TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"I invented them, so I know there is no such thing."


When I was a child, I was recruited by my father, Wesley Raymond Goss, as his "go fer" on the annual project to make the rounds through the house, garage, and barn to oil the bearings in all the electric motors that provided comfort and services for us in our modern farmstead. Dad was an electrical design engineer at General Electric. It seemed like he was always fitting a spare motor to some other hand cranked or otherwise un-powered device. On the old motors, he would flip the oil reservoir open, give it a shot of oil, and move on to the next. But on the modern motors that had no reservoirs, he would carefully drill a small hole in the end cap, and work a few drops of oil into the felt that was inside. In the middle of this process, I had the timerity to ask why we were doing that -- since they were permanently lubricated? He stood up, squared his shoulders, and said, "I invented them, so I know there is no such thing."

Being a kid, I thought he was just giving me a quick answer. We went on about our work, and I didn't think much more about it. Many years later, I found that he was telling me the absolute truth. He had taken a job with the Fort Wayne works where GE made their refrigerators. As a new college graduate in 1927, he was assigned as one of four engineers designing the Monitor-top refrigerators that had the first hermetically-sealed compressors in the industry (1928-1932). By the following summer, he had his first patent on the sintered bronze sleeve bearing that is used universally on electric motors. That bearing made the hermetically-sealed refrigeration systems we all live with in our refrigerators, heat pumps, and air-conditioning systems possible. Prior to that time, compressors were driven by open belts; the shafts needed lubrication; and the seals allowed the refrigerant to slowly leak into the atmosphere. Mom and Dad had one of the Monitor-top refrigerators when they lived in the city, but by the time I was born in 1937, they had moved to the farm and had one of the Coldspot refrigerators that was made in Evansville. It was not hermetically sealed, and the unit had to be recharged on a rather regular basis to keep it working.

Many years later, we moved to Evansville when I was hired at USI to teach in the Engineering Technology department. On one of the early visits that my parents made to Evansville for a Thanksgiving celebration, they were here when I needed to read a census microfilm that had been ordered. I hauled them down to Willard library, and sat them down in the second floor reading room with several books that I pulled off the shelves. I gave them a list of names, dates, and places to keep them occupied while I spent time at the microfilm reader. I found nothing of interest in the film I had borrowed. On the other hand, my parents discovered three people in two generations of the family on that afternoon. That success was all it took for my parents to devote a major amount of time in their later years doing genealogical research. They spent every Thursday, all day long, in the Reynolds collection of the Allen County Public Library, and they extended our known family back to the 800's and 53 to 55 generations.

-Written by Larry Goss

Friday, January 20, 2012

"The Refrigerator Capital of the World"

In yesterday's TSGS Cruiser Blog, I featured the Dennedy family for the "Tombstone Thursday" feature. Today's blog is a follow-up of the father, James Howard Dennedy, one of the city's leading figures in Evansville's economic industry making it the refrigerator capital of the world!

[Click on image to enlarge!]


The above image of the news clipping about Evansville's industrial history is summarized below.

Excerpts from The Evansville Press, 03 Jul 1976: Our Industry ~ "From furniture capital to refrigeration, plastics" by L. D. Seits. William H. McCurdy, opened his Hercules Buggy Company on Morton Avenue in December 1903. McCurdy's contributions to Evansville's development would fill a book. In 1918, McCurdy formed Sunbeam Electric Manufacturing Company that in 1929 started producing Coldspot refrigerators for Sears. McCurdy, who died in 1930, was a key figure in launching Evansville on its way to becoming the refrigeration capital of the world after men like Mayor Benjamin Bosse made it the furniture capital of the world. But the man probably the most responsible for Evansville's rise to the top of the refrigeration industry arrived in the city about 1922. "He was a quiet man who came to Evansville at age 38, still a bachelor." He was James Howard Dennedy, a leading authority in the field of refrigeration, having grown up in the Detroit machine shop of his father, an Irish immigrant who had pioneered in industrial refrigeration. Young Dennedy had studied mechanical engineering, doing graduate work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He came to Evansville because a Sears executive had arranged for McCurdy's plant to produce an ice machine designed by Dennedy for the company that later became Servel. It was likely the best electric machine of its day and in 1924 was marketed through Sears.

Such was life in Evansville when it was nicknamed "The Refrigerator Capital of the World" — when Seeger, Servel and International Harvester made refrigerators here, providing jobs for more than 10,000 employees. This was before Whirlpool Corp. arrived in 1955 to merge with Seeger [formerly Sunbeam - JGW] and then buy Servel and International Harvester facilities as they closed. - From http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/main.asp?SectionID=31&subsectionID=135&articleID=53718 Indiana Economic Digest "The Last Refrigerator From Evansville" by Rich Davis, Evansville Courier & Press, April 2010

- Compiled by JGwest

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tombstone Thursday - Dennedy

Oak Hill Cemetery
Evansville, Indiana
Section E, Lot 130
James H. Dennedy
and his wife
Hazel M. Derrwaldt
Above is the Dennedy family plot in Section E.

To the left is J. [James] Howard Dennedy's tombstone and to the lower right is his wife's marker - Hazel M. Derrwaldt.

Below are three obits for the two above and their son, James D. Dennedy. He died in New Mexico and was cremated in 1984. He was a well decorated soldier in WW II with the Silver Star Medal & the Purple Heart!

Below is the father's obit: James H. Dennedy who died in 1951. He was an Engineer and invented the Coldspot Refrigerator!!! [See obit for more information.]

