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.

B N M J J J 2
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.

BNMJ dresed up
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.

B N M J J J 1
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

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

Table of Contents

1955 Running for City Council

January 3

The Joseph Kavanagh Company starts its 90th year in business with little fanfare but rather with the heat of torches, the clang of hammers and men shaping and bending copper like any other day. It’s a cold January Monday and the crew are busy with a few fittings and repair parts for breweries, distilleries and a small boiler repair. During lunch, Eddie speaks to his son Jack about the idea of running for State Senate. Jack failed in his re-election bid for the House of Delegates last year but a run at the Senate might be worth a shot. Eddie is confident Jack would find support within the Democratic Party.

“I don’t want to run for Senate, Eddie. I lost last year so I probably wouldn’t win. It hardly seems worth the try,” is Jack’s first response to his father’s question.

“You don’t know that. The Senate is a different thing and Jack Pollack would be supportive. He would love to have another of his guys in the Senate. You could do a lot of good work, Jack. You were good in the House and you could do even more as a Senator.” Eddie says as he warms his hands by holding a cup of hot coffee.

“No. I want to be close to home and Betty doesn’t want me back in Annapolis every day for three months a year. It would be more in the Senate. And they call you in for special sessions. I want to be close to home.” Jack counters and then bites into an apple.

“Jack, you should think about it. Look, Betty’s a good girl. She’ll understand. You know it. I think you should really consider it, son.” Eddie persists.

“No, I want to be here in Baltimore. You need me here at the Shop. You do. It will be too much if I’m not here all year.” Jack replies with the argument he didn’t want to use with his father.

Eddie’s eyes open wide and he answers quickly, “Oh, Jack. I’ll be fine. I can handle it. It would be like last year. You help out on Saturdays and we plan the week. I don’t think it will be a problem. I’ve worked here for forty years and you don’t have to worry about the Shop. Can you give me a really good reason you don’t want to run?”

“Well, Pop, we got a baseball team here now. I want to be around for the whole season including Opening Day. I want to go to Opening Day some day and that won’t happen if I’m in Annapolis. Every summer there are several emergency sessions it seems and that’s more games I won’t be around for. I want to be here.” Jack answers with a thought that he assumed would sway his hard-headed but baseball crazy father.

After a long pause, Eddie says, “Well, that’s a good reason. Okay. I can understand that.” He takes a sip of coffee and seems lost in thought for a moment when he continues, “All right. You want to be in Baltimore. What about City Council?”

Jack is thrown by this suggestion for a second, “City Council? I never thought of that, Pop.”

“Well think about it.” Eddie grins and picks up the telephone to order some stock steel from Seaboard Steel. Jack waits a moment thinking, then rises and heads into the Shop to check on the crew. He will talk to Betty about this City Council idea.

January 4

Jack tells his father he spoke to Betty and she is supportive of him running for City Council. He will be close to home and that’s what matters most to her. He’ll give it a shot, and his father is very excited to hear it. Both Jack and Eddie get in touch with the Democratic Party leaders they know and a campaign to send Jack to the City Council representing the second district is set in motion. Jack will meet with groups and individuals and speak of what he will do for Baltimore if elected. He always is a strong supporter of the working man. Jack believes in the better nature of most people. If given an opportunity to work hard and support their family, he always thought most people would take that opportunity and do it. “A Vote for Kavanagh is a Vote for Progress” is his campaign slogan.

Back cover of Jack Kavanagh’s campaign for City Council pamphlet. 1955.

February 7

A photographer visits 447 N. Lakewood Avenue to take a promotional photo of Jack, Betty and the family for his campaign. The picture is taken in the front room of Lakewood Avenue with parents and girls all sitting together on the couch. The picture is printed in election flyers supporting Jack’s campaign. Jack holds Mary. Betty holds baby Jackie and Betty, Nancy and Jane are seated before their parents.

Page 2 of Jack Kavanagh’s campaign for City Council pamphlet. 1955.
Page 3 of Jack Kavanagh’s campaign for City Council pamphlet. 1955.

February 17

A frigid day is spent at the Shop working on distillery and brewery fittings, valves and other parts. A boiler replacement job is brought in by E. J. Codd Fabricators, one of their oldest customers. Copper sheet is heated then curved around blocks and wheels to reach the diameter necessary. The liner serves to smooth out the inside of the boiler which is made of steel and has a rough texture. The copper liner improves the efficiency of the boiler. The most popular part of this job, in the winter anyway, is the annealing of the sheet. Three fellows with torches heat the sheet and for a few moments the whole crew gathers close to get warm. The sheet glows red and throws a lot of heat back and that is very fine with the workers. A blast of heat from a torch and then from copper is very welcome in February at 201 S. Central Avenue.

