Tick Tock~Tanya Hanson

One hundred years ago this very week, a pretty Kansas farm girl married the local preacherman.

 

He was in charge of a district with five congregations, but he still found time to fall in love.

Lucky for me. They’re my grandparents.

And that’s Grampa and his horse, Babe, paying a courting call.

The beautiful Ingraham clock, below, was one of their wedding presents in January 1917. It has sat on my mantel since I myself was a newlywed myself, more then 40 years, and is my prized possession. It keeps perfect time and still chimes each half hour.

Thanks to Elias Ingraham. Born in Marlborough, Connecticut in 1828, he started out building clock cases and between 1857 and 1873, received seventeen patents for his designs. His 4-columned clock became an Ingraham standard.

The Ingraham name was on several clock companies’ mastheads during Elias’s lifetime, so it’s easy to pinpoint an Ingraham clock’s date and origin. Although “clock making” makes us think of the mechanical wizardry and innards that keep time, cases and design are just as big a big deal. After Elias’ death in 1885, his son Edward took over. He invented and refined a process for painting clock cases a smooth black enamel finish. More than 200 black mantel clock designs were popular through the 1920’s

Like most clockmakers, in 1913 Ingraham began to produce pocket watches and soon after, 8-day clock mechanisms. Wristwatches were on the list by the 30’s. However, Ingraham Company ceased watchmaking during World War II to manufacture timers and fuses. Sadly, by 1950, Ingraham had given up making old-style pendulum clocks in favor of electric alarm clocks. Today, the Ingraham trademark can be found on electric clocks made by McGraw-Edison who bought the company in 1967.

Fortunately, my clock is alive and ticking an entire century later. Above you see the key used to wind it.

In fact, you can see it behind Santa when our remote security camera snapped the big fat red guy on Christmas Eve. At least that was the big fat white lie I told the kiddoes. It’s a creation with an awesome iPhone app. You shoulda seen my wide-eyed and awestruck grandsons and nieces, though, when they beheld the photo. Worth it!

How about you? Any treasures from your past?

For more info, check out http://www.discoverclocks.com/ingraham_clocks.html

(Ps. If anyone would like a complementary PDF copy of Christmas Lights in exchange for an honest review, please email me privately at tanhanson AT aol DOT com

I have a few copies to distribute and will draw names if there’s a big response.)

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from Me to You ~Tanya Hanson

 

img_3620Dear Santa, this is my favoritest image of you, praying by the Manger.

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It reminds me that I must thank you, and God too, for giving me what I want most year after year–Christmas with my family, which this year, includes my new granddaughter. Oh, and thanks for my new release, Christmas Lights—I dedicated it to her.

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But I digress. There was one Christmas, some thirty years ago, where I almost didn’t get to keep what I asked for—my newborn daughter. Yes, you remember her? She had been born strong and healthy and nine pounds two weeks before…

Before bacterial meningitis stomped in and almost claimed her life on that dreadful December 21. Our white picket fence-perfect life, with a two-year-old son and new baby girl, spun hideously out of control. It was Christmastime, yet here we were, in the same hospital where she had been born. Wearing scrubs, washed down with Betadine. Sobbing, shocked…staggering through a neonatal intensive care unit.

….Spinal tap? I can’t even remember my birthday while I struggle to sign the form.

Tears, strangling pain. What’s happening? Neonatal nurses, who are angels from heaven, tell me it’s okay to cry. They cry, tooTheir strong but soft hands around me, hold me up.

My husband, my hero–his strength seeps into me as he chokes back his own tears and fears.

Finally our wise and wonderful pediatrician sits us down. “You need to be with your little boy now,” she says.

My backbone turns to ice first. “Will he…?”

“No. This strain is not contagious.” (Small mercies.) “But it’s Christmastime, and he needs you, too.”

So we split time, taking our little guy to see Santa. Helping him hang his stocking—as well as his newborn sister’s. Trying to answer his baby-talk question about where his baby is…

Praying endlessly. Shuddering in dread every time the phone rings.

