Friends – Lad Hears From Wolverine (1) – January 7, 1940

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela - 1939

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce at Knopp’s Camp in Venezuela

Lad hears from the instructor he had at the Wolverine Diesel class he took in Bridgeport before he went to Venezuela.

105 Plymouth Street

Stratford, Conn.

January 7, 1940

Dear Alfred:–

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year. I was very glad to receive your last letter and hear about your new connection. I had meant to answer it sooner, but we have bought a new home in Stratford, so you will have to change your record of my address to the above. With moving and starting school, I have been pretty busy.

We were very much interested to read about the big fire you have had and I am enclosing some of the clippings from the Bridgeport Post concerning it. I thought you might be interested in reading the details as we get them here.

Business seems to be getting a little better here in New England and at the Wolverine, we have been very busy the past month and will be through February, although September to December was a very slow period. We have the crankshafts ordered for our new 8 x 10 1/2” engine and the patterns for the bases are now being made. It will probably be running in March or April. Three big engines have been purchased by an ice plant in Middletown, New York, and Mike is installing the first one tomorrow. Jacob Bros., the scrap dealers in town here, have bought a big six-cylinder engine to operate a scrap baling press, which will be the largest one East of Detroit. The concrete foundations have already been poured for this job and the building is now being erected to house the complete unit. This project will cost about $75,000, and will be the first diesel engine installation we will have installed in Bridgeport.

We are also experimenting with supercharging our two-cylinder engine and I expect to have this year’s class operating this engine next week. It will have a single intake valve in the center of the cylinder head and the valve will be mechanically operated by an overhead cam shaft. It is very problematical what we will get out of this experiment. We are using a rotary vein type supercharger. If you remember, the test we made on this engine during class showed that the base compression was slightly under 3 pounds. We are going to try and raise this to 5 pounds because of the smallness of the valve in the head. It probably will be possible to raise the Mep. to about 70 pounds. If we can do this, it may be possible to get enough more H. P. to pay for the auxiliary equipment. However, if we don’t raise the Mep. this high, we will probably have to build a new engine around the supercharger.

Yesterday, the school went to the Motor Boat Show in New York, and we had a fine time. The test engineer at Palmer Brothers in Cos Cob, Connecticut, is attending my class this year and they exhibited for the first time their new 4 cylinder, 4 cycle Diesel Engine. at the show this year. We met him there at their exhibit where he was in charge of answering questions. The Palmer Bros. bought the license to build the Russell-Newberry Diesel Engine, which is an English make. It has horizontal valves, displacer type piston, direct injection with Bosch Pump and nozzle is 51/4″ bore and runs up to 1800 r.p.m. ,

Lathrop are exhibiting their Diesel and Mack, Grey, Buda, Cummins, and Caterpillar are also exhibiting along with the usual old-line companies like F. & M., Superior, etc. It is a very good show but a tiresome one. You walk for miles and I am glad it is over for this year. We have come home with the usual number of bulletins, look them over, file them away, and never look at them again.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter and on Friday,  a letter from Grandma Peabody, Arla’s Mother, to Grandpa in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – A Missing Friend and Advice – Feb, 1940 (2)

Blog Timeline - 1934-1940

This is the second half of a letter written by my Grandfather to Lad, his oldest son, who is in Venezuela working for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company so he can send money home to help support his younger siblings.

David was glancing over some of your old letters the other day and noticed that statements that you have not seen or heard of Mac for some time. It evidently made an impression on him with the enclosed result.

In one of Ibsen’s plays one of the chief characters spends most of his time studying books and dreaming of what he will do and say sometime when the opportunity, us. The opportunity does come to him unexpectedly. The crowd calls upon him to give his wisdom. Because he has not been in the habit of giving, because all his life he has been taking in and never giving anything out, he stood before that vast throng with nothing to say it would help them. He realized too late that the best preparation for living a rich life is to live experimentally, to try things out, to plunge into contests with other men, to take risks, to Ed venture, to expose oneself to opportunities.

