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William Rufus King Gave Way To M.L.

a note from history...

King County, Washington, with Seattle as its center, was established in 1853 by an act of the Oregon legislature. (The Oregon Territory at that time extended all the way to the present Canadian border.)

It was named for William Rufus King, a loyal Democrat. He had been elected to the United States Senate in 1811, representing Alabama. Later, he served as the Ambassador to France. Finally, in 1853, his political peak was reached with his election to the Vice Presidency, on the ticket with Franklin Pierce.

His term of office was very short, however. He took the oath in Havana, Cuba, where he’d gone for health reasons. Soon after he returned to the United States, he died, without ever serving in office.

King Street in Seattle was also named for this ex-vice president. One of the very early streets to be laid out in Seattle, it begins at Alaskan Way and runs east, with assorted interruptions, to Lake Washington.

In 1986, the official designation of the name was changed to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Revere’s Copper Business Booms

The importance of copper, produced in sheets for multiple uses, increased quickly as the United States became an independent country. In addition to domestic use, it was needed in large quantities to sheathe the hulls of ships and the domes of public buildings.

One of our earliest entrepreneurs, the silversmith Paul Revere, decided to enter the copper business. He began by casting bronze church bells, in 1788. When rolled copper was required, he determined he could produce the amounts needed. Revere was 60 years old when he started rolling copper, in 1798.

Revere was as successful at this as he was at warning the colonists of the British army’s advance and gaining a place in history books. He provided the copper for the hull of the Constitution (Old Ironsides) and the City Hall of New York. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased 7,675 pounds of copper sheathing and 789 pounds of copper nails to cover its State House dome.

In 1808, Revere provided the copper for the boilers of Robert Fulton’s new invention, the steamboat.

When Revere died in 1818, his son Joseph continued in the copper business, rolling sheets and casting bells. In 1828, Joseph Revere took in John Davis and his son as partners.

From the beginning, the company had cast cannon. During the Civil War, they stepped up armament production, providing a gun a day for the Union Army.

The copper company of Paul Revere continues to this day, as the Revere Copper and Brass Company, producing some of the best copper objects made.

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Eggs For Supper Were Fine Fare

Tin Egg Poacher
This tin egg poacher has collar rings to hold the eggs and keep their rounded shape. The handle, with a spring-operated lever, lifts the collars and allows the eggs to be slid onto a serving plate.

Eggs were a staple menu item during earlier times, especially in rural areas and small towns, where people could raise their own chickens and ducks. In pioneer times, however, the eggs were more often used as the main course of the day, rather than as a breakfast item (when porridge dominated.)

An interesting variety of small kitchen gadgets were developed to help make the use of the eggs easier.

A gadget for boiling eggs on the stove was a simple wire holder which held six eggs in individual rings. The holder enabled the cook to lower all six eggs into the water at one time; the rings held the eggs in place, and the eggs could then be removed from the water at the same time, too.

In fancier homes in the late 19th century there were table egg boilers, made of brass, copper or nickel. Holding anywhere from four to ten eggs, the eggs could be cooked right at the table. Some worked by simply filling the vessel with boiling water. Others kept the water hot with an attached alcohol lamp.

There were also gadgets for poaching eggs, rather than boiling them. The example shown here is a perforated tin appliance with six collar rings to enclose the poached eggs and keep them in shape. The handle, with a spring-operated lever, lifts up the collars and allows the eggs to slide smoothly and intact from the poacher to the serving plate. It was patented in the 1890s.

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