fab. Winter is over but people still need heat. Copper liners and brass fittings are made for the boiler and Kavanagh’s and crew speculate on the Orioles. Will they be better this year? They have mired along just below a .500 record for the last few years and some improvement is expected. Hopes are high but that is usually true in spring.

April 19

It is Opening Day in Baltimore and the citizens are excited with 32,000 fans filling Memorial Stadium. The Kavanagh’s and crew are just as excited and the game is on the radio in the office and another in the Shop proper. Charlie Owens brought in a radio and asked permission to listen to the ballgame. Eddie is a little concerned that the radio could distract the crew but Jack convinces him it’s the Opening Day and worth it. For Jack’s part, he’s happy to be able to hear the game outside of the office. He moves between both throughout the day and follows the Birds on both radios. They face the Washington Senators today and win 3-2. Third baseman Brooks Robinson crushes a two-run home run deep into the left field stands for the first two scores while Gene Woodling doubles in Jackie Brandt with the winning run. Jack and Eddie talk about the game cheerily as they lock the large metal doors of the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Jack tells his father he has a feeling about this Robinson. He’s good at third and though it has taken him a couple years to prove it, he can hit too. Jack thinks he might stick at third for the Orioles for a few years. Eddie hopes so.

April 28

More brewery parts are being made but a job for the Coast Guard is the focus at the Shop today. Eddie and Jack both work on this order. Copper-nickle tubes are bent for an exhaust pipe on a UT boat. The tubes are annealed, then filled with rosin, bent in the rolling machine, melted out and hammered smooth. It’s a lot of steps but the Kavanagh’s knock it out pretty quick. Charlie Owens handles the annealing on this one. To anneal copper-nickle is tricky but not particularly difficult. You can’t anneal the nickle. It’s far too dense and hard. A torch won’t get hot enough but the copper in the tube will anneal. A careful eye can get it right and Owens is an experienced coppersmith now. Jack and Eddie with a helper, Pat, roll the tubes to 45 degrees with the proper radius and tangent the Coast Guard needs. After hammering smooth any small dents, the tubes are cleaned up and ready to go.

The Shop’s job book entry. Theo Hamm Brewing Co. job. May 3, 1960.

May 6

It’s a welcome Friday for Jack after a long week. He has to work in the morning tomorrow but should be home by lunch. He looks forward to a relaxing weekend. He sits and nurses a beer while watching television as Betty gets their six girls to sleep. The girls are tired from the school week but are not anxious to get to sleep. After a bit of convincing, Betty gets them all in bed for the night. She has some wonderful news for Jack. She has tried all evening to get a chance to tell him about it but with a houseful of daughters, there just wasn’t a chance. A few minutes after 10 pm, she has no choice but to interrupt “the Twilight Zone” which Jack is watching intently. It’s an episode called “A Stop in Willoughby” in which the main character dreams of going back to a simpler time and a simpler place, In this program, that place is called Willoughby. She gets her husband’s attention during a commercial and quickly informs him she is pregnant. It takes a moment to sink in, then Jack wraps his arms around her and he is very excited. Jack and Betty love kids and family. Any addition to their already large clan is welcomed with love and anticipation.  They smile to each other because baby # 7 is on its way.

May 12

The Kavanagh’s make some heater tubes for Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons. Stambaugh is a boiler repair company and a fabricator. The company is run by Harvey Stambaugh and his two sons, Harvey Jr. and Ken, just like the name infers. They have ordered some copper tubes for a heat exchanger. An exchanger does what its name says, it moves heat from one area to another. The tubes are straight in this case. They are merely cut and 2” on each end are annealed to allow for expansion. The tubes will be slid into a brass or steel plate on each side of the exchanger. To seal the unit, the tubes are expanded tight into the plate or header. It’s an easy job for the Shop. They keep the tube in stock. Cutting and annealing is quick for them.

Jack and his first 6 girls. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane, Jackie, JoAnn(Left to right). 1960.

June 29

It’s a hot summer day and not a good one to be filling tubes with rosin but that’s what’s going on at the Shop. The Sweetheart Paper Co. has ordered some 4” O.D. tubes to be bent. They need offsets which are pieces with two bends. The rosin pot is filled with small blocks of the yellow-orange tree gum. A torch is put on the pot and it melts fairly quickly. The tubes are stood up and wired securely to a beam. Large ladles or scoops are dipped into the pot and used to fill buckets of the now black tarry bubbling liquid. The buckets are poured into the tubes and it hardens overnight. A long hot messy process but it will keep the thin tubes from collapsing or wrinkling while being bent. After bending, they are hung up by chains and blasted with torches to melt the rosin back out. The boys catch it in over-sized buckets for re-use. It’s a job where the bending is the easiest part.

Collection of dies for the Leionard “Air” Bender accumulated over 60 years. Photo taken September of 2019.

July 15

Jack, Charlie Owens and another fellow are working on a steel coil. Jack welcomes three hours straight in the Shop to bend this one. The phone and the paper work is part of the job but some days, Jack wants to be doing the work. It’s tough but not in the same way that dealing with customers and vendors can be. They bend some 3/4” steel pipe in the Leonard “Air” bender purchased last year. It’s a coil with 180 degree and 90 degree bends in a serpentine style. It will be used for a refrigeration system in a wholesale fish market, Waterford Ltd.

The Shop’s job book entry. Waterford Ltd. Job. July 15, 1960.

August 13

Jack and Betty take their girls to a Saturday afternoon Orioles game at Memorial Stadium. The eight Kavanagh’s pile into the Plymouth Station Wagon and head to Thirty-third Street. On the way, the girls are excited about the game and the upcoming school year. They chatter and the young voices fill the car as Jack moves through traffic.

“Quiet down girls. Your father’s driving.” Betty looks over her left shoulder at her brood.

“When are we going to get there?” Mary inquires.

“We’re getting closer Mary. We’ve been to enough baseball games to know.” Nancy answers her.

“We will be there soon. Your sister’s right, Mary. You girls quiet down.” Betty chides them again as Betty Ann and Jane discuss school and Jackie and JoAnn bicker about looking out the window.

Mary replies to Nancy, “I know we are close but I want to know how long it will take.”

“There’s traffic. Look around you. We’ll get there.” Betty Ann turns to Mary then returns to the conversation with Jane.

Their mother speaks up, “Yes, there is some traffic. Your Dad will get us there. Be patient.”

The three conversations rise in volume as Jack tries to focus on driving. “I want summer to last longer.” Jane says to Betty Ann. “School comes back too soon.”

“You’ll get used to it.” Betty Ann answers, her voice getting louder to be heard over JoAnn and Jackie’s teasing each other.

Jack feels his head begin to spin in the Plymouth as the girls keep speaking, all of them at once it seems. “So when ARE we going to get there?” An unidentified voice says.

“That’s it! This is the last ballgame we’re going to EVER!” Jack snaps over his shoulder to the back of the vehicle. “This is it.” He continues driving as a hush falls over the car. The girls are shocked into silence. The remainder of the ride is quiet and when they reach their seats, the girls notice their father seems fine now. They watch a fun game, cheering on the Birds to victory. The Orioles take it in the bottom of the ninth, coming back to win. Jack enjoys the game and despite what he said, this is not the last time they go to a ballgame.

August 24

A large job is completed today for Majestic Distillery. The Shop continues to receive its whiskey related work this year but it’s usually small repairs and parts. This one is fabricating and installing a two hundred foot copper line at Majestic. The project takes a couple of weeks for several workers with the bulk of the time is spent on site. The tubes must be tinned first then the line is installed at the distillery. It stretches from the Regauging Room across their yard, through the roof and into a Bottling Room. Eddie likes this job. It’s their old work and one they can make money on too.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. August 24, 1960.

September 18

The Baltimore Colts play their first game of the season and defeat the Washington Redskins 20-0. They are the two time NFL Champions and the crowd seems to get louder each year maybe even each game. Jack and his buddy Urb Rosemary are there in the mass of fans. They have attended the first football game for three years in a row. It’s been good luck so far but not this year. The Colts start off well going 6-2 but lose their last four games and do not repeat as champs. The Baltimore Orioles lose a double header to the New York Yankees on this very same day. This completes four losses in a row to NY and pushes the Birds into second place. The Orioles were fighting for first since August with the Yankees and White Sox but these four games secure the Yanks’ pennant. The fans were happy for the excitement of a pennant race for the first time. Jack’s faith in Robinson was well-placed. He leads the club in batting average, doubles and triples. Several other youngsters, Jim Gentile and Ron Hansen, impress as well. They give Oriole fans hope for the future.

October 13

The Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the New York Yankees in seven games to win the World Series. It is a strange series with all three of New York’s victories being routs while the Pirates wins were all close ones. In game seven in the final inning,  Bill Mazeroski hits a walk off home run to take the game 10-9 and the championship. The Kavanagh’s are listening on Central Avenue. Both Eddie and Jack pull for Pittsburgh this year. Eddie’s allegiance to the Yanks has been waning with the arrival of the Orioles After this season when the Birds got close only to be beaten by NY for the pennant, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Father and son listen on the radio to NBC broadcaster Chuck Thompson calling the winning homer by Mazeroski and they celebrate, clapping their hands then rubbing them together quickly. It’s a habit that Eddie has had for years and Jack has picked it up. Thompson flubs the call a bit, messing up the score and the pitcher’s name but it was understandable in the excitement of Mazeroski’s blast. This is the first time a World Series is decided by a walk off home run.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Cup Company job. October 19, 1960.

October 19

Another rosin job is finished today at 201 S. Central Avenue. 3 1/2” Pipes must be filled and rolled to 90 degrees on a 48” Rad. Jack’s rolling machine has more than payed for itself and is used several days a week at the least. Most of the crew including Jack have some time on this one as the customer, Maryland Cup Company, is in a hurry. Any hurry or rush job is priced at a premium so extra hours are required but Eddie does not mind as long as the money is there.

3 1/2″ Pipe 90 degree bend made at the Shop. September 2019.

November 8

Democrat John F. Kennedy defeats Vice-President Richard Nixon to win the presidency of the United States of America. Kennedy at 43 becomes the youngest president ever, and the first Roman Catholic. The Kavanagh’s vote for him as the loyal Democrats they are. Jack, particularly, feels an admiration for JFK and is excited to cast his vote. Perhaps it is because of their shared Irish heritage or their shared Roman Catholic faith. It could be because they are both called Jack and served in the Navy but whatever it was, Jack likes the man. He is anxious to see what Jack Kennedy can do in office.

November 14

Another week starts on this Monday with the Kavanagh’s and crew fairly busy. The year has turned out  better than last so far. Several reducers are made today for the Lloyd Mitchell Company. Mitchell is doing this job for Carlin’s Brewery and can’t make the reducers. This is the type of work they thought they would miss from the breweries. The Lloyd Mitchell Co. has a large chunk of work at Carlin’s but they can’t fabricate the eccentric reducers so they call Eddie. He takes the order knowing that two years ago, Carlin’s would have come directly to the Shop for this. Eddie discusses it with Jack and they decide to charge as much as they possibly can for this job. If they are fine with Mitchell being in the middle on this job, they must be fine with paying more.

The Shop’s job book entry. Lloyd Mitchell Company job. November 14, 1960.

November 17

In the afternoon on this Thursday, Eddie gets a call at the Shop. His wife, Annie has had a heart attack. She has been rushed to the hospital and Eddie rushes out to meet the ambulance there. Jack lets the boys go a little early and heads over as well. When they see her, she is very weak but says she is fine. Jack’s brother Ed shows up too and her sons and husband breathe an uneasy sigh of relief as they huddle at her bedside. They worry but the doctor informs them, Annie can go home tomorrow.

Mimi alone
Annie Hartmann Kavanagh. Called Mimi by her grandchildren. 1950s.

November 18

Annie Kavanagh comes home from the hospital and decide to lay in bed to “rest her eyes” as she would often say, for a bit. Katherine, Betty’s friend who helps with the children, has stopped across the street to check on her. At lunch time, Betty comes over and Katherine tries to wake Annie or “Mimi” as her granddaughters call her. Suddenly Katherine realizes Mimi is not sleeping. She has passed away in her bed. The family is crushed and Eddie is lost without her. Her sons are hit hard as well. She was close to both of them and this has happened so quickly. Eddie is forlorn and seems at a loss as to what to do. He asks Jack to move back home with him and Jack spends the next several nights at 434 N. Lakewood supporting his father in his grief.

Anne Hartmann Kavanagh 1910
Anna Hartman, Circa 1910.

November 22

Anna “Mimi” Hartmann Kavanagh is laid to rest at New Cathedral Cemetery. The funeral is held at St. Elizabeth’s Church where she was an active parishioner. The small girls are shocked. They have lost someone they loved for the first time which is difficult for a child to grasp. Betty is the rock at this point. She stays strong for her husband and takes care of the kids, keeping them busy and answering their questions. All while being nearly nine months pregnant. As for Eddie, he misses his wife. She was his whole life outside of the Shop and he grieves deeply for her. Jack will stay with him for a couple more days but will inform his father, he really must be home. It has been stressful for Betty and she is nearly due. She needs his help with the baby so close.

Anna Hartmann. Late 1890s.

December 7

Betty gives birth to another daughter. They name her Ann to honor Jack’s mother but Jack is out of town. He is in Detroit working on a brewery repair. The Shop still gets a few out of town jobs once in a while and the timing is bad for Jack on this one. He is anxious to see his new baby but sends her a postcard to welcome her to the family and one to Betty thanking her for another “wonderful doll.” He finishes the job as fast as he can and returns to Baltimore in a couple of days. Ann is Betty and Jack’s seventh daughter and her sisters are anxious to meet her. The family is very happy and naming her for Mimi is something they all love. Jack is particularly soothed by the name as he was very close to his mother. He was and always will be her baby. Newborn Ann will join her older sisters at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue and the house gets fuller but never quite feels crowded. Ann will be the first daughter to work at the Shop and in time she will be the first female president of the Joseph Kavanagh Company.

Kav, Ann baby2
Ann M. Kavanagh. Born December 7, 1960.
Postcard from Jack Kavanagh to his wife, Betty, when daughter #7, Ann, is born. Sent from Detroit. December 1960.
Cover of postcard from Jack Kavanagh to his wife, Betty, when daughter # 7, Ann, is born. Detroit. December 1960.
The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job (Detroit). December 13, 1960.

December 22

As the holiday approaches, the Kavanagh’s are a mix of moods. They mourn still for Mimi but are excited for Baby Ann. Eddie is still despondent and more withdrawn than usual even at the Shop. Jack does his best to make it work. They have a job for the State of Maryland today. A finned heater is being repaired for the Department of Employment Security. The fins are aluminum and they cover the copper tubes in the heater and insulate them. They are there to keep the heat in the copper tubes so it can be conserved and projected where needed. The fins are pulled away in sections and a little soap reveals the leaks. Some soldering and filling is done by Funke and the heater is fixed. Government work is good to have as Eddie has said before, “they probably won’t go out of business.”

The Shop’s job book entry. State of Maryland Department of Employment Security job. December 22, 1960.

December 23

The Shop’s Christmas Eve Party is held on this Friday. They are closed tomorrow giving everyone a longer holiday weekend. The holidays are here and the year nearly finished but it’s a somber quiet party. Eddie leaves early after receiving condolences from customers and employees alike. Jack is grieving his Mom too but is happy with the new baby as is Betty. They feel so blessed to have seven children. To be given the gift of such a family is what they have always wanted. The guests eat and drink and wish each other “Merry Christmas.” The party is a short one and after dropping several workers off, Jack is back to take his girls home. Jack, Betty and seven girls including the baby fill the station wagon and head down Pratt Street to celebrate the holiday. Christmas Day is spent at the Hartmann’s, Anna’s family. The girls and their parents love celebrating the Yule with the Hartmann’s who are welcoming and it’s always a wonderful day. When they go there tomorrow it will still be Christmas though a lot of thought will be with Annie. She was a wonderful mother. Jack will miss her so much. She cared for him and loved him. She sent him a letter every day when he was in the Navy. She was as happy and as excited as he when he married and had a family. Each girl was a treasure and gift to her. Jack was her youngest and she never stopped mothering him. It will be hard going forward for Eddie. Outside of work, she was the focus of all he did and she took care of all he needed. Not just cooking, cleaning, shopping and all of those things but guidance. She guided him through every day life and all the things he never had to think about. With his cantankerous and sometimes contrary attitudes, she loved him. Mimi was sixty-four years old.



Dwight Eisenhower finishes his second term as the President. The Soviet Union shoots down an American U2 spy plane. The US sends its first troops to Vietnam,  3500 of them. “The Flintstones” and “Rawhide” premier on television. Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is released. Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” is published. The photocopier, aluminum cans and the Etch-A-Sketch are invented. David Simon, Sean Penn, Branford Marsalis, Melissa Leo and Cal Ripken Jr. are born. Eddie Cochran and Clark Gable die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

Kav, Ann baby
Ann M. Kavanagh. Early 1961.

To read past years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents


1959 The Two Eds

January 5

It’s a very cold start to the year and another slow start for the Shop but Eddie has grown accustomed to it. They keep busy making stock parts and attending to a few small jobs. They lost a helper who moved over the holidays and Eddie is a little relieved. One less man to keep paying and they can always find a helper through the Sheet Metal Workers Union.

February 4

As Jack reads the morning paper before driving the girls to school and himself to work, he notices a story about three musicians being killed. The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens all die in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. He doesn’t know any of them and reads that they are rock and roll performers which is not his style at all. Still, he thinks it’s a terrible tragedy, especially when he sees how young they were. In a minute, he is hustling out the door with his girls to get on the road. He waves goodbye to his girls at the corner of Lakewood and Baltimore when they make their way into St. Elizabeth’s School. He turns right and arrives at work in less than ten minutes. Several orders for brewery fittings and parts are filled and the Shop has received another order from the Sweetheart Paper Company in Chicago. They require several 3 5/8” O.D. steel tubes to be bent. In the past, they have filled these with sand to bend them, but they are trying something different. It takes a great deal of time to pound the sand in to make it fit tightly inside the tube and keep it round during bending. A friend of Eddie’s has recommended they use rosin. Rosin is a tree gum and it can be melted, poured into a tube,  and it will solidify and support the tube. It’s the same stuff that pitchers use to dry their hands. It’s messy and takes heat to melt the rosin back out. It does work and the tubes turn out very round and look good. Despite the heat and the mess, using the rosin is far better than the sand and cheaper. Eddie believes this is how they should do it from now on and Jack agrees.

The Shop’s job book entry. Sweetheart Paper Co. job. February 4, 1959.

February 10

Ed Jr. and his helper are at Gunther’s brewery for a repair on one of the beer vats. The job seems to go well and both men are back at the Shop in a few hours, just before quitting time. Eddie gets a call and is informed the work was done quite satisfactorily and an off hand comical remark about the boys sharing a couple of beers afterward sets Eddie off. He does not condone drinking on the job. He isn’t happy and questions his son,  and Ed Jr. admits he did have a taste of the beer. He doesn’t see the harm because it was nearly quitting time but his father is angry and he doesn’t understand how Ed could forget the rules. It’s simple. We work for breweries and distillers and we have a drink but we never mix  the two. Ed is flippant and dismissive to his father and stalks out of the Shop at the end of the day. It gets very tense between the two of them over the next few days.

February 28

Jack and Betty take the Kavanagh girls to see “Sleeping Beauty,” Disney’s latest animated film. Jack has purchased a Plymouth Station wagon and it is at last easier to squeeze the growing kids into a vehicle. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie climb in the car with their parents and head to the movies while JoAnn, still just 1 ½ years old, stays with Mimi and Eddie. They return two hours later and all the girls are chattering to Mimi about the movie.

B N M J J& J 1

March 4

The volume of work at the Shop continues a little slow but the crew are busy. Several fellows are cleaning up the place, especially the area where they melt the rosin. The rest are making some stock parts and a coil for the Chesapeake Instrument Corp. Three-eighth inch O.D. copper tube is bent into a serpentine coil. These coils are bent 180 degree back and forth several times to create the shape needed. It is not a hard job but it does take multiple bends and that is a little complicated to keep straight. Jack and Charlie Owens handle the coil.

The Shop’s job book entry. Chesapeake Instrument Corp. job. March 4, 1959.

March 10

National Brewery needs a few fittings installed and a coupling changed and Eddie dispatches Funke and a helper. He tells Ed he prefers to send him,  but he can’t trust him now because of the experience at Gunther’s. His son grows angry quickly. They argue in the office with Jack out in the Shop. Jack had a strong feeling this was serious as his father closed the door and he could see the red in their faces. Ed proclaims he is tired of his father’s admonitions and feels Eddie is too demanding. He expects the impossible. His father believes Ed thinks he shouldn’t have to follow the rules and his work is slow and not up to standards. Ed Jr. quits. He tells his father he can’t work for him anymore and walks out. Ed heads through the office door then right out the front door of 201 S. Central Avenue. Jack gives it a few moments,  then walks into the office and his father informs him that Ed is gone. He seems almost relieved to Jack, as if his father is tired of the frequent sparring between himself and Jr. In the evening, Ed Jr. calls his brother and speaks to him about it.  Ed Jr. is promised a job at Sparrows Point from a friend and he will be fine. He is too tired of Eddie’s hard ass ways he tells Jack. He says his father is his father and he can deal with it. He just can’t work with him anymore. Jack wishes Ed well and accepts the change.

April 1

The fellows on the corner of Pratt and Central  are throwing some heat around early on this chilly spring morning. A job for Universal Machine Co. calls for some annealing and that takes the chill out of the air. Five 1 1/2” Type K Copper tubes are to be bent so each must be heated first to soften them. Jack and Owens take care of this one while Funke and a helper are cutting some tubes to prepare for a fountain job.

The Shop’s job book entry. Universal Machine Co. job. April 1, 1959.

April 11

Jack and Eddie are attending a Sheet Metal Workers Union meeting and Jack speaks to the group. Over the last two years, the union has been sending some of the copper pipe work in the breweries to the Pipe Fitters Union. It’s a show of brotherhood and the union supporting its rank and file. The problem is this work was formerly given to the Coppersmiths Union which has been absorbed by the Sheet Metal Workers. Now, they want to guarantee all the pipe work be passed to the Pipe Fitters. There are a lot more pipe fitters than coppersmiths in the union and the resolution passes. Jack made an impassioned plea not just on the Shop’s part but the other small coppersmith companies out there but the union’s decision stands. Eddie and Jack are angry. This will have a lasting impact on their business. Eddie did a great deal to start this union and it stings him that they would take work from the Shop.  Eddie has always been a strong union man and his efforts helped establish and expand the Coppersmiths Union before it joined with the SMW. He won’t let himself blame his union brothers but it is a bitter pill to swallow. The Shop is fortunate they have begun to expand into pipe and tube bending. They can still bid replacement fittings and couplings for the breweries but both father and son wonder if eventually that will be taken from them as well.

April 14

It’s a windy opening day for the Orioles in Baltimore. As always, this first game draws a big crowd and the Kavanagh’s are listening on the radio at the Shop.  The Birds face the Yankees and get hammered 13-3. New York scores nine in the 3rd inning and this one is over early. Fans are disappointed but it’s only one game. Eddie and Jack discuss the game as they lock the Shop up but there isn’t a whole lot of good things to talk about from this opener.

Jack Kavanagh and his championship duck pin bowling team. 1950s.

May 16

Jack and Betty take all the girls to an Orioles Saturday afternoon game. The girls cheer and root as hard as they can and the Birds respond by beating the Detroit Tigers 6-1. Kuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm pitches a complete game victory to move to 5-0 and he lowers his ERA to 1.49. Wilhelm is the Orioles’  best starter this year and he usually gives his team a chance to win. The other player having a big day was center fielder, Willie Tasby. He hits a triple with the bases loaded for the big knock of the game and he also throws out two men on the base paths, one at home and one at third. The girls have a great day at the ballpark and Jack certainly enjoys the win.

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The Kavanagh girls. Back row left to right is Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary. Front row left to right is Jane, Jackie, JoAnn. 1959.

June 11

The summer has brought some more work to the Shop including another pipe rolling job. This one is from Washington Aluminum Co. They need some 2” Aluminum pipes 20 ft. long curved to a 13 ft. 8” Rad. The first thing that needs to be done is a template must be made to that radius. Jack and a helper put a long stick together from wood. They tie a pencil to one end and a metal pin to the other, making sure they are 13 ft. 8” apart. One man holds the pin point tight while Jack on the other end draws an arc on a spare piece of wood. The wood is cut on a band saw along the line creating a template that can be matched. The pipes are rolled to this template with special attention given to making them match each other, and the pieces roll fine. While Jack takes care of this one, Eddie gets a call from Majestic Distillery about a repair to a mash cooler The caller gives some details of what repairs and adjustments need to be made and Eddie prepares a quotation for them.

The Shop’s job book entry. Washington Aluminum Co. job. June 11, 1959.
Eddie Kavanagh’s notes from a conversation with Bill Zepp of Majestic Distillery about a potential mash cooler job. June 11, 1959.

July 4

The Kavanagh’s celebrate Independence day on this sunny Saturday. It’s a beautiful mid 80 degree day with a slight breeze. It’s perfect for a crab feast in the backyard of 434 N. Lakewood Avenue. Mimi, assisted by Betty steams a bushel of fresh crabs purchased by Jack in the morning. The house is filled with the aroma of crab, black pepper, rock salt and Old Bay Seasoning. The family sits around two card tables that serve as picnic tables today and eat their fill. Jack shows his girls the proper way to eat steamed crabs. He’s pulls the back off a crab and then pulls off the claws. Most of the pulled claws have a nice bite of crab meat. He offers one to each of his daughters and they love the sweet crab meat. He then shows them how to pull the bodies in half and apart and then it’s just picking meat out of each half. The girls pay close attention and have their own go at cracking the crabs open. Mimi and Betty enjoy watching the girls learning and eating while Eddie fiddles with the radio trying to get the ballgame to come through in the yard. After a few minutes, he’s got it and they listen to the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 11-5. It’s an exciting game for the Birds and their fans including four home runs, two by first baseman Walt Dropo. As the evening comes on, Betty and the girls walk to Patterson Park to see the fireworks while Eddie and Jack pick some crabs for crab cakes tomorrow.

“That was a helluva ballgame.” Eddie says, his teeth clenched around a cigar. He pulls a chunk of meat from a crab and tosses it into the bowl between them.

Jack nods, “Dropo had a good day. He’s a good hitter and he’s got some pop.” Jack hits a claw with a mallet and pulls crab meat from it. “I’m still not happy about losing this brewery work. The beer lines are some of the bigger jobs to come out of there. It’s not fair. It would be different if we did a bad job but we handle it every time. You know better than me, Pop.” Jack is certain this move by the union has to bother his father. Eddie was part of building this union from nearly the beginning. He served as General Secretary for years.

Eddie sits back in his chair and takes a long puff from his cigar. “Jack, the Shop will be all right. The union had to do what they thought was right for the members. I guess.” He pauses and his son can see it clearly does bother him. “I was still surprised but it’s a good thing we got that roller. That stuff will help us to keep jobs coming in.”

“I know but I am still going to keep talking to the union and the breweries when I can. We did a lot of work there and the steam fitters won’t be able to do their repairs like we did. Eventually, yeah but right now we’re the best for those jobs. I don’t understand it but that’s all we can do. And yes, the Shop’s got work. There is a demand out there for bending and rolling for mechanical parts, signs, all kinds of stuff. The more we use that machine. The more we’ll learn about it, get more jobs and make more money.” Jack says,  tossing a couple of clumps of meat into the bowl.

“Yeah, son, we can keep petitioning the union about it and as long as Gunther’s and National are ordering our parts, we’ll be talking to them. It never hurts to bring it up.” He takes another puff and pulls the back off another crab.

The room is silent for a moment or two til Jack says quietly, “Crabs are heavy. A lot of meat in them.”

“Oh yeah. Real heavy and they were good too.” Eddie answers. Both stay focused on the crabs and pick in silence for several minutes when Betty and the girls burst into the house. Mimi rushes in to welcome them back and the room is filled with multiple descriptions of the sights and sounds of the fireworks.

Mimi with a car
Anna “Mimi” Kavanagh. Lakewood Avenue. 1950s.

August 13

A. Smith Bowman has sent in a repair order to the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Several boiler plates need to be replaced and repaired. The plates need to be cut to the proper diameter then they are drilled. It’s very typical distillery repair work and the kind of things that Eddie wants in the Shop. This is what they have done for years but times are changing. Eddie has accepted that Jack is right and they need to be more diverse. Still, the distillery work is what reminds him of the old days and the old work.

The Shop’s job book entry. A. Smith Bowman Distillery job. August 13, 1959.

September 7

The Kavanagh girls return to St. Elizabeth’s School on the corner of Lakewood and Baltimore with another sister starting kindergarten. Jackie is five & starts her schooling at St. E’s while her sisters all move up a grade. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane are in 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd grade respectively.

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The Kavanagh Girls. Betty Ann, Mary, Jane, Jackie and JoAnn. 1959.

September 27

Baltimore celebrates the Colts first game at home after winning the NFL Championship last year. Jack and Urb Rosemary are there to welcome them home and watch them beat the Detroit Lions 21-9. The fans are very loud throughout this game. After last year’s championship, the fans are even more fanatical about the Colts and they want to give them a clear home field advantage. The City’s other team, the Orioles are supported strongly too but they suffer through another tough year. The Birds finish in sixth place, twenty games back.

October 8

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series, taking four out of six games. This is the Dodgers first pennant since moving to LA and Chicago’s first since the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919. The White Sox clinched the pennant with three games to play while the Dodgers ended in a tie with the Milwaukee Braves. This called for a three game playoff between those  two clubs. LA won the first two games and thus the pennant. This World Series shatters attendance records with all three games in LA drawing over 92,000 fans. The Dodgers play in the LA Coliseum and the fans pack in to see the Series. Larry Sherry is named MVP of the World Series. He finishes all four of the Dodgers’ wins in relief, earning two wins and two saves. The Kavanagh’s follow this one and Jack and Eddie watch Sunday’s game 3 together. They are amazed by the huge crowd. It’s like nothing they have ever seen before. Jack pulls for the Dodgers to win and he gets his wish while his father just hopes for a good entertaining series which Eddie gets too.

October 29

The Kavanagh’s and crew have stayed busier since the summer and Eddie is happier. Today some parts  are made for the Paul Jones Distillery and 2- 2” extra heavy steel pipes are bent for Maryland Baking Co. The wall thickness of these pipes is 3/8” and that takes a lot of power. The rolling machine can handle it but the pipes must be passed through a few extra times to bring them down to the desired radius. The heavier or tougher the piece, the more passes through the machine it requires.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Baking Co. job. October 29, 1959.
The Shop’s job book entry. Wolfe and Mann Manufacturing job. November 11, 1959.

November 11

The approaching end to the year seems to have brought a glut of work into the Shop. They suddenly have a two week backlog of brewery and distillery parts to fabricate while they continue to receive more bending and rolling work. A new customer, Wolfe & Mann Manufacturing Co. needs some 2 1/2” Aluminum pipes bent on a fairly tight radius. They anneal the aluminum carefully and then bend them in the Climax hand bender. Even annealed aluminum that is this size takes several men to pull around. Jack approaches his father with another idea for a machine purchase. He wants them to buy a pneumatic Leonard Bender. It is powered with air and will make most of their bending jobs easier and quicker. There will be a lot less laborious pulling and straining to move the arm of the machine. This machine can put a stop to all of that. Eddie has learned his lesson and trusts his son. Jack makes a call and buys an “air bender.”

Leonard “Air” Bender purchased in 1959. Picture is from September 2019. Machine’s pneumatic system no longer worker but it can still be used manually.
The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey A. Stambaugh job. December 29, 1959.

December 24

Jack, Funke and a helper are working through the morning while others are cleaning up around them in anticipation of the Shop’s Christmas Eve Party. Jack and his crew are working on a job for Harvey A. Stambaugh. They need some 3” Sch. 10 Stainless Steel Pipes rolled and Sch. 10 means they are very thin. The pipes must be filled with rosin to maintain the roundness. Jack and Funke rush through the morning to get the pieces filled. They keep the rosin melted, bubbling in a cauldron. They fill them as quick as the rosin melts. Rosin needs time to cool and harden. With the holiday tomorrow, anything filled today will be very hard the next day and ready to roll. Just before noon they finish and clean up before the party. There is no time to get a tree this year but they are ready before guests arrive.  A few customers come by and celebrate but it is mostly family and employees. Ed Jr. and his wife and daughter are not there. He seems to be getting along better with his father now that they aren’t working together but he doesn’t make an appearance at 201 S. Central Avenue. The guests eat ham and turkey sandwiches made by Mimi and they have cold beer and tea. A couple toasts of rye are made both to the holiday and the nearly completed year. Both Eddie and Jack are worried about the loss of brewery work. They have a large stock of fittings and parts and they will sell them while they can. They are both concerned they may lose the fittings sales to the breweries too and wonder if they should continue making them for stock. They will have to wait and see. One final toast is made for the Colts in hopes of another NFL championship this Sunday. Their wish will be granted as Baltimore beats the Giants in a rematch of last year. This time it is played at Memorial Stadium and the Colts win a much easier contest 31-16. When the party has broken up, Jack drives a couple fellows home or to the bus stop then returns to the Shop to pick up Betty and the girls. His mind does drift to his brother. They have worked together for almost twenty years and the Shop is the biggest thing they have in common. He knows his brother and father have rarely seen eye to eye. They are too alike. Hard-headed and set in their ideas and Jack will stay out of of it. He turns the station wagon left onto Lakewood as the girls break into “Jingle Bells” behind him and Jack thinks of Christmas. He will be Santa tonight, the suit is ready and he loves every bit of being St. Nick. The chorus behind him comes to an end as he pulls onto the Jefferson Street side of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue and parks. Betty and he prod the kids into the house and everybody prepares for Santa’s arrival.

Mimi xmas 434 lakewood
Anna “Mimi” Kavanagh. Christmas on Lakewood Avenue. Late 1950s.



Dwight D. Eisenhower is the President of the United States. The first Daytona 500 is held. Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album is released. Rod Sterling’s “The Twilight Zone” premiers on television. Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” opens on Broadway. The film “Ben-Hur” is released. Magic Johnson, Weird Al Jankovic, Florence Griffith Joyner, Linda Blair and John McEnroe are born. Cecille B. Demille, Lou Costello and Billie Holiday die.

With the admission of Alaska  on January 3rd and Hawaii on August 21st, there are now 50 states in the Union.

Mimi & Eddie xmas 434 lakewood
Eddie and Mimi Kavanagh. Lakewood Avenue. Christmas Late 1950s.

To read previous years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents

1958 The Greatest Game Ever Played

January 20

The Shop’s year has started slow just as it did last year.  A few brewery parts are made, some for orders and some for stock. Jack is working on a quotation for Paul Jones Distillery on his own today. His father will stay out of it and see what Jack’s estimate is. Eddie knows he has to trust his son at some point and this will serve as a test to see what Jack has learned.

Quotation for Paul Jones Distillery. January 20, 1958.

January 30

Jack reads in the morning paper that Roy Campanella was in a very serious car accident. He is paralyzed and his career is over. Jack is stunned. It’s a tragedy for this man and his family but also a blow to baseball. He was the best Jack ever saw(Jack maintained that belief through his life) and could have done so much in the game. The Dodgers have just moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles this year and now this shock to the team.  Along with sadness, Jack feels a disappointment for this man who he watched play ball as a boy, when they were both boys about the same age. Jack expected to be watching Roy Campanella play for years, breaking records along the way. He admired his play and the man himself. After discussing it with his father who is equally shocked, Jack must get to work.  He is making a copper water box for the Shop. They are still in need of work and Eddie is convinced this is the time to increase their stock of parts and to make things they need around the place. The water box will be used to cool hot pipes and tubes and to clean them as well. Jack anneals straight lines on copper sheet then folds the sections 90 degrees to make each side of the box. The seams are then soldered closed and the piece is finished. It is very typical coppersmith work and Jack has no problem with it.

The Shop’s job book entry. Job for the Shop itself. January 30, 1958.

February 18

The work is coming in in dribs and drabs but at least the jobs are coming. Majestic Distillery has ordered an aluminum paddle to be fabricated. Aluminum pipe and sheet is hammered, bent and welded together to make the paddle. Majestic wants to use aluminum for sanitary purposes and also for its light weight. Aluminum is a challenge to work with and very difficult to anneal. It takes close attention and awareness of the heat being applied. The aluminum must reach at least 600 degrees and just a bit hotter will melt it. John Benser, the Shop’s machinist, is experienced and he makes the paddle in about a day.

The Shop’s’ job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. February 18, 1958.

March 3

Jack drives his four oldest girls to school on a cool Monday morning.  The girls are sitting quietly in the backseat sleepily watching Lakewood Avenue go by.  Jack’s mind is on the Shop and when he reaches St. Elizabeth’s, he doesn’t stop until he reaches the corner then turns right on to Baltimore Street. He heads west up the hill heading to work. The girls suddenly are more awake and they exchange looks. Nancy holds her finger to her mouth and the girls are as quiet as a mouse. Jack calmly  turns left on to Patterson Park Avenue when suppressed smiles turn to giggles.  Jack hears them and realizes he forgot his girls. He grumbles to himself and quickly goes around the block back to Baltimore Street. The girls are all giggling now as Jack returns down the hill and turns left to take them to school. He wishes his still grinning girls a great day and then makes his way to the Shop.

Baby Nan 4
Nancy Kavanagh. Mid 1950s.

April 3

The Shop receives its first substantial job of the year when A. Smith Bowman Distillery hires them to re-tin a 1900 gallon copper tank. This will take days on site for several men. Bowman is in Sunset Hills, VA so the decision is made to have the men spend two overnights there. Ed Jr. and Mr. Funke are dispatched with two helpers to handle the job.

April 15

A big crowd shows up at Memorial Stadium for the Orioles opening day game against the Washington Senators. At the Shop, Eddie and Jack have the radio on low, but loud enough to hear. The Birds lead throughout this game and win easily. Brooks Robinson triples in Gus Triandos in the second inning, then scores on a sacrifice fly by Ron Hansen. Triandos adds a two-run home run and Robinson goes three for three. Jack updates his brother Ed and the rest of the crew as he is in and out of the Shop most of the day. As Eddie, Jack and Ed Jr. leave the building the game is over and they are in a good mood. Winning that first game is always a good feeling for a fan. For at least a day, you are in first place.

Mary Kavanagh’s First Holy Communion. St. Elizabeth’s Church. May 1958.

May 6

The work is getting better as the weather gets warmer. Another tank repair and re-tinning order is placed.  This one is for Majestic Distillery. A crew of three will spend several days patching and re-soldering seams, then a few days tinning areas that need it. This is the type of job that has been missing this year and Eddie is happy to see another one come along.

June 21

Jack is home on a Saturday afternoon watching the Orioles play the White Sox in Chicago on the Saturday Game of the Week. The Shop’s crew are still just working five days but he and Eddie were in today working on next week’s schedule and sorting through several quotes. Jack has one he couldn’t finish at the office today so he sits with a pad on his lap and a beer in hand watching the game. The girls play and take turns to sit and watch some of the game with him. He loves it and despite that pleasant distraction he finishes his quotes. Jack does better than the Birds who manage only two hits and lose a close one 1-0. The Orioles can’t seem to get it right. They keep hovering about five games under .500. The loss doesn’t bother Jack. It was a good game and to Jack a day watching baseball is always a good day.

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Jack Kavanagh and his six girls. (Left to right)Jackie, Jane, Mary, Nancy, Betty Ann holding baby JoAnn. Jack’s back to camera. 1957.

July 8

The Major League Baseball All-Star game comes to Baltimore. Memorial Stadium welcomes the best of both leagues to square off in their annual exhibition game. The Orioles’ representative is Catcher Gus Triandos. The game is played on a Tuesday afternoon so the Kavanagh’s are working and listening on the radio. Both line-ups are loaded with talent. Besides Triandos, the American League features Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle. The National League has such stars as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. It’s a close one but the AL pulls it out winning 4-3.

July 15

Jack and three fellows are out of the Shop on an installation at Gunther’s Brewery.  Gunther’s ordered some insulated skirts for a syrup tank to be made and installed. The fabrication has taken a few days and now the skirts are being soldered into place at the brewery. The skirts are made from copper sheet. It’s a straightforward installation for Jack and his crew. The rest of the boys are working on a brass railing and a few stock parts are being made.

July 25

A company called Swimpool, Inc. in Hagerstown has ordered some hand railings for a pool. The hand rails are being made from galvanized pipe. Each require four bends with a tight radius and they must be bent on the Climax bender. Swimpool has the pipe in stock and sends it in with the request they receive whatever is leftover. The pieces are cut and bent to their specifications and they turn out well. There is some flaking of the galvanize in the bend but a coat of galvanized paint fixes that fast. Swimpool Inc. is happy with the job and Eddie hopes they come back.

The Shop’s job book entry. Swimpool, Inc. job. July 26, 1958.

August 8

Jack is training one of the young workers, Charlie Owens, on the rolling machine. The Sweetheart Paper Co. in Chicago has ordered sixteen pipes to be bent. They are 3 5/8” O.D. with a 1/16” wall so they are very thin. They must be filled with sand before bending. Eddie himself is involved with this job. He cuts some plugs for the pipe from wood. Jack and Charlie are hammering the plugs into one end of each pipe, making sure it is a tight fit. The pipes are stood up and the sand poured in. The sand is then pounded down to eliminate any air pockets. The process is continued until each pipe is stuffed tightly with sand. Then the rolling begins with Owens running the machine and Jack giving guidance. It’s a tough job but Owens gets the hang of it and the pipes look good. Finally, the plugs are pried out with a wedge and the sand knocked out. The job is completed, crated and shipped to Chicago and Eddie takes it as a good sign that they received an order from as far away as Illinois.

September 18

Jack parks on the Jefferson Street side of his house and walks through the back door after a hot day at the Shop. Copper tubes for a fountain were rolled today and Jack did the annealing. A hot day made hotter by a torch. He hugs and kisses Betty and settles into his chair at the dinner table. Betty sets baby JoAnn into a high chair and the other five girls take their seats and begin firing question and comments to their father, asking Jack about his day and telling him about theirs. He looks from one to the other and responds to each in turn, his mood lightening through the meal. As the girls get back to play, Betty raises that mood even more. She is pregnant with baby # 7.

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The Kavanagh girls. Jackie, JoAnn, Jane, Mary, Nancy and Betty Ann(Left to right). 1958.

September 28

Jack and his old friend Urb Rosemary are at Memorial Stadium for the Colts first game of the season. Hopes are high for Baltimore’s football team. Last year they were 7-5 and seem to be on the rise. Fans including Jack felt the same about the Orioles but the Birds disappointed this year. Taking a step back, the Orioles lost two more than 1957. Jack and Urb watch a good start to the Colts season as they beat the Lions 28-15. Baltimore fan’s excitement increases as the Colts win their first six games.

September 30

Sweetheart Paper Co. has another set of pipes to be bent in the Shop. These must be annealed and that is a challenge. Steel must stay hot during the bending process. Torches are used to get the tubes cherry red then they are quickly slid into the rolling machine and heat is applied again while they are in the machine. It’s a hot job for all involved and it’s a relief when it’s over but the pieces bend well. They are crated and send to Chicago.

The Shop’s job book entry. Sweetheart Paper Co. job. September 30, 1958.

October 9

The Yankees get some revenge on the Milwaukee Braves who beat them in the last World Series. Milwaukee takes a commanding 3-1 lead in the series but the Yanks win three in a row to take the championship. The Braves strikes out fifty-six times for a dubious World Series record and New York out homers them 10-3 including four by Hank Bauer. Jack watches game three with his father at Eddie’s house. They share a couple of beers and talk as they watch, carefully going over each play. They have watched so many games since Jack was a boy, it’s like old times whenever they do.

October 29

Betty Kavanagh has a miscarriage and loses her baby. She is devastated and Jack does his best to console her and take care of her. He too is hit hard. They are a couple who love children. They have six  girls and they want and love a big family. They were excited for # 7 and Jack does all he can for Betty. She knows they can still have more children. They both mourn the loss of this baby and Betty is such a mother at heart she is sick from grief.

November 3

Late on a Monday afternoon, Betty is still tired and sickly. She lays on the couch in the middle room while Katherine is bringing dinner in from the kitchen.  There is always a pot of hot tea on the dining room table and the youngest JoAnn is toddling around and always curious, she pulls on the table cloth which spills the tea pot.  The tea splashes over her and she is burned. Betty jumps up when she hears the baby and rushes into the room to scoop up JoAnn. Katherine is panicked and both are crying. The other girls start crying as well and at this point Jack comes home from work. He is the calm voice that quickly finds out what happened and he rushes the baby to the hospital. After a salve and bandage are applied, JoAnn is okay but she does carry a scar on her chest from the scalding tea. Betty and Katherine are relieved but still feel terrible about what happened. Jack tells them both that it was an accident and thankfully the baby will be fine. Once back home from the hospital, baby JoAnn resumes toddling about unfazed.

JoAnn Kavanagh. Outside the front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1958.

November 13

The Shop’s second half of the year has been better than the first. The brewery and distillery work is steady but at a lower volume than last year. They are fortunate there has been a big uptick in the bending and rolling work. Today they finish two such jobs. Both are small but these jobs keep the doors open in a place like the Joseph Kavanagh Company. One is an aluminum pipe being bent to make an offset for the Steiner Fulton Co. It is a replacement part for one of their machines. The type of machine is not revealed to Eddie and he doesn’t care as long as they need the piece. The other is a job for Springfield State Hospital. They require a flat coil for heating with three 180 degree bends in it. The steel pipe is furnished, bent and threaded by the Shop and the hospital’s maintenance crew pick it up. These are two small jobs but they all count.

The Shop’s job book entry. Springfield State Hospital job. November 13, 1958.
The Shop’s job book entry. Steiner Fulton Co. job. November 13, 1958.

November 29

The Kavanagh’s visit Aunt Anna at the Visitation Convent on Roland Park Avenue on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Aunt Anna is a cloistered nun who teaches at the Convent’s school. She is Eddie’s sister and the family sees her as much as they can. At least once a month, they spend some time with her talking about her teaching, the family and the Shop. She loves seeing the children and sometimes they sing little songs for the sisters. The little ones then run and play on the convent grounds while the adults,  their parents and grandparents catch up with Anna.

December 13

A job for Majestic Distillery is finished today. They ordered some copper tasting cups and this is old time coppersmith work like they have done for decades. Sheet copper is annealed then curved around a small circular block to make the cup shape. A bottom is cut out of sheet as well and soldered to the sides. The side seam is closed too and the cup is cleaned up. This is the sort of work the Kavanagh’s hope to have all year but it hasn’t worked out that way. The pipe and tube bending and rolling jobs have helped to fill that gap.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. December 13, 1958.

December 24

The Kavanagh’s, their customers, employees and friends gather at 201 S. Central Avenue on Christmas Eve as they have for almost fifty years. The Shop is filled with holiday spirit as the family and their guests eat, drink and sing to welcome Christmas and salute another year of work completed. They talk of jobs that are finished and those that are set for January. It has been an off year but not bad. The hope is the recession will be a short one and the work will pick up. An old mantra of the Shop’s is to “hope for better times” and they do so. They have faith in this Shop that is over ninety years old and has sustained them through four generations. On Christmas Eve, they are unconcerned and the party is fun and festive.  A great deal of the conversation is about the upcoming NFL Championship game with our Colts facing the New York Giants this Sunday. The Colts won the Western Conference title and the Giants the East. Both teams have identical 9-3 records.  All are excited to watch on television and confident that Baltimore will be victorious.

December 28

Most of Baltimore is home on this last Sunday of the year to watch the big game. The NFL Championship is being decided today between the hometown Colts and the New York Giants. The game is being played in Yankee Stadium so the Giants have a bit of a home field advantage. Jack Kavanagh has his TV tuned to NBC and is set to watch and cheer the whole game. He has a couple of ice cold beers ready to drink and sits down to enjoy. The beginning of the game is sloppy with both teams committing turnovers and failing to take advantage of opportunities to score. Finally, the Giants kick a field goal to get on the board. In the second quarter, Quarterback Johny Unitas and the Colts put some plays together and answer the Giants field goal with a touchdown. By halftime, they have added another and lead 14-3. Folks all through Baltimore are excited and hopeful. In the second half, New York begins its comeback. They score a touchdown in the third quarter and another in the fourth. Suddenly things are quieter in those loud Baltimore homes including 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Jack shakes his head and yells at the television a few time to the puzzled bemusement of his wife and daughters. The Colts are down 17-14 with just a couple minutes left in the game when they receive a punt on their own 14 yard line. Johny Unitas invents something called the “two minute drill” and leads his team down field. A pass to Lenny Moore starts the Colts driving as the clock ticks away. After an incomplete pass, Unitas hits Raymond Berry with three consecutive throws to reach the Giants 13 yard line. Steve Myrha kicks a field goal with seven seconds left and the game is tied. On the ensuing kickoff, the clock ticks down to zero and the gun sounds ending the game.

“A tie?” Jack says to the living room of his Lakewood Avenue home. His daughters look up at him. They have been watching and playing on the floor but are not quite as fixated as he has been.

Jack looks over to his wife Betty then his oldest daughters, Betty Ann and Nancy, “It can’t end in a tie. Can it? They won’t do that? What’s gonna happen?” Betty shrugs but has no answer and the girls have none either.

Suddenly, the refs speak to the teams who are equally confused as to what happens next. Then the NBC announcers are declaring that an overtime will be played. The rules are quickly passed from the NFL officials to the TV announcers to the fans. They will continue to play but the next team to score shall win. A coin toss will determine who gets the ball first.

“A coin toss? That isn’t fair. This is crazy.” Jack says to the room in general but looks over at his daughters.

Daughter Nancy offers, “Maybe the Colts will call heads and will win, Dad.”

“I hope so,” Jack answers as he stares at the television. Just then the coin is tossed and the Giants win. They will get the ball.

“Oh hell.” Jack says under his breath now glaring at the TV. He turns to the right and asks his wife, “Can you get me another beer, hon.”

Betty hops up happy to have a reason to leave the room which is getting tenser and tenser. “Here you go, my darling,” handing Jack a National. Jack is distracted for a second and smiles up at her as he takes the beer. A moment later, his attention is back on the football game.

The Giants receive the Colts kick at the beginning of overtime but are unable to do much on offense. After three plays, they are forced to punt and the Kavanagh girls hear a noticeable sigh of relief from their father. Once again, Johny Unitas begins leading his team toward the Giants end zone. A combination of Alan Ameche’s runs and Unitas passing to Berry and the Colts get closer and closer.

“Go Go Go!” Jack shouts as Ameche breaks loose from the line and charges 22 yards down field to be tackled at the Giants twenty yard line. The room is strangely silent but for Jack’s occasional cheers, and the girls are watching him more then the game now.

Unitas drops back to pass and hits Raymond Berry on the eight yard line and Jack screams, claps his hands and rubs them together very quickly. This is one of Jack’s habits when something good happens or something funny is said, he claps and rubs his hands together. He leans forward in his chair and the television goes black.

“What? What? What is this? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Jack jumps to his feet and grabs his shirt with both hands below the collar and rips his shirt open. A shower of buttons fly through the air as little girls scatter and Betty charges in from the kitchen.

“Jack? What is it? What’s going on?” Betty quickly asks.

“The damn tv. It, it stopped.” He charges the television like a man possessed and slaps the side of it. “Damn it! What is this? The stupid thing,” he slaps it again.

“Don’t talk like that, Jack. Not with the girls here. What’s the big deal? Did they win?” Betty says as she watches her husband’s uncharacteristic panicked behavior.

“I don’t know if they won, hon.” Jack replies with angst in his voice. “What’s going on?!!”

Suddenly the transmission comes back on and the Colts are setting up on the eight yard line. Jack is still puzzled but he sits down, “Oh, okay okay. It’s on. It’s fine, Betty.” He’s happy he didn’t miss anything but the game isn’t over.

Two plays later, Unitas hands the ball off to Alan Ameche and he charges through the Giants line for a touchdown. The game is finished and the Baltimore Colts are the National Football League Champions. Jack leaps up from his chair and begins hugging his confused but happy daughters. He kisses his wife and scampers about the room. Finally, he grabs his beer and toasts the TV then takes a long swallow.

Betty rolls her eyes and grins at her husband. “I guess we won.”



Dwight D. Eisenhower is the President of the United States. NASA and the FAA are created. Elvis is drafted into the army. At 14, Bobby Fischer wins the US Chess Championship. The first American satellite is launched. The John Birch Society is founded. The micro chip is invented. The films “Vertigo” and “South Pacific” are released. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Rickey Henderson and  Neil deGrasse Tyson are born.

There remain 48 states in the Union but Alaska has been granted statehood beginning in January.

“The Greatest Game Ever Played” Alan Ameche scores the winning touchdown. NFL Championship Game. December 28, 1958.

To read prior posts, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents

1957 Learning to Quote

January 2

The first day of 1957 is a cold busy one at the Shop on the corner of Pratt and Central. Eddie(62) runs his Shop with a crew of of ten including his sons Jack(32) & Ed Jr.(37). Ed Jr. is one of his senior coppersmiths and Jack is close behind him in experience but also helps with expediting jobs and is learning to quote prices. The office end of the business does not interest Ed Jr. who also has a tendency to butt heads with his father. They are very much alike and therein lies the problem. Still, they work together well enough and Jack is happy to help with the business end of the Shop. Jack is a bit more like his mother which makes it easier for him to get along with his father and he wants to learn all he can about the business. His father sees Jack as a good leader and his potential replacement. Today both Kavanagh boys and the rest of the crew are working on a variety of brewery replacement parts. Jack is making a reducer for Gunther’s Brewery. The reducer will be 2 foot long and a 2” diameter at one end and 1 1/2” diameter at the other. With the fire of his torch, some tools and his strength Jack has it finished in a little more than half a day. In January, Jack is happy to have a torch in hand for a few hours.

The Shop’s job book entry. Gunther’s Brewery job. January 2, 1957.

February 12

Like clockwork it seems every winter, the Shop will receive some emergency boiler work from E. J. Codd. Codd has been doing business with the Shop for over fifty years and they send in work every couple of months, and this time of year, they are always busy repairing and replacing boilers for buildings throughout the City. These boilers sometimes need copper liners and the sort of brass and copper fittings the Shop makes. An emergency or rush job means extra hours this week for Jack and four other fellows and they are happy to have it. The liner is passed through the rolling machine they purchased last year and it takes half the time to finish. Jack makes sure his father is aware of that. Eddie had doubts about this machine but he’s slowly being convinced of its value

March 8

A set of perforated boiling plates is finished today for A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Sunset Hills, VA. The plates are carefully cut from copper sheet as maintaining the diameter is very critical. They must fit quite tight into the collar which the Shop is producing also. After cutting the plates, Ed Jr. drives them to Renneburg Inc. They are a local fabricator and will take care of the drilling on this one. John Benser, the Shop’s machinist, could drill them but he’s busy with other parts. Renneburg does a nice job on the plates and they fit well in the collar. The plates turn out quite well and Eddie adds $ 50.00 to the bottom of the bill for tools and what he calls a “knowing how to do it” charge.

The Shop’s job book entry. A. Smith Bowman Distillery job. March 8, 1957.

April 16

The Baltimore Orioles play their home opener against the Boston Red Sox on this Tuesday. The crowd of 38,000 strong at Memorial Stadium are disappointed as the Sox beat the Birds 4-2 but it doesn’t dampen their spirits. All of Baltimore is hoping for some big steps toward a better team this year. Eddie and Jack listen on the radio in the office and pass on scores to the crew. The Kavanagh’s are big supporters and their crew are fans too. The workers head home and the only ones left are Eddie, Jack and Ed Jr. but they are still talking baseball.

“It was a good game. You can’t win them all.” Jack says as he locks the office door. His brother, himself and his father are crowded into the vestibule at the front door.

“It was but Boston isn’t that good of a team. It’s not like they are the Yankees. They should win at home against them,” his brother answers with a shrug.

“You want to win them all at home, Ed but you can’t.” Jack fires back as he unlatches the inside lock. “And Boston is a decent team. Maybe not the Yanks but pretty good. It’s nice to win on opening day though and one day, I’m going to opening day.”

From behind him his father says, “You’ll have to work. It’s always a weekday.”

“That’s right.” says Ed Jr. as all three start to file out, “and on opening day it’s always packed. You won’t get a good seat.”

Jack looks over his shoulder at his brother, “One day I’ll have season tickets. I’ll get good seats. Maybe first row or close. You’ll see.”

Ed chuckles and shakes his head as their father chimes in, “That’s gonna be a lot of money, Jack. I’m not sure it will be worth it besides, you’ll have to work. Like I said.”

“He’s right, Jack. You ain’t getting any days off for Opening day.” his brother adds with a glance at his father.

“I don’t care what you think. One day, I’ll have season tickets and I’ll take the girls to opening day. I tell ya. I will.” Jack grins at both with confidence as his brother waves and climbs into his car. Jack and Eddie get in the Chrysler Windsor and head down Pratt Street. Jack is determined now to get to that opening day some day even with working at the Shop. He’ll figure it out. And they will be good seats too. First row. Maybe down the third base line.

May 13

A rainy spring day at the Shop is spent fabricating some custom beer lines for Globe Brewery. They are  made from 2” copper tube and each requires a 90 deg bend on a 10” radius on one end. Assorted fittings and special threaded couplings are needed. Jack takes care of annealing and bending the tubes, Louis Votta makes the couplings and a couple of younger boys assist them with cutting the long lengths of copper tube. The front door garage door of 201 S. Central Avenue is open to let the cool air in and the crew work away to the metronome like pitter-patter of rain all day. During his lunch Jack is thinking about his wife, Betty. They will be married ten years at the end of the week and they are going out for a special dinner at the Chinese restaurant they frequented when they first met.

The Shop’s job book entry. Globe Brewery job. May 13, 1957. Page 1.
The Shop’s job book entry. Globe Brewery job. May 13, 1957. Page 2.

May 17

Jack and Betty celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary on a warm pleasant Friday night. Eddie and Mimi watch the five girls while seven months pregnant Betty and Jack have dinner at the New Canton Inn like they did when they were dating. Afterward, they want to see a movie but Betty is tired and she wants to get back to the girls. Jack agrees and promises to take her to a film after the baby comes. They won’t do dinner that night but will go straight to the movies then back home. Betty likes that idea and they drive to Lakewood Avenue, collect their girls and share an iced tea toast to each other to celebrate ten years of marriage.

June 2

Jack is using the rolling machine the Shop bought last year at his request. It isn’t used every day but at least several times a week. His father’s doubts are lessening and Eddie has encouraged John Benser to make more tools for it. On this Friday, Jack is rolling some 1 1/2” diameter brass tubes for a railing. This type of job is what this machine is made for in Jack’s mind. The rolling process takes less than a third of the time it would have taken using blocks and heat. In addition, the pieces look better. They stay rounder and need very little cleaning or re-polishing which was required using their old way. He’s happy the machine is working out but his thoughts are also on tonight’s ballgame. He is taking his four oldest girls to see the Birds host the Detroit Tigers and Betty is staying home with the youngest Jackie. Betty is pregnant and due next month so she will spend a quiet night at home. Jack doesn’t want to be late and he wants to be sure to keep an eye on the girls plus the Tigers are sending Jim Bunning to the mound. He’s 7-1 and one of the best so far this season. After work Jack eats a quick dinner with his daughters and they drive to Memorial Stadium on Thirty-third Street. It’s a close game and it runs longer than Jack expected. The Birds come from behind scoring three in the bottom of the ninth to win 6-5 while the girls cheer enthusiastically and Jack worries what Betty will say about him keeping the girls out so late.

Betty Kavanagh and her five oldest daughters. Nancy, Betty Ann, Jane, Mary (left to right in front) Jackie in back. 1956.

July 17

Betty Kavanagh gives birth to her sixth daughter, JoAnn Theresa. She is named for three people. The Jo part is for her father, John Joseph Kavanagh. JoAnn is to honor Johanna, Jack’s paternal grandmother and Theresa is for his maternal grandmother, Theresa Hartmann. Jack and Betty are as excited about  this new baby as they have been for each one of the girls. When they bring her home, her four oldest sisters all want a turn holding her but Betty is careful about the new baby. She will only let them hold JoAnn if she or Jack is right there to help them.

JoAnn Theresa Kavanagh. 1957.

July 18

When Jack pulls up to the Shop today, his father and his brother congratulate him on his new baby girl. He is kidded about so many girls, six now but he takes it in stride and can’t wipe the smile off his face. During lunch he helps his father with a quotation for a beer heater for Paul Jones Distillery. His father wants Jack to learn his quoting system and Jack is a quick study. Eddie explains his quoting process, how he figures the labor and how much to mark up any material needed. The quote is discussed amid bites of ham sandwiches then Jack gets back out to the Shop to roll some copper tubes into circles for a fountain they are fabricating. Again, he uses the new rolling machine with tools made by Benser. It is another job that is complete much more quickly with Jack running them through his machine.

Quotation for Paul Jones Distillery. July 18, 1957.

July 22

The hot but busy summer continues with more brewery and distillery parts along with a few tubes to bend and some small plates to roll.  A set of custom couplings are finished today for National Brewery. Eddie made some drawings and Votta and one of the younger smiths, Charlie Owens fabricate the parts to match. A special “Orlando” thread is cut on one end of each coupling. Like most of the parts they make, these are fabricated specifically to match the National Brewery system.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. July 22, 1957.

August 2

The crew of the Joseph Kavanagh Company remain busy with a mix of jobs but today the focus is on some repairs to a continuous still belonging to A. Smith Bowman Distillery. Boiling plates, a collar and a copper drop bucket have all been made over the last few days. There is cutting, drilling and some annealing and bending on this one as well. The bucket must be rolled from copper sheet. They have been making copper buckets for generations at the Shop. It’s all about using heat and curving copper sheet. It’s old school coppersmith work and easy for the Kavanagh’s. The job will be completed and billed tomorrow. Bowman is becoming another regular customer and Eddie makes note of this. He may have to add the men he deals with there to his Christmas gift list.

The Shop’s job book entry. A. Smith Bowman job. August 3, 1957. Page 1.
The Shop’s job book entry. A. Smith Bowman job. August 3, 1957. Page 2.
The Shop’s job book entry. A. Smith Bowman job. August 3, 1957. Page 3.

August 10

On this Saturday night, Jack makes good on his promise and takes his wife to the movies to see “An Affair to Remember” with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. They both enjoy the movie but Betty really loves this one. They hold hands in the dark of the theater as they watch and for a brief time it feels like they are those two young kids, one fresh out of the Navy and the other newly graduated from high school. When the credits appear, they come back to reality and head home to pick up their six little girls still hand in hand as they cruise through the Baltimore streets toward Lakewood Avenue.

Jack & Betty 1946
Jack Kavanagh and Betty Crew. 1946. Patterson Park.

August 29

Jack drives his father to work on this Thursday and they immediately break into discussion of last night’s ballgame. The Orioles drubbed the Indians 19-6 on the road in Cleveland. Jack really likes this catcher, Gus Triandos, maybe because Jack was a catcher at school when he played ball but he has always felt a certain respect for those behind the plate. Triandos homered twice and hit one of the team’s seven doubles last night. Eddie agrees with Jack that Triandos seems like a keeper and that it was a whale of game. It was exciting from the start when the Birds scored five in the first and never looked back. When they get to the Shop, most of the crew gathers around them both and the same conversation is had but with nine more men. This game is one that is great fun to talk about because in baseball, you don’t score nineteen runs very often.

September 5

It’s back to school for the Kavanagh girls. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane all return to St. Elizabeth’s school for 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st grades respectively. Jack drives them down the street to the corner of  Lakewood and Baltimore where the school is located. He wishes them all a good day as they parade into St. E’s all dressed in their school uniforms. Their father watches them get inside safely then makes the right onto Baltimore Street and heads to the Shop.

Old Climax Hand Bender. Picture taken September 2019.

September 12

A new customer, Thau Manufacturing orders some small stainless steel tubes to be bent. The Climax bender is used for this order. It is a bender that has an arm that rotates around a die. The size of the die determines the radius or the tightness of the bend. By pulling the arm and carefully checking the turret which is marked with each degree of bend, the tube is bent to the proper angle. This machine was originally used for elbows and bends for their distillery work but now they have enough tools to bend for mechanical, ornamental and other applications. Eddie’s idea to have their machinist make more dies is paying off and this leads him to encourage John Benser to make more tools for the new rolling machine that Jack thinks so highly of.

The Shop’s job book entry. Thau Manufacturing job. September 12, 1957.

September 29

The Baltimore Colts open their season at home by beating the Detroit Lions 34-14. The fans scream and holler with each play. Football has really caught on and the crowds are very loud at each game. The Colts will just miss out on the playoffs by one win this year as they finish with a 7-5 record. They are led by a young quarterback named Johnny Unitas who started about half the games last year, his rookie season. This year he is the team’s #1 quarterback and he leads the league in passing yardage and touchdowns. Unitas’s prowess at quarterback raises the hopes for next year even higher. The Orioles showed a great deal of improvement too. The team wins its last four games to finish the season with a .500 record at 76-76 though that young third basemen, Brook Robinson struggles a bit this year. Overall their youngsters are starting to hit and pitch better and that adds up to more wins. Both Baltimore teams seem to be on the rise and the City is excited for the future.

