This week we have chosen the Paymaster Canadian Series X-900 for our artifact of the week. In the mid-twentieth century, Paymaster became synonymous with most cheque-writing machines. The Paymaster company was founded some time in the 1930s and its machines found their way to many businesses. The machine could be set to an amount as high as $99,999.99, though generally the far left column was ignored when producing paycheques. T.B. Hirschberg, president of Paymaster, was the assignee on a patent for a new cheque-writing device developed by Arthur G. Rindfleisch.
Variations on this original Rindflebisch Paymaster were still used in offices up into the 1980s and 1990s.
Our particular Paymaster, was patented in Canada in 1962 and is similar to the X-550 model, the only difference is that it is a 7 column cheque writer with an electronic alarm system. The alarm system prevented theft and the illegal making of cheques with a business' Paymaster. The anti-theft alarm system was powered by battery and required the user to turn a key to lock the machine. Once locked, if the paymaster was lifted an alarm would sound, signalling a theft.
To operate the device, all you needed to do was set it to the desired amount, slide the blank cheque into the slot at the bottom, and pull the lever. You can find more information about Paymaster machines and the coroporation at the Made-in-Chicago Museum website and come into the museum to try creating a cheque for yourself.
Image obtained from https://www.madeinchicagomuseum.com/single-post/2015/12/22/Paymaster-Check-Machine-by-Paymaster-Corp-1960s
This weeks Artifact of the Week is a bottle of Panogen 15 Liquid Seed Treatment from 1962 that was found in the Agriculture Building.
Panogen 15 is made of the chemical compound Methylmercuric dicyanamide and was used as a fungicide and seed treatment for cereal crops, cotton, flax, and sorghum.
The container contained one imperial gallon of seed treatment (160 fluid ounces) and claimed to treat 213 bushels of cereal seeds. It was recommended for the control of diseased caused by organisms carried on the seed. This seed treatment was used to help prevent or control a number of diseases that infected seeds including: wheat bunt, oat smut, oat blight, covers and black loose barley smut, barley stripe, root rot and scab of cereals, and seedling blight of flax. The container provides in-depth directions on how to use the treatment as well as how to store and label treated seeds.
While researching the Panogen 15 seed treatment, one of the summer students found an article on the 50 year celebration of the Three Hills & District Seed Cleaning Plant. The story has been attached below.
Come to the museum to check out all our amazing artifacts, including this weeks artifact of the week.
This week's artifact has the Museum staff puzzled. These tags were found in a bucket with some short chains. After some cleaning they are looking brand new; however, we are not sure what these would have been used for. The front and back of the tags look identical and each has a large hole in the top and a smaller hole in the bottom. Initially it was thought that these tags were used by miner's as a means of identification, another suggestion that we received was that these tags were used for dairy cows. Do you know what these tags were used for? Let us know in the comments or contact us!
On the railway, lanterns were an important method of communication. The colour of each lantern represented a different message, and sometimes unique motions could be made with them to give instructions to the conductors. The red lantern was most often used to signal that the train should stop at a particular location. They were also commonly placed on the back of the caboose to mark the end of the train. Blue lanterns would be hung on equipment that was not to be moved. When a box car needed to be worked on, a blue lantern could indicate that it should remain at that spot. The yellow lanterns, which look orange or amber when unlit, were used to mark "camp cars", the railway cars that workers lived in when they were working away from home. Sometimes they were also used by workers to indicate that the railway switches were aligned properly, and the train could continue. Green lamps could mean "proceed with caution" among other things. White or clear lanterns were typically used by the brakemen to give instructions to the conductor (red ones were also sometimes used). They were swung by hand, and each motion sent a different message. For example, moving the light back and forth horizontally at waist height meant that the train should stop, while moving it vertically meant that it could go ahead.
One Man's Family was an American radio soap opera that aired between 1932 and 1959. It was written by Carlton E. Morse, and was the longest-running uninterrupted dramatic radio program. The episodes were divided into books and chapters. Over its 27 year span, the program presented 136 books with 3,256 chapters.
The production was set in the Sea Cliff area of San Francisco and was entered around stockbroker Henry Barbour, Franny, and their five children (Paul, Hazel, Clifford, Claudia, and Jack). The program made reference to a number of the San Fransisco area.
The drama made its television debut in prime time in 1949 and was on television until 1955.
Stop by the museum to see this awesome piece along with the rest of our collection!
Getting the Village School ready for visitors is a big job and means documenting all of the artifacts that will be moved to the Village School once it has been restored, not to mention the huge amount of work that will have to take place to restore the building. Our summer staff are working very hard to get all of our many artifacts documented in our books and computer, which means we come across some very interesting things! This week we have been working on documenting the Three Hills Ridge School items that were brought to the museum in 1987, and came across this letter addressed to the Chief Attendance Officer of the Department of Education. It was written during the Great Depression on June 6, 1935. It asks the Department of Education for permission to pay their teacher below minimum wage for the upcoming year (September 1, 1935 to June 30, 1936). A follow up letter was then written on July 22nd, which lists the many reasons why the Board of the Three Hills Ridge School District will not be able to pay their teacher full minimum wage. Read these invaluable letters below to get a glimpse into the experiences and struggles of Kneehill County residents during the Great Depression.
This vintage school primer, with a copyright date of 1895, is an artifact found on one of our bookshelves in our schoolroom. The book covered a range of different health topics, from brain tissues to workouts to the use of alcohol.
