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Walsh's Columbia South Carolina City Directory For 1907-08, Columbia: 1907   3 comments

Posted at 4:48 pm in commentary,historic,products

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Here's one for you history buffs!

I ran across this 1907 City Directory when I was googling for "926 Gervais". As it turns out, Google has been working with libraries to digitize public domain books they might have in their holdings, and somehow or other this one was found at UV.

You can download the whole directory here. It is in PDF format, but you may need the latest version of Acrobat Reader to make it open correctly.

More sample pages after the jump. Also, remember that this is a historical document and that it follows the unfortunate mores of its times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on May 25th, 2012

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The Phonebook: 2010   7 comments

Posted at 10:52 pm in products

This Year:

For a FREE copy of your residential listings..

Last Year::

At this remove, I can really only recall two scenes from Steve Martin's debut movie, The Jerk, but those two were very funny.

The second is when Martin's character is breaking up with his girlfriend and declares as he leaves the house that he doesn't need "anything".. "except" the large assortment of odd items (starting with a chair) he picks up on his way to the door.

The first is when Martin has left his childhood home and is out in the world by himself for the first time. He greets the arrival of the year's phonebook in a hysterically over-the-top scene: "The new phonebooks are here! The new phonebooks are here" (flips to his listing) "I am somebody!".

Well, no more, it would seem. I got my new Columbia phonebook last week, and totally failed to notice a real oddity until my sister pointed it out: There are no whitepage listings for Columbia!

It's been coming for a while. As far back as the late 1990s, I noticed that people in my office would do the most complicated (pre-Google) searches for phone numbers rather than pick up the directory sitting right on their desk, and as the number of unlisted cellphones keeps growing and the number of residential landlines keeps dropping, we have finally hit the tipping point. Now perhaps one of the "fake" phonebooks that other directory companies drop on your porch from time to time ("The Talking Phonebook", "The LOMAR Directory" etc) will make a white-page print-run, but it seems the white pages are dead.

While I wasn't expecting it, the death of the white pages does make sense. When I think about it though, I'm surprised that Yellow Pages are doing as well as they seem to be. Obviously businesses are going to keep public listings, but I wonder what the bang-for-the-buck ratio of the cost for a Yellow Pages ad is today versus investing in your web-site and search engine optimization? I admit that there are still times when it's easier to look up a locksmith or plumber or whatever in the phonebook than come up with an online search that doesn't have Columbia Maryland results or Columbia County Georgia or some other mass of inappropriate responses, but google continues to get better at using where you are located in its results, and I suspect we aren't far from a tipping point there too.

One thing that does not make sense to me at all is the fact that the new phonebook does have some white page listings: For Eastover, Chapin & Little Mountain -- go figure..

In the meantime, if you need to talk to me, I'm in the book. Oh wait -- well I never liked talking on the phone anyway.

Written by ted on February 28th, 2011

Tagged with

2010 Columbia Closings Calendar Now Available   1 comment

Posted at 4:07 am in business,commentary,products

OK, you may have noticed I didn't post yesterday or today. That's largely because I was working on this: The Columbia Closings 2010 Wall Calendar.

This bit of shameless commerce (and just in time for the holidays!) is twelve months of Columbia Closings pictures, plus a thirteenth shot for the cover (at no extra charge:-). The images were all taken as part of the web site process, but not all of them actually made it into posts. All are full bleeds except the Eggroll Station shot, a film image for which I do not yet have a scan in high enough resolution. In doing a selection of this sort given that only 13 slots are available, I obviously could have made some different choices (for instance not indulging myself with two months of neon), but on the whole I believe it's a good collection.

I have not seen the physical results myself yet (though I have mine on order), but Cafe Press is a widely respected business, and I fully expect it to be fine.

So, once again The 2010 Columbia Closings Wall Calendar: Buy five copies for your mother!

Written by ted on November 15th, 2009

Richtex Bricks, 5100 Brickyard Road / 2000 Taylor Street: 1999   10 comments

Posted at 2:03 am in business,historic,products

You wouldn't think bricks would need or indeed have much consumer advertising. After all, the only time you buy bricks is when you buy a house, and unless you are rich and doing a custom build, you probably end up with whatever the contractor uses rather than doing brick shopping.

Nonetheless, Richtex Bricks seemed to have a major advertising presence for most of my life, or at least it seemed major, since it was very eye-catching. And by that, I don't mean image ads like the one here from an old Sandlapper Magazine, I mean the billboards on I-20 near the brickworks. (Actually I didn't know where the works actually are until I looked it up today, but it was fairly clear from the fact that the billboards were always on I-20 just east of Broad River Road).

These billboards went through a number of campaigns, but the one I remember best, and which seemed to last the longest was one which made brick-related "visual puns". I'm sure if I weren't trying to think of them, I could remember more, but the only one that comes specifically to mind now was one that depicted a huge flying mammal constructed entirely of brick -- That's right, it was a brickbat. There were never any captions to these billboards, so you would try to figure them out as you drove by.