And that brings me to a suggestion I had in the back of my mind for some time — an idea as to how we may make possible and practical this matter of helping to make

Alfred Peabody Guion

Alfred Peabody Guion

opportunity which you were fitting yourself to me. At the library the other day I came across an article written back in 1937 which told how much diesel engine use have progressed enlisting the leading makers particularly of the bigger units. I try to figure out how you could capitalize on this to your own advantage, and concluded that if you were to write to each of these concerns from Pariaguan, telling them of your experience in diesel work in South America, they said the background with the Wolverine in Bridgeport, it would expose you to a possible opening they might have for a man of your capability either in South America or elsewhere. The idea of course, is not that you were dissatisfied or intend to leave or anything of that sort, but that with the possibility that the oil well might not come through in six months time and that you would then be out of a job, you are now making plans against that contingency, but even more in that as diesel is your chosen field, where justified in seeking experience in that particular field. You wouldn’t expect to develop anything overnight, but it might be just as well for future developments to put yourself on record leading manufacturers, so that when, if and as the time calms for them to see command of your qualifications, they will know where to find him. If you haven’t time to write the letters yourself and like the idea perhaps we can multi-graph a number of duplicates with the salient facts that I can send you to be mailed out from there. The leading companies mentioned in this article were: Nordberg, Wetherington, de la Vergne, McIntosh and Seymour, Busch-Sulzer, Winton, Caterpillar, Fairbanks, Morse, national supply company of Delaware (Superior Engine Division). At this Imperial diesel engine company of Oakland California, Hercules motor Corporation, Western engine Corporation, Cummins and Allis-Chalmers.

Tomorrow being Lincoln’s birthday, it seems appropriate to quote from an article which tells of the difficulties which preceded Mr. Lincoln’s election to the presidency. When Mr. Lincoln was a young man he ran for the legislature of Illinois and was badly beaten. He then entered business, failed, and spent 17 years of his life paying off the debts of a worthless partner. He fell in love with a beautiful girl to whom you became engaged. She died. Later he married a woman who was a constant burden. Again entering politics he ran for Congress and was badly beaten. He then tried to get an appointment to the US land office but failed in that. He became a candidate for the U.S. Senate and was badly defeated. In 1856 he became a candidate for the vice presidency and was again defeated. In 1858 he was beaten by Douglas. His life up to the time he became president was one failure after another; a series of great setbacks.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he gets a not. He may be going along fine when something turns up which discourages him tremendously. It may be the loss of the job, or failure of plans he has worked on for months or years. He may either give up, self, become upset and let it ruin his health or, if he has not the right stuff, he will grit his teeth and work harder than ever.

And now just a touch of humor from my advertising files and I will call it a day: Mark Twain in his early days was the editor of a Missouri newspaper. A superstitious: wrote to him saying that he had found a spider in newspaper and asked whether that was a sign of good luck or bad luck. The following answer was printed in the paper:

“finding a spider in your paper was neither good luck nor bad luck for you. The spider was merely looking over our papers see which merchant is not advertising smoothly that he can go to that store, spin his web across the door, and live a life of a disturbed piece ever afterwards”.

I hope those pictures you sent by regular mail will be coming along pretty soon now. I will have to remind Dan or said to take some other snaps around here for your enjoyment.

Until next, then, auf wiedersehn.

DAD

Tomorrow, you’ll see the letter written by Mack, the family dog, written to Lad – through the youngest child. David.

On Saturday, another portion of Alfred Duryee Guion’s Autobiography about his early years at the turn of the last century and on Sunday, the latest developments with Mary E. Wilson and Archie.

Next week, we’ll move ahead to 1943 in the waning month and find out what is going on in the lives of the newlyweds, Lad and Marian.

If you are enjoying these letters about famoly life in the 1940’s. why not pass along the link to a friend or two who might also enjoy this look back at history through the eyes of those who lived it?

Judy Guion

Friends – News From Wolverine – Jan, 1940

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela - 1939

Lad Guion and Jim Pierce in Camp in Venezuela

Lad hears from the instructor he had at the Wolverine Diesel class he took in Bridgeport before he went to Venezuela.

105 Plymouth Street

Stratford, Conn.