Below is the mother's obit: Hazel Dennedy [nee Deerwaldt]. She died rather young at the age of 42 in 1942. She was a teacher.

This information above was assembled by me (JGWest) to help with a school project, see the email below:

TO: Tri-State Genealogical Society

Students in our 20th century Honors U.S. History class are researching cadets who served in World War II. One student is researching James Derrwaldt Dennedy of Evansville, IN. James D. Dennedy was born in Indiana 7 SEP 1925, the son of Hazel D. Dennedy & James H. Dennedy, an engineer.

The 1930 U.S. census indicates his family was living on East Mulberry Street in Evansville at the time. While he was at St. John's (FEB 1940 - JUN 1943), the family lived at 1319 East Chandler Avenue.

James D. Dennedy graduated from St. John's Military Academy in 1943. He entered the U.S. Army from Indiana and served with the 387th. Infantry in Germany. 2nd LT Dennedy was awarded the Purple Heart in APR 1945, and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in May 1945. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington after the war.

James D. Dennedy died in Albuquerque New Mexico in September 1984.
Do you have any additional information about James Derrwaldt Dennedy or his family? We are particularly interested in obituaries, marriage or birth announcements or other news articles. Please contact me with any further questions. Thank you very much for your help.

~Peg Koller~
Librarian, NHS Advisor

St. John's Northwestern Military Academy

[If anyone can provide any additional information, I have her postal address, email & phone number. - JGWest]

- Blog compiled by JGWest

- Tombstone photos taken by JGWest

- Obituaries from the Browning Online Database -

[Tombstone Thursday is dedicated in memory of Donald G. West 1952-2000]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


What in the world is "Genuki?"

Is it a new card or board game?

Could it be a Japanese or Chinese entre'?

Is this the name of another NBA superstar basketball player?

Maybe it is the name of a world soccer player?

Could it have something to do with genealogy?


GENUKI provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland. It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers.


All material on this site is © GENUKI and individual contributors. For permission to re-use material please contact the GENUKI trustees.

GENUKI is a registered trade mark of the charitable trust GENUKI Copyright © 2011, Genuki.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Grampa Claus Died!"

A few years ago, Adele and I were doing some research on our Schmitt lines (my wife and I are second cousins, once removed). We had found a grand father, Nicholas (Claus) Schmitt born in 1691 whom we had become very fond of. It seems that in the records of Schoenau, Alsace - Claus was popping in everywhere on the records. It was almost as if he was sitting on the court house steps to be a witness for any event. As he was a fisherman by trade, we didn't know where he could get the time for this. He would sign his name, Claus, very large and it would stand out in any record. Being easy to look for it was a landmark for us and we got to know a lot of families in the town. We traced Claus through his birth, marriage and the births of his eight children through the years and he was always known to us as grampa Claus. One night at the LDS FHC in Evansville I was looking through some Artolsheim films and Adele was into the Schoenau films in another room. After a while Adele came in to the room I was in and just sat down in the chair next to me looking a little upset. Trying to take in what could be wrong, for a bit, I then asked her what the problem was as I thought maybe the film broke. She then gathered herself, looked me in the eye and said, "Claus died". I thought, "Yeah, right, 300 years ago!" Then I felt it, as she did, and we both felt a loss that night. When searching through, your ancestors can put that kind of feeling into you... then you really are into genealogy.

- Written by Gilbert Schmitt

Monday, January 16, 2012

Long, Hard Life for a Husband & Wife

John L. G. Rogers & Isadora M. Moore of Christian County, Kentucky

John was born in 1854 and his wife of 65 years was born in 1856. John died on 26 May 1938 while Isadora died 4 days later on 30 May 1938. He was about 84 & she was about 82 years old.

For some reason this caught my attention. Here they were in their 80's having been married for 65 years, and after raising 12 children, as well; then, they die just a few days apart. John Rogers died first from Influenza that he had been battling for about 2 weeks. She died from a 3 year long illness. I suspect that she wore herself out caring for her husband, and, with his death, it was all too much for her to continue.

It amazes me that the two lived for so long in times when medicine and doctoring was at a minimum.Having and raising 12 kids could not have been easy. He was a farmer working at a hard job... more than likely a tobacco farmer. She maintained the house and chores assigned to a housewife, such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, etc. while looking after the little ones. She got some help, surely, from the older children that did not help with the farming. It was a rough life without air conditioning or good heating systems or cooking set-up. There were no TV's, radio or computers to entertain or amuse each other. Some families learned to play musical instruments to entertain themselves when they were not too tired. They generally awoke early in the morning with each having chores to complete before eating and then onto the day's work! They may take a lunch break, but then it was back to work, soon, until after dark when they would eat a dinner and soon go to bed to start all over again the next morning. To use a saying of today, this would be their lives 24/7/365! Some families took a little time for non-work activities... mostly going to church or school for the younger children.

Could we survive a life like this family had? I think this family survived pretty good for the times!

- Written by JGWest

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I need to ask everyone, what has changed at Find-A-Grave site? Suddenly, I have had several emails from people who are interested in the family of a person that I have posted a memorial on that site. The nice thing is that most are cousins of mine interested in our common ancestors or family!

I am not sure what it is, but I like it!!!!! I guess it just might mean that people are using the site more to search for their family. And it shows that it is very worthwhile to help others find family member's grave & tombstones, especially for the ones that live a distance from where their family was buried.

You might want to check out Find-A-Grave http://www.findagrave.com/

- Compiled by JGWest