02 November 2017

Samuel Gilson's Flying Machine

Salt Lake Herald Nov 25 1903

Starting about 1890, Salt Lake City residents and inventors became infatuated with various flying machines, commonly called "air ships" or "air cars." A Utah Aero Club was even established in 1909. 

Many local inventors sought to patent their designs (and some of these are even on file at the Smithsonian), but more commonly many of these designs never came to fruition and many tinkerers in this field were commonly thought of as fools.

One of the many Salt Lake folks interested in the new aeronautics field was Samuel H. Gilson (of which the mineral Gilsonite was named). He invented this unusual flying machine which he hoped to fly to the 1904 St Louis World's Fair and exhibit in the aeronautics competition (and win the $100,000 prize). 

This picture was clipped from a November 25 1903 edition of the Salt Lake Herald.

For historic context information, Wilbur and Orville Wright made their first flight at Kitty Hawk in December 1903.

06 October 2017

Sanitary Drinking Fountains Were Once Throughout the Downtown Business District of SLC

Sanitary Drinking Fountain, SLC
ca 1910 postcard. Image from ebay.
New “sanitary fountains” were all the range in Salt Lake City in the early 1900s. 

Beginning about 1909 the SLC Council had these types of fountains installed throughout the business district of downtown. 

The “sanitary” aspect was a mouth guard on the fountain that prevented the spreading of germs. These types of fountains replaced earlier drinking fountains where people placed their own cup under a spout of running water. 

Many “Ban the Cup” campaigns around this time convinced the nation that the sanitary fountain was a safer alternative.

Salt Lake Telegram 1909-07-31

Salt Lake Tribune 1912-06-03

19 July 2017

Then & Now: Fire Station No 7

Then & Now. Fire Station No.7 located at 273 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City, Utah (although the historic address was 273 9th West). 

The historic photo is from 1923 (courtesy UDSH) and modern photo is from Google street view. The modern building was constructed in 1979.

By 1946, the old Fire Station No. 7 was determined to be inadequate to properly protect the Utah State Fairgrounds and surrounding neighborhoods. It had only one pumper truck and four men. 

In 1963 $20K in funds were dispersed from Salt Lake City to renovate the building. Eventually it was replaced with this modern structure in 1979. 

08 July 2017

Japanese in Utah

From my newly acquired book Japanese Americans in Utah is a description of the first delegation of Japanese to visit Utah.

Their visit to Salt Lake City lasted nearly 3 weeks and included observing an amputation of a leg, soaking in the warm springs at Wasatch Plunge, visiting Camp Douglas, and of course meeting with Brigham Young.

A digital version of Japanese Americans in Utah is available at archive.org.