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January 20, 1910


James O'Sullivan Was Member of
Department Twenty Years.

James O'Sullivan, captain of hose company No. 21 of the city fire department, died at his home, 6616 Independence avenue, at 4:45 o'clock yesterday morning. A widow and four children survive. Captain O'Sullivan was born in Ireland in 1865 and came to America when only a few years old.

On May 18, 1990, he was appointed to the Kansas City fire department and assigned to No. 2 hose company. One year later he was transferred to No. 5 hose company, where he served as hoseman until the establishment of hose company No. 21 in March, 1904 to which he was transferred and promoted to captain, which position he held with a splendid record until his death. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Captain O'Sullivan was the inventor of the combination spanner and life-saving belt which was adopted by the department about two months ago.

The funeral services will be in St. Stephen's church, corner of Eleventh street and Bennington avenue, at 9:30 o'clock Friday morning. Interment will be in Mount St. Mary's cemetery.

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November 1, 1909



Craft Is Designed to Actually Fly by
Movement of Planes Like
the Wings of a

In a sign painter's establishment at 214 West Nineteenth street suspended to the ceiling is a motley array of bamboo poles, cogwheels, chains and strips of fine steel, apparently jumbled in such a way as to have the appearance of several umbrella frames thrown together.

When strips of cloth are attached to the bamboo poles, giving the apparatus twelve planes, it will have the appearance of a multiple winged bat. It will be, according to the inventor, J. D. Douglass, his first successful model of an actual flying machine, not an aeroplane.

For nine years Douglass has worked on flying machines. One after another he has knocked to pieces after he has found fault with parts considered by him to be important. This last machine, he declares, has exemplified every previous idea and it has been built so that these ideas will be carried out and their value easily ascertained.

When the machine is given a trial, which will be in a few weeks, Douglass will furnish the motive power with his hands and feet.

"If I succeed in rising from the ground I will be satisfied," said Mr. Douglass, "for then I will be sure my ideas as to aerial navigation and flight are compact. It will be an easy matter then for me to build a larger machine and to attach an engine which will give me the motive power."

The machine which will have the general sh ape of a bat will be twenty feet wide and about fifteen feet in length. Complete it will weigh less than 150 pounds and it will have twelve planes. These planes are all employed in the duty of raising and propelling the machine.

At the top of the machine will be two propellers which will revolve in opposite directions. These will give the machine the first lifting power. Once in the air, the planes come into motion and with the movements patterned after those of birds in flight, give the craft its propelling power.

Mr. Douglass is a retired farmer. Aviation has been a lifelong study with him. He thinks a great deal of the monoplane as well as the biplane, but also believes that when he has completed his aerial craft that his experiments will mark an epoch in the airship industry.

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October 1, 1909



Fire and Water Board Orders Adop-
tion of Captain James O'Sul-
livan's Invention -- Makes
Rescue Work Easy.
Invention of Kansas City Fire Captain James O'Sullivan.

A life saving apparatus to be used in the rescuing of persons from burning buildings has been perfected by James O'Sullivan, for twenty-five years a member of the Kansas City fire department and for a number of years captain of the companies detailed in the Sheffield district. The captain, with the assistance of Alderman A. C. Culbertson, gave a demonstration of his device before the fire and water board yesterday, and the board promptly gave its official approval and ordered John C. Egner, chief, to install it in the department.

The efficiency of the device is recommended by its simplicity, and the ease and promptness with which it can be operated . It is made of the stoutest quality of leather, and all there is to it is a body strap and two straps which fit over the shoulders. The rescuing fireman buckles the person to be rescued to his back with the waist strap, then runs his arms through the two straps that fit over the shoulders and is ready to descend the ladder to safety with his burden . With this contrivance the fireman has complete use of his hands, a most important necessity in such a trying and exciting situation. It is also possible for the person being rescued to carry children in his arms if the emergency requires.

"I got the idea for my life saving device from seeing the firemen rescuing a woman from the burning Pepper building a few years ago," said Captain O'Sullivan. "It occurred to me that something could be made that would lessen the danger of falling from a ladder, both to the rescuer and the rescued, and I have thought out my device which is considered by experienced firemen the best thing ever turned out."