March 1

Eddie has high hopes for his son’s election but Jack loses the primary in his run for City Council. He finishes sixth in a field of seventeen with the top three receiving a nomination. This will end his political career but Jack is not very disappointed. He enjoyed his time in Annapolis and the idea of serving in Baltimore City appealed to him but it didn’t work out. Eddie is more disappointed than his son but he too accepts it and realizes that politics isn’t going to work out for Jack. It might even be for the better as Eddie knows that soon enough, his time at the Shop may be over and Jack’s time has only just begun. He knows that his oldest son Ed Jr. enjoys coppersmithing but is not interested in running the Shop and that Eddie’s job will certainly fall to Jack. Eddie decides it’s best to focus on preparing Jack for this.

March 7

The musical “Peter Pan” is broadcast on NBC and the Kavanagh girls are so excited. They watch with their Mom and Dad eyes fixed on the television. It stars Mary Martin and is a huge hit around the country.

A letter from Gunther’s Brewery informing Eddie Kavanagh that he will receive a complimentary case of the newest beer style of their beer. March 21, 1955.

April 12

It’s Opening Day in Baltimore for the Orioles and over 38,000 fans flock to see the Birds’ first home game. They lost their first game in Washington to the Senators 12-5 and the home opener isn’t much better. They lose 7-1 to the Boston Red Sox. It will be another tough year for the Orioles. The start of the season is horrible. The team loses the first six games and can never recover. Fans can’t imagine a worse start then 0-6 but they still support the team enthusiastically. This includes the Kavanagh’s who have begun a love affair with this team that will continue and grow for the next sixty plus years. Eddie and Jack discuss the game at the Shop and the team in general. This season will be a struggle but the Kavanagh’s will enjoy every minute of it and they know eventually this club will be much more competitive.

April 22

Eddie quotes Mr. Fred Schneider at National Brewing for a few replacement parts. Mr. Schneider assures Eddie that this will be a job but it may be down the road a bit so Eddie makes note of it and waits for an order to come. The Shop is still busy with a few drip pans being made for Calvert Distilling and a brass railing being rolled for a fancy residence in Baltimore County. Brass is more difficult to anneal and bend than copper. It is still well within the scope of the Shop’s capabilities but it takes an experienced hand to curve it properly and not damage the material. Jack and two helpers tackle this one. They heat it carefully then after cooling, it is slowly pulled around wooden dies and wheels to get the radius that the customer wants. After bending, the rail is cleaned and polished. The rail looks great and Eddie knows the customer will be happy. This is why Eddie gave this one to Jack personally. He knows he has great skill as a coppersmith and also is a good leader of a crew. Jack does good work and he also seems quite adept at getting the best work from his helpers.

Quotation to National Brewery. April 22, 1955.

May 10

The Shop on the corner of Pratt and Central is humming along with plenty of work. Today the usual mix of brewery and distillery parts is augmented with a fountain that is fabricated. They have worked on fountains nearly since the company’s inception. Copper tube is annealed, then drilled to allow the water to pass through it. The now soft tube is gently and slowly pulled around blocks to achieve the diameter the customer wants then the ends are soldered together to form a ring. It’s slow work but when finished, the customer picks up and covers the copper tube in the marble or the stone that is visible when the fountain is installed. The Shop makes the interior that controls the water in the fountain while the stone mason or contractor will do the exterior work.

June 13

A hot Monday morning at the Shop is spent making spare brewery parts and another railing. The talk among the Kavanagh’s and the crew is baseball. The Orioles split a doubleheader with the Kansas City A’s the day before. The A’s were sold and moved from Philadelphia during the off-season and Eddie thinks of his father Joe. Joe was an old acquaintance of Connie Mack, the A’s former owner and manager. Joe would occasionally take the train to Philly, visit Mr. Mack and take in a game. Eddie’s father loved baseball and that is where his son got his passion for it. He wonders what Joe would think of the team moving. Teams move so rarely Eddie was taken by surprise by it. The country has grown and cities in the midwest and the west coast are clamoring for teams. Jack and Eddie both are curious if and when another club will move.

Baby Nan 3
The Kavanagh girls In the pool in the backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Nancy, Patsy, Betty Jane, Betty Ann and Mary in the back. 1956.

June 25

Jack and Betty take their four oldest girls to the movies to see Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.” Not quite one year old Jackie stays with Jack’s parents, Eddie and Mimi. The girls love it and they chatter all about it on the way home in the back seat of the car. Jack and Betty smile at each other and say no words but the joy of their children makes them happier than anything else.