Once, it’s Uncle Ted calling. My heart hammers horribly until I hear his voice—no caller ID in those days. He’s a pharmacist. I feel a little better: the antibiotic protocol your doctor has prescribed for little Christine is cutting edge.

Still…there’s a little red velvet Christmas dress from her Uncle Mike that can’t be worn inside an incubator. No holiday bonnet for a little head stuck with IV lines. 

She’s so strong, the doctor tells us on December 22. But this is very serious. If she survives, be prepared for deafness, blindness. Seizures. Crippling. Mental deficits.…the ugly list goes on and on.

It’s okay, honey, I reassure my husband when I can form words. I’m a teacher. I’ll teach her everything she needs to know….

They allow Christi out of her heated, enclosed crib to nurse. We have to be careful of all the tubes and wires. There’s even a rocking chair for me. At home I try to feel like a new mommy, pumping milk and freezing it to take to her. The bottles are so tiny.

Santa, do you remember? Early on December 23, you’re finishing the last toy when the doctor calls us, after morning rounds. “Mrs. Hanson, your baby will survive for sure, but, remember….” Pause. Warning. Panic. Of course we don’t forget the possibility of all those bad things.

Why do I want to go hide in the footwell of the desk in the living room?

December 24: Santa, you’re ready to hit the skies, and we are leaving for church. Sometimes, there’s nothing left but God.

The phone rings as we pick up the car keys. It’s the head of neonatal pediatrics.

Terror, my heart starts to die… then joy to our little world.

“Your baby will live,” says Dr. Miller. I can hear his smile. “We’ve tested everything. She is fine and perfect in every single way. Have a merry Christmas.”

Oh, yes. I knew then for sure, and I knew it later. Perfect vision, honor roll. Homecoming princess, gifted pianist, star athlete, cum laude at university…And I know it now: The Lord lives.

And the Lord loves.

One year later...
One year later…

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Every Knee Shall Bend~Tanya Hanson

(I’m giving away PDF or e-copies of my two Christmas releases, the inspirational novella Christmas Lights, an installment of my Hearts Crossing Ranch series, and A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe that includes my sweet short story, Every Knee Shall Bend and five other Western romances! Two winners. So please leave a comment and check back tomorrow.)

*****

Since I am a firm believer that animals are righteous, lead us, and help us heal, it is no surprise that both domestic and wild beasts have a special role in my Christmas story, Every Knee Shall Bend. But the story goes deeper than that. It deals with the grief of losing a dear friend, but also the hope that comes with Christmas. And of course, true love, the greatest gift of all.

This beautiful Arabian from our local horse rescue modeled "Fallen Angel" in the story.
This beautiful Arabian from our local horse rescue modeled “Fallen Angel” in the story.
Somewhere in my childhood, I heard that animals kneel at midnight on Christmas Eve. Maybe somebody read me Thomas Hardy’s poem, The Oxen. All these years later, the idea came to life in my story. But how about other animal antics at this wonderful time of the year?

Well, we already know reindeer fly, thanks to Clement Moore’s 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Two years before, in his 1821 Sketches of Upper Canada, author John Howison related how a Native American told him deer kneel to the Great Spirit on Christmas Eve.

A kneeling deer from Wikipedia Commons
A kneeling deer from Wikipedia Commons
In 1879, a Reverend Hugh Taylor of England’s Northern Counties claimed bees assembled and hummed a Christmas Carol. And a parish in Whitebeck said oxen kneeled to a chorus of bees.

A legend from the German Alps tells how animals on Christmas Eve spoke out loud and foretold their owners’ deaths.

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In the sweet song The Friendly Beasts, the animals explain how they helped the Baby Jesus on His first night in the stable. The camel carried the gifts from the Wise Men, and the sheep gave wool for His blanket. The gift of the manger came from the cow, and the dove and her mate cooed Him to sleep.