Captain O'Sullivan has applied for a patent on his device.

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September 20, 1909



Independence Man Was President of
Elizabeth Aull Seminary at
Lexington, Mo., in 1885 --
Born in Ohio in 1831.
The Reverend James McDonald Chaney.

Rev. James McDonald Chaney died late Saturday night at his home, 532 South Main street, Independence, from the rupture of a blood vessel. For several days he was indisposed from acute indigestion.

Mr. Chaney has been in the ministry for fifty-three years, and fifty-one in the Lafayette, Mo., Presbytery of the Presbyterian church. Aside from his ministerial work, he was president of the Elizabeth Aull Seminary, at Lexington in 1885 and later of the Kansas City Ladies' college.

He was born near Salem, O., March 18, 1831. He was graduated from the Princeton Theological seminary, after which he entered the Presbyterian ministry.


He came West to be president of the Elizabeth Aull college at Lexington. He was married to Miss Mary Parke, at Lexington, in 1875. From the Elizabeth Aull college, Rev. Chaney was tendered the presidency of the Kansas City Ladies' college at Independence, Mo., which position he held for several years.

During his connection with the Lafayette Presbytery, Rev. Chaney preached regularly. During his ministry he has had charge at Lamonte, Hughesville, Pleasant Hill, Corder and Alma, Mo.

Rev. Chaney was of a mechanical train of mind, and was interested in various devices, some of them his own patents. His laboratory at home was an attraction for young and old.

Rev. Chaney, after severing his connection with the Kansas City Ladies' college, promoted an academy for young men at Independence, making a feature of higher mathematics.

His son, J. Mack Chaney, is an attorney of Kansas City. A half sister, Mrs. W. B. Wilson, resides at Lexington, Mo.


Astronomy was a field of science that fascinated the dead minister and his proclivities in this direction won him much local note. About ten years ago he invented a planetarium whereby an astronomer could determine the relative positions of all the known planets in the solar system, provided he knew the meridian passage or declination. If taken to any part of the earth's surface, the instrument could be made to indicate the movement of the planets, whether north or south of the equator. It was used in a number of schools.

Rev. E. C. Gordon, former president of Westminster college at Fulton, Mo., will conduct the funeral service, which will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from the First Presbyterian church, Independence.

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March 6, 1909


Manufacturer of Rambler Auto Here
on Trip of Inspection.

Until after the week of the Automobile Show, Thomas R. Jeffery, maker of the Rambler automobile, will be in Kansas City. Mr. Jeffery is well known among the manufacturers of automobiles and he has been graced with the title of the dean of the automobile industry in America.

The Kansas City show which opens next week is one of the very few automobile shows outside of Chicago and New York that Mr. Jeffery has attended during his thirty-five years that he has been engaged in the making of automobiles. His trip this time is fostered by the knowledge of the great possibilities of automobile sales which are confronting the automobile maker today. During his trip to Kansas City Mr. Jeffery will make a thorough investigation of the automobile situation in and around Kansas City.

The Rambler machine is well known to those who are interested in motor cars in Kansas City and the sales of that are in the Southwest have been enormous within the past ten years. Mr. Jeffery also invented the Rambler bicycle which occupation has given way, more or less, to the manufacture of the Rambler automobile.

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February 21, 1909


A Mill, A Bicycle and a Pair of Feet
to Do the Trick.

A combination exerciser and coffee grinder is the latest product of the inventive genius of Curtis F. Smith, a Kansas City, Kas., grocer. On the rear porch of the grocery store at 2063 North Thirteenth street, Kansas City, Kas., a large coffee mill is connected by a belt with a bicycle which is propped up so as to act upon the principle of a treadmill.

When the Saturday orders are in, a small boy takes his stand by the coffee mill prepared to pour the coffee into the hopper. Mr. Smith mounts the bicycle and beginning slowly as though climbing a steep hill, he gradually increases his speed and bends low over the handle bars until the wheels of the bicycle and the coffee mill fairly hum. The Saturday coffee is ground in a jiffy.