July 15

The Shop is flush with work and they have a solid three week backlog. Today it is more replacement parts for National Brewery. Several Beer Nose Couplings are fabricated for them. The breweries certainly help keep the place busy especially National and Gunther’s. Gunther’s has an order for some special bronze caps that will be made next week. The Shop and specifically Eddie has a great reputation with the beer brewing industry. In the twenty years since Prohibition was repealed, Eddie and his crew have made countless parts and many repairs that have helped his friends in the industry. Emergency and rush jobs are dealt with expeditiously and Eddie’s customers don’t forget that.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. July 15, 1955.
The Shop’s job book entry. Notes on Calvert Distillery job. July 30, 1955.

August 1

A large repair job for Calvert Distillery has been the focus of the Shop’s workers for the last week. Copper plates needed replacing in a section of a column still. The plates need to be drilled and 3” copper cups soldered to them. There was a lot of soldering in this job but Eddie is very proud of the crew’s performance on this one. They promised it would be completed in two weeks and they did it in one. That makes them more money and makes them look good to the customer. Eddie knows the money is good but the latter is just as important.

The Shop’s job book entry. Calvert Distillery job. August 1, 1955.

September 2

The Shop completes a heating coil for the City of Baltimore. The City furnished a set of drawings and under Eddie’s supervision, 3/4” copper tube is annealed and bent with multiple turns and the coil is braced with brass and copper to immobilize it when in use. Eddie kept a careful eye on this job because he very much likes the idea of doing work for the City. Of course, he wants as many customers as possible but with the City, the chances of them going out of business is slim. The coil is a good job that makes some money including 39 cents in scrap.

The Shop’s job book entry. City of Baltimore job. September 2, 1955.

September 5

Another of Jack and Betty’s girls, Mary, begins kindergarten at St. Elizabeth’s School joining 2nd grader Betty Ann and 1st grader Nancy. Jack drops off his girls at school every morning and Betty picks up Mary at lunch then the older girls later in the afternoon while Katherine, Betty’s friend and babysitter stays with the younger girls, Jane and Jackie.

September 17

Jack, Betty and their girls attend a Saturday afternoon Orioles game against the Washington Senators. The Birds win 3-1 in a close ballgame. The Kavanagh’s and the rest of the 5,000 + fans at the game cheer on their team enthusiastically. A young rookie make his first appearance. He goes 2 for 4 in the game and drives in one run. He plays third base and will become one of the greatest players to ever put on an Orioles uniform and will eventually be considered the greatest defensive third basemen in baseball history. His name is Brooks Robinson.

September 25

Jack and his friends head out to Memorial Stadium to see the opening game for the Colts and he finally gets to see his first Colts win in person. He’s been to several games over the first two seasons but all losses. The Colts defeat the Chicago Bears 23-17 and will go on to win their first three games. Unfortunately, they will only win two more the rest of the way and though they do not make the playoffs, the team is getting better. The fans have embraced this team just as they have the Orioles. Baltimore loves having two sports represented in the City and they are confident that both teams some day will bring a championship home to them.

October 3

The Mickey Mouse Club premiers and the Kavanagh girls love it from the start. The program runs for an hour each weekday starting at five pm. The four older girls, Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane eat their dinner as quickly as they can then sit in front of the TV and watch every minute of the show, including “Spin and Marty,” on ongoing series about two young cowboys. The girls become Mouseketeers, regular viewers; they sing the theme song loud and clear, M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

October 4

The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. The Series goes seven games and the Dodgers win the finale 2-0. The Dodgers lost the first two games but win four of the next five to take the championship. Jack is thrilled for the Dodgers; he pulls for them because his favorite player, Roy Campanella is on the team. Campy smacks two home runs out of the park during the Series while playing stellar defense behind the plate. After seeing the Yanks beat Brooklyn several times, this one is particularly satisfying to Jack. His father Eddie was always a huge fan of Babe Ruth and thus a fan of the Yankees. Jack’s team finally gets the win in this one and he is happy about it but dreams of the Baltimore Orioles playing in a World Series some day. The Birds finished the season by winning ten out of twelve to total three more wins than 1954. Jack and Orioles’ fans throughout Baltimore take that as improvement but they know that a World Series won’t happen for a while.

October 27

The Joseph Kavanagh company remains steady. They have jobs though not quite the three week backlog they had earlier. Still, they have work to do and more coming in. Today, a dozen bronze caps are made for National Brewing. These caps are used to close off pipes that are not in use. A brewing system is complicated and built to fit the building it is housed in and often section of pipes and tubes are not used and closed off for periods of time to be cleaned and sometimes repaired.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. October 27, 1955.

