8 August 2006

Informal Smoker at the Tower Club bar, August 8th, 5-7pm
Johnson on Luther
J. Douglas JOHNSON, who was struck by a thunder bolt earlier this summer as he walked from the club to Dearborn Station and now wears protective rubber headgear, will host and lead the discussion on August 8th with a brief introduction to the theology of Martin Luther, in partial preparation for a series of twelve lectures he will be giving later in the year to his study group.  Suggested reading for advanced Lutherans are two of Luther's papers with publication anniversaries in early August: Against Henry (August 4, 1522) and To Several Nuns (August 6, 1524).  Also see Susan Lynn Peterson's Life of Martin Luther.    Mr. JOHNSON, when recently pressed by his peers to imbibe strong spirits with his cigars rather than his usual Einbecker, was heard to declare: Bier trinke ich, ich kann nicht anders.

Your loyal secretary is off this week, on vacation in  New York at the Lotos Club.

Adventures in reproduction

August 8th also marks the anniversary (1876) of Thomas Edison's patent for the mimeograph machine.  The term mimeograph was coined by Albert Blake Dick, of Chicago and Lake Forest, after he licensed the invention from Edison for production and sale.  The mimeograph machine was phenomenally successful as a device for cheap, mass reproduction until the 1990s, when photocopiers took over.  AB Dick and his company made a fortune on the machine, which in its early years was called the "Edison-Dick Mimeograph Machine."  Albert's son, the reversely eponymous Edison Dick, later ran the company, and in the 1950s and 60s owned a Chicago restaurant called Biggs

BSD Jerry BAUMAN will continue his story, begun in our last meeting, about swinging his club with the Dicks at Dairymen's, and John H. NELSON, FAIA (below right, in a photo from 1962) will read from his memoir on 20th-century reproductive techniques.

We had one of those contraptions in our basementwhy, I don’t remember.  My dad was a small contractor, so I don’t understand why he needed it.  My mother would provide a background of uncustomary cussing as she twisted or crinkled the sheet while trying to adhere it.  I would try it once in a while myself and end up with gummy stuff all over myself.  My own favorite reproduction device was the hectograph.  My second grade teacher used one to prepare little activities and tests, so of course I had to have one for myself.  I can’t remember why it kept me so busy, but I was much happier with the gelatinous matrix of the hectograph than the gooey mess of the mimeograph.


Photographs courtesy of the J. H. Nelson archive, "Young Dick and the Mimeograph Machine."

  In our last meeting 

IN OUR LAST MEETING J. Douglas JOHNSON, founding president and currently public relations officer for the Chicago Croquet Club at Lake Shore and 58th, telephoned while motoring in from out of town to say that he could not resist stopping for a little ball-and-hoop on a friend's immaculate lawn, and would be late.   Jerry BAUMAN recounted remarkable successes using a martingale betting system while gambling in Las Vegas last week and Edward BRONSON noted that in a game of roulette the history of the ball, which can be modeled as a random walk (mathematically speaking, a Markov chain with integral state space) is irrelevant to the outcome except insofar as it affects the subsequent betting of others.  Jimmy SMITH, wearing a dark pinstriped suit in the 90-degree whether, apologized for having lost his necktie in a lunchtime scuffle, and your loyal secretary introduced prospective member Jonathan HALVORSON on the recommendation of J. F. "Coach" CARLSON

Former officer of the deck of the battleship Puerto Rico, Commander Farley HINTERTHORPE—exhausted and trebly hung over from a very late previous night of sea-stories at the home of your loyal secretary in rehearsal for the anniversary of the sinking of the Andrea Doria (July 25) and from a subsequent five- or six-mile post-midnight random walk of his own—was, very uncharacteristically, silent.  A gill of gin with a few dashes of bitters, quiveringly sipped as a restorative, was insufficient to cajole him into recounting even a few spare details of the 28th anniversary (July 22) of his father's ship, the Sergeant Carter, going down in a sudden squall 3-1/2 miles off the coast of Nantucket, his four-hour swim through rough waters to get help, and the eventual salvation of all passengers.  We have postponed our theme "Disasters at Sea" to a meeting later this fall, and in the mean time have included here some notes on the collision of the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm, quoted from AndreaDoria.org

"The following sequence [of events on the night of July 25, 1956fifty years ago our last meeting] was pieced together from the two books, Collision Course and Saved. The events as originally reported in the books are in error. A corrected sequence of events has been presented here courtesy of Captain Robert J. Meurn of the United States Merchant Marine Academy based on the findings of John C. Carrothers."