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February 6, 1909



He's Planning Boulevards for Run-
ways and a Fleet of Aeroplanes.
To Put the Railroads
Out of Business.

Good roads are absolutely necessary to the successful sailing of airships or aeroplanes. That is the reason there are so few aeroplanes. That is what Henry Laurens Call of Girard, Kas., says, and what he doesn't know about airships isn't worth kinowing. In the first place the so new fangled aeroplanes, or airships, must first acquire a speed of thirty miles an hour along a road or a specially constructed track before they can rise into the air, he says. Mr. Call is building a new airship or aeroplane in Girard, Kas., and he also is constructing a mile of roadway in the nature of a boulevard. On this he expects to start the new ship sailing.

If one of these aeroplanes breaks down in a country where the roads are bad and where it is sandy, then it will be necessary to hitch a team of horses to it to pull it out where it may sail again. It will require the assistance of horses until the "relief ships" are intended to sail around a crippled airship like a fishhawk around a lake, making a dive down after it, lift it into the air and sail away to the repair shops with it.


The new aeroplane or airship Mr. Call is preparing to build will have an observation apartment, sleeping apartments for passengers, dining room and a gasoline cooking stove. Pancakes will not be on the bill of fare. They are too heavy. The new ship will be constructed of aluminum, will weigh only 1,500 pounds and preparations are being made to manufacture thousands of them for commercial use, to be in active competition with the railroad passenger departments. It will take up where it is cool in summer and down where it is warm in winter.

Henry Laurens Call of Girard, Kas., the only man who owns a caged airship in this part of the country, was at the Coates house in Kansas City yesterday and will be here today and tomorrow. He is returning to Girard from the East, where he went to purchase aluminum and other materials for the manufacture of airship No. 2. He also is purchasing equipment for a machine shop, which will be one of the additions to the airship building and repair plant at Girard.

"That was a fake story sent out about the wind wrecking the shed in which my airship is stored at Girard," Mr. Call said yesterday. "The ship was damaged very little and $75 will repair the damage. I have employed an expert gasoline motor engineer to take charge of the shop at Girard, and we are going to manufacture aeroplanes and airships that will sail. We are not going to manufacture them for sale. We will only lease them. First we will start a line between Kansas City and St. Louis as an experiment, and inside of six months we will put the passenger trains out of business.


Mr. Call then explained why that airship he owns at Girard has never sailed.

"There are too many trees in Girard, and the roads are not very good," he said. "I have never been able to get up a speed of more than 18 miles per hour on the roads near Girard on my aeroplane, and it is necessary to get up a speed of thirty miles an hour before the ship will rise in the air. Wright brothers, who have made such a success of their aeroplane in France are nothing more than trick bicycle riders. No one else could take their ship and run it like they can. It took them seven years to learn the trick of riding that machine. That is too long for an apprentice airship chauffeur to serve. It isn't good for practical purposes. The thing we are trying to accomplish is to make a simple aeroplane which anyone can operate who understands a gasoline engine."

Mr. Call modestly said that he is not attempting anything original. "I am availing myself of what has been accomplished," he said.

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January 18, 1909


Ambitious Inventors Provided With
Special Table.

Kansas City has many m en and women ambitious to be inventors. From ten to twenty men and women call each day at the public library asking to see the patent reports. So many people apply that Mrs. Carrie Whitney has had a special table placed for them back of the general delivery desk. The library is complete in its reports, from the first one to the last, and Mrs. Whitney spent years gathering them together. These reports are among the most widely read books in the library. They do not circulate, yet some of them have been in such constant use that it has been necessary to rebind them.

"You never hear much about Kansas City's inventors," said Mrs. Whitney. "They are an ambitious lot of men and women and they work on everything from potato peelers to flying machines. At least they read about them.

"The inventors' table is always occupied and you may now be looking at the man who is the originator of the finest carpet sweeper ever made, but somebody may have had his idea years ago."

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December 17, 1908


Suit Is Filed for Non-Compliance
With Anti-Trust Laws.