Here is an excerpt from the section entitled "Errors in the Use of Alcohol,"
"If this view of the question is the correct one, how utterly foolish is the practice of those who are continually prescribing for themselves doses of this poisonous substance for any trifling disturbance of their health. And how much worse is the practice of taking the various forms of alcohol when the person so taking them is in good health and merely indulges in drinking for the purpose of bringing about a temporary stimulation. And worse than all the others is the practice of those who not only indulge in the stimulants themselves, but who ask others to join in with them under the name of good-fellowship, when none of them are to be benefited by so doing, but rather all of them are in danger of being injured by the act."
Soon all of these school books will be relocated to the First Village School, which was moved onto museum grounds during the month of June from its previous location on 4th Ave.
This artifact was donated to the museum just last week and has not yet been added to our collection. It is a defused hand grenade from World War II that was given to a local boy as a souvenir by a grateful family in Holland when he toured Europe with the Alberta Honour Band.
From research, this hand grenade seems to be a Mills bomb, a popular name for a series of prominent British hand grenades. These Mills bombs were the first modern fragmentation grenades used by the British Army, they saw extensive use during World War I. It was William Mills, a hand grenade designer, that patented, developed, and manufactured the "Mills bomb" in the Mills Munition Factory located in Birmingham, England in 1915. The Mills bomb was inspired by Belgian Captain Leon Roland and later Roland and Mills were engaged in a patent lawsuit. The Mills bomb No. 5 hand grenade was adopted by the British Army as its standard hand grenade in 1915.
The mills bomb underwent numerous modifications. The No. 23 was a variant on the No. 5 with a rodded base plug that allowed it to be fired from a rifle. This concept evolved further with the No. 36, which had a detachable base plate to allow use with a rifle discharger cup. The final variation on the Mills bomb was the No. 36M, which was waterproofed with shellac. This variation on the Mills bomb was the standard issue British grendade during the Second World War. This specific hand grenade was designed and waterproofed specifically for use in the hot climate of Mesopotamia in 1917, but remained in production for many years. By 1918, the No. 5 and No. 23 were declared obsolete and the No.36 (but not the No. 36M) followed in 1932.
The "pineapple" design of this grenade allowed for the user to grip the device more easily; however, the design also made for unpredictable fragmentation. After throwing, the user had to take cover immediately. A competent thrower could manage 49 feet with reasonable accuracy, but the grenade could throw lethal fragments farther than this. The British Home Guard were instructed that the throwing range of this defensive grenade was about 30 yards with a danger zone of about 100 yards. After the Second World War, Britain adopted grenades that contained a segmented coiled wire in a smooth metal casing.
In 1987, this waterproofed No. 36M Mills bomb souvenir was brought back home from Holland on the plane. Security was definitely not as tight as it is today.
Benjamin Tingley Rogers, an American businessman, saw an opportunity along the Canadian West Coast to bring raw sugar from Australia, Asia, and Central America by ship then refine it in British Columbia for the booming Canadian Market. In 1890, Rogers opened the BC Sugar Refinery and January 16, 1891, the first melt of sugar was put through. Not only was Rogers' Golden Syrup a common kitchen ingredient in pioneer homes, but the empty cans could be used, and often were, as children's lunch pails for school. You can still find Rogers' Golden Syrup on the shelves of stores today; however, you will not find it in its iconic red and green tin anymore.
The caboose was a North American railroad car that was found at the end of freight trains. It provided shelter for crews, consisting of one conductor and one or two brakemen. The crew used the cupola (the platform that extends upwards from the roof), to look for load-shifting, damage to equipment and cargo, and overheating axles (hot boxes). The conductor was responsible for the entire train except for the locomotive, he kept records and handled business from a table or desk in the caboose. For longer trips, the caboose provided minimal living quarters and the crew frequently personalized and decorated with pictures and posters. The back of the caboose was fitted with red lights (originally oil lamps), called markers, to enable the rear of the train to be seen at night. In addition to the red markers, it was tradition on many lines to paint the caboose bright red, though on many lines it eventually became the practice to paint them in the same corporate colours as the locomotive.
Since the advent of the caboose there have been many different models, standard, bay window, transfer, drover's, and extended vision. Our caboose, built in 1972, is an extended vision caboose, also known as a wide vision caboose. This means that the cupola, or the observation platform on the roof, extends beyond the sides of the body of the caboose car, allowing for the crew to see past the top of the taller cars that began to appear after World War II. Extending the cupola also increased the roominess of the area for the crew.
Up until the 1980s, Canadian law required all freight trains to have a caboose and a full crew for safety reasons. As technology advanced, railroads, in an effort to save money and reduce crew members, replaced the caboose with an End of Train Device (ETD). The ETD could be attached to the rear of the train to detect the train's air brake pressure and report any problems to the locomotive. The ETD will also detect movement of the train upon start-up, radioing this information to the engineers so they know all of the slack is out of the couplings and additional power can be applied. Like the caboose, these machines also have blinking red lights to warn following trains that a train is ahead. With the introduction of the ETD, the conductor moved up to the front of the train with the engineer.
Once received, our caboose was fully restored so come visit the museum to have a peek inside and have one of our staff members give you a tour!
Back in 2017 our staff wrote a new post each week about a different artifact from our Museum collection. We no longer keep up this tradition as we have moved on to other projects, but we have left them on our site for interest's sake. Enjoy this sneak peek of our Museum and make sure to stop on by to see more!