July 25, 1956


Andrea Doria Giannini spotted a pip on the radar, seventeen miles distant. Franchini took a loran fix on the Andrea Doria's position, then listened with the radio direction finder for the signal sent out by the Nantucket lightship. He plotted the bearing of the signal and reported to Calamai, "We are headed directly toward the lightship." Calamai ordered a change of course to two hundred and sixty-one degrees. The new course would take them one mile south of the Nantucket lightship.
10:00pm Stockholm Carstens took RDF readings from Block Island and the Nantucket lightship. In addition to its regular directional signal, the Nantucket lightship was broadcasting a special signal that was a coded warning that there was dangerous fog in the area. Though the meaning of the radio signal was recorded in a manual on board, Carstens seemed to be unaware of it.
10:04pm Stockholm Carstens plotting now showed the Stockholm to be two and one-half miles north of its intended course.
10:20pm Andrea Doria The telephone rang on the bridge. The forecastle lookout reported he could hear a foghorn off the starboard bow. Franchini was following the movement of the pip and he told Calamai they were passing the lightship at a distance of one mile. Calamai ordered a course of two hundred and sixty-eight. The Andrea Doria was now headed almost due west, directly toward New York.
10:30pm Stockholm Carstens took another position fix. The Stockholm was farther off course to the north, 2.7 or 2.8 miles from its intended route, drifting in a strong current. Carstens ordered a shift in course two degrees to the south to compensate. At 10:40pm the three seaman rotated duties and Peder Larsen took the helm. Carstens felt he should keep a close watch on the compass with Larsen at the helm. Carstens believed the Danish sailor let his attention wander from strict observation of the compass needle.
10:40pm Andrea Doria "It's a ship. We can see a ship," Franchini yelled out to the others from the chartroom, where he was crouched over the radar screen. "Seventeen miles distance, four degrees on the starboard bow. The unknown ship was almost directly in front of the Andrea Doria's course. A few sweeps of the radar told the officers that the ship was not merely a slower one moving west, such as others they had passed that evening, This ship was moving east, toward the Andrea Doria. It was disconcerting since the oncoming ship was twenty miles north of the recommended eastbound route. The ship was drifting slowly to the right for a safe starboard to starboard meeting.
10:50pm Stockholm Carstens took another RDF reading and the ship was now three miles off coarse to the north. Carstens ordered Larsen to shift course an additional two degrees south, which would put the ship on a heading of ninety-one degrees.
  Andrea Doria Franchini was tracking the bearing of the pip. If the bearing continually increased to the north, it meant the other ship was on a course that would let it pass safely on the starboard side. If the bearing decreased, then the ships were on a dangerous course and would have to take evasive action. The bearing was increasing and if both ships held their courses, they would pass safely starboard-to-starboard. When ships meet head-on in the open sea, they are supposed to pass port-to-port, unless that would force them into a crossing course. Since the ship was already to the starboard side to the north, there seemed to be no reason to swing to the right for a normal port-to-port passage.
  Andrea Doria When the other ship was about seven miles ahead, Franchini switched the radar to a range of eight miles. Each reading seemed to confirm his observation that the other ship would pass safely on his starboard, or right side. Calamai asked "how close will she pass?" Franchini replied, "About one mile to starboard."
11:00pm Stockholm At the helm Larsen reached up and pulled on a cord, ringing six bells-eleven o'clock. Captain Nordensen heard the bells and knew that the Stockholm would soon be approaching the Nantucket lightship and he would need to set a course for the open sea. He carefully put away his logbooks and diary and prepared to go back to the bridge.
11:06pm Stockholm Carstens detects the Andrea Doria to the right of heading flasher on radar after his third RDF fix and through miscalculation on the radar range believes it is 12 miles away. He thinks he is looking at the 15-mile range scale but Andrea Doria in reality is only 4 miles away on the 5-mile scale.
  Andrea Doria When the other ship was three and a half mile away at a bearing of fifteen degrees, Calamai ordered a turn of  four degrees to port. Calamai reasoned the swing to the left would open the gap between the two ships and allow them to pass starboard-to-starboard even farther than the one mile estimate. Calamai and Giannini watched the horizon carefully on the starboard. It was important to make visual contact with the other ship as soon as possible, for radar is at best an imprecise aid to navigation. Eyes are more trustworthy.