Dreams of airship fame and their crumbling may be read between the lines of a suit filed yesterday in the circuit court against the Shultz Airship Manufacturing Company. It is a perfunctory matter, in no wise different from the 405 others which were brought against Missouri corporations which have failed to make anti-trust affidavits to the secretary of state.

The Shultz airship was the creation of George D. Shultz, an insurance man, who now lives in Independence. At the time of the company's incorporation his residence was Westport. His flying machine was the first attempt in this part of the country to solve the problem of heavier-than-air machines, a type which does not depend upon a balloon to give it buoyancy.

In the company were also Frank Pelletier of the company bearing his name and J. M. Cleary, attorney, who drew the papers. There were others, too, but their names have been forgotten.

Shultz worked for a long time on his airship, but when it was nearly completed two of the men who had supplied a large part of the funds and were looked towards for more, died. No more money being available, the project had to be left as it was.

It was in 1903 that the company was formed. Since the funds ran out it has practically ceased to exist. So there is little matter, say some of the incorporators, if the state declares forfeited a charter which now is of no value.

"There were a number of inquiries for the machine when it was announced that it was building," said one of the incorporation yesterday. "Had it been completed and turned out all right, the honor of imitating the bird's flight would have brought fame to Kansas City and Shultz, not to the Wrights and Delagrange, Ohio and France.

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September 21, 1908


E. T. Winkler Was Making a Demon-
stration With New Machine.

E. T. Winkler yesterday had the fingers on his left hand badly lacerated by the blades of a revolving fan. He was at his shop, 712 Oak street, working on a new invention which he expects will revolutionize the manufacture of ice. The blades shaved nearly half of each finger off. Dr. George Dagg dressed the injuries at the emergency hospital.

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June 1, 1908



Experimental Line Ran From Main
Street to West Bottoms -- Hard
Time to Find a

The first telephone in Missouri was built with fence wire, with knobs from dresser drawers for insulators on the housetops over which the line ran, and that Kansas City's first telephone was of much the same construction, running from Main street to a coal office in the West bottoms, is told in the reminiscences of a pioneer, written for "Public Service," a telephone publication, by E. A. Woelk. Mr. Woelk operated the first line built in Kansas City, and aided in capitalizing a corporation to sell the stock of this half mile of wire. The company became the second Bell Telephone Company in the West, the first one of the name having been operated from St. Louis to the old fair grounds in the suburbs, and was the nucleus of the present great Missouri and Kansas Telephone Company.

Passing though St. Louis with his family on a trip to Europe, Mr. Woelk, then living in Springfield, Mo., heard of a new "fake" out at the fair grounds, and went out. He found men talking over a fence wire. That was in 1877. When he returned from Europe Mr. Woelk was still thinking of the "fake," and disposed of his other business, that he might become an agent in the West for the Eastern corporation, having "wagon tracks" for sale. The wagon tracks turned out to be of value, and Mr. Woelk built a line over the housetops from James Kirby's saloon to Jim Straughton's livery stable, in Springfield. They city council made him take down the line, because citizens heard vile language vibrating from the wire by night, and gossiping ladies believed they easily heard all the doings at Kirby's by listening to the "buzzing" of the wire above the housetops. Here is Mr. Woelk's story of how the first line was built in Kansas City:

About July 1, 1878, I received a telegram from Boston to go to Kansas City and take with me a half dozen telephones and some insulated wire and two magneto bells, to meet Mr. Madden for the purpose of demonstrating the new invention which was to elevate the telephone from a mere toy to an instrument of great commercial value.

I met Mr. Madden, who brought with him in his hand satchel two wooden boxes -- the Blake transmitter. While Mr. Madden was busying himself among bank directors and presidents and railroad magnates with the object of the organizing of a telephone company I set out to find a place to demonstrate the new telephone. A short time prior to this the Western Union Telegraph Company, the only wire-using company in Kansas City in those days, had started to build an exchange.