I see a little Richtex history here:

Richtex Brick in Columbia, South Carolina, recently initiated a special training program for inmates at Stevenson Correctional
Institution sentenced to the Shock Incarceration Program. Richtex, a company that has been in Columbia since 1919, employs 450 people in its three plants and is the largest brick company in South Carolina. Richtex operates an evening brick masonry school for adults which allows individuals to achieve apprenticeship or journeyman status depending on their individual career goal.

That document seems to be undated, but this 2003 link from Hanson explains what eventually happened to the company:

The integration of the seven companies was a huge undertaking that began in 1999, when Hanson Building Materials America, a subsidiary of London-based Hanson PLC, acquired seven major brick companies. Hanson Brick integrates Boren Brick (North Carolina), Richtex Brick (South Carolina), Sipple Brick (Kentucky), Michigan Brick (Michigan), U.S. Brick (Texas), Canada Brick (Ontario) and Briqueterie St. Laurent (Québec).

Hanson Brick brings together the skills and experience of more than 2,000 employees who serve customers in three languages - English, Spanish and French. The new company provides its customers with superior selection and service, offering five regional brick collections with more than 1,000 styles of brick.

I had thought a company called Boral Brick figured into the mix somewhere, since it seemed that I saw their billboards after I stopped seeing Richtex's, but as far as I can tell, they are unrelated and not subsumed into Hanson.

UPDATE 1 November 2009 -- Here is some more Richtex history from an archived version of their vanished web-site:

Richtex Brick began in 1919 as a small kiln operation on the banks of the Broad River, near Jenkinsville, SC. P.H. Haltiwanger, the original proprietor, early on felt an uncomfortable division between his commitment to Richtex Brick and his duty to Carolina Life, an insurance company he owned. Thus, he soon gave the presidency to his son, Deams Haltiwanger, who presided over the business during its casually prosperous early years, and who engineered its first significant advances in size and profitability.

In 1943, after more than two decades of steady business, an opportunity arose for immediate expansion. Deams Hatiwanger, on discovering that the Columbia Pipe Company had recently gone bankrupt, decided to acquire the business for Richtex Brick.

Richtex Brick has expanded and changed in important ways every decade since. A third plant was built in 1955, bringing the company's annual production capacity to 70 million brick. Plant number four was built in 1965 for the production of terra cotta pipe. Four years later, Richtex Brick was purchased by the Pomona corporation, which converted the fourth plant to brick manufacturing the following year, in 1970. In 1984 Richtex Brick was sold to Founders Court, and sold again in 1986 to Jannock Limited. Currently, Richtex Brick is owned by Hanson, PLC, a diversified building products corporation with operations in the U.K., Canada and in the United States. It ranks as one of America's largest producers of clay brick.

UPDATE 11 Nov 2010 -- Here's the I-20 visible site of the old Richtex (now Hanson) brickworks:

Written by ted on October 27th, 2009

Ads & Jingles, Radio & TV: the past   56 comments

Posted at 4:53 pm in business,historic,products

OK, here's something a little different for a Friday evening: Ads and jingles I saw and heard growing up. You may have had a different mix if you listened to different stations. Some were for local firms, some for national ones. I wish I could convey how catchy some of these jingles were, but I don't have any recordings, and I'm sure not going to try to sing them here!

Marion Bunside Dodge:

Mar-i-on is the name to remember,
7201 on the Sumter High-Way!
M-- "More Service"
A-- "Able to Serve You"
R-- "Real Value"
I-- "something something!"
O--"something something!"
N--"something something!"
Today!

Commercial Office Furniture:

Your next desk
Wil come from C-O-F!

The Captain's Kitchen:

Come to The Captain's Kitchen for 'Treasures of the Sea'!

The whole Carpet Wholesaler's series of TV commercials with Nevin Broome and Joe Pinner: "Save! Save! Save". My favorite though was the one where Joe comes upon Nevin who is tied up.

Joe: What happened Nevin!?
Broome: My competitors tied me up, Joe. They don't want folks to SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!
Broome: Untie me Joe!
Joe: I don't think so, Nevin (filches cigar from Broomes shirt pocket and walks off set).

McDonalds:

McDonalds is your kind of place!

which we always rendered:

McDonald's is your kind of place.
They steal your parking space!
Hamburgers out your nose,
French Fries between your toes!

And don't forget those groovy shakes
They're make from polluted lakes!
McDonalds is your kind of place.

Burger King:

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce,
Special orders don't upset us!

The Tons O' Toys elf:

With tons of toys for girls & boys,
Toodly-oop!

Time For Sounds a daytime ETV program which ran while I was in elementary school. The hostess had a "magic chalk board" which was drawn with a music stave and which would play whatever notes she wrote on it. There was also a semi-animated classical re-working of "Pop Goes The Weasel" featuring "Super Weasel" which she played several times (or we just saw that episode several times). The main thing though was the opening theme which though it had no lyrics I always heard as It's really time for sounds, it's really time for sounds!

Ellison Insurance:

The El-is-son, The El-is-son,
Insurance agency, INSURANCE AGENCY!