The donkey, shaggy and brown, carried His mother safely to Bethlehem. And this sweet equine has its own holiday in France for similar reasons. The “Fete de L’Ane” celebrates the donkey who carried the Holy Family into Egypt and is praised with the chorus “Hail, Sir Donkey, Hail.”

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Have you heard any other legends about animals at Christmas?

 

The Oxen

By Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

1915.

 

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Blurb: in Every Knee Shall Bend,  vagabond Alder Dale leaves the mountains after many years to come to his brother’s Colorado homestead for Christmas. However, last thing he expects to find is a beautiful widow raising kids not her own. Suddenly the wide-open range he loves seems cold and lonely. Walls and hearth call out to him.

Mail-order bride Sadie Dahlstrom leaves Kansas for a new life,  unprepared for widowhood. When she kneads the war wound of a rugged yet gentle stranger, her heart swells with a warmth far different from a Christmas fireplace.

*******

In Christmas Lights, the tone is serious, too. It’s an installment for my Hearts Crossing Ranch series. The heroine Lori appears as an “ex” in a prior story, but I wanted her to have a happy ending all her own. She has to go through a lot to get there, but I’m glad she saw the “light”.

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Blurb:

The Christmas party at Hearts Crossing Ranch is the highlight of the Season in Mountain Cove, Colorado, but Lori Lazaro longs to be anywhere else.

Until a handsome cowboy driving a one-horse open sleigh starts a journey of the heart. Deep down, she doesn’t want it to end, but it must. Heston Calhoun lives life in the spotlight, and after past trauma, Lori needs the comfort of a life in the shadows.

Lori Lazaro stirs Heston like no woman ever has before. Sure, his family stars in a popular unscripted television show about ranch life, but he’s not going to let Lori’s skittishness end their story before it even begins. Having faced dark moments in his own past assures him God can brighten her future. He simply needs to convince Lori that together, they’ll write a happy ending after all.

 

 

A Swarm of Hornets ~ Tanya Hanson

marryingminda-crop-to-use1A historic fleet of 8 sea vessels named Hornet has kept our country safe since the Revolutionary War.

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The Hornets got the name from Deuteronomy 7:20. Basically, “the Lord will send the hornet among them until those who are left and hide from you are destroyed.”

I had the great pleasure last week of climbing on the latest and last Hornet, a World War II aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943. So I’ll be posting pictures of my visit throughout this blog. But let me go back to the beginning.

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USS Hornet today, docked on Alameda Island, California.

The first USS Hornet was a merchant sloop sailing out from Baltimore in February 1776. With 10 nine-pounder guns, her job was to patrol the Delaware Bay. In the summer of 1777, she fell to the British near Charleston, South Carolina.

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Replica sailor from 1943

In 1805, the Continental Navy saw two Hornets. The first, also a ten-gunner, fought in the Barbary War in North Africa, wrecking a wall at the citadel at Djerma and allowing U.S. Marines to breech it.

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Five levels of STEEP ladders and steps freaked me out.

That same year, a brig-rigged sloop, meaning she was actually designed as a warship, was involved in anti-piracy campaigns in the Caribbean. This Hornet sank during a storm at Tampico, Mexico in September 1829.

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Three levels of bunks–dibs on the lowest one!

1813’s Hornet, a small 5-gun schooner, was a dispatch vessel from 1814-1820.

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Flight deck…how do you take off and land on such a small space?

The fifth Hornet was the first to be steam-propelled. Originally a Confederate blockade runner named the CSS Lady Stirling, she was captured on October 28, 1864 near Wilmington North Carolina. Renamed the USS Hornet in April 1865, the ironclad with side wheels then served in the Chesapeake Bay Squadron. She was decommissioned and sold to a private party in 1869.

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Women in the military in WW2 were volunteers. Hornet has a great display of various uniforms.

In 1898, a converted yacht was christened the U.S. Hornet. In concert with two other converted yachts, she succeeded in sinking an entire enemy squadron during the Spanish-American War. The Hornet had no casualties.

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On deck, the color of your jacket or vest indicated your job.