My difficulties here began when I found that this new instrument, the transmitter, required a battery. Nothing of that kind could be bought in Kansas City then. I went to the Western Union people to borrow two cells of crowfoot battery, but as soon as the telegraph operator discovered that it was to be used for a telephone -- the instrument which he thought would drive him out of business -- I was refused.

I set out to find a chinaware store, and bought two crocks and two flower pots to go inside of these; next I went to a drug store for the blue vitrol and some sulphate of zinc, and then to a tinshop for some zinc, and soon rigged up a battery. In the meantime Mr. Madden had secured the keys to a store, on one of the main streets, which was newly plastered and vacant. Remembering the M. M. Buck line in St. Louis, I found an old telegraph line running from near the store to a coal office in the bottoms, about one-half mile distant. I borrowed this line and equipped it with a magneto bell and telephones, including the transmitter, at the coal office, and at the store end with a call bell and about a half a dozen receivers, the transmitter being located in the rear of the store and the receivers about forty feet distant in front.

About 3 o'clock in the afternoon the prospective shareholders assembled and Mr. Madden began to demonstrate. It was suggested that I go to the coal office and speak to Mr. Madden at the store. This, for some reason, the visitors did not approve of and sent one of their own men down to make the test. A call was made and Mr. Madden spoke to the coal office in an ordinary tone of voice and the reply came promptly while the visitors alternately listened with the receivers. The transmitter was then adjusted very sensitively and I would speak in a whisper which could not be heard at the front of the store but was promptly answered by the representative of the prospective investors.

It was then and there agreed to meet at the hotel after supper, and it was then and there that the second Bell Telephone Company was organized in the Middle West, St. Louis having the first. The capital was $10,000, and out of this organization grew the existing Missouri and Kansas Telephone Company.

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April 19, 1908


The Cockrell Company Has Trans-
ferred Its Offices to Kansas City.

The Cockrell Harvesting Company, Ltd., of New Orleans, Louisiana, has transferred its offices from that city to Kansas City and are located permanently in the new Commerce building.

This company controls the patent rights to the first mechanical sugar cane harvester ever built and are at present building the first allotment of these machines for the coming harvest of sugar cane in the South.

F. M. Cockrell, Jr., who is president of the company and inventor of the machine, is a son of Francis M. Cockrell, former United states senator from Missouri and at present a member of the United States interstate commerce commission. E. J. Finneran, a well known newspaperman, is general manager of the company.

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August 9, 1907



Service Between Kansas City and St.
Louis to Begin Today -- Cost
of Messages to Be Great-
ly Reduced.

The first annual banquet of the stockholders of the new Dean Rapid Telegraph Company was held last night at the Coates house. About 150 men and women were present to hear the remarkable plans, which the officers of the concern have outlined for the future.

At the banquet it was announced that the company will begin today a new departure from the established systems of sending messages by electricity. What will be called the "rapid letter service" will be begun between Kansas City and St. Louis.

By the use of this service letters of any length may be sent to St. Louis at the rate of 1/2 cent per word, with a minimum charge of 15 cents. These letters will be delivered to the person addressed within from one to three hours after they are writtten.

"By Robert L. Dean's invention we are able at present to send over 400 words a minute on our wires," said General Manager S. A. Akins in explaining the new company's system. "It is because of this that we are enabled to send messages across the state of Missouri at one-seventh of the rate charged by the companies which use the Morse code."

Mr. Akins explained the Dean system as a method by which the positive and negative electrical poles are each made to operate a key which prints according to a special alphabet. Tests have already been made between Kansas City and St. Louis and Joplin, which show the system is practicable.

"I expect our system to revolutionize the business of telegraphing when it is put on a commercial basis, and we are now beginning to put it on such a footing," said Mr. Akins. "The idea of the 'rapid letter service' is new, but I think it should soon become a favorite for important correspondence. A man can now write an important letter to St. Louis, taking space fully to explain all the detaiils of his subject, and get an answer in six hours."

Other speakers were Judge E. E. Aleshire, Charles T. Taylor, H. L. White, Bert C. Haldeman, and Robert T. Herrick. Several thousand dollars of stock was subscribed for after the banquet.

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