Notes from the Past

Love and Refrigerators in 1889

Here is an intriguing cover and enclosure which I recently acquired from an APS Circuit.  Its philatelic interest is modest; the stamp is a damaged 2¢ Washington of 1887 (Scott #213); the cancel is an ordinary Philadelphia duplex dated APR 10 | 11 A M | 89 with a 9 in the killer.  Its interest, however, is twofold.  First, it is an interesting advertising cover from a Refrigerator Manufacturer.  Second, the letterhead enclosure, to say the least, raises some flights of fancy.

Frank W. Lockwood was the proprietor of this business which manufactured Refrigerators, Water Coolers, Commodes, Blacking Cases (anyone know what these were?), and Home-Furnishing Wooden Ware.  I originally thought that this was a very early use of the word 'refrigerator' but found that the word was first noted in 1803 much to my surprise.  I had thought that 'icebox' was the operative word in 1889 as I am convinced that Lockwood's products were cooled by periodic additions of ice just like iceboxes.  The word 'icebox' didn't enter the lexicon until 1846. (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary)  The first home mechanical refrigerators were introduced in the U.S. in 1911.

The second item of interest is the enclosed note.  The letter was addressed to Mrs. Franklin Lockwood (the wife of the proprietor) and is transcribed as follows:

My own precious little darling -- Come down this afternoon if you get this in time.  Meet me at 2nd and Spruce St. at 2:30 -- if you are not there at 2:30 -- come down at 4 or 4:30.  But be sure and come as I must see you.
Your Truly Loving Husoter [?]
The timing of this request reflects the convictions regarding mail delivery in 1889.  Remember there were two deliveries a day at that time so that it was completely possible that a letter posted in the forenoon would be delivered in the afternoon mail in the same city.

Posted May 15, 2000

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