Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Powel Crosley's Bird Dogs

In Powel Crosley, Jr.'s heyday--the 1920s and 1930s--it was fasionable for wealthy men to hunt birds (among other animals), often with horses and always with specially bred dogs. The men considered themselves experts in their fields, though in truth they probably weren't as expert in using and caring for a rifle or shotgun as men who depended on guns for their supper. (And there were plenty of those in rural areas.)

Dogs were typically trained by specialists, the owner learning enough to command and work with a dog. (The training was intensive enough that most industrialists would not have had the time to go through the process; hence the specialists.) When he got into the sports in the 1920s, Powel Crosley, Jr. was referred (perhaps by "Boss" Johnston) to a trainer in Jennings County, Indiana. That's what brought him to the area where he built his nature preserve (today the Crosley Fish & Wildlife Area(.

One of his prize dogs was a bitch named Lady Manitoba, handled at shows and meets by W.J. Wilson. Placed at the Sixteenth American Field Futurity held in Sparta, Illinois, on November 4 and 5, 192. Somewhere I have a photo or two of Powel and his dogs. As soon as I can find one, I'll scan and share it here.

There is No "Sole-Surviving Descendent of the Crosleys"

This subject comes up yet again because once again the press is throwing around the statment that G.W. Mcclur is "the only surviving descendent of Lewis Crosley." They were saying that Mac was the "sole surviving desecendent of the Crosley brothers," but I think one or more of the many living descendents of Powel Crosley, Jr. objected.

And there are more descendents of Lewis Crosley, alive and quite well. Nor is Mac the author of the book. He did pay for printing and all the billboards. (Besides all that, what is the descendent supposed to have "survived?")

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Crosley Camera: "Vaporware?"

The "Crosley Camera Press Jr. Model" was mentioned in the Crosley story as a product that had been put on the market and lost a lot of money.

My source on that was unreliable, unfortunately. The tale of loss was a fabrication. The Crosley Corporation announced the camera, but never got it into production. It began as an idea presented by someone outside the company. It was going to be a camera with everything, and--in the manner of nearly all Crosley products--it would have something different. In this case, the product would look different. The back would be convex, touted as enhancing the focal length of the lens.

The 35mm camera would, according to Crosley announcements, come with a bunch of extras, including a flash reflector, "steadying handle," built-in flash bulb socket, built-in flash synchronization, built-in receptacle for flash (hot shoe), and more. In the Crosley tradition, one or two "extras" weren't exactly extras. (Rather like an ad in the Cincinnati Enquirer touting WLW's grand opening broadcast as "Absolutely Free!")

The Camera magazine pretty much summed up the situation: "The Crosley camera, much touted in advance ballyhoo, has been removed from this year's market, may appear next year instead ..."

Why didn't the camera make it to the market? Like the Xervac and Reado, the Crosley Press, Jr. Model Camera got lost in the shuffle of the war.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Water-Burning Carburetors

In 1921 and 1922, Crosley’s Americo operation (American Automobile Accessories Company) offered carburetors that “burned” water—the miracle that’s still with us today!

The aftermarket accessories were offered in newspapers and magazine like Popular Mechanics. Do you supposed they stopped selling the gas-saving devices because the oil industry paid them off, like all the others? Anyway, it’s a safe bet that neither Powel nor Lewis Crosley used them with their respective Fords and Cadillacs.