Given the small size of the “vast throng,” it probably would have been easier to write the returns on a chalkboard, or just yell them out the newspaper’s window. But ah, the allure of technology.

The Election Returns Thrown on the Canvas Kept Crowd Interested For Many Hours

For hours on Wednesday night the large square in front of the Press Democrat office was thronged with hundreds of people. The crowd also thronged the Courthouse plaza. It was a large, interested throng, and during the evening cheers were frequently raised as the stereoscope the names and the votes of the candidates who were forging ahead on the large screen.

For a number of years the Press Democrat has carried out this means of giving the election news to the public, and the effort has been greatly appreciated by everybody.

As usual, the paper arranged a system of messenger communication with the various polling places, and the messages were hurriedly transmitted to the office and the slides were rapidly made.

Frank Cherry used his fine stereopticon and gave excellent service. The crowd stayed until an early hour on Thursday morning, and the interest was maintained throughout.

In addition to the stereopticon service, several hundred queries were answered over the telephone. “How’s the election going?” was the favorite query asked and answered.

– Press Democrat, April 7, 1904

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Two more 1904 utility items: Another “electric juice” problem (see: “The ‘Juice’ is Off Again“) and a gas pressure warning. On Feb. 26, the PD also noted the street lights were once again out, and “other lights very dim.”

The Welsbach Company was the major manufacturer of mantle lamps at the time, popular because they produced such a bright light. The secret, we now know, was because the gauze was coated in radioactive thorium oxide. The old Welsbach factory grounds in New Jersey are now an EPA Superfund cleanup site.

Storm Brings Darkness

Several times Monday night the electric juice ceased to be juicy and went dead. The storm proved a great fuse blower. Shortly after one o’clock Tuesday morning the current went out presumably on account of trouble on the main line. Santa Rosa looked pretty black overhead and down below. The fluctuation of the current naturally caused the electric motors to fluctuate and the stops occasioned considerable delay in the printing office.

– Press Democrat, February 16, 1904
Notice to Gas Consumers

Owing to a slight increase in pressure at the gas works to supply the demand for gas, consumers can keep down their gas bills by not opening the keys and valves on Welsbach lamps and stoves. Lighting and cooking bills can be reduced by attending to this.

– Press Democrat, May 28, 1904

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Looking Out For The Week

There is a surprise at the Novelty Theatre for Santa Rosans. The manager states nothing like it has ever been here and that each succeeding week will be ahead of its predecessor. Keep your eyes open for Monday night, he says, and also watch the comical moving pictures. The pictures will depict a policeman coming to arrest two servant girls. They resist, and set him down in a wash tub of soap suds, break dishes over his head and throw him out through a window.

– Press Democrat, January 31, 1904

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