In April, 1942, the U.S. Hornet (CV-8) aircraft carrier launched her top-secret mission of B-25 bombers commanded by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle to attack Tokyo.  With barely 1,000 feet visibility, she left fogged-in San Francisco Bay. Two months later, The Battle of Midway  earned her torpedo squadron a Presidential Citation for heroism. Tragically, she sank after the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, 1942.

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Torpedo deck. The Hornets were first and foremost ships of war. By the 1960’s, the last USS Hornet, the one I visited, recovered astronauts after their ocean splashdowns.
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The first men on the moon!

The last USS Hornet (CV-12) was originally the aircraft carrier Kearsarge. In 1943, she was re-christened in honor of the Hornet (CV-8) lost at Santa Cruz. She launched Pacific raids off her flight deck, served in Vietnam, and recovered the astronauts of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 after their splashdowns from the moon.

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After Splashdown, Apollo astronauts were quarantined in this Airstream trailer in case they’d brought weird organisms back from the moon.

Decommissioned in 1970, she is now both a National and California Historical landmark, and a wonderful museum docked at Alameda Island, California. The USS Hornet is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon, and I heartily recommend it.

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My honey peering across the bay to San Francisco.

Have you ever visited a historic ship? Tell us about it!

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My first-ever time-travel romance Witchy Woman will be released on October 15 as part of Cobblestone Press’s Octoberfest! Both my modern-day heroine Allie and hero Pack are members of top-secret organizations to protect antiquities. On their way to and from Salem, Massachusetts in 1644 to retrieve a historic ring made of hair, they fall in love (of course!) and save the day (of course!). And of course, it isn’t about witchcraft at all.  If you are willing to read a complimentary PDF copy AND  post reviews, please email me at tanya.hanson@gmail.com

http://www.tanyahanson.com

http://www.uss-hornet.org

Cotton Bolls from Cotton Balls~a country craft! ~Tanya Hanson

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(If you were here with me last month to cyber-visit my expected granddaughter’s adorable Snow White nursery – her royal highness Reagan Christine is now here and stealing our hearts more and more every day!)

I’m also celebrating another “birthday”—my publisher’s third! I’m giving away two short stories (Kindle version) today. They were part of last Christmas’s anthologies, and each is short and sweet. I’ll draw two names from today’s commenters, so please check back tomorrow to see if yours is one of them.)

Okay, it’s September, which to me automatically signals the arrival of Fall. And I thought I’d share with you a neat fall craft. It all started when my youngest grandson fell in love with Olaf from Frozen. On every visit to the park and on every neighborhood walk, he came back with handfuls of sticks for “snowman arms.”

About the same time, Hubs and I toured the South, where I came across batches of real cotton bolls for sale at the historic city markets. However, since I was already dragging a giant Mardi Gras mask on a plane, Hub said No to carrying home loads of cotton. So….I was thrilled to come across the following DIY and now have cotton bolls all my own.

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Here’s what you need:

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Cardboard egg carton cut apart into 12. Each of these will be a boll.

Sticks and leaves from your own park or neighborhood walk:

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Glue gun, drugstore cotton balls, dark brown acrylic paint and brushes.

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Cut each cup further into a “blossom” with petals. Vary each slightly, and add scraps here and there for variety, too.

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Paint each of your blossoms and let them dry for a day.

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When dry, bend/extend the petals etc. and hot glue cotton balls in the center.

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Then hot glue each “boll” to your sticks and glue on some leaves.

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Voila. Fun little Autumn Centerpiece!

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Do any of you enjoy crafts? Tell us about one of your favorites to make or display!

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Read what happens when Lady Alisoun, who must wed an icky old lord the day after Christmas, meets a gorgeous stranger. Who might be one of King John’s spies!

 

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Read what happens when interfering siblings matchmake prim, proper single mother Phoebe with the dastardly outlaw Black Ankles…

 

Snow White and A Kiss To Remember ~Tanya Hanson

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(Please leave a comment today for a chance to win our boxed set A Kiss To Remember.)

