Ding Dong: Door Bell History

When my mother's family pressed this my father told us to hide.
When my mother’s family pressed this my father told us to hide.

Do you always answer the door bell?

When my kids were young they took piano lessons at home. Their teacher was always late and never used the door bell. He’d just bound up the stairs, throw open our door and yell, “Honey, I’m home!” My husband wasn’t too fond of him.

Joseph Henry is largely forgotten in US history, but he not only was the first head of the Smithsonian Institution he also invented the precursor to the electric door bell. As with many great men of past times he grew up poor, but not mentally impoverished. His father died at a young age and so young Joe spent his childhood years with his dear old grandmother just outside of Albany, New York working in a general store.

He thought of becoming an actor in the theater but did so well at his studies at the Albany Academy (on scholarship) that even his teachers asked for help. Joe was “patient, kindly, self-controlled, and gently humorous.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Henry

And who doesn’t love a man responsible for that excited feeling you get when your date rings the door bell? Or the dread you experience when the great warning note announces the arrival of your weird cousins and their unicycle-clad mobile home come for an unexpected visit?

Door bell history

Pretty twist bells


Happy Book Discovery

I love getting cash for Christmas! As some of you know my character, Buck Crenshaw goes to Saratoga Springs in the 1880’s for his honeymoon. Imagine my excitement yesterday when I stumbled upon this little gem of a book published, yes, in the 1880’s!


It’s a comical tale about a grumpy old man who’s dragged to Saratoga by his wife who’s got “terrible corns.” She hopes the healing spring water will help.


Line drawings from the period fascinate me.


The book is full of weirdly spelled words and funny slang I will gather up for Buck’s visit.


All written by a very respectable-looking woman.