November 24

Thanksgiving is a busy day for Jack and Betty and their girls. They have dinner at Betty’s mother’s house first around lunch time. The girls call her Nannie and she is as sweet as could be to them. Very loving and caring and she loves every second she can get with her granddaughters. Betty’s brothers “Buddy”(Lawrence) and “Bumpsy”(Howard) are both there as well. Buddy is married and his wife, Mack and young sons Barney and Steve are there and the boys play with Jack and Betty’s girls. The food is good and plentiful and it’s a wonderful holiday feast. After several hours there, Jack drives them all home and they walk over to his parents house at 434 N. Lakewood for another turkey dinner. Annie or Mimi as the girls call her is very similar to Nannie. She cherishes the time with the girls and cooks a terrific dinner. The girls love both their grandmothers a great deal and everyone eats until fully stuffed in the Thanksgiving tradition. Jack is particularly happy because both his mother and mother-in-law serve parsnips with their holiday dinner.

December 12

Eddie has John Benser make several beer cocks for stock this week. These are custom fittings that are used to connect tubes to the beer vats and pass the beer through the different stages of brewing. The cocks are different for each brewery but they know which to make for Gunther’s Brewery and which for National Brewery who are their two biggest brewery customers. They get regular calls for replacement parts from both so stocking some is a good idea. Benser is a vary talented machinist and he takes care of the cutting, machining and drilling all on his own. Eddie also sends out Christmas gifts to several customers. As in the past, most get ties but a couple receive a bottle of rye whiskey as well. The list is dominated by his pals at the breweries and distilleries who regularly order repairs and parts from the Shop. Eddie is on friendly terms with these fellows and he wants to thank them for their loyalty and patronage.

The Shop’s job book entry. Brewery parts made for stock. December 12, 1955.
Thank you letter from an employee of Gunther’s Brewery for Eddie’s Christmas gift. December 22, 1955.

December 24

Another Christmas Eve party is thrown at the Joseph Kavanagh Company for family, friends, customers and employees. After a Saturday morning of work, the Shop is cleaned and decorated, then guests begin arriving. The number of customers that attend has gone down the last few years but there are still a few gents from Gunther’s and National Breweries and Calvert and Seagrams’s distilleries. The Kavanagh family are all there and the Shop’s employees. There is food, drink and song as there is every year. It’s not quite like it was when Eddie’s father, Joe was there. He would sing old Irish songs, Christmas carols, of course including “O Holy Night” but the this year’s party is a fun affair and everyone has a good time welcoming the holiday and celebrating another year finished. Just as last year, Jack drives several employees home or to a bus stop that is halfway home. He drives those fellows who celebrated a bit too much and either don’t drive or shouldn’t drive in their state. Jack doesn’t mind it at all and his father will take his family home for him. Jack takes these workers to their destination each with a Christmas turkey in hand. Jack goes over the year in his mind as he passes Pratt and Central on the way back. He ran for City Council and didn’t win but he’s okay with it. He enjoyed his time in the House of Delegates but political office just may not be for him. Also, his responsibilities at the Shop have increased and certainly will continue to do so. Finally, he’s happier to be able to spend as much time as he can with his growing family. The Shop takes enough time away from that so perhaps it’s for the best that he did lose. He cruises along Patterson Park on Baltimore Street and turns left onto Lakewood Avenue. In less than five minutes he is parking at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue ready to see all his girls. And ready to pull out that red and white suite to be Santa. It is one of the highlights of the holiday for him. He climbs the marble steps and walks in the door with a bright Merry Christmas to Betty and his daughters.

B N M J J 4
The Kavanagh Girls, Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie(left to right). Christmas Mid 1955.



Dwight D. Eisenhower is the President of the United States. He sends the first American military advisers to South Vietnam. The Pentagon announces it will make a new missile called an ICBM, an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The first McDonald’s opens. Chuck Berry records his first record, “Maybelline.” Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California. Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL-CIO. “Rock Around the Clock” becomes the first rock and roll song to reach number one on the US record charts. John Grisham, Bill Gates, Whoopi Goldberg, Reba McEntire and Eddie Van Halen are born. Charlie Parker, Emmett Till and Albert Einstein die.

There are 48 states in the Union.

Cover of Jack Kavanagh’s campaign for City Council pamphlet. 1955.

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

Table of Contents

1954 Leo Kavanagh

January 11

Jack returns to Annapolis to finish his term in the House of Delegates and gives thought to what he will do next. He could run for re-election but he misses being home. He has to talk to his wife Betty about it and will decide before April when the Legislative Session comes to an end.