Today or tomorrow, or some day really, really soon, will be a magical day for Hubs and me. Our first granddaughter and already spoiled princess is due to be born any second.  

So what does Snow White have to do with anything? Well, this is the picture that started it all.

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Our daughter has been a Snow White freak since she was little. This Disneyland poster hung in her childhood room and went to college with her, and now has the place of honor in Her Royal Highness’s nursery. Honestly, that rearview looks exactly like our daughter did way back when.

Enter the heirloom mirror inherited from HRH’s great-grandma. And a nursery theme was born.

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Sleep tight, sweet princess!
Sleep tight, sweet princess!
The red Ikea chair is from the other great-gramma..the yellow toy chest from Gramma and Grampa..apple footstool...
The red Ikea chair is from the other great-gramma..the yellow toy chest from Gramma and Grampa..apple footstool…

 And also the coolest theme baby shower ever, thanks to our daughter’s beloved sorority sister Danielle!)

Shower invitation!
Shower invitation!
Wishing Well water...(there was also a blueberry one)
Wishing Well water…(there was also a blueberry one)
Danielle's beautiful wedding china (she got married last Christmas) with teensie Magic Mirror napking rings and medieval-themed charters...absolute perfection!)
Danielle’s beautiful wedding china (she got married last Christmas) with teensie Magic Mirror napkin rings and medieval-themed chargers…absolute perfection!)
Her Royal Highness's cake.
Her Royal Highness’s cake.
Poison apple favors (although they were actually harmless cinnamon)
Poison apple favors (although they were actually harmless cinnamon)
Wall decor!
Wall decor!
Centerpieces.
Centerpieces.
You-Know-Who
You-Know-Who
My daughter opening the gift from Charlene...several adorable outfits. (Charlene has four princesses of her own, so I'm taking notes.)
My daughter opening the gift from Charlene…several adorable outfits. (Charlene has four princesses of her own, so I’m taking notes.)

So…former schoolteacher that I am, I need to share with you now, some:  

Cliff Notes on the “real” Snow White

The Germany fairy tale was published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm, original title Sneewittchen.

The fairy tale features the now-classic Magic Mirror, poisoned apple, glass coffin, Evil Queen-Evil Stepmother, a sleeping enchantment, and of course, dwarfs. Oh the best part: glass coffin and a delicious prince.

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Basically, a widowed king marries a second wife who is pathologically jealous of his beautiful daughter. Mostly because her Magic Mirror revealing the fairest of them all one day reveals– The Princess. Evil Queen orders hunter to kill our beautiful princess. Gasp. Of course Snow White’s so lovely, he just can’t. Instead, she finds refuge in a tiny cottage of little men. Queen finds her, disguised as a peddler with delicious apples. Only…they are poisoned! Snow White falls to the floor, is believed dead and laid to rest in a glass coffin. Whereupon our hero Prince finds her .

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Well, research by a German historian 20 years ago claims Snow White is inspired by the life of Margaretha von Waldeck, a countess who fell in love with a prince, the future Philip II of Spain. Sweet Margaretha died at age 21, and it is believed Spanish agents of her lover’s father poisoned her.

Or not. Another scholar thinks Snow White is based on Maria Sophia von Erthal. (The ancestral castle is now a museum in Bavaria). Its “talking mirror” , actually an acoustical toy made in 1720, was part of the household when Maria’s nasty stepmother Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen moved in. The mirror itself is on display in the Spessart Museum!

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The creepiest thing is…one legend has the Evil Queen attending the royal prince’s wedding … See picture above. So far…she has No Idea the bride is Snow White. Upon discovery of her presence, a pair of red-hot iron shoes are brought in to Punish Her…she is forced to step into the horrific footwear and dance until, sob, she dies!

All I know is, our little princess is the Fairest of All. I know for sure, because I’ve seen the ultra sound. Talk about magic!

