Ernest Bywater: Blog

Past Values

October 12, 2017
Posted at 11:04 am
 

I'm posting this as its own blog entry because it relates a number of stories. Due to inflation and other economic factors it's hard to relate prices and values of long ago with those of today. Improved manufacturing makes things cheaper while other factors push prices up. For example, the common desktop computer that cost $2,000 today has more computing power than a $5,000 system did 20 years ago or a $5,000,000 computer did 50 years ago. Yet a gallon of fuel 50 years ago was only a few cents.

You can't really compare prices of then to now. Back in 1860 the latest Colt .45 revolver sold for $20, based on inflation between then and now it would cost about $500, while the changes in manufacturing should make it available for much less for the same gun today, but other factors like increased labour means they sell for $1,500 today - which is much higher than the inflation rate. Rural land in Arizona sold for $5 to $10 an acre in 1860 and now sells for thousands an acre.

The best way to get an idea of prices is to look at key factors of the time and place. In 1860 farm land in Maryland sold for $30 an acre while most people were paid $1.00 a day for a full day of work or about $0.10 per hour (or less), and new revolvers cost $20 each.

I hope this helps with looking at comparative values.

Boone - The Early Years and notes - updated 12 Oct

October 8, 2017
Posted at 2:46 am
Updated: October 14, 2017 - 1:20 am
 

This is a western in US English posting in 8 parts with a new part every other day. There is a Foreword - please read it as it's important. As usual, the story is available now on Lulu as a print book and an e-pub at:

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/boone-the-early-years/ebook/product-23358102.html

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/boone-the-early-years/paperback/product-23358069.html

If you send me an email arguing about any of the politics in it I'm not likely to answer it. I hope you enjoy the story. Yes, a sequel is planned, but it will be quite a while coming due to other pressures.

................

About the wagon. These wagons are built for long distance, rough country, hauling and are not intended for easy handling close to buildings for loading and unloading on a daily basis. The same sized wheels means they only have to carry the one sized spares, and it means they have a slightly higher ground clearance than the arrangements with smaller front wheels gives them. Boone makes six wheels for each wagon, to have two spares on each wagon.

By the mid 1800s most wagons used in cities and near warehouses had the tongue fixed to the front axle mounted on a Pivot Point which connected to the bottom of the wagon, this extra unit lowered the front axle by about two feet, so they put smaller wheels on it to keep the wagon level and to allow for a tighter turning circle. Other wagons where turning in a tight circle wasn't so important had the front axle mounted on the wagon the same as the rear axle, this gave a higher ground clearance. Often, the team pulled the wagon using a harness or chains, or the tongue was fixed to the wagon with a pin at the wagon end to allow the team to go to the side and drag the wagon around in a turn - most farm wagons were like this. A Conestoga Wagon used a Pivot Point, where as the wagons in the story don't. I thought the mention of the same sized wheels would make it clear it didn't have a pivot point, but it seems that's not so, thus this explanation.

Banks. During the mid to late 1800s there were two major types of banks. One type were registered with the government and recognised by them - Chartered Banks. These were only in larger cities and were very strongly built. They issued Letters of Credit, Bank Drafts, and Promissory Notes - like Wells Fargo Bank, the Hibernian, and the First National Bank. These are the banks the government kept records and statistics on. The second type of bank was a local bank run by a local person which were basic savings and loans banks for the local community. In a lot of cases all they consisted of was a safe and records in the corner of some business. As the towns grew big enough they often had their own building and one or two staff. The only records on these banks that were kept were the mentions in the local newspapers and their own account records. That were not recognised or regulated by the government the way the other type of banks were.