January 18

The Shop starts the year strong but not swamped. They are busy but not working on Saturdays which is understandable for the winter. Today a few repair parts are made for stock while a copper liner for a boiler is fabricated. Eddie gives Calvert Distilling an estimate on a vapor pipe repair. Large copper tubes have to be made then bent to 90 degrees in several spots. It will be a nice job to get and Eddie has a good feeling about it.

Quotation for Calvert Distilling. January 18, 1954.

January 30

On this Saturday, Leo M. Kavanagh has a sudden and fatal heart attack at 4 am in his home. The family is stunned as Leo was a healthy man and only sixty-one years of age. His wife, Maymie and daughter Mary are devastated and in a state of shock. The Kavanagh’s rally together and work to get through it. Eddie is hit hard by this as well. Leo was his older brother and they had worked together day in and day out for over forty years. They had only begun to even consider their retirement but now Leo is gone. He was not just Eddie’s brother but his partner at the Shop, his co-worker and co-owner and friend. Eddie won’t be able to grieve for long as decisions will have to be made about the Shop. Leo’s will must be read and his wife and daughter will inherit his half of the Joseph Kavanagh Co. Leo’s funeral is held at St. Elizabeth’s where his family and friends including many of his fellow Knights of Columbus members mourn and say their farewells. Leo is buried at New Cathedral Cemetery where his parents and other ancestors are laid to rest.

February 10

Jack, Betty and their girls, Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane have Sunday dinner with Jack’s parents, Eddie and Annie. Annie loves anytime she can get with the girls and they feel the same way. They love Mimi as they call her and she welcomes each with a hug and a kiss as if she hadn’t seen them in weeks. Eddie and Mimi live across the street and see the girls almost every day. The girls call Eddie, Eddie. It is his preference just as his father Joe didn’t go by Grandpa or Pop. Eddie is the same. He is called Eddie by his granddaughters and his sons generally. Jack called him Pop as a boy and occasionally now but never at the Shop where he was always Eddie. Annie bakes a ham and there is pie for dessert which is the young girls’ favorite part. After dinner, Eddie pulls Jack aside into the front room to talk while the girls play with their mother and grandmother.

“Jack, Leo’s will was read and Maymie and Mary get his share of the company. They won’t be involved in the day to day but will be paid some rent for the property. They own half of the building.” a slight shrug of his shoulders as he pauses, “We’ll keep doing what we do and it should all be fine.”

“What can I do to help, Pop? I know without Leo you will have a lot to do,” Jack offers, realizing that his father’s work will just about double.

“I might need some help with drawings and I’ll be glad to have you back from Annapolis. That’s for sure but I know you gotta focus on being a Delegate, son. You do your job in the House and I’ll be fine. If it’s busy, that’s a good thing. You know how it is at the Shop.” Eddie assures Jack.

Jack glances over his father’s shoulder as he hears Mary’s voice rise from the next room, “I’ll be back full time in April. I’ll do whatever it takes to help.”

His father smiles at him, “I know, Jack. I know you will. It’s strange already without Leo. It’s not the same without him. We worked together our whole lives in that building.” A somber frown crosses his face, “He was my brother but we’ll get it worked out. I know you’ll help. I will need you more in the office part of the day but you should be doing that anyway. You gotta get used to dealing with customers,” a pause as he taps a cigarette from its pack, “and doing everything else.”

“What about Ed?” Jack asks. It’s his turn to frown as he watches his father with the cigarette.

His father places the cigarette to his lips, “He doesn’t want any parts of the owning and running the Shop. He told me so and, Jack, he doesn’t have the demeanor. He’s not serious enough. He….,” Eddie seems to think better of complaining about one son to the other when he finishes, “You’re better suited for it, Jack and honestly, Ed, is more of a Shop guy: a good coppersmith, and that’s what he wants to be.”

Jack takes his time, then answers his father, “If you say so, Pop. You know best. I’m ready to learn all you want to teach me. I want to help out and help the company. I did go to school for drafting and mechanics so I can handle the drawings. Whatever it takes, I’m ready for it.”

Eddie nods and pats his son on the shoulder than calls for the ladies to come in and gather around the piano. It’s Eddie’s way of telling Jack he’s happy he’s willing to help and the conversation is over. Eddie begins to play the piano and soon the girls are dancing and singing along. Jack takes his turn playing too and they all join in together. The same sort of Kavanagh Sunday dinner with song that Eddie had with his parents.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. March 11, 1954.

