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History and mystery engraved in silver cigarette case

    When I have a little time to myself, I like to drop into my favorite chair in the living room, the one next to the low white bookshelf near the fireplace. 

On the shelves, beside the stack of pages torn from magazines or clipped from newspapers from around the world, are the books I’m reading, or the books I’m hoping to read, or the books I read a long time ago and like to have where I can pick them up and fall back into a familiar story. 

 

    I start reading and before long, out of habit and without taking my eyes off the page, I reach over and pick up my silver cigarette case. My fingers find the latch, press it and the case pops open. But I’m not fumbling for a cigarette.

 

     The engraved silver plate cigarette case is a bit battered but that’s to be expected. It’s almost 100 years old, after all, and who knows where it’s been over the last century? The silver is thin in places, showing the brass beneath, but one can still read the date and message engraved on the top: “To A. Gates from the girls at Manor Works.” and the date: 1918.

 

     I keep colorful self-adhesive paper flags in the case and use them to mark an interesting page or passage in a book so I can easily find it again.

 

    When I found the case online I was intrigued. I was searching for reference material about World War I and it popped up because of the date. I wasn’t looking for a cigarette case, but it was a bargain. There is a tiny puncture in the back but the latch still works and even with shipping costs, it was less than a lunch out. And, to be honest, I was attracted to the slight mystery of the engraving—Who was A. Gates? What was Manor Works?—and I knew I would eventually find a use for it. 

    So I placed the order. The day it came in the mail I unwrapped it and again wondered about the man it had been given to. I’m assuming A. Gates was a man. Women smoked at the time but there is something a bit masculine about the case. Still, I could be wrong…

 

    I’ve been searching for more information about A. Gates and Manor Works and I think it might somehow be connected to the historic Crittall Window Company’s Manor Works in Braintree England.  The company began in 1849 and during the early 20th Century moved into the U. S. market manufacturing windows for Ford Model T’s and built steel windows in Detroit. 

    During the Great War Crittall’s role shifted ( as did so many others) and they produced munitions.

    

    In 1918, the year the war ended, Crittall entered into a manufacturing agreement with a Belgian company and began to manufacture metal windows for modern post-war housing.

     Perhaps Mr. Gates was leaving to work in the new enterprise and the the cigarette case was a goodbye gift from “the girls.”

 

    I’m going to keep digging but for now, the case, a kind of mystery of its own, is at home near my favorite chair in the company of a lot of fine old books. I think the girls would approve

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

Bond: A Primer On Buying Silver

A well-educated friend approached us the other day. A friend of his had decided to give up cigarettes and put the $250 a month he was saving in to silver, but hadn't a clue how to do it? At first blush such a question uttered here in North America's greatest silver-mining district might be as silly as someone from Detroit asking what a car is. But perhaps not. Silver-mining isn't taught in our local schools anymore, and probably not a single schoolteacher within 600 miles who could tell you the difference between the Fabian Society and Austrian School thinking on monetary policy/David Bond, Wallace Street Journal. More here.

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Riley: Hart Gold Standard For Lunacy

Not only is Idaho State Rep. Phil Hart not in jail for tax evasion (yet), he’s still introducing legislation in Boise. Hart’s latest endeavor is House Bill 430, which “recognizes the liberty of Idahoans to conductbusiness in gold and silver coin uninhibited at their own discretion as a right never delegated by the People of Idaho to any governmental institution.” Yep, Phil wants the good people of Idaho to be able to use gold and silver coins instead of paper money. Not only that, Phil wants the use of these coins to be free of any taxation. OK, look, we all know this bill isn’t going to go anywhere, even in this land of rabid Libertarians and militia members/Sean Riley, iSightonline via Potato Understanding. More here.

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Hart Wants Gold, Silver Untaxed

Rep. Phil Hart (R– Athol) wants gold and silver coin to be an alternative to paper money, formally known as Federal Reserve Notes.  Hart, who is currently being sued by the federal government for unpaid taxes, wants gold and silver currency exempt from tax.  He’s titled the bill the ‘Idaho Constitutional Money Act of 2012′/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. Hart's Statement here.

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Burglary spree earns $197k restitution

Four young men who burglarized homes in Spokane County last year have been ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution.

George A. Denison, 21; Patrick Hayes Wellman, 20; Joseph S. Denison and Anthony Fuerte are to split the $197,200 imposed in Superior Court after pleading guilty to residential burglary, theft and gun charges.

The burglary spree occurred between between April and September, including a burglary on Sept. 7 in the 32000 block of North Rimrose Drive in which seven firearms, 85 ounces of gold coins and 1,500 ounces of silver was stolen.

George Denison was sentenced to 39 months in prison recently; Wellman, who already is headed to federal prison for drug and gun convictions, was sentenced to 43 months. Fuerte was given an alternative drug offender sentencing program. Joseph Denison is awaiting trial but was listed in court documents as being required to pay the restitution.
  

Police: Teens stole $123k in silver, gold

An accidental shooting last summer was linked to a suspected burglary ring involving $123,000 in stolen gold and silver coins, court documents allege.

Joseph S. Denison, 19, brought the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver to a party in Deer Park on Aug. 21, where it accidental discharged and caused a non-life threatening injury to a young woman, according to court documents.

The gun was one of 10 stolen from a home at 5501 E. Handy Road in August, detectives say.

Denison pleaded not guilty to 31 felony charges Wednesday that include several counts of burglary and theft of a firearm. He is not in custody.

Patrick Hayes Wellman, who is in federal custody on Ecstasy and gun charges, is charged with 10 felonies related to the case.

The alleged burglary spree between April and September, including a burglary on Sept. 7 in the 32000 block of North Rimrose Drive in which seven firearms, 85 ounces of gold coins and 1,500 ounces of silver was stolen.

The home belongs to Denison's ex-girlfriend's father, who told police Denison knew of the valuables and knew how to access them.

Detectives believe Wellman also participated in that burglary, along with Anthony D. Fuerte, 18, and Denison's brother, George A. Denison, 20, who also face felony charges.

Silver and…well…silver

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, pitches his bill Monday morning to have Idaho create an official silver medallion that could be used to pay state taxes.

BOISE — Idaho lawmakers are backing a plan that would allow state tax bills to be paid down with silver medallions instead of cash.

Athol Republican Rep. Phil Hart’s bill approved Monday is intended to encourage the use of silver as a form of currency and reinvigorate Idaho’s silver mining industry, which has been in decline for decades. More.

Personally, I’d rather pay my taxes in pennies, but I can’t count that high. What do think of Hart’s proposed legislation?