2016 Exhibition Schedule

Smith Pumps will be exhibiting at the following events:

NPGA Southeastern Convention and International Propane Expo

April 8 – 10, 2016.  Nashville, Tennessee.

Music City Center

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67th Annual Western Propane Trade Show & Convention

May 12-14, 2016.  Reno, Nevada

Silver Legacy Hotel and Reno Events Center

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Cultivate ’16

July 9-12, 2016.  Columbus, Ohio

 Greater Columbus Convention Center

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Northeast Propane Show

August 10-11, 2016. Boxborough, Massachusetts

The Holiday Inn Hotel

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Training in the Pacific Northwest

Smith’s John Ives and C.J. Smith recently concluded a three day training tour in the states of Oregon and Washington.  Over 60 attendees learned about Smith products from the inside out.

Training concluded at Teeco Products facility in Auburn, Washington.

Training concluded at Teeco Products facility in Auburn, Washington.

Topics included design, installation, trouble-shooting, recommended suction conditions, differential pressure consideration, variables that affect pump performance, component analysis, assembly techniques, bypass valve operation, and other pump related issues.

Also on-board was Bob Bailey, Teeco Products V.P and COO, who discussed design, installation, and trouble-shooting issues relating to meters.

We thank all the attendees for taking the time to learn more about the enhanced performance and design characteristics of Smith products and hope the knowledge gained was helpful.  We are grateful for your commitment and the questions asked.  Also thanks to Dave Drimmel, Teeco Products Regional Sales Manager, for his work ethic and organization skills.

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FMC Technologies honors Reuben Stanley Smith, founder of Smith Pumps

This year, 2015, is the 75th anniversary of the PD meter. Read more. http://www.fmctechnologies.com/MeasurementSolutions/BusinessHighlights/75AnnivPDMeter.aspx

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2015 Exhibition Schedule

Product Training:

The Rocky Mountain Propane Association’s Spring Conference

March 19, 2015. Idaho Falls, Idaho

The Shilo Inn Suites Hotel

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Smith Pumps will be exhibiting at the following events:

NPGA Southeastern Convention and International Propane Expo

April 11-13, 2015.  Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia World Congress Center

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66th Annual Western Propane Trade Show & Convention

May 14-16, 2015.  Reno, Nevada

Silver Legacy Hotel and Reno Events Center

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Cultivate ’15

July 11-14, 2015.  Columbus, Ohio

 Greater Columbus Convention Center

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Middle East and North Africa Industrial Gas Conference

December 7-9, 2015. Dubai.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel Conference Centre

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Smith Pumps Congratulates The A.O. Smith Corporation

Smith Precision Products Company congratulates the A.O. Smith Corporation in celebration of their 140th anniversary. Please use the following link to learn more. www.aosmith.com

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October Training Event

 

johnivesSmith will be providing product training on October 16, 2014 during the Teeco Products Inc. open house at their facility in Sacramento, California.  Training start time is 9:45 a.m.

To register, please contact Mary at 949-261-6295 or email mary@teecoproducts.com.  There is no cost associated with the training provided.

Teeco Products is located at 7471 Reese Road, Sacramento, California 95828, and has been a Smith distributor/partner in the Western States for more than sixty years.

 

 

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2014 Exhibition Schedule

Smith Precision Products Company will be exhibiting at the following events:

NPGA Southeastern Convention and International Propane Expo

April 12-14, 2014.  Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia World Congress Center

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65th Annual Western Propane Trade Show & Convention

May 15-17, 2014.  Reno, Nevada

Silver Legacy Hotel and Reno Events Center

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Cultivate 14

July 13-15, 2014.  Columbus, Ohio

Columbus Convention Center

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Northeast Propane Show

August 5-7, 2014. Boxborough, Massachusetts

The Holiday Inn Hotel

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The 27th World LP Gas Forum and 29th AEGPL Congress

October 27-29, 2014.  Miami, Florida.