March 25

Jack has decided to run for re-election in the 2nd District of Baltimore City. He and Betty discussed it and though she would prefer to have him close to home, she understands it is important to him and will support him 100%. He and his father confer with Jack Pollack, one of Jack’s mentors in the party and Jack Kavanagh will be on the ballot for re-election. On Central Avenue, the Shop received an order for the vapor pipe repair job that was quoted to Calvert Distilling earlier this year. It takes a week to finish the tube and then find a way to work the bends with the proper radius. Eddie has been having John Benser, the Shop’s machinist make a few bending dies when he can. This makes it simpler to achieve the specific curve needed. In the case of this order, the tubes are over ten inches in diameter and their only choice is to made a new set of tools from wood. Benser machines a die and clamp block while the tubes are filled with sand. The sand is poured in, then pounded down with a pipe. Once full, the tubes are carefully pulled around the die. It’s a very slow process for each bend but a good job and Eddie is happy to see this one billed.

The Shop’s job book entry. Calvert Distilling Job. March 25, 1954.

April 1

Some of the Shop’s distillery work is not related to the whiskey industry. Today a dished copper top for a column still is finished for US Industrial Chemical Co., a chemical producer who requires alcohol distilling. The top is made from copper sheet and weighs over four hundred pounds when finished, so most of the crew have been working on this order for the last two days.

The Shop’s job book entry. US Industrial Chemical Co. job. April 1, 1954. Page 1.
The Shop’ job book entry. US Industrial Chemical Co. job. April, 1, 1954. Page 2.

April 10

The House of Delegates session closes and Jack returns to the Shop full-time but is running for re-election. On a Saturday, the crew are not working, but Jack is in the small corner office with his father. Eddie and Jack are there to plan the schedule for the week. Since Leo’s passing, Jack has tried to help his father at the Shop and now can do more. He will handle expediting jobs while Eddie focuses on taking calls and making quotations. The absence of Leo is felt, as the drawings as well as any engineering on stills and brewing vats, falls to Jack now. He can handle it but it is more work. It is a transitional period with Leo passing but they are managing and each day is focused on the jobs at hand.

April 15

The Baltimore Orioles play their first game in Baltimore at Memorial Stadium. Thousands line the streets as the team leads a parade to the game. Players sign autographs and speak to fans as the crowd cheers. The Orioles beat the White Sox 3-1 in their first home game in Baltimore before 46,000 excited fans. The Kavanagh’s have the game on the radio in the Shop’s office and they work but keep an ear on the game through the afternoon. It’s the first Opening Day in Baltimore and tomorrow it will be discussed in depth throughout the City and most certainly at the Joseph Kavanagh Company

May 9

Jack takes his father to their first Orioles game on a fine spring Sunday. Eddie and Jack can hardly contain themselves. Two true lovers of baseball at a major league game here in Baltimore. They sit and talk as they wait for the game to start. Bob Turley is the starting pitcher for the Orioles facing Art Houtteman of the Cleveland Indians. This game is a true pitching duel with the game tied at one through nine innings. Turley pitches ten innings and in the bottom of the tenth, his sacrifice bunt sets up Center fielder Gil Cloan who lines a single to center scoring the winning run. The crowd goes wild and Eddie and Jack are both whistling and cheering. It’s a very exciting game and a great first trip to Memorial Stadium for baseball. Father and son talk on the ride home about the game and the players. Jack decides he will bring the whole family out to a game or two and he can’t wait to bring his girls to see the Orioles and share some baseball with them.

June 22

The Shop is busy fabricating a railing for a residence. The usual array of brewery and distilling parts are made as well. Jack is working but also campaigning with his fellow Democrats. The Primary is next week and influence in the party seems to come down to two camps, Jack Pollack leading one and gubernatorial candidate George Mahoney the other.

June 28

Jack loses his re-election bid to the House of Delegates, He and two of the other Pollack men were defeated by the Mahoney group in the Democratic Party. Jack seems to have fallen victim to some political infighting. The people have spoken and Jack does not receive a nomination to return to the General Assembly. He is disappointed but at the same time he’ll be happy to be home with his family and to devote more time to the Shop. Betty is quietly relieved though she would have supported Jack no matter the result.

July 2

Jack, Betty and their girls attend their first Orioles game on a Friday night. Betty is eight months pregnant but going means so much to Jack and the girls, she wants to be with them. Jack told her he would take the four girls and she could stay home but she would have none of it. So they take in a ballgame on a warm summer night. Sitting in the lower box on the third base side, they watch Baltimore welcome the Detroit Tigers to town. The Orioles, though still in the bottom of the standings, win tonight in another close well-pitched affair. Joe Coleman out duels Art Aber and the Birds beat the Tigers 2-0. The girls cheer on the Orioles and Jack is in high heaven to be watching a game with his wife and kids.