January 7, 1940

Dear Alfred:–

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year. I was very glad to receive your last letter and hear about your new connection. I had meant to answer it sooner, but we have bought a new home in Stratford, so you will have to change your record of my address to the above. With moving and starting school, I have been pretty busy.

We were very much interested to read about the big fire you have had and I am enclosing some of the clippings from the Bridgeport Post concerning it. I thought you might be interested in reading the details as we get them here.

Business seems to be getting a little better here in New England and at the Wolverine, we have been very busy the past month and will be through February, although September to December was a very slow period. We have the crankshafts ordered for our new 8 x 10 1/2” engine and the patterns for the bases are now being made. It will probably be running in March or April. Three big engines have been purchased by an ice plant in Middletown, New York, and Mike is installing the first one tomorrow. Jacob Bros., the scrap dealers in town here, have bought a big six cylinder engine to operate a scrap baling press, which will be the largest one East of Detroit. The concrete foundations have already been poured for this job and the building is now being erected to house the complete unit. This project will cost about $75,000, and will be the first diesel engine installation we will have installed in Bridgeport.

We are also experimenting with supercharging our two cylinder engine and I expect to have this year’s class operating this engine next week. It will have a single intake valve in the center of the cylinder head and the valve will be mechanically operated by an overhead cam shaft. It is a very problematical what we will get out of this experiment. We are using a rotary vein type supercharger. If you remember, the test we made on this engine during class showed that the base compression was slightly under 3 pounds. We are going to try and raise this to 5 pounds because of the smallness of the valve in the head. It probably will be possible to raise the Mep. to about 70 pounds. If we can do this, it may be possible to get enough more H. P. to pay for the auxiliary equipment. However, if we don’t raise the Mep. this high, we will probably have to build a new engine around the supercharger.

Yesterday, the school went to the Motor Boat Show in New York, and we had a fine time. The test engineer at Palmer Brothers in Cos Cob, Connecticut, and Caterpillar are also exhibiting along with the usual old-line companies like F. & M., Superior, etc. It is a very good show but a tiresome one. You walk for miles and I am glad it is over for this year. We have come home with the usual number of bulletins, look them over, file them away, and never look at them again.

By this time you must’ve run across some of the Wolverine two cylinders. We received a repair order from the Standard Oil Company a couple of weeks ago. I hope you will be able to get in on this end of the business down there.

We have been having quite a spell of cold weather since Christmas time and our new home is located in Paradise Green near Brewster Pond, which makes a very excellent place to skate. I was skating myself this afternoon and Pauline is down most every day with her new Christmas skakes. I don’t imagine you are doing much skating! I hope I don’t make you homesick but when we get our January thaw, with its slush, I will wish I was down in Venezuela.

I bought a new 1940 Ford in November and had considerable trouble with the voltage regulator. I wonder if you have found this so with the equipment you are using.

Your experience with Cummins engines is similar to reports we get around here about them. I don’t know how they have built up such a large organization on the reputation we hear they have.

Dick Huskes claims ownership to the muddy letter you received and by this time he probably has written you another, at least those were his intentions. Dick is getting married in the summer to Vera Budnick, sister of Walter Budnick, who was in your class. Walter is married and Russ Johnson is also married. George Stram is still with us here at the Wolverine.

When you write again I would like to have your opinion on the possibilities of a fellow getting employment where you are, if he paid his way down or, say, in other words, that he was there. I know a young man who is very much interested in a proposition like this and is perfectly willing to go to Venezuela on his own accord if there was a reasonable possibility of his locating a connection. I would appreciate very much hearing what you have to say concerning this. This young man attended my class two years ago, has a very pleasing personality, and is a good worker and it is only because of this that I have become especially interested in him.

We had a repair job on Hammond’s yacht last week along with the installation of a set of lubricating oil filters.

This seems to be all the news I can think of at this time.