The first type of banks weren't robbery targets due to them being in the middle of large cities and having a lot of staff, including armed guards. The second type of bank is what the bandits and crooks robbed during the 1800s. Often the robbery from a local bank would leave a community broke. Due to the differences between the way the banks operated there are no reliable statistics or information on actual bank robberies. The only solid records about robberies of the local banks comes from the numerous Wanted notices issued on people for bank robbery. This is clear from the issue of notices for bank robbery in places where there were no government recognised banks at that time. If the local banks were lucky enough to grew they became a Savings Association and then grew to be a recognised bank. The Savings Associations had the misfortune to be big enough to target but not big enough to have great security to stop the robbers. The Younger Gang did well robbing the smaller banks, but failed to rob the Charter Bank known as the First National Bank of Northfield. The Wild Bunch did well robbing the smaller banks to. Due to the difference in the types of banks some people think no bank robberies occurred, because they only look at the Chartered Banks.

Reloading the .44 shells - Yes, it can be done, and it's not easy. What you need to keep in mind is Boone knows he's going to an area where resupply is going to be an issue, so he takes precautions to ensure a supply, if he has to regardless of how hard it will be. However, in the course of the story he doesn't get around to doing any reloading, so don't worry about it, please.

Mules. I did a lot of research on how much a mule can carry, and could only find two sets of confirmed figures, one for a pack on the animal, and one for pulling a wagon. The Wikipedia website on mules says they can carry a pack of up to 353 pounds but commonly carry around 150 to 200 pounds or 20% of it's body weight. While the Wikipedia article on the Twenty-mule Team pulling the Borax wagons says they pulled a tandem wagon load carrying 10 tons of Borax with a total weight of cargo and wagons being 73,200 pounds which comes out to 3,660 pounds per mule. This is what I faced my figures on, but I cut it back a little.

Bathrooms in my stories

July 3, 2017
Posted at 6:52 am
 

Due to a question from a reader I'm now aware that many people in the USA have a different idea of what is or isn't in a bathroom. Here in Australia we have a number of arrangements for a bathroom.

A bathroom may contain a bath, a shower, a basin sink in a bench, a toilet, and space to dress - or any combination of them. Also, a bath may or may not have a shower over it. The simple rule is if any one of the above is shown as having its own room, then it's not in the bathroom. Thus the bathroom in Survivor: Moving On has a bath (in this case with a shower over it), a basin sink area, and space to dress. We also have a thing called a four way bathroom where there's a sort of central basin sink area with three doors off it to have the bath, toilet, and shower each in their own little area to allow privacy and multiple users. A three way bathroom is the same but no separate shower.

An en-suite is a cut down version with a sink, toilet, and shower or bath with a shower over it.

I hope this helps you to understand the plans I include as a memory aid.

Survivor: Moving On - update

July 2, 2017
Posted at 8:20 pm
 

Survivor: Moving On - 51,500 words in six parts to go up every other day, all uploaded to the Wizard. It covers Pat going to college and the life events there. As usual, it's also available on my Lulu page as both an e-pub and a print book:

www.lulu.com/spotlight/ernestbywater

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/survivor-moving-on/ebook/product-23242625.html

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/survivor-moving-on/paperback/product-23242610.html

Apartment Phone System
had a few messages about it. It's simple to do using a mini-PABX and normal phone handsets. A unit like this should do it.

kookye.com/2016/09/08/kookye-pabx-pbx-telephone-switch-system-control-exchange-2-x-8-extensions-for-small-office-home-office/

Ed's New Life - old story posted warts and all

March 26, 2017
Posted at 2:24 am
Updated: March 26, 2017 - 2:53 am
 

I asked about posting the original story for Ed's New Life because I'm not up to revising and editing it right now - it needs way too much work for what I can give it until I'm finished with some other matters. I asked, and the readers want to see it, so it starts posting on the usual schedule of a part every other day. 114,000 words in 15 parts. It is available at Lulu on:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/eds-new-life/ebook/product-22048268.html

This story is 10 year old text, despite some cosmetic fixing a couple of years ago when I finally posted an e-pub version. Sometime in the next year or so I hope to bring it up to my current standard of writing. I'm posting this as it's the only story I've written that isn't posted here, that won't be true after it's all posted.

Edit to add: This is the first story I was able to get posted anywhere, way back when. I must have done something right, since the publisher changed their policies to accept it. The story has message to tell people, but lacks a little in the delivery.