Intercontinental Hotel Miami

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Smith Flyer Discovered in New Zealand

34 flyer revised

“Stumbling” Across an Amazing Find in New Zealand

Not too long ago, New Zealand residents and motorcycle enthusiasts Craig Eagleton, Brian and Fiona Ferguson were returning from a local vehicle enthusiasts event (carshow) when they took a leisurely ride back to Craig’s house, via Pine Harbour Marina on their Triumph and Kawasaki motorcycles.

Brian/Fiona Ferguson and Craig Eagleton in their riding gear.

Brian/Fiona Ferguson and Craig Eagleton (left to right)  in their riding gear.

The marina is not very far from where Craig lives in Auckland and they decided to stop for a bite to eat.  Riding toward the marina, they came across a new building constructed to house the motorcycle/automobile collection of Mr. Allan Drinkrow

Taking an inquisitive peak at this fine collection of cars, Craig noticed a rather peculiar device in the rear corner of the building.  He recognized it immediately as the Smith motor wheel and sent a photograph to his friend, Walter Smith, President of Smith Precision Products Company (Walter’s grandfather was the designer of the Smith motorwheel).   Walter’s response was “Thanks Craig, but it is what the motor wheel is attached to that is amazing…that’s a Smith Flyer!!”  And so began the journey of discovery to resurrect the history of this wonderful piece of American history that has been residing in New Zealand for nearly one hundred years.

A 1916 Smith Flyer with Model BA Smith Motor Wheel

Allan Drinkrow’s magnificent 1916 Smith Flyer with model BA Smith motor wheel.  A portion of Mr. Drinkrow’s automobile collection is in the background.

Allan Drinkrow’s magnificent 1916 Smith Flyer with model BA Smith motor wheel. A portion of Mr. Drinkrow’s automobile collection is in the background.

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Side view of Allan Drinkrow’s 1916 Smith Flyer with 1964 Ferrari 365 V12 in background, claimed to be the fastest four-seat car in the world at the time.

As turns out, Allan Drinkrow is the third owner of this Smith Flyer.  It was shipped from the A.O. Smith plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to New Zealand in 1916; purchased by a family living in Kumeu, North-West Auckland.   Ken Smith, world class race car driver and New Zealand national, purchased the Flyer from the original owners around 1978, then sold it to Allan Drinkrow about twenty five years ago.  Allan’s Flyer was the 624th built by the A.O. Smith Corporation.  All three owners took great care in maintaining the Flyer as it is in remarkably good condition considering the marine climate of New Zealand.  

Allan Drinkrow with his Smith Flyer and 599 Berlinetta Ferrari (2009).

Allan Drinkrow with his Smith Flyer and 599 Berlinetta Ferrari (2009).

Interior construction of wind cowl, brake pedal, and hand lever used to raise or lower the motor wheel in the rear.

Since Allan has owned the Flyer, it has been kept indoors within a climate controlled and UV-resistant environment.  Allan says of his Flyer…”It has always been a runner.  Two years ago I dismantled the engine to clean-out the old oil which had sludged badly. 

Flyer chassis sequence number tag attached to wooden slat below bucket seats.

The engine was found to be in as-new condition and had never been dismantled before.  The quality of the castings and materials used in the engine are to an incredibly high standard.  The crankshaft and camshaft run on tiny tapered roller bearings which are adjustable.  The engine had no measurable wear, the car is original throughout.”  Allan goes on to say “There are no castings here; but drop-forged components.”

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Linda Wills (photographer) and Ken Smith (former Flyer owner). In the background is the building that houses Allan Drinkrow’s automobile collection.

Left: Hand lever linkage underneath Flyer chassis. Center: Steering wheel mortised joints.  Right: Motor wheel magneto generator.

Left: Steering wheel mortised joints. Center: Hand lever linkage underneath Flyer chassis. Right: Motor wheel magneto generator.

Allan’s Smith motor wheel that powers his Flyer has been identified as a model BA, manufactured from late 1916 through 1917.  As improvements were added over the five years A.O. Smith manufactured the motor wheel, new model designations were given for these improvements.  The first motor wheel produced in late 1914 was the model A, followed by the model B, then model BA, and lastly the model C.  The first Flyers that came off the A.O. Smith assembly line were powered by the model BA Smith motor wheel.  It is estimated that 2500 to 3000 Smith Flyers were built and shipped.  Today, they are very rare.

Allan Drinkrow filing gas tank before taking the Flyer out for a spin.

Allan Drinkrow filing gas tank before taking the Flyer out for a spin.

Allan Agrees with Dr. Charles Sinatra

Dr. Charles Sinatra of Jamestown, New York who lovingly restored a Smith Flyer some time ago is credited with the comment “It’s a death trap, but it goes like stink.”  Similar comments have been made through the years from other Flyer owners. 

Similarly, perhaps the most poignant comment Allan Drinkrow passed on about his Flyer is common knowledge to the lucky few that have dared to drive the world’s first sports car…”I have driven it and would class its handling as border-line dangerous.”

Ken Smith toping 20 mph in Flyer.”  Note this is my favorite pic of them all.  As it is at the end of the article, we want it to be large.

Ken Smith topping 20 mph in Flyer.

Click Here for a short video clip of Allan Drinkrow’s Smith Flyer driven by Ken Smith (courtesy of Craig Eagleton)

Brief History of the Smith Flyer

Maria Alt's stunning 1916 model BA Smith motor wheel, photograph courtesy of Mr. Mark Alt.

Maria Alt’s stunning 1916 model BA Smith motor wheel, photograph courtesy of Mr. Mark Alt.

The A.O. Smith Corporation first introduced the motor wheel for bicycles in late 1914 (see The Smith Motorwheel- A Restoration From The Heart article posted on this website and years 1914-15 of the Timeline under About Smith Pumps/Family Legacy on the Smith Precision homepage).

By 1916, the A.O. Smith Corporation was offering a new twist to the motor wheel for bicycles.  The Company designed a very small and lightweight chassis made from wood (buckboard chassis), added a steering wheel, two bucket seats, a foot brake, four wire-wheels, and attached a Smith motor wheel behind the vehicle to power it.  The vehicle was called the Smith Flyer and was dubbed the world’s first sports car. 

Left: Early graphic used for advertisement, circa 1915. Right: 1916 photo used for advertising purposes; Smith motor wheel model BA attached to bicycle.

Left: Early graphic used for advertisement, circa 1915. Right: 1916 photo used for advertising purposes; Smith motor wheel model BA attached to bicycle.

Early patent drawing; Herman Starr inventor.

Early patent drawing; Herman Starr inventor.

The basis for the design of the Flyer chassis came from a patent filed by Herman Starr, a resident of Iowa at the time.  This patent was processed by the patent attorney Erwin Wheeler, well known to the A.O. Smith Corporation, and promptly assigned to the Company.  While the Starr design forms the basic Flyer, the production Smith Flyer utilized a unique wooden chassis, braking system, and steering control, unlike the Starr design. 

1918 Smith Flyer with fan blower improvement.

1918 Smith Flyer with fan blower improvement.

As the Starr design clearly shows a Smith motor wheel as an integral part of the patent drawings, more than likely a collaborative effort was put forth between Mr. Starr and the A.O. Smith Corporation during the initial design and patent filing phase.

With the motor wheel in the rear, a lever was provided so the driver could raise the pivoted motor wheel off the ground for starting.  Once started, the driver was seated and the motor wheel was lowered to the ground; off the Flyer went with a minimum speed of 7-8 mph. 

To stop the Flyer without shutting down the engine, the driver engaged the lever to raise the motor wheel off the ground while at the same time applying the foot brake.  A throttle-control was also provided so the driver could regulate the speed of the motor wheel.  The throttle was attached to the steering wheel.  An engine decompression lever was also provided so the engine could be shut down if required.

Some Specifications

Hand lever knob used to raise/lower the motor wheel.

Hand lever knob used to raise/lower the motor wheel.

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Motor wheel attaching bracket.

The entire Flyer with motor wheel weighed 135 pounds.  The wheel base was 62 inches with overall length including the motor wheel at 98 inches.  Top speed was about 20 mph.  The seats were upholstered in Morroccoline leather.  The entire body was polished natural wood with mud guards, rims, axles, steering column, braces, and other metal parts finished in enamel red.The hubs and wheel spokes were nickel plated.  Later improvements to the Smith motor wheel used for the Flyer included a blower cooling fan for the engine.

In 1918 the F.O.B. Milwaukee, Wisconsin price was $145.00 for the Flyer chassis and $225.00 for both Flyer chassis and motor wheel.

In 1919, the Smith Flyer and motor wheel manufacturing rights were sold to the Briggs and Stratton Corporation.  Briggs and Stratton made several design changes to the Flyer/motor wheel and continued to sell them under their name for a few more years.

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Left: Throttle lever mounted to steering wheel. Center: Floor slats behind bucket seats. Right: Morroccoline leather bucket seats.

 

When Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Foy and the seven little Foys played in Milwaukee in 1917, they purchased two Smith Flyers from the A.O.  Smith Corp. Reprint from Motor Age Magazine, May 17, 1917.

When Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Foy and the seven little Foys played in Milwaukee in 1917, they purchased two Smith Flyers from the A.O. Smith Corp. Reprint from Motor Age Magazine, May 17, 1917.

Addendum

Railway speedster application for Smith motor wheel, circa 1918.

Railway speedster application for Smith motor wheel, circa 1918.

The Flyer chassis was not the only form of vehicle powered by the Smith motor wheel.  The motor wheel was also used to power various railroad inspection and maintenance vehicles.

The Flyer chassis could even be modified for use in the snow.  For an extra $15.00, interchangeable sled runners were available for the Flyer, produced by the A.O. Smith Company as an option. 

Railway inspection vehicle powered by a Smith motor wheel, circa 1918.`

Railway inspection vehicle powered by a Smith motor wheel, circa 1918.`

Allan Drinkrow’s Flyer is equipped with a black leather wind cowl and horn attached to the steering wheel.  While it is not clear if the A.O. Smith Corporation provided wind cowls or horns as options, both are period pieces in their own right and masterfully crafted.

Wind cowl; custom fit leather.

Wind cowl; custom fit leather.

Period horn mounted to steering wheel.

Period horn mounted to steering wheel.

Thank-Yous

We would like to thank Allan Drinkrow for allowing us close access to his Flyer.  Without his passion for automobiles and keen interest in preserving the history of the Smith Flyer, this article could not have been produced.  Ken Smith is also key to the preservation of this Flyer and we thank him for the great care he invested in it when he owned the vehicle.  We are also thankful of his fine tuned driving skills as only a few would have the courage to get into the drivers seat and lower the motor wheel to the ground.  A very special thank you also goes to Linda Wills who took the photographs used in this article.  Linda’s ability to capture the craftsmanship of the Flyer is a gift not many have.  Last but not least, Craig Eagleton along with Brian and Fiona Ferguson “discovered” Allan’s Flyer which led to Walter Smith’s involvement.  Thank you Craig, Brian, and Fiona!

Website article author: Walter W. Smith

Website article editor: Paulina Alfaro

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Strategic Partnership

 

Strategic Partnership

 

For nearly sixty years, Teeco Products Inc. has been distributing Smith pumps to the LP-gas industry, currently through four branch locations from the Rocky Mountains to the west, located in Rapid City, South Dakota; Auburn, Washington; Irvine, California; and Sacramento, California.

Smith’s John Ives discussing GC-1LZ pump cover design.

Recently, at Teeco’s facility in Sacramento, California, a three day training seminar was conducted by Smith employees John Ives and C.J. Smith.  Topics included correct pump selection, installation guidelines, equipment recommendations, operating conditions, trouble-shooting, and hands-on repair techniques.  In addition, attendees also participated in a comprehensive meter seminar conducted by Teeco Products staff.

Teeco’s Bob Bailey discussing pump/meter operation.

At the end of the three days, nearly sixty seminar attendees were exposed to an intensive learning experience designed to help them maximize the field performance of Smith products.  Many of Teeco’s staff also participated, adding to their ability to offer an increased level of focused customer service.

We’d like to thank Teeco Products for hosting the training seminar and also the attendees for asking great questions, being attentive, and eagerness to learn more about the enhanced performance characteristics of Smith products. 

 

 

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The Life and Times of the Alonzo Smith Family

 

Reuben Stanley Smith, founder of Smith Precision Products Company in 1938, was one of seven children born to Alonzo and Sarah Smith.  Reuben’s engineering career has been highlighted this year with several articles posted on this website.  These can be accessed by clicking on Recent News Posts or News Archives listed to the right.  The following article is a pictorial glimpse into Reuben Stanley Smith’s family around the turn of the century.

The Life and Times of the Alonzo Smith Family

An Amazing Find

One of four boxes containing glass plate negatives.

Not too long ago, four wooden boxes tucked deeply inside of a closet were found at the home of Lawrence and Jeanne Smith.  Lawrence passed away in 2000 and Jeanne in 2010.  Lawrence was Reuben Stanley Smith’s son and President of Smith Precision Products Company from 1948 to 1985. The boxes were very old and antiques in their own right.  But it was the contents these boxes held that told an amazing story about the Alonzo F. Smith family.  Alonzo was the father of Reuben Stanley Smith, founder of Smith Precision Products Company (1938).

Inside the boxes were three hundred glass plate negatives, each inside envelopes.  Nearly every envelope recorded the date, subject matter, weather conditions, camera attachment used, and the chemical exposure method employed.  To backtrack a bit, over one hundred years ago, cameras recorded an image on a glass plate in the form of a negative.  Chemicals were used to expose the negative image onto a glass plate.  This was then used if a paper photograph was required to produce a positive image.  Glass plate negatives of any image are quite rare as they are very fragile.  This was the preferred method of taking photographs from about 1890 through 1915.

Glass plate envelope, glass plate negative, and positive image. Note reversal of black and white colors. This is Edna Smith in 1904 in the Los Angeles, California area.

All three hundred glass plate negatives were digitized and a master list produced.  These images came alive to tell the story of the Alonzo F. Smith family between the years 1890 and 1915.

The Story Begins

Alonzo F. Smith; circa 1877

Tin-type photo of Sarah Smith (Watrous); second from right; circa 1872

Alonzo F. Smith was born on May 5, 1850.  He was one of nine children born to Charles J. Smith and Mercy Smith (Johnson).  Alonzo had two older sisters, Sarah (1846) and Mary (1848), three younger sisters, Florence (1852), Martha (1854), and Annie (1856), and three younger brothers, Arthur (1859), Charles (1861), and George (1863). 

Alonzo and Sarah Smith’s home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 1895

The earliest published record of Alonzo’s profession is that of a carpenter in 1877, as listed in the Milwaukee City Directory.  In the same city directory, he is shown as a pattern maker in 1886.  We know he worked with his father for a brief period of time who was manufacturing components for baby buggies and later bicycles.  Small parts were being made of pressed steel and some were made from castings.  More than likely, Alonzo learned the patternmaker trade from his father and used those skills to help the family business.  But everything changed for Alonzo around 1886.

C.J. Smith on porch with his wife Mercy and two daughters; circa 1899

Left: Walter Smith driving buggy with family members; circa 1898. Right: Rosalind, Phoebe, and Edna Smith; horsebuggy days

The Alonzo F. Smith Family

Alonzo and A.O. Smith family picnic; circa 1898

By 1886, Alonzo and his wife Sarah Smith (Watrous) had four children, Walter (1877), Elroy (1880), Reuben (1882), and Irene (1885).  Edna (1889), Rosalind (1894), and Phoebe (1899) would come later.  Alonzo filed a patent for a very unique instructive toy in 1886 and he called it a Spelling Board.  The board was designed with circular letters (56 in all) that could slide around a grooved series of tracks, eventually ending up in the middle track to spell a word or series of words.  Before a letter could be slid into the middle track, however, Alonzo designed a simple method to stop the letter so it could be rotated and properly aligned.  This not only aligned the letter properly but also gave the child using the board a pause to stop and make certain the correct letter was about to be slid into the middle track. 

Smith and Graf families, Milwaukee; 1897

Another board followed the spelling board in short order and was designed in the same fashion.  This board was called a Cardinal Number Board.  This instructive toy allowed a child to learn arithmetic and contained numbers instead of letters.  The Spelling Board was eloquently decorated in red scrolls with the letters in black with red background.  The Cardinal Number Board utilized blue scrolls with the numbers and symbols in black with blue background.  Alonzo began manufacturing these boards shortly after the patent was granted on February 16, 1886.

Instructive Toy Company with staff; Alonzo Smith far left; circa 1892

The Instructive Toy Company

The Instructive Toy Company was established in Milwaukee in 1887 to manufacture the boards.  Alonzo’s sister-in-law, Mary Viola Andrus (Watrous), was the Secretary of the company.  To help with business matters and marketing of the boards, Mr. H. Penner was named the President.  Alonzo managed the business.  The company was located at 991-993 N. Pierce St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Routing machine (nickname “The Old Groover”) inside Instructive Toy Company; circa 1892

Although we do not know in what year this occurred, the Instructive Toy Company entered into an exclusive arrangement with Selchow & Righter to market and sell the boards under their name.  This agreement lasted at least through 1923.  During that entire time, Selchow & Righter sold individual boards for $1.00 with various discounts allowed for quantity purchases.  Selchow & Righter marketed the board as the “Universal Spelling Board.”

Left: Two of Alonzo’s daughters, Irene and Edna Smith holding a Spelling Board, circa 1892. This is the front side of a postcard used for advertising purposes.; Right: Backside of advertising postcard.

Universal Spelling Board

Cardinal Number Board

McCall Magazine Advertisement , 1922.

Smith, Graf, and Andrus family; 1900

Alonzo had a hard time keeping up with the demand and continued to expand his wood shop.  He was granted two additional patents following the board patent for a Spelling Stick and a Puzzle Card Case.  His business in the 1890’s was strong and the family prospered. 

Watermelon party; Alonzo and his brother George; 1899

We don’t know why, but in 1900, Alonzo moved his family to Los Angeles, California, leaving son Elroy behind to finish law school at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  Elroy would join his family in Los Angeles after graduating from law school in 1901, then business school at Brownsberger Business College in 1902, and begin his law practice there once he arrived with Messrs. Bernard Potter and Frank James, at No. 629 in the Douglas Building in downtown Los Angeles.  Elroy was admitted by the Supreme Court April, 1902; by U.S. District and Circuit Courts, Los Angeles, July, 1907.  He was a member of the Knights of Pythias and secretary of the Pythias Association of Los Angeles County.

Top: Market Place in Madison, Wisconsin; 1901; Middle: University of Wisconsin College of Law; eastview; 1901; Bottom: Water tower from Capitol Building; Madison Wisconsin; 1901

 Elroy W. Smith-Photographer Extraordinaire

Elroy W. Smith while in law school at the University of Wisconsin; 1900

Elroy took many of the glass plate negatives.  He was meticulous in detail as evidenced by what he recorded on the glass plate negative envelopes and also in the subject matter of his photos.  The other glass plate negatives were taken by Elroy’s brother Reuben.  Reuben was even more meticulous as he went so far as to record why a glass plate negative was blurred or simply did not come out right.  Glass plate negatives that did not “come out right” were labeled “spoiled.”  Some were labeled “forgot close-up attachment.”

Smith & Smith law offices; Los Angeles, California; 1910

The Young Lawyers-Walter and Elroy

Elroy W. Smith, lawyer; 1910

In 1905, Elroy joined his older brother Walter, and previous partner Mr. Frank James.  While Mr. James operated out of the same offices, the Smith & Smith law practice was formed at 529 in the Douglas Building, downtown Los Angeles.  The photograph at the end of this article is the last known photograph of Elroy W. Smith taken in 1910. He passed away in 1911 at the age of thirty years.

Walter E. Smith, lawyer (left) with his brother Elroy; 1909

Walter graduated from law school at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1903.  While his relationship with his law partner Mr. Frank James was a long one, we do not know what firm Walter was associated with from 1923 until he passed away in the mid 1950’s. Walter did, however, specialize in real estate matters.  He was a member of the esteemed USC Law School “50 Year Club”.  He also took many hikes into the mountains north of Los Angeles and loved the outdoors.  On or about 1912, he was married. Mable and Walter lived long and productive lives, both passing away in the 1950’s.

Mable and Walter Smith

Turn Of The Century-Los Angeles, California

Downtown Los Angeles, California; 1900

Back to around the time Alonzo moved his family to Los Angeles at the turn of the century, the family’s first house was rented and on Jefferson Street.  Alonzo and Sarah then purchased an old run down farm house next to a grassy area called South Park.  South Park was adjacent to a peach tree orchard and it is not clear if the family may have been farming this orchard. 

Downtown Los Angeles, California; 1900

Alonzo and Sarah renovated this house, and built a larger one shortly thereafter on Hill Street in 1906.  The Hill Street house was much larger and included a tennis court.  This house also had the convenience of a telephone.  The Hill Street house also contained a rather large yard which was fenced off from the street.  This is where the family’s youngest two sisters, Rosalind and Phoebe, spent countless hours playing.

South Park home after renovation; 1901

First Smith home in Los Angeles, California before renovation at South Park; 1900

Left: Smith Hill Street home; 1906; Top Right: Inside Hill Street home; note the telephone to the right; 1906; Middle Right: Music room at Hill Street home; 1906; Bottom Right: Hill Street home kitchen; note the carpet sweeper; 1906

 

Sarah and Alonzo Smith with youngest daughter Phoebe in 1901 Waverly runabout horseless carriage

 

Two Touching Photographs

It was when the Alonzo Smith family lived at South Park that Charles Jeremiah Smith (Alonzo’s father and patriarch of the family) died in 1904.  The family was quite saddened by his passing, especially his two young granddaughters, Rosalind and Phoebe.  As a remembrance of C.J.’s passing, two very moving photographs were taken and immortalized on glass plates.  For more about C.J. Smith, see Family Legacy timeline on this site, year 1837.

Left: Rosalind Smith with her grandfather’s portrait in the year Charles Jeremiah Smith died; 1904. Right: Phoebe Smith with portrait; 1904

Sarah Smith “tolerating” her two youngest daughters, Phoebe and Rosalind; 1905

Family Life

Alonzo and Sarah’s Hill Street home was full of life.  The family was quite literate so many books were available as well as magazines.  The kids had pets, they laughed, played music, received visitors, and were engaged.

Left to right; Rosalind Smith, Edna Smith, Alice Graf (cousin visiting from Milwaukee), and Irene Smith; 1909

Edna Smith on piano; 1904

A.O. Smith visit to Hill Street home; 1909

Alonzo and Reuben fixing flat tire on the family’s Ford Model K; 1908

Night photo at Hill Street. Left to right; Reuben, Walter, Sarah, Alonzo, Phoebe, Irene, Rosalind, Edna and Elroy

Phoebe in hammock holding Alonzo’s spelling stick; 1905

Backyard playground at Hill Street; 1907

Reuben at the wheel with his father Alonzo. This was one of two trucks they built; 1906 in Los Angeles, California

Left to right; Alice Graf, Reuben Smith, Harmon Graf, Phoebe Smith, and Sarah Smith (behind Phoebe), on the beach during A.O. Smith visit to Los Angeles; 1909

Reuben Stanley Smith Returns To Milwaukee

In 1909, Alonzo’s youngest son Reuben finished his engineering studies and left Los Angeles with Alonzo’s brother Arthur (who was visiting Alonzo at the time) to begin his career with Arthur’s company in Milwaukee, the A.O. Smith Corporation.  Reuben worked for his uncle, A.O. Smith, as a young teenager when the family lived in Milwaukee.  As the story goes, Arthur was impressed with Reuben’s intuitive skills and abilities with anything mechanical.  Reuben built an internal combustion engine for his father’s woodshop machines and also helped Alonzo build two trucks while in Los Angeles for his father’s business.  Reuben flourished while working at the A.O. Smith Corporation as the environment there presented him with some golden opportunities to do some remarkable work.  That work is posted on the Smith Precision Products Company website with several articles written about the Smith Motor Wheel, Pioneering Welding Advancements, Mechanical Marvel, the Smith Meter Company, as well as the Timeline under Family Legacy.

Internal combustion engine built by Reuben Stanley Smith used to drive wood working machines at the Instructive Toy Company; circa 1901

Irene and Edna Smith

Camp trip; Irene and Walter Smith far right, Edna Smith second from left; 1908

Alonzo’s oldest daughters, Irene and Edna, who are pictured on the Spelling Board postcard, circa 1892, appeared to enjoy California.  They pose in many of the glass plate photographs and took many hikes with their older brothers into the mountains north of Los Angeles, many of them accompanied by their friends.Even their mother Sarah accompanied them on one of their overnight campouts in 1908.

Sarah Smith making coffee at campsite in the Sierra Madre mountains north of Los Angeles, California. Elroy Smith at the doorway; 1909

      It is quite unfortunate that we do not know much about Alonzo and Sarah’s oldest daughter Irene.The last photograph of Irene was taken in 1915. This is also the last photograph of Alonzo.  Irene was perhaps the most photogenic of all of Alonzo and Sarah’s children. Like her brother Elroy, she also passed away at a very young age. Around 1916, Edna married Robert Miller.  Edna and Bob lived in Pasadena, California.

Hiking near Mt. Lowe in Sierra Madre mountains; 1909

 

 

Rosalind and Phoebe Smith

Hal and Rosalind's sailboat

Rosalind, Alonzo and Sarah’s second youngest daughter, married Mr. Hal Colson.  Hal owned a sail boat and the two spent many enjoyable days sailing the waters between Los Angeles and Catalina Island.

A.O. Smith and Phoebe Smith; 1909

Phoebe, the youngest in the family, was also photogenic like her older sister Irene.  And, many glass plate photos were taken of her as she grew up.  Phoebe used to say her most favorite uncle was Arthur, Alonzo’s brother and founder of the A.O. Smith Corporation.  Phoebe went off to Stanford University and obtained her degree there.  She was employed by her brother Reuben’s Company, Smith Precision Products Company from about 1940 through 1962.  Phoebe retired in a small community in the high Mojave Desert area of California and was later joined there by her sister Rosalind. 

Left to right; Irene, Edna, and Rosalind Smith; 1906

Alonzo passed away in the same year as his mother, Mercy, which was 1917. Within months of Alonzo’s passing, his oldest daughter Irene passed away.   Alonzo’s wife Sarah passed away in 1929.

Phoebe Smith; 1905

Much of the information in this article was gleaned from the glass plate negatives and other old photo albums.  The glass plates capture just a moment in time but every plate was a labor of love to produce and expose.  This rare glimpse into the Alonzo F. Smith family would not have been possible without them.

Last known photograph of the entire Alonzo F. Smith Family, 1909. Standing from left, Reuben, Irene, Walter, Elroy. Sitting from left, Rosalind, Edna, Alonzo, Sarah. On the floor in front of Alonzo is Phoebe.

 

The Smith family would like to thank Jon Gordon Photography for carefully digitizing the glass plate negatives and providing the color photographs used in this article. 

We would also like to thank Mr. Mark Alt for identifying the 1901 Waverly runabout horseless carriage and providing the Spelling Board Postcard.

 

Website article author: Walter W. Smith

Website article editor: Paulina Alfaro

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