October 10

The Milwaukee Braves defeat the defending champion New York Yankees in seven games to win the World Series. The Braves are led by ace pitcher Lew Burdette, who wins the MVP of the series after notching three complete game victories and young slugger Hank Aaron who bats a lofty .393 in the series and belts three home runs. Eddie still pulls for the Yankees because of his admiration for the great Babe Ruth but Jack is a fan of Milwaukee in this series. He likes the idea of someone different winning the championship and besides New York is an American League rival to the Orioles. Jack can’t wait for Baltimore’s baseball club to get their chance in a World Series. It might be a few years but he knows it will happen.

JoAnn Kavanagh in stroller. 1957.

October 14

Jack assists Eddie with another quote. This one for a repair to a bottling tank for Calvert Distillery. The tank needs to be raised higher so a bracing plate will be made and installed under the tank. They discuss how to safely raise the tank and how many man-hours that will take to do. Eddie shows him how he calculates how big of a plate to use and how much margin for error they have. The tolerance is tight on this one because they only have so much room to squeeze this new plate under the tank. Jack comes up with a price and Eddie likes it and the quote is sent to Calvert. In two weeks, the order will be placed.

Quotation for Calvert Distillery. October 16, 1957. Page 1.
Quotation for Calvert Distillery. October 16, 1957. Page 2.

November 28

Jack and Betty drive their six girls to Guilford Avenue to celebrate Thanksgiving with Betty’s family, the Crew’s. Betty’s brothers, Buddy and Bumpsey are there as is Buddy’s wife, Mack,  their sons, Barney and Steve. The Kavanagh’s make sure to get there in time for the girls to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC television. The girls sit with their cousins and clap and laugh as the floats and balloons pass across the screen. Betty’s mother Bernardine who is called Nannie by the grandchildren cooks a delicious turkey feast for them all and it’s a great family day. In the late afternoon, they return to Lakewood Avenue and have a second dinner with Jack’s parents, Eddie and Annie who is Mimi to her grandchildren. They eat more turkey with all the trimmings including parsnips, of course. During dinner, the adults discuss the recent health problems of President Eisenhower who had a stroke several days before. Ike is a tough man and all are confident he will be fine. He was a soldier and they feel he will bounce back from this and recover well.

Bernardine Crew. “Nanny” 1940s.

December 21

The crew work away on a few different jobs today as the volume of work has stayed strong. A custom “Y” connector is made for Gunther’s Brewery. These connectors are a challenge to make, splitting a tube and soldering two section to it. The reason Eddie knows the Shop gets these parts is the difficulty.  He knows his crew is skilled, in fact, he trained most of them and that skill and level of quality precedes the Kavanagh’s and brings them work. Their experience and talent makes these parts easier  for them than other metal shops.

The Shop’s job book entry. Gunther’s Brewery job. December 21, 1957.

December 24

The Kavanagh’s throw their annual Christmas Eve Party at 201 S. Central Avenue. After cleaning and decorating, the crowd gathers in the front half of the Shop to eat, drink and celebrate the holiday. A few customers are there but it is mostly family, friends and employees. Both a ham and a turkey were baked by Annie, Eddie’s wife, and sliced for sandwiches. There are pies for dessert, beer on ice and the Kavanagh favorite, rye whiskey. Eddie’s niece Mary and her family are there. Mary and her mother inherited half of the Shop when his brother Leo died several years ago. He misses his brother and partner whom he worked with for so long and he is happy to see Mary, her husband Albert and their small boys Jimmy and Leo. They play in the Shop with his granddaughters. Patsy, Ed Jr.’s daughter and Jack’s girls Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie. Baby JoAnn is being held by her mother while Mimi, her grandmother plays with her and smiles down at the small babe. Eddie sees the family mixing with his customers and workers and he is reminded of Christmas Eve’s years ago in this same room. Family and friends wishing each other well celebrating and singing just as they did when his father ran the place. They do sing a few Christmas songs and there are a few toasts and the party goes well. When the guests leave, Jack gives a couple of workers a ride and Eddie drives Betty and the girls home. As Eddie locks up, he recalls again the parties of the past. He thinks of when his father Joe and his brothers James and Frank owned the place and they brought their families to celebrate. It was a long time ago and his memories have begun to fade. He shakes these thoughts out of his head, drops his cigarette and stomps it out as he climbs into his car and drives down Pratt Street. The Joseph Kavanagh Company has been located at the corner of Pratt and Central for 47 years now.



Dwight Eisenhower is the President of the United States. The first nuclear power plant opens in Pennsylvania. The frisbee, the slinky and the hula hoop go on sale. “American Bandstand” premiers on ABC television. Elvis Presley buys Graceland. “West Side Story”  and “The Music Man” premier on Broadway. The films, “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” and “Twelve Angry Men” are released. Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is published. The Asian Flu Pandemic kills over 60,000 Americans. The first American soldier dies in Vietnam. Federal troops are sent to Arkansas to enforce school desegregation laws. Steve Harvey, Spike Lee, Frances McDormand, Patty Smyth, and Donny Osmond are born. Humphrey Bogart and Oliver Hardy die.


There are 48 states in the Union.

JoAnn Theresa Kavanagh. 1957.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below.:

Table of Contents

1956 The First Roller

January 10

The Joseph Kavanagh Company is a little slow to start this year. They have work but only a week’s backlog. Eddie is not very concerned as the winter can be a quiet time for jobs. Any pause between customer’s orders is filled with making parts for stock. Today Louis Votta, one of their most experienced coppersmiths, makes some washer unions in the Gunther Style. Eddie knows sooner or later, Gunther’s will need them.

The Shop’s job book entry. Stock Gunther’s Brewery parts made. January 10, 1956.

February 13

Things pick up at the Shop today when E. J. Codd orders a few parts for a boiler repair and this one is a rush. A building downtown has no heat and that has to be fixed as quickly as possible. Copper sheet is annealed which warms the place up, then bent slowly around to form a circle. Quite a few fittings, couplings and valves are made too. There is a rush charge applied to this job with Jack and five fellows working extra hours to get this one finished in three days. Things can change very quickly at the corner of Pratt and Central. It can change from slow to fine to swamped in a day.

March 27

Two Eccentric Copper Reducers are finished today for Calvert Distilling. Calvert is one of their regular customers who send work to the Joseph Kavanagh Company nearly every month. The Shop has been doing business with them for years and they do get special treatment. Their work is always given a priority by the Kavanagh’s. Jack and two other members of the crew are bending some 90 degree elbows from 2” tube that are also for Calvert. These take a lot of heat and slow pulling around blocks to finish. Jack thinks there must be a better way to bend these and begins to look into it.

The Shop’s job book entry. Calvert Distillery job. March 27, 1956.

April 14

A sunny Spring day is busy at the Shop for the ten man crew. They have more orders for parts to fabricate including a custom “Y” connector for National Brewing. Two sizes of tube, 3” and 2”, are cut and reshaped then soldered closed to created the “Y” shape. The reshaping is the slowest part of the process as careful hammering is done to round out the finished product. The purpose is to create a split or fork in the line to allow the passing of beer from one line into two. It has taken two days for two men to finish this short union. It’s only a small connector but it is a lot of work to get it right.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. April 15, 1956.

April 15

Jack has been giving a great deal of thought to purchasing a metal rolling machine for the Shop. This machine has three rollers or round dies that are used to bend metal into circles, half-circles or whatever is needed. Jack thinks it will make things much easier for them to bend and curve sheets, pipes and tubes. It should pay for itself in several years and also open up other avenues for work. This machine can roll steel not just copper. It can roll any metal given the right tools. Jack is sure that John Benser can make tools for this machine and it will bring in even more jobs and money. He thinks this may be the way of the future. He feels they will have to learn to work with other metals besides copper and brass and this roller will help them do just that. He also knows that it will be a tough sell to Eddie who can be very obstinate especially about the Shop. Jack has his arguments in favor ready and decides to bring it up today. While eating their lunch, Jack suggests to his father that they purchase a metal rolling machine.

“Eddie, I think it’s something we should consider buying. With this three shaft roller, we can bend things easier and with more control. I know it will make things faster too,” Jack says while his father eats his sandwich.

His father places the sandwich down and takes a swallow of coffee, “Jack, it seems like a waste of money to me. I mean we can bend things well enough now. We’ve been doing it for years and it’s always worked out okay. I don’t see where we need it for anything.”

“We don’t need it but it will make things easier. Can you imagine if we had grooved rollers for pipe and tube sizes? All the pulling and then re-hammering will be eliminated. We can just set the machine up and get to it. When they come out of the machine, there won’t be any fixing of the tubes. They will look good,” Jack counters as he sips his own coffee.

Eddie answers back, “I don’t know that it will save us much time, Jack. These machines aren’t perfect and no one here is familiar with one. Who’s going to run it?”

“I will.” Jack replies immediately, “I will learn all about it and I promise it won’t take me long. I know it will speed jobs up Eddie. I know it will and with it we can roll steel too. The stiffeners and steel rings we make for people will all be easier and we’ll be able to roll heavier steel because it won’t be by hand. I think it will bring us more work.”

“Do you really think it will save us much time? I have my doubts, son. After you learn how to run this thing, you’ll have to show someone else how to do it. That will take some more time away from working on jobs.” Eddie sits back in his chair and places a cigarette between his lips.

Jack counters, “I’m telling you, Eddie. This will make us money. Like those 90’s we bent for Calvert last month. We might be able to do those in half the time with a roller. I know Benser has to make tools but from wood, it won’t take long. He makes those bending dies we use and that’s worked out great for us. The more tools we have the more sizes we can bend. This roller will be the same way. I am sure it will pay for itself fast. It’s gonna save us time on a lot of things and I know we’ll be able to find other work for it.”

“You think so?” Eddie lights his cigarette and takes a long puff, “Well, I’m not convinced, Jack, but if you think we should buy it, then go ahead and buy it. I don’t think you’re ever going to make any money with this thing. I don’t but I’ll go along with it.” Eddie is thinking to himself that these decisions will be Jack’s to make so he might as well let him make this one. “Go ahead and order it. Try to get the best deal you can, of course.”

“I will. You know that. I’ll call around and find the best price. You’ll see. I’m telling you, Eddie. This machine will help us and make us money.” Jack says as he tosses the last of his lunch into the trash. He’s happy with his father’s answer but not thrilled about his doubts. Jack orders the machine and plans on proving Eddie wrong when it arrives.

April 20

The Orioles welcome the Washington Senators to Memorial Stadium for Baltimore’s home opener. The Birds win 3-2 while the Kavanagh’s are listening on the Shop’s office radio. Jack gives game updates every time he steps into the Shop from the office which is about ten times during the ballgame. Each bit of news he passes along is welcomed by the workers and they too follow along. The win is cheered at the end of the day as the gents file out of the building. It was a very typical day at Central Avenue with several orders for brewery parts being made including some brass flanges for National Brewery.

