Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Trifecta

For the eight of you that actually read this blog, you know I have varied interests. Among other things, I like history, I like to travel, and I like good coffee and coffee collectables. A few days ago, I scored something that meshes all three. eBay - what a wonderful thing!

If you are having trouble reading this memo (the original, by the way, is not 8 inches tall), here it is:

Menger Hotel
San Antonio Texas
If you have any mail for me, please forward to the above address and oblige.
John H. Hanley

Did you see the date? February 25, 1879. Notice, too, how the memo's ink fades as he writes. The date has that same degree of faintness, suggesting, to me anyhow, that he wrote the date after drafting the memo. As someone who clearly has writing that rivals that of a third grader, I was really happy to see how he goofed up his "R" in "respectively". Apparently, sloppy handwriting has been around at least since the latter part of the 19th century!

As you may recall, I have been to San Antonio. The Menger Hotel? Been there, done that. Remember? It is convienienlty parked right next to the Alamo. Jammed full of history, any place that has been around since 1859 and served people like Teddy Roosevelt, Gutzon Borglum, and Babe Ruth gets an "A" in my book!

So what is up with the Thomson and Taylor Spice Company? Well, everything and nothing at the same time. What was going on when Hanley wrote his memo in 1879? It apparently has origins dating back to 1865. A few people came and a few people went. Taylor and Thomson were in charge by 1872 (so they would have been Hanley's boss). By 1920, the name was adjusted after a fellow by the name of Warfield bought the controlling interests; it became known as the Thomson and Taylor Co.. I know the building that served as the main office still stands in Chicago. Apparently, they are trying to get tenants to move in and make it sort of an arts district. You can read about it here.

Unfortunatley, I can't seem to find much about what happened between 1920 and now! As far as I can gather, T&T became a division of the Warfield Company. At one point, they were making root beer extracts well into the 1930's, but I can't seem to find much more. Very frustrating. The Internet is supposed to be the solution to all my problems!

What wasn't frustrating was the cost. I almost broke the bank on this one. Including shipping, it almost cost 10 bucks....

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