July 9

Betty meets a young woman from the neighborhood named Katherine. Jack and Betty have been looking for someone to help with the girls on a more regular basis. Katherine fits the bill perfectly. She lives in the neighborhood and is a friend from the Kavanagh side of the family. Betty grows to trust her quickly and Katherine will keep the girls whenever Betty has errands, trips to the store, doctor or school.

The Kavnagh girls in the backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Mary, Betty Ann and Jane(left to right). Mid 1950s.

July 21

Betty Kavanagh gives birth to another girl, Jacqueline who is called Jackie. She is named after Jack her father and he is as thrilled as he could be. He loves his Daddy’s little girls. The family is excited for another baby in the family. Her older sisters are all excited to hold her, and Mimi and Eddie along with them. Jack and Betty are also very happy they have found Katherine because with a new baby and four older girls, they will need all the help they can get.

Betty Kavanagh and baby Jackie.

July 31

The Summer at the Shop is busier and they are back to working Saturday half-days. Calvert Distilling has been keeping them busy a lot this year with repairs and replacement parts. Calvert needs some baffles replaced in an evaporator and today they are completed at the Shop. Copper sheets were cut and drilled and the ends annealed. The old baffle plates are pulled from the evaporator and the new ones installed. Five men handle this one while the rest are busy on a few boiler parts.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. August 10, 1954.

August 16

Gunther’s Brewery orders some replacement unions. This is a repeat job. They made these last year and now they make another set. Gunther’s is another customer who sends work to the Joseph Kavanagh Company nearly every month and they have been doing business with the Kavanagh’s for decades. The small fittings whether stock or custom parts flow out of the Shop regularly. Repeat jobs are welcomed because if they did it once, they know they can do it again.

August 22

Jack takes his girls to a Sunday afternoon Orioles game. Betty stays home with baby Jackie this time and Jack corrals the girls into his Chrysler Windsor and heads to Memorial Stadium. The Orioles are hosting the Cleveland Indians today. The Indians are at the top of the standings and the Orioles are mired at the bottom. The game goes as most would guess with first place Cleveland pounding the Birds 12-1 today. The girls have a good time and cheer when they can as Jack explains to them that baseball is a game and sometimes you lose. Jack drives his girls home and they chatter to him and to each other. He saw his team get beat pretty bad but doesn’t care. He has a soft smile of contentment on his face as he answers his daughters queries and listens to them discussing the game.

September 6

Betty Ann and Nancy start their school year at St. Elizabeth’s, Betty in first grade and Nancy in kindergarten. Jack drives them down Lakewood Avenue to where the street is interrupted by Patterson Park. The school is on this corner at Baltimore Street. He drops both girls off and wishes them a good day. At lunch, Betty will walk down to pick up Nancy then return several hours later to pick up first grader, Betty Ann. Katherine will stay with the girls while Betty is at school. Katherine is a great help to Betty and the girls all love her.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. September 10′ 1954.
The Shop’s job book entry. Gunther’s Brewery job. September 10, 1954.

September 13

More fittings, unions and adapters are made for both Gunther’s and National Brewery in the Shop, and Eddie has his own project to work on today. He has begun making a copper pitcher for his sister to honor her twenty-five years of service as a Visitation nun. He will make a pitcher like others have been made at the Joseph Kavanagh Company since Old Uncle Joe started it in 1866. Eddie will anneal a piece of copper sheet, then hammer and bend, shaping the sheet into a bowl at first, then a pitcher. The inside will be tinned and a small handle annealed, bent and soldered to the pitcher. Eddie does a special cleaning with acid to finish this particular pitcher giving it a very handsome look. He engraves his sister’s name and the years of her vocation and involvement in the Visitation Convent.

The Shop’s job book entry. Gunther’s Brewery job. September 13′ 1954.

September 26

The Baltimore Colts begin their second season at Memorial Stadium. They play in the same place as the Orioles and will do so for a long time The two franchises share the space and make many memories for Baltimore sports fans but not so much so far. The Orioles finished their season yesterday losing 11-0 for their 100th loss of the season. The Colts are crushed today 48-0 by the Los Angeles Rams. Both clubs are new and not expected to compete at this point. Things will change in a few years.

