DeKleist - 12-9


Happy Monday!  We are going to jump in head first today, and tell you a little bit about one of our favorite people:  Baron Frederick Joseph Eugene DeKleist.  Born in Dusseldorf, German in 1853, he started out as a military man and fought in the Franco-Prussian War.  We can all be grateful he did not opt to become a professional soldier, since the end of fighting found him working for a band organ company in Europe, the Limonaire Freres.  He struck out on his own in 1880 and moved to London, where he made connections with the great American carousel manufacturer Allan Herschell.  Herschell convinced DeKleist to migrate to New York state where he established the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory, the first

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such site in the United States.  To tell the entire story of this interesting man and the industry he started could (and has) filled a book or two, so we will leave it here with an expression of our gratitude for what he did.  Without DeKleist and those who followed him, the American Treasure Tour would be a much more quiet tour, and what's the fun of a tour without music!?


In 1897, DeKleist changed the name of his company from the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory to what?

a)  DeKleist Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company

b)  Wurlitzer Nickelodeon Productions

c)  Mills Novelty and Casino Company

d)  DeKleist Band Organ and Orchestrion Industries

e)  Noisemakers "R" Us

Answer Below.


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"The Mother of All Demos" happened on this date in 1968.  That is the name ascribed to a ninety-minute demonstration that occurred at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco.  The demo, given by computer engineer Douglas Englebart, revealed technology that was, at the time, revolutionary, but that has since become part of every computer user's daily life.  Introducing such concepts as the mouse, word processing, video conferencing, and graphics to computer technology, he paved the way for the technology that would transform computers from being used solely as elaborate calculators to becoming the personal computers we know today.  Englebart's influence on modern life is beyond question, although sometimes it seems like things were a lot easier before technology took over our everyday life....  


Emmett Kelly.jpg

One of the most famous men to ever perform as a clown, Emmett Kelly was born on this day in 1898.  The image of his "Wearie Willie," a sad clown whose frown was never turned upside down, is now iconic.  His popularity began in the early-1930s, during the Great Depression, and continued until his death in 1979.

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Another well-known (if not iconic) performer celebrates his birthday today:  Lee J Cobb was born in 1911.  In sharp contrast to Emmett Kelly, Cobb was a dramatic actor who generally played bullying, domineering characters, most notably in films including 12 Angry Men, a number of film noir greats such as Call Northside 777, and even The Exorcist.  When he died in 1976, he had over seventy movies under his belt.


When the facilities of the government of the United States are drawn on an individual, it can be terrifying.  - Lee J. Cobb  [Said after testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the red scare.  Cobb had been a member of the Communist Party.]

Answer:  a)  DeKleist Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company