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Okay…so what’s your favorite fairy tale? Did you read fairy tales as a child? Did you ever want to be a princess? Have you ever visited a castle?

And for something else exciting: Our boxed set…the best dollar you’ll ever spend! Leave a comment today for a chance to win, and check back tomorrow!

Tracy Garrett: HER SANCTUARY. Through loss, betrayal, and loneliness, love offers sanctuary for the heart.

Kathleen Rice Adams: THE DUMONT WAY. The Civil War burned Texas…and fanned the flames of love.

Cheryl Pierson: GABRIEL’S LAW. Nobody expects to hear the click of a gun in the hands of an angel.

Livia Washburn: YESTERDAY’s FLAME. Amid the ashes of San Francisco, they find the passion of a lifetime.

Tanya Hanson: OUTLAW HEART. A beautiful woman, a Pinkerton, and Doc Holliday…Respectability will be harder than the outlaw thought.

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http://tinyurl.com/jbca82l

The Pelton Wheel…Tanya Hanson

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With Pelton being a family name, I’m always intrigued to see the giant “Pelton Wheel” on display at California Adventure/Disneyland whenever I go.USE

I thought it might be an intriguing subject for a post here, but the whole engineering mechanism has defeated my feeble brain. So here’s a link if you absolutely need more explanation on how the wheel works. http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Pelton_wheel.html

But the history behind it…that I can do. Inventor Lester Allan (Allen?) Pelton, (1829-1908) significantly changed hydro-power in the Old West by inventing the Pelton Water Wheel in the late 1870’s. His mechanism proved to be the most efficient design of the “impulse water turbine” so critical to mining.

Lester was born on September 5, 1829, in rural Ohio to a local pioneer family. His grandfather, a sea captain, had lost most of the family’s fortune in the War of 1812. After family-farming it for a while, Lester and a bunch of pals hurried to California in 1850 for the Gold Rush. LesterAllanPelton

He never struck gold, but made it as a fisherman on the Sacramento River, then worked as a millwright and carpenter in the Mother Lode country, observing everything he could about mining technology.

He saw that steam-powered heat was required for most mining activities, but the process required tons of wood for fuel, thereby decimating nearby forests. “Turbine wheels” were starting to come into the picture, particularly from the Knight Foundry of Sutter Creek, California, but Lester noticed that most wheels did not efficiently convert to horse-power the kinetic energy of  water rushing in mountain streams.

Lester experimented upon the designs of existing wheels and came up with  the “Pelton Runner” (the term later came to be used just for the “double-cup” blades of the wheel) and installed his first operational wheel in 1878 at the Mayflower Mine in Nevada City.

In an intense competition in 1883 with wheels from the the industry favorite Knight Foundry,  the Pelton Wheel was declared to perform with 90% efficiency in converting stream-flow kinetic energy to horsepower; the nearest competitor at 77%. (Most existing water wheels at that time rated less than 40%) In 1888, Lester Pelton founded a company in San Francisco to satisfy the growing need for hydro-electric power in the West.

He died on March 14, 1908, and his designs are still used today around the world.  In 2006, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

For more info:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pelton_wheel_(patent).png

How about you? Any inventors in your circle of friends and kinfolk?

HeartsCrossingRanch_w4841_680[1]

A beautiful city slicker and a rugged cowboy…The perfect Wild West adventure.

Cowboy Kenn Martin bears the guilt for allowing a coach to ruin his younger brother’s bright athletic future. Feeling unworthy of any happiness, he’s lost his faith in relationships and in God. When he meets Christy Forrest, he begins to hope for redemption but soon learns his past mistakes aren’t something she’ll easily forgive.

On the Colorado wagon train adventure planned by her late father, landscape designer Christy Forrest seeks to find peace in the nature she loves. However, she can’t let go of her anger at the drunk driver who killed her dad—or the woman who did nothing to stop the man from driving.  Falling for Kenn Martin begins to lighten her heart…until she realizes the handsome cowboy carries heavy a burden all his own—a burden she’s not sure she can share.