Thursday, April 30, 2009

Balloon Rides

This picture was taken in 1903, in Portland Oregon. It shows an attraction where people could purchase a balloon ride. The two balloons can be seen in the background. I find it interesting that people could purchase a "flight" experience at this early date.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Professor Lowe's Balloon in Fair Oaks, Virginia

This photograph was taken in May, 1862 near Fair Oaks Virginia. This is another picture of Professor Lowe's balloon, the Intrepid. Like the earlier picture, this one has a number of men on the ground. It looks like it took a dozen or so people to support the balloon launch.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Inflating Professor Lowe's Balloon

This is another picture of Professor Lowe's work in the Civil War. This photograph shows the activities associated with inflating his balloon. The picture was taken in Virginia.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Professor Thaddeus Lowe

Today we feature a photograph of Professor Thadeus Lowe and his lighter than air balloon, the Intrepid. Lowe was a pioneering balloonist, and used his skill in the Civil War. He was appointed by the military to be the Army's Chief Aeronaut. He would take his balloons to the battlefield, and would ascend in the balloon to perform reconnaissance of enemy positions and activities. Interestingly enough, he was not universally appreciated by the military. Some thought he was being paid too much, and disputes over this led him to resign before the end of the war. In the end, he became a very wealthy man by inventing a way to make ice; the process was related to the process he used to create hydrogen gas for his balloon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Balloon Race

This picture was taken in 1908, and shows the start of a balloon race in Berlin, Germany. Pictured is that American entry, the "Conqueror". I don't see any burners, so the balloons are probably lighter than air gas balloons. Gas balloons were popular earlier than hot air balloons.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Buffalo Bill

OK ladies, the men on the blog have caucused, and I am here to report back to you. The message from the men to you is that you are setting the bar too high for us. We probably are not going to be able to take violin lessons. We will not put on silk slippers and a leotard and read Irish poetry to you. Would it be possible, just maybe, to give us a more achievable objective? We understand you are not looking for a bare-knuckle prize fighter, but can you come up with a goal we could get behind, and try and achieve.

So, how about this; Pictured above is the William F. Cody. He was a cowboy, a gentleman, a scout, a showman, and a businessman. We could try to be like William F. Coddy, would that make your heart flutter?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oscar Wilde

It is Oscar Wilde you asked for, and it is Oscar Wilde you get. Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish Poet and Playwright. He is pictured here is 1882. Now guys, listen up, we learned something important this week. If you were thinking about becoming a cage fighter to impress the ladies, you are wasting your time. If you don't learn anything else from me, your time here will not have been wasted. Forget your dreams of victory in the Octagon. It wont impress them. I have two words for you . . . violin lessons. Learn to play the violin. Then get a big overcoat, but when you wear it, don't put your arms in the sleeves . . . wear the coat like a cape. Get a hat and then practice having a disinterested look on your face. From what we learned yesterday, this pretty much should do the trick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Based on emails from readers, and comments on the blog, I am forced to face facts and admit that the first two days of Ladies' Week have failed to have their intended effect. Apparently the photographs are not causing hearts to flutter. I am getting lots of comments and emails that I did a much better job of picking out pictures of women than I am of picking out pictures of men. Never fear, we still have several days left for me to try and redeem myself. So today I have a picture of a violinist for you, as apparently bare-knuckle boxers were not doing the trick. This picture was taken in 1898. His name was Eugene Ysaye, and he was also a conductor and composer. Any Better?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

John Pohl

Ladies' Week continues here at Old Picture of the Day. Today we feature a photograph a dashing young man, John Pohl. I don't have any other information on the picture other than it was taken in 1918. I would imagine he was a boxer or wrestler.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ladies' Week

I got a lot of email last week about me posting pictures of women who were considered desirable in their day. So, in fairness, we kick off "Ladies' Week" today, in which each day we will post a picture for the ladies of a heart throb from years gone by. We start today with this stirring image of John Sullivan, a bare-knuckle prize fighter. The picture was taken in 1898. Posters will be available.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Little Black Boy

Today we feature a photograph of a young Black boy. The picture was taken in 1897. I don't have any other information on the photograph. From the picture it is hard to tell whether this was just a candid shot of the child, or whether this was how he was made to look at part of a Vaudeville type show. The other possibility would be that he was some sort of street performer. In any case, I find it to be an interesting photograph.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Canadian Actress

Today we feature a picture from 1909 of a Canadian-born, Academy award winning actress, whose name was Leila Koerber. She was a vaudeville star, and was in silent movies alongside Charlie Chaplin. I am not sure what type of hat that is that the is wearing. Also, it looks like she might be wearing a robe of some sort.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Opera Singer

This is a picture of Marie Brema, an opera singer of the 1890's. The picture was taken in 1897. This photograph is not tawdry like the ones from the last two days, and perhaps is a better example of elegant fashion and style of the day. The very trim waistline might indicate she is wearing a corset.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pretty Lady

Today we continue our study of Beauties of Bygone Eras. Yesterday the photograph was from 1893, and today's picture was taken in 1918. It is amazing how norms changed in that period of what was considered attractive. It is also interesting how norms changed on what clothing or costume would be considered acceptable. This definitely already has a look of the Roaring 20's. The woman was Marie Prevost, who I believe was an actress of the day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This picture shows a woman posed in a beach scene. The background looks like it was painted. The picture was taken in 1893. It is funny to notice how fashions and our sense of beauty has changed. Notice how she is holding a cigarette in her right hand. Now for the most part, cigarettes would not be considered attractive in a woman's hand.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Printing Press

This is a picture from around 1910, showing a boy using one of the old style coffee grinders. The old style general stores would buy coffee beans in bulk, and then would have a big crank grinder like this one in the store to grind the coffee at the time of purchase. My dad had an old style general store in Ft. Davis, Texas in the 1940's and he had a coffee grinder like this. We still have it, and it really is a beautiful piece of equipment.

Hope you all had a nice Easter. I really enjoy the Easter holiday, and this morning, well, it is back to work.

On the topic of this week's poll question . . . I am really surprised more of you have never dreamed of getting a monkey. My daughter hounded me for 10 years wanting a pet monkey, but she has finally outgrown that. As I mentioned before, my grandfather had two pet monkeys that someone gave him, and they really are a lot of work.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:1-15)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"

(Luke 1:1-3)

Our prayer is that each of us will fully experience the power, peace, and protection of the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mystery Person . . . The Bonus Round

OK, you all are getting too good, so I have to take it up a notch. In this bonus round you have to answer 3 questions:

1) Who is this person?
2) What specific work is he most remembered for?
3) Name of the photographer who took this picture?

How you like them 'taters?

Mstery Game

OK, Let's get going. Name the person in the picture.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

This is a picture of a cross in a small chapel in Jerusalem. Today is Good Friday, the day that Christ was crucified on the cross, some 2,000 years ago. We wish you all a Blessed day today.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This picture was taken in 1900, and shows an Indian Chief. The man's name was Whirling Horse, and he performed in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Shows.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Civil War Soldier

This picture shows a soldier standing in front of his tent. The picture was taken during the Civil War. The soldier is identified as Col. Ernest M.P. Von Vegesack, of the 20th New York Infantry. Exact location the picture was taken is not known.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Young Woman

This picture shows a beautiful young woman. The picture was taken in 1900, and the woman's name was Evelyn Nesbit. She was a model and actress, and lived between 1884 and 1967. At the time of this photograph, she would have been 16 years old.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Doing Laundry

This picture was taken in 1902, and shows a black woman doing laundry. The woman is pictured putting clothes out on a clothes line. When I was growing up, we did not have a clothes dryer, and my mother dried clothes on the line. In the winter, she hung the clothes around the house, and then turned the little house heater on high.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quiet Moment

This picture was taken in 1930, and shows an old couple enjoying a quiet moment. The couple were from Washington Co., Virginia.

As I look at this picture, I can not help but think that these days we have few, or none, of these quiet moments. Today, we always have the TV on, the phone is ringing, or we are running the kids off to some activity. I am really going to work hard to start making time for such peaceful moments.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bonus Edition Mystery Person

I refuse to let you all continue to make a mockery of this blog. The gloves are coming off. This week, we have a bonus edition. Name the man above. Now we play hardball.

Mystery Lady

April 4, 2009
The Day that PJM Defeated the Evil Nate Maas
The Day that Heather was Hopeless, and
Ray in the UK came up empty
Marie was mixed up
Rob from A. was Robbed of a Victory
SmartGirl was not so Smart
This is the Day I defeat you ALL

OK, you only have to name the Lady in the picture.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Soap Box Derby

This picture is from New York City in the early 1900's. Is shows a boy pushing a little girl in a soap box derby car. It is interesting that the car does not appear to have enough leg room for anything more than a very small child. I think Soap Box Derby's are almost forgotten today, but they used to be a really big thing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rough Rider

This is a great picture of Teddy Roosevelt as a Rough Rider in Cuba during the Spanish American War. You all know that TR was a big hero of mine, and that we sometimes joke about needing to bring his Bull Moose party. I actually looked up his campaign platform from 1912, and saw that one his main platform objectives was :

"To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."

Wow, if we ever needed someone to break up the unholy alliance between corrupt politicians and corrupt wall street types it is today. As you watch the people who were responsible for collapsing our economy continue to vote themselves huge bonuses, while the very politicians who approved the bonuses feign outrage, you wonder if there is any honest and good person left out there, or if our country has become totally corrupt. Has every last person become corrupt and greedy?

Well, I am happy to announce that there are still some decent, loving, and generous people out there, and apparently many of them read this blog. On Sunday I described to you a really remarkable young man named Dustin. I met him at the first of the school year when he signed up for my Multimedia class. He came into the year an angry young man. He brought many mistakes, baggage and scars into the class. He was a student that had little or no hope. As he sat in the class and learned to make WEB sites, he also learned responsibility, integrity, and respect. He learned self control, and how to be a man. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to watch this young man take responsibility for his actions. Along the way, members of this blog watched the WEB site of this class develop (, and the class received many hundreds of encouraging emails from you all. These emails let them see that they were not losers, and that they could do work that was respected by the world.

Of all the students, Dustin made the most progress. So much so that he took the initiative to enter an essay contest. Against amazing odds, Dustin actually won the contest and won an expense paid trip to Washington DC. On Sunday I brought you Dustin's story, and explained that as a poor kid, he did not have nice clothes to wear on the trip, and he was in need of pocket money for the trip. I explained that Dustin works, but he was in need for a little help on this trip. Your generosity was overwhelming. In just a few days, you all contributed $1,400 to help Dustin. The contributions came from students, high school teachers, laborers, and the contributions came from all over the world. Each person that gave sacrificed something in order to help a boy who was trying to get his life on the right track. I was so encouraged by your kindness and generosity. I did a quick calculation, and concluded that your generosity would allow Dustin to buy some clothes, have some spending money for the trip, buy a laptop for college, and still have some left to help with his college expenses. Between your gifts, Dustin's summer job, and scholarships, I determined he would be able to go on the trip, have a lap top, and have the money needed to make it through his 2 year college program.

Yesterday was the day I was to present the money to Dustin, and tell him of the kindness of strangers. The multimedia class is right before lunch, so I told the class that I would bring a smoked turkey in for the class to celebrate Dustin's win in the essay contest. The students all indicated they would bring some food in as well. I invited some of the other teachers as well that I knew had an interest in Dustin. We had a wonderful time eating during the class, and then after class, we took Dustin down to the Principal's office. We had invited his Mom, several other teachers, and several administrators to be present.

I then said a few words, and presented Dustin with an envelope with the money, and told him how much I appreciated him, and how his story had really inspired people. I then told him that people from all over the world wanted to help him, and then presented him with your gifts.

By this time everyone in the room was crying, especially Dustin. Dustin took a few minutes to get his composure. He then took the envelope with your gifts, and walked over to the Counselor. He handed her the envelope. He said that he wanted to donate the entire amount of money to the school to create a new scholarship. He wanted the scholarship to be called the "Dustin Ramirez Alternative Energy Scholarship fund", and wanted it to each year go to a student who would be attending the Junior College Wind Turbine program that he had signed up for. He wanted the criteria for the award to be based on respect, self control, and personal responsibility. He said he wanted the fund to start this year by giving a scholarship for $500, and then each year give one $500 scholarship. He did the math and figured that your gifts would pretty much cover the first three scholarship grants, and then after that he would have a job, and personally be able to contribute so that the scholarship can continue indefinitely.

Dustin kept nothing for himself, he donated to entire amount in the hopes of encouraging others to take the path he has taken.

I would like to put the corrupt politicians and Wall Street types on notice: Not everyone is greedy; not everyone is corrupt. You should read this true story and be SHAMED. While the entire financial system collapsed, and while you already had unimaginable wealth, all you could think of is grabbing more, more, more. Dustin is a young man with nothing, and yet he still gave all he had.

Dustin Ramirez was the Kid that had Nothing
Turns out he has more than anyone else

I hope you will help spread Dustin's story. I think it is something people need to hear.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


This picture was taken in about 1862. It shows an old Steam Locomotive in Alexandria Virginia. I really like the looks of these very old locomotives. They are elegant in design, and could almost be described as ornate. The train was named the J.H. Devereux.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow. I will be presenting Dustin with the news of your wonderful generosity. Full report to you all tomorrow.