October 2

The New York Giants sweep their way to the World Series, winning all four games against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians had taken the American League Pennant by winning a record-setting 111 games. They were favored to win it all but the Giants were up to the task. In game one, Willie Mays makes one of the most incredible catches ever on a long drive by Vic Wertz. It is remembered as one of the greatest defensive plays of all time and is symbolic of this series. Leo Durocher wins his first World Series and the Kavanagh’s enjoy the games. They also assumed Cleveland would win easily, but that’s why they play the games, because you never know. If possible, they may be even more interested in the Series this year with a home team in the league. Jack hopes some day to see the Orioles play for the championship. If you have a team, you can dream.

November 13

Jack and Betty go to the movies on a Saturday night for the first time since the baby was born. There is a new holiday movie out with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye called “White Christmas.” Eddie and Annie keep the girls including baby Jackie while their parents go out for the night. They love the movie and the music and mostly love getting out for a couple of hours. They would love to go for egg rolls as they used to but Betty wants to get home to the baby. Five young girls (Annie has cousin Patsy at her house every Saturday night) and a baby is a lot to handle for Annie. Both Jack and Betty don’t want to tire her out. Eddie is there and he will play a little on the piano with the girls and watch some television but eventually he’s likely to disappear behind the newspaper. When they get to 434 N. Lakewood Avenue, they tell Jack’s parents and their girls all about the movie and the girls tell them how much fun they had with Mimi. In a few minutes, the Kavanagh girls are walking down the street and back home for the rest of the night.

Betty, Nancy, Patsy2 (1)
Nancy, Patsy and Betty Ann Kavanagh(left to right) on the grounds of the Visitation Convent. Mid 1950s.

November 27

After celebrating Thanksgiving with both Jack and Betty’s families, the Kavanagh’s visit Aunt Anna, Sister Mary Agnes on the following Saturday. She is celebrating her Silver Jubilee having been part of the order for twenty-five years. After Mass at the Convent, Eddie presents Anna with the pitcher he made for her. She thinks it’s beautiful and is very touched that her brother would do this. It reminds her of the Shop and her father and all the family that worked there. She thanks him and she thanks God for giving her the calling that has changed and enriched her life for so many years. Eddie loves his sister dearly and she feels the same. They are that much closer to each other now with their brother Leo gone.

Sister Mary Agnes(Anna Kavanagh) on the grounds of the Visitation Convent.

December 15

Eddie sends out a few Christmas gifts to customers. He has decided that some of his friends in the industry deserve a small token. Most get ties but a few get a bottle of whiskey. It is becoming an industry custom as he receives some too. His wife Annie shops for the ties and he takes care of the lucky few who get rye.

Thank you note from one of the men from Gunther’s Brewery that Eddie Kavnagh knew. He received a tie and whiskey. December 26, 1954.

December 24

The Shop’s annual Christmas Eve Party is thrown on a cold Friday. The place is converted from messy Shop to less messy holiday party in a couple of hours. The front room of Central Avenue is full of people eating, drinking and celebrating. Customers recognize and greet each other, shaking hands and wishing each other well and a fine party is held. The guests talk of the Colts who had another tough season and the hopes for the Orioles next year. The new baby, Jackie, is held and passed around while the older kids play about. The party is just like every year but Eddie misses his brother. Leo and Eddie worked together for so long and his death was so unexpected. Eddie goes over it in his mind quite often and today certainly. He feels so many unresolved issues as he never said a proper farewell to his older brother and he has trouble getting past it. When a few folks call for some songs, he puts it into the back of his mind. They do sing and toast the Shop, the holiday and the future. After the party, two employees are a bit inebriated and Jack offers to give them a lift home. Eddie is not too pleased with the workers but seems fine once his son decides to drive them home. Eddie and Annie take Betty and the kids back to Lakewood Avenue while Jack drives the two workers, each with a Christmas turkey in hand, to their destinations. One is driven to his house and the other just needs a ride to a bus stop and he will take a bus to West Baltimore where he lives. Finally, Jack drives East across town headed back home. He can’t wait for Christmas with all his girls. He even has a red and white suit picked out to wear later tonight.

Thank you note from one of the men from Gunther’s Brewery that Eddie Kavanagh knew. He received a tie. December 31, 1954.



Dwight Eisenhower is the President of the United States. Elvis Presley records his first record. The first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus, is launched. Mass vaccinations of children for polio begins. The Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision rules segregation in schools is unconstitutional. The words “Under God” are added to the Pledge of Allegiance. The Tonight Show hosted by Steve Allen premiers. The first Burger King opens. The films “the Caine Mutiny” and “On the Waterfront” are released. Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Condoleezza Rice, Ron Howard, and Stevie Ray Vaughan are born.

There are 48 states in the Union.

Copper pitcher made by Eddie Kavanagh to honor his sister Silver Jubilee. 1954.

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