May 18

The rolling machine arrives and is placed very carefully in the back section of 201 S. Central Avenue. It is moved slowly with blocks and tackles and strength. The men take their time setting it because they don’t want to have to move it again. The machine has a hydraulic motor that will pull the pieces between the three rollers. The front shaft of the machine spins and pulls the piece through while the two back rollers apply the pressure that makes the curve. There is a wheel on the side that is used to manually crank the back rollers closer to the front. As they are brought in closer the radius of bend will be tighter. Jack loves the machine and begins planning on tools to be made immediately. Eddie is still skeptical but he has confidence in his son and if Jack thinks it will work, Eddie will give it a chance.

May 31

The Kavanagh’s and crew discuss last night’s doubleheader as they work on a few jobs in the Shop today. The Orioles swept two from the Red Sox and are only a game under .500 for their record. It’s been a good start for the Birds and fans are enjoying it and it makes talking baseball even better when you win. The crew are making some manifolds for Clark Concrete Co. today. Something a little out of the ordinary for them but well within their capabilities. Copper tube is annealed and bent, fittings and couplings attached to make the two manifolds. This job takes a bit of mechanical engineering to get straight. Jack is up to the task. He studied mechanics at the Maryland Institute and has a mind for such things as well.

The Shop’s job book entry. Clark Concrete Co. job. Page 1. May 31. 1956.
The Shop’s job book entry. Clark Concrete Co. job. Page 2. May 31. 1956.

June 26

Jack’s rolling machine is used today to roll three galvanized bands for Eureka Coppersmith & Plumbing. Most coppersmiths don’t work with steel but the Kavanagh’s do. They specialize in copper but work with brass, bronze, steel and occasionally aluminum. Earlier this year, they would have had to pass on the galvanized steel. When heated galvanized melts there are noxious fumes emitted, so it can only be bent cold and that is hard, but with Jack’s new roller it is possible. Jack runs the bars through the machine a few times and gets it to the diameter Eureka needs. Jack smiles broadly as he tells his father how well the machine handled it. Eddie, not sold on the machine, does admit that this job could not have been done without it.

The Shop’s job book entry. Eureka Coppersmith and Plumbing Co. job. June 26, 1956.

July 27

For the last several weeks, the Shop’s crew have been focused on a few more items for Calvert Distilling. A few repairs were made and the distilling system was extended with branches of pipe and tube. All of this work is performed at the distillery in Raley, Maryland. The branches are on the fifth floor of the building and it is over a week’s work for three men, Jack, Funke and a helper (not always the same fellow each day). The building is hot already but add in the torches and soldering and it is a tough job. Mr. Funke is the Shop’s most senior non-Kavanagh smith and Jack is young but very skilled. It’s a long job but when completed, the branches work well and Calvert is pleased.

The Shop’s job book entry. Calvert Distillery job. July 27, 1956.

August 2

A candle heater is fabricated for Fairfield Chemical Company in Curtis Bay. They are another chemical company who require some distilling and the candle heater is used in maintaining a high temperature during their process. It is made of 10” copper tube with a few associated connectors and fittings to go with it. John Benser, the Shop’s machinist, makes a set of 10” rollers from wood for the new rolling machine. The wood is cut down, grooved and bored out in a lathe by Benser. It is grooved to match the 10” tubes and bored to the diameter of the shaft of the machine. The rollers are slid onto the shafts and they fit well. With Jack running the machine, the tubes are slowly passed through it. Jack cranks the back rollers in a bit after each pass. The tubes are bent to fit the curve needed and the piece comes out looking great. A few slow passes through the rolling machine but still much faster than pulling it around blocks. Jack seems to be getting the hang of the roller and they are using it more and more. Sometimes on just one small sheet that needs curving but they have been able to use it to roll steel and brass as well. Eddie is still dubious but he sees the results and he agrees with Jack that the more tools for this machine they have, the more they can do.

The Shop’s job book entry. Fairfield Chemical Co. job. August 2, 1956.

August 11

Jack and Betty are taking their daughters to Ocean City for the day. It’s a long ride but they want their girls to have some fun at the beach so they will leave late Saturday night and arrive Sunday morning. Jack drives to St. Vincent’s Church and attends midnight Mass while his daughters are sleeping and his wife is packing a few things. He heads home after the service and loads his Chrysler Windsor with a small bag and a cooler. He then carries the girls out, one by one, in their pajamas and he drives  to St. Vincent’s for Betty to go to 2 AM Mass. This Mass was for pressmen, those from the Baltimore Sun and the News American who had very early Sunday mornings. While Betty is in church, Jack waits in the car with the girls who are back to sleep. They head off as soon as Mass is finished and drive south out of the City. Jack and Betty chat a bit as they drive through the dark overnight hours and after crossing the Bay Bridge, they stop at a little restaurant and buy two egg sandwiches and a doughnut for each of the girls. The couple eat their sandwiches as they head east getting closer to the shore as the sun rises. The kids wake up and eat their doughnut, very excited for this little vacation until they finally reach Ocean City. The girls oooh and ahhh at the water and the beach. Jack parks near the inlet and the girls play on the beach all morning in their swimsuits with shirts over top to keep them from getting sunburned. A picnic lunch is pulled out from the cooler and they eat with each of the girls peppering their Mom and Dad with questions about the beach and the ocean. After eating, Jack takes a nap in the car for an hour or so while Betty sits on a bench on the boardwalk handing out pennies from a handkerchief. The girls play the claw machines in the arcade and try to win plastic airplanes, little soldiers and other small toys. The claw machines cost two cents so the girls only get so many plays before their money is spent. At about 2 PM, Jack is awake and ready to head home. Betty makes sure everyone goes to the bathroom and they all pile back in the Windsor and drive back to Baltimore. They get back to Lakewood Avenue before dark and the girls are in bed by 8:30 PM at the latest. Jack and Betty sit down to watch the “Ed Sullivan Show” which Betty enjoys and Jack invariably starts dozing through it. It is a lot of traveling for one day but it is well worth it to the couple because the girls love every second of it.

Jack & Betty 1946 by car
Jack and Betty Kavanagh. Before they were married standing next to Jack’s 1946 Chrysler Windsor. 1946.
Mary Kavanagh on rear bumper of Jack’s 1946 Windsor. 1952.

August 17

A set of copper sterilizing shelves are made for Gunther’s Brewery. Straight lines are annealed into copper sheet and the sheets are bent along these lines to create the corners of the shelves. All the surfaces are then tinned for sterilization. The tin is melted until it is a thick liquid, then quickly but thoroughly brushed over the shelves. This is very much old school coppersmithing as tinning is one of a smith’s basic skills. Even old Uncle Joe tinned the pitchers, pots and pans he made when the Shop was just started.

The Shop’s job book entry. Gunther’s Brewery job. August 17, 1956.

September 3

Jane Kavanagh starts kindergarten, joining her sisters at St. Elizabeth’s School. Jack and Betty have four girls at the school now with one daughter in each grade from kindergarten to third grade. They have breakfast around the table with their father as he glances through the morning paper, then he drives them the four blocks to school. They wave goodbye as they enter and Jack turns onto Baltimore Street and heads to the Shop.

Mary and Jane Kavanagh with a neighborhood friend. Mid 1950s.

September 30

The Baltimore Colts begin their season at home against the Chicago Bears and beat them 28-21. Jack is there with three pals and he has a blast at the football game. Colts fans are boisterous, loud and supportive and after this win they hope for good things. It doesn’t work out that way though as the Colts will finish with a meager 5 wins while losing 7. They finish fourth in their division for the second year in a row. The Orioles didn’t do any better though they improved their win total by twelve.

October 10

The Yankees win the World Series, defeating the defending champion, Brooklyn Dodgers. The Series goes seven games but Yankee pitching is too much for the Dodgers especially Don Larsen who pitches a perfect game in game five and wins the MVP of the series. Eddie and Jack discuss this championship series throughout it. Eddie pulling for the Yanks and Jack for the Dodgers as it’s been for the last few years. Brooklyn scores nineteen runs in the first two games winning both but only manages six more in the final five games. New York out homered them twelve to three with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra both knocking out three in the series. The Kavanagh father and son baseball fanatics were able to watch games three and four on the weekend but both rue missing that perfect game from Larsen. They both know that is something they will probably never see again.

November 6

President Eisenhower is re-elected defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson as he did in 1952. The Kavanagh’s voted for Democrat Stevenson. Eddie has been a very loyal member of the party and his son served and ran as a Democrat so they vote as such. They do “like Ike” as the slogan goes and he is held in high regard by them for his military service and leadership during World War 2. The economy has been good for them during his first term and they assume the same for the second.

Betty Ann, Mary and Nancy Kavanagh. Left to right. Backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1956.

November 24

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is spent at the Visitation Convent spending time with Aunt Anna (Sister Mary Agnes). She is Eddie’s sister and they are very close. The family sees her several times a month and certainly near the holidays. The Visitation Nuns are cloistered so visiting her has certain rules and she can only leave the convent for specific reasons. Aunt Anna loves spending time with the little ones, Ed Jr. and Lillian’s daughter, Patsy, and Jack and Betty’s girls, Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie. Her brother catches her up on the Shop and she tells them all about her teaching at the convent’s school.

December 14

While Eddie Kavanagh sends out a few Christmas ties and the odd bottle of whiskey, the crew are working away in the Shop on the usual mix of brewery and distillery parts. Four reducers are made for Gunther’s from bearing bronze. There is cutting, soldering and a small bit of machining to fabricate these but they are standard parts and have been made a few times before.

The Shop’s job book entry. Gunther’s Brewery job. December 14, 1956.

December 24

The annual Christmas Eve Party at the Joseph Kavanagh Company is held today and a very festive one indeed. The Shop is cleaned and prepped for the party then family, friends, customers and employees celebrate as one. It has been another good year for the Shop. The company wasn’t as busy as 1955 but close and well enough for the Kavanagh’s and crew. Jack’s idea for buying a metal rolling machine seems to have worked out well. Quite a few jobs have been handled quicker due to this machine and also they are able to do more with steel than they could before. This has brought in a few more jobs and has got them some more customers in the fabricating and construction industries. Eddie was doubtful but he is pleased to see his son make a decision, follow through on it and then have it pay off. He’s proud of Jack and is gaining confidence that when he is gone, his son will take care of everything. The Kavanagh’s and guests eat, drink and sing as they welcome Christmas. The kids play among the party goers and are very excited for Christmas and Santa to get here. Jack is happy to play that part as he does every year and even happier at some news from his wife, Betty. She is pregnant and baby #6 will be born in July.

B N M J J 5
The Kavanagh girls. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie(Right to left) Christmas 1956.



Dwight D. Eisenhower is the President of the United States. Rocky Marciano retires as the only undefeated heavyweight champion of boxing. Elvis Presley releases his first big hit “Heartbreak Hotel” and appears on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” The musical “My Fair Lady” premiers on Broadway. Disposable diapers and the computer hard drive are invented. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis perform together for the last time. The films, “Guys and Dolls” and “The Ten Commandments” are released. Eddie Murray, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher and Larry Bird are born. Jackson Pollack and Bela Lugosi die.

There are still 48 states in the Union.

The Shop’s first metal rolling machine. Make unknown. 1956

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