With best regards, I am

Sincerely,

Albert W. Hagan

Tomorrow’s post will be a letter from Grandma Peabody, Arla’s Mother, to Lad in Venezuela, Then two more of Grandpa’s weekly chronicles.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories based on letters and memories of my family, prior to and during World War II, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Lad – Army Life – Camp Santa Anita, Spring, 1943

This letter gives you a pretty clear picture of Lad’s life right now. He’s out socializing, probably with my Mom, and teaching during the day.

Camp Santa Anita

April 28, 1943

Dear Dad –

Again, weeks have passed. I just have too good a time to sit down and spend some of it writing, and I really should. However, you can rest assured that if anything of importance happens, you shall know of it. No news will be good. I have definitely decided to keep the car, but not as you suggested.

Tonight I’m again on company duty, but instead of C.Q., I’m Corporal of the Guard. The few times I’ve been on company duty are so infrequent that I really have nothing to complain about. For instance, tonight is the first night I have stayed in camp since I got here January 9, with the exception of that first night, due to quarantine.

It seems that the course in Diesel Engine Principles has finally gotten through to the right authorities by fair or foul means, and pressure has been applied to the effect that the course is to have its first sanctioned appearance on May 3, if it can be put into workable shape by then. Art Lind and I have been working on it and it looks possible. We are hoping.

Our new showers have been opened in the camp with plenty of hot water. There are 197 of them, so we no longer have to the go to the Y in Pasadena to get a hot shower, and speaking of cleaning up – my razor finally begin to show signs of excessive wear, so I turned it in for a new Schick Colonel – eight dollars. The new one operates very nicely. If you remember, you sent me a clipping concerning the need for men with the knowledge of other languages? I had taken you on it, but nothing as yet has been heard from it.

Don’t worry about my operator’s license. I have already written to Hartford asking them to send them to me, but if they come to Trumbull, please forward them. As regards grandmother you, I believe, did the right thing. Personally, I certainly would never have even hesitated, as you probably know. My love to all, and to all a good night –

Laddie

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad)

Trumbull, Conn.

May 2, 1943

Dear young uns,

You are in an airplane. You are on a mission and your course has been set. The country below slides by. It is interesting and you study it, for part of that landscape may fit into another assignment one day. But you keep on your course. You are on a mission!

In the busy round of duties the Army has set as your daily routine, don’t become so absorbed in the present that you neglect once in a while to get off by yourself and try to fit this into the larger scheme of things that will constitute your regular living after this war interlude is over. You too, have a mission – – to enlarge your knowledge and experience and make it serve as a “landscape”, because someday it may be a useful postwar brick in your life work structure. The simile is a bit mixed but I assume you have intelligence enough to get the thought I am trying to get over.

This afternoon a telegram came from Jean, as follows: “Have changed plans (She expected to be home tomorrow). Decided to stay. Letter to follow explaining. Please call my mother( I did and she said she was glad Jean was having such a nice vacation). Please forward any allotment check (Sorry, Jean, but none has arrived). We are both fine. Love. Jean”

Lad has written and the big news in his letter, at least so far as I am concerned, is that he is now a Sergeant. How de do, Sarge. Congratulations from your old man. He is been given the same type of job he had in Aberdeen, Chief of Section, which calls for a staff rating. He therefore expects in two or three months he will have an opportunity to take the staff exam. And the rest of you will have to watch your reputation as bowlers, as he now bowls 180 and expects to top 200.

Barbara was just in and has about decided to apply for a job open to her doing drafting work for the Signal Corps, involving a six-month training course on the N. J. coast. I learned that George Laufer is now at Fort Bragg, N. C.

Grandma wants me to write you all that she is SO happy to be here. Aunt Betty wants me to thank Lad for his lovely letter to her, and I, well I’m just glad I have such a bunch of nice boys. If I were “that way” I might even be a little bit proud.

Ced, I’m having trouble getting your Buick parts shipped. Both the post office and express company refused to send it. I am taking the matter up with Washington. Did you get the package of books?

DAD

It seems that now that the hustle and bustle of Dick and Jean’s wedding on Valentine’s Day, Dick going into that Army, Jean following him and grandma arriving, things are finally starting to settle down a little at the old homestead. I wonder what comes next, don’t you?

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-nagazine, with several articles and stories from my family, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion