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Author Topic:   directory format?
wev
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iconnumber posted 06-23-2007 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have added a transcription of the 1861 Hartford city directory to my site. I have, as in the past, sorted the list by occupation. Is this of use or would it be better to sort by surname?

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 06-23-2007 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess it depends on what type of information one is looking for, and how long the list is, but since a person's listed trade can change from year to year, an alphabetical listing might be preferable (at least for the longer lists where a name could be overlooked if out of alphabetical order).

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Point taken; perhaps I will have to do a pair of pages for each -- alphabetic and occupation. At any rate, I have added two more directories:


Boston 1816

Boston 1861

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witzhall

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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for witzhall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
wev, your tenacity is more than impressive! I enjoy particularly looking through the city directories (especially Boston). I noticed in your two latest (1815 and 1861) the occupation of "gold beater." A search of the forums produced one result (another directory), but that did not explain what a gold beater does. Would you elucidate? Many thanks!

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A gold beater produced gold leaf for gilding. He or she started with a small cube of gold, which was hammered into as thin a sheet as was practical. This was cut into 1" squares. Each square was then beat down until it was about 4" x 4". These sheets were then diced into 1" squares and stacked up between 4" x 4" sheets of parchment. The whole stack was then pounded until the gold was again 4" x 4". The gold sheets were quartered and the process repeated until the desired thickness was achieved (usually around 1/8000 mm to 1/10,000 mm). By early in the 19th century, steel roller presses were used for the preliminary flattening, but the final stage of gold, parchment, and wooden mallets remains unchanged today.

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 06-24-2007).]

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DB

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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gold-beater - could you imagine doing this 5/6 days a week, year-in, year-out....

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One would think it's mostly brute force, but it actually isn't. Orange County CA, where I live, had (and no one is sure why) quite a few gold leaf companies. Many yers ago, I was lucky enough, just before the last of them closed, to meet and watch several masters of the trade at work. I had assumed they would be built like Popeye, which they were not, though they had very strong hands. The trick is that while the hammer is very heavy, the cushion of gold sheets and vellum is very springy -- after the first strike, it requires little effort to continue with steady strokes. Most beginners have to be told to relax and not try so hard. With a uniform, measured beat, a master could produce leaves of surprizing consistency with a minimum of effort.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Samuel Davis entry in your 1815 Directory sent me to your site; the S.DAVIS mark you have illustrated actually is that of Samuel Davis of Pittsburgh, a contemporary (Winterthur has this mark for him) of the Boston man. The mark in your photo is an overstrike - the engrailed rectangle actually is the border of an original punch that has been struck over with the Davis mark; the S.Davis lettering is within a smooth rectangle very closely bordered on the letters, and which is the edge of the Davis punch.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 07:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for that -- I'll remove it -- and for prompting another look at the directory. I had missed the partnership of Davis, Brown & Co. and have now added it in.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just noticed looking through Belden, that it notes Farnham & Ward in the directory as being Rufus & Henry Farnham and Richard Ward. In fact, Rufus is listed alone at 57 Cornhill and Farnham & Ward at 15 Cornhill.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-24-2007 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And a last little trifle for the evening:

Lowell MA 1861

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agleopar

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iconnumber posted 06-25-2007 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wev you are the only person I know who has seen gold beaten in this country! A book I read in the 70's by an owner of a firm that was making the change to electroformed gold leaf (and wanted to record the steps you described) circa1950, also said that a gold beater lost the "touch" sometime in his 50's-60's, it was not about strength.

Also for the last round of beating a slightly lighter hammer was used and the "knowlege" of where to beat and how long on the packet took years to gain and younger beaters would have the old boys show them.

Lastly the final packet had to be made from Ox intestine, as only it had the strength and lightness to hold up (some thing like 400 oxen to one packet).

Ok I think I've beaten this to death (sorry) and thank you Wev for the work you have done.

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witzhall

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iconnumber posted 06-25-2007 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for witzhall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, wev, for your concise and clear description of gold beating, and you, agleopar, for the further elaboration. Once again, the wealth of knowledge and experience on these forums staggers me. As a former co-worker used to say, "It ceases to amaze me!"

[This message has been edited by witzhall (edited 06-25-2007).]

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