Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
The Gray Telephone Pay Station Company. (check out their 1912 catalogue here.) The name was changed to the Gray Manufacturing Company on February 19, 1939. The company eventually went bankrupt on September 14, 1976. The Gray Manufacturing Company made the Audograph (a dictation machine) after World War II. It recorded on thin vinyl discs. One interesting technical feature of the Audograph was its ability to vary the disc's rotational speed continuously, depending on the location of the recording/playback stylus. By spinning the disc faster when the stylus was in the outer grooves, the machine allegedly made better recordings. A Gray Audograph played in important part in the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On the day of the assassination the Dallas Police Department (DPD) operated two radio channels. Channel I was for normal police radio traffic and channel II was assigned for the use of the presidential motorcade. Each channel was recorded by a different device. Channel I was recorded on a Dictabelt and channel II on a Gray Audograph. Both machines worked by engraving a track into a plastic medium. The Dictabelt used a rotating cylinder and the Audograph used a flat disk, similar to a phonograph record. Both machines were transmission actuated. The recordings were poured over for years, but never served to provide any additional information to identify the number of shots fired that fateful day.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Nicola Motto was a successful fruit and confectionary dealer. Proud of the symbol of his prosperity, Motto placed his name in large letters at the top of the building, naming it the Nicola Motto Block. The style is Renaissance Revival in the Flat Iron shape. The Block featured multiple store fronts and was architecturally significant for the curved glass windows in the wood paneled apex facing Barnard Park / South Green.
Beginning in 1893, living and working in the building, Motto ran his "Motto Fruits" business until his death in 1899 or 1900. His sons, John and Joseph, who were clerks in the business, continued to live in the building with their mother, Rose. With John remaining as clerk, Joseph took over the business, operating as "Joseph Motto Fruits" on Maple Avenue