11:08pm Stockholm Carstens orders course change to starboard to a course of 118 degrees.
11:09pm Stockholm Carstens looks at radar and detects Andrea Doria 6 miles away thinking he is on 15-mile scale. Actually the Andrea Doria is 2 miles away as the Third Officer is in reality on the 5-mile range scale. The Stockholm's Third Officer detects contact on radar to left of heading flasher and orders a further course change to starboard to 133 degrees.
  Andrea Doria Calamai did not expect to see the other vessel until it was close, because of the fog, but he was puzzled that he did not at least hear its foghorn. Giannini studied the radar and saw the other ship at a distance of one and a half miles and at a bearing of thirty to thirty-five degrees off to the right. Going outside he searched the starboard side with his binoculars. Suddenly he saw a blur of lights some thirty-five degrees off to the right, just as the radar had indicated.
  Stockholm When the compass indicator moved fifteen degrees, the mate ordered, "Amidships." In response, Larsen brought the wheel back to center.
  Andrea Doria The ships were about one mile apart when the vague glow of the approaching vessel separated into visible masthead lights. Giannini pointed his binoculars at the glow and strained to see the masthead lights. There were two white lights, the lower one slightly to the right of the other. For an instant, Calamai thought the other ship would pass safely to the right. It was perhaps the last serene moment Captain Piero Calamai would ever experience. Giannini was suddenly confronted with the realization that the lower masthead light of the other ship was rapidly swinging to the left of the higher masthead light, and the red light on the port side of the other ship was now visible for the first time. The other ship was turning directly toward the Andrea Doria. Calamai had to act quickly, "Hard left!" he yelled at Helmsman Giulio Visciano. It was a last daring attempt to outrun a disaster, by turning the Andrea Doria to the left faster than the unknown vessel was turning to the right. Franchini blew two short whistle blasts to signal a left turn and straining under a hard left rudder, the Andrea Doria slid forward for perhaps half a mile before the turn took effect. But instead of easing the Andrea Doria away from the menacing ship coming toward them, the turn exposed the broad mass of the Doria's side, like a target, to the onrushing bow of the other vessel.
11:10:30pm Stockholm On the bridge, both Bjorkman and Carstens simultaneously saw a dramatic change in the unknown ship's navigational lights, and stared into the darkness in disbelief. Horror etched across Carstens' face. He could see the other ship swinging into a hard left turn that was bringing it into a direct line with the Stockholm's course. Soon, he saw the entire starboard side of the other ship in front of him. Carstens could see the sharp steel bow of his ship headed directly for the vulnerable broadside of the giant in front of him. Carstens had no time to speculate. The mate pulled hard on the telegraph indicator to FULL SPEED ASTERN, to lessen the force of the impact by reversing the engines. At the same moment, he decided to turn the ship's bow away from the looming target. "Hard starboard!" he yelled at Larsen. Larsen turned the wheel five full revolutions to the right and held it firmly in place. Carstens heard the unknown ship's whistle shriek a protest into the night. Carstens could hear the starboard screw finally spin backward, but he knew that it was too late. He braced himself for the impact, and watched helplessly as the white bow of his ship took aim on the starboard side of the black hull of the Andrea Doria.
11:11:15pm Andrea Doria "She is coming against us!" Calamai yelled in amazement. The captain instinctively drew back from the railing of the wing. The bow of the intruder seemed to point directly at him on the bridge, though he knew it would hit much lower some forty feet below. For an instant Calamai wished he was down there, where the impact would crush him. It would be an act of mercy, for the captain saw in the approaching bow a more horrible destiny. He was a captain! This was his ship! How could this happen to him? Never in all his years at sea had Piero Calamai felt so alone. Then the Stockholm struck!

  Coming up . . . 

Informal Smokers at the Tower Club are scheduled for the following Tuesdays this summer: August 22;  September 12, 26. 

A New World Cigar Society Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, October 12, Columbus Day.  The theme is "What the New World Contributed to Eating, Drinking, and Smoking." The dinner will feature cigars, an extensive tequila tasting, and multiple courses based on comestibles unavailable in the old world such as turkeys, chili peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, avocados, papayas, pineapples, tapioca, and chocolate.  Mark your calendars!

Respectfully submitted by

Your loyal secretary

Curtis Tuckey