The Contenential Sound girl:

Sounds real good!

Kaminer Heating & Air (sung in 1940s close harmony, like the Modernaires or Merry Macs):

Put comfort in your home
The Kaminer way.
Call Kaminer,
(boom, boom)
Right away!

Koolies:

Koo-Koo-Koolie
Orange Koolie
Lemon Koolie
Koolie Fruit Punch
Koolie in the morning
Koolie at lunch
Natural fruit flavors
Orange... lemon... PUNCH!

UPDATE 16 May 2010 -- The Kaminer jingle can be heard at the end of this commercial:

Written by ted on June 19th, 2009

Closing-Cam 1.0, everywhere: 31 Jan 2009   2 comments

Posted at 5:14 pm in products

If you've been clicking through to the high-res pictures lately (and assuming your browser doesn't auto-scale them into medium-res), you'll have noticed that they are a lot bigger. That's because I've been using the Lumix LX3 I gave myself for Christmas as the new closing-cam.

The original closing-cam was a Kodak DX3600. My memory says that I bought it on New Years Day 2008, but the photographic record says that, as usual, my memory for dates if off. At any rate I'm sure that I bought it at the antiques mall on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach FL where the old down-town grocery store used to be. I've picked up antique cameras and parts there several times, as well as books, postcards and other what-nots, so when I saw a digital camera for $14.99, how could I resist -- I mean, come on, an antique digital camera!

I went to the Kodak web site and downloaded a PDF of the manual, put in some batteries, and found it ready to go. I'm guessing what happened was that the original owner lost the software somehow or other and found himself with no way to download his pictures (ther was no flash card when I bought it, just the camera built-in memory). I would have had no use for the software anyway as I don't run Windows, but I installed Gnu Photo which recognized the camera immediately, and I was good to go.

At 2.2MP, the resolution wasn't great by modern standards, but I was very happy with the camera, and it performed yeoman's duty for this blog, and in general, including lots of shots it wasn't really designed for, like the avaiable light shots I did at the 2008 State Fair. Unfortunately, it took a spill off the dresser one evening, and was a little flaky after that, culminating in total failure on a trip to Monkey Business indoor amusement park in Lexington on 31 Janurary 2009.

I'm quite happy with the new Lumix, though I still haven't actually read the manual to figure out all the functionality I'm not using yet, but I can hardly say I didn't get my $14.00 worth out of the original closing-cam. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Written by ted on February 25th, 2009

Tricentennial Songs, Columbia & Everywhere in South Carolina: 1970   164 comments

Posted at 11:50 pm in events,historic,products

How can I convey just how much of a *BIG*DEAL* the Tricentennial was for us in 1970? Well, let's just say that it was a much bigger event in our lives than the Bicentennial was in 1976. (And if you don't know what the Bicentennial was, you're a whippersnapper, and there's no helping you). If you were in Third Grade in 1970, as I was, along with the rest of my classmates at Satchel Ford Elementary in Mrs. Anderson's homeroom, the Tricentennial was a good part of your year.

Not only did we learn South Carolina history tidbits in school all year, but there were constant references on TV, and futuristic geodesic dome museums built downtown (Senate Street?) with all kind of historic artifacts. It was such a big deal that we were all mad when the Weekly Reader did a story on California's Bicentennial and didn't mention our Tricentennial at all.

But the biggest thing about the Tricentennial at school and even at family gatherings with cousins was the Tricentennial songs. We knew all of them by heart, and sang them constantly that year.

The songs were all composed by music teacher Nelle McMaster Sprott (with some lyrics borrowed with permission from the State's Poet Laureate, Archibald Rutledge) and seem to have been discovered by the Tricentennial Commission almost by accident. If it was an accident, it was a happy one, and an album of the songs was pressed by the Tricentennial Commission and sent to all the state's public schools (and was available for home purchase, along with sheet music for all the songs). I can hardly overstate how ubiquitous and well-loved this album was in 1970. You can quibble about a few lyric choices like "come and feel the pain" in Carolina Sunshine (though the intent is clear), but I think the album still stands up very well today.

For some reason though, the album and songs were orphaned after the Tricentennial. I suppose the Tricentennial Commission disbanded, and that might be the reason, but for whatever cause, the album was never re-issued even on LP much less as remastered for CD. That means what I am able to present here was recorded from a 39 year old LP in all its scratchy glory, but when you set the Way-Bac Machine to 1970 and put yourselves in the shoes of those third graders again, can you honestly say you don't agree with:

We are good Sandlappers,
Yes we're good Sandlappers.
And we're mighty proud to say --
That we live,
Yes we live,
In the very finest state of the USA

I know I can't.

[NOTE: I have replaced the full versions of the songs above with 30 second clips. I have heard from Mrs. Sprott's granddaughter that she is working on a web-site dedicated to her grandmother. When it's up, I will link it here!]

UPDATE 9 November 2012: Here's some interesting information on the Charleston, Columbia & Greenville Tricentennial buildings.

Written by ted on April 30th, 2008

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