Knight Wheel

The Samuel Knight Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology is currently in hiatus. If you would like to be active in helping to revive the Chapter, please contact Jay McCauley, via the Contact tab above.

Welcome to the Samuel Knight Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology, a Northern California organization for people interested in industrial heritage and preservation. Our members include engineers, architects, professors, archaeologists and folks who just love old factories. We have members from San Diego to Reno, with many members in the Greater Bay Area. As the banner above illustrates, we sponsor a number of activities including visits to contemporary and historic industrial sites, lectures, and active study of industrial archeology related topics. Many of our plant visits are to sites unavailable to the general public. We invite you to join us!

If you are planning a visit to the Bay Area, here's a map with lots of current and historical industrial sites, some of which were stops for tours during SIA 2008.  For the bridge fans, here's a map showing bridges in the area identified by Caltrans as historic in their 2006 survey (and some others identified by KPIX in a show on interesting bridges.)

Borax Smith Tour - Part Two - California and Nevada Desert,

Teel's Marsh - September 23-25, 2011

On the evening of Friday, September 23rd we'll be meeting up in Lee Vining, California for an orientation meeting. Bright and early on Saturday morning we'll hit the road and head towards rugged desert areas near Mono Lake. Our main objective will be to visit the remains of Smith's 1873 borax mill near Teel’s Marsh. On our way there and beyond we expect to visit other sites including the Mono Mill historic site, Benton Hot Springs, Montgomery Pass (narrow gauge railbed & tunnel site), and Marietta. (The itinerary is subject to change.) We'll get back to Lee Vining at night.

On Saturday we expect to drive about 240 miles including about 40 miles on dirt roads. 4WD vehicles are useful but not required. Carpooling from Lee Vining is encouraged to minimize the number of cars and dust.

No tour events are planned for Sunday but most people will be heading home that day. We'll work up a list of other fun things to do before and after the big event on Saturday.

Registration Details

There is a limit of 20 people for this event but no charge. To reserve a place contact Tony Meadow (ameadow@gmail.com). Please include your email address and telephone number.

Once you're registered with Tony you'll be sent a registration packet including recommended supplies (full tank of gas, good spare tire, etc.). The packet will include a list of motels, camping sites, etc.

Contact information:

Registration: Anthony Meadow, 510-334-8161 (cell)

Tour Leader: Phil Bellman, 510-532-5788 or 510-625-2425

Further reading:

The best book to get started with is George Hildebrand's "Borax Pioneer: Francis Marion Smith" published by Howell-North Books in 1982.
There are also  a number of articles on Wikipedia including <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Marion_Smith>, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Coast_Borax_Company>, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax>.

There's also any number of other resources on the Internet. Here are links to three older books available through Google Books:

1. Report on the Borax Deposits of California and Nevada, Giving the Production, Consumption, Uses, History, Chemistry, and Mineralogy of Boracic Acid and Its Compounds, and Other General Information, With a Map Showing the Principal Localities in the Two States.
by Henry G. Hanks, State Mineralogist
Bulletin 24, part of Third Annual Report of the State Mineralogist, Sacramento, CA, 1883

2. The Saline Deposits of California
by Gilbert Ellis Bailey
California State Mining Bureau Bulletin No. 24, Sacramento, CA, May 1902

3. Reconnaissance of the Borax Deposits of Death Valley and Mohave Desert by Marius R. Campbell, USGS Bulletin 200, Washington, DC, 1902
(This bulletin starts on page 758 of this pdf!)

We'll be sending out details of additional materials in the registration packet.

Machine Scraping and Rebuilding Class Repeated

Due to popular demand, Richard King will do another class Fri-Sun Oct 21-3 or Oct 28-30, 2011 in the San Francisco Bay area. Please let us know which dates (or both) work for you. We will go with the date most people say is good. Class subject is "How to get started Rebuilding your worn machine tools" . You will be taught to Hand Scrape, Hand 1/2 Moon Oil Flake, Biax Power Scrape and 1/2 Moon Flake, How to level and align machines, How to match fit way surfaces, apply and scrape Turcite, Etc.  Please  contact  

 d_mayeron@hotmail.com or 


Oakland Food Industries Tour, Wed Sept 7

On Wednesday, Sept 7, 2011, the Chapter hosted an all day tour of food industries in Oakland, many of which are housed in adaptively reused industrial buildings. The tour is being organized in cooperation with the City of Oakland Community Economic Development Agency (CEDA). They have produced a brochure to encourage entrepreneurs, developers and others in the industry to locate in Oakland,  here is the brochure.

The tour was organized by Chapter President Tony Meadow, Margo Prado from the CEDA and Betty Marvin from the City of Oakland Planning Department. We also got valuable help from the Oakland Heritage Alliance and the San Francisco Young Preservationists Network. The tour will be repeated as part of the California Preservation Foundation Annual Conference in May, 2012. We had almost 30 participants including City Council Member Libby Schaaf.
The tour visited eight food-related companies, each with its own lovely aromas and in many cases, tastes! Most of these are not open to the public, so we got some rare, behind the scenes looks at specialty food production. These venues were:
  • Hodo Soy Beanery - tofu products
  • California Cereal Products - cereal and rice flour
  • Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Numi Tea 
  • Veronica Foods - olive oil and related products
  • Dreisbach Inc. - cold storage and refrigerated transport
  • Premier Organics (Artisana nut butters)
  • Linden Street Brewery
Sharon McCauley posted her pictures here. Please post yours and drop me a line to link to them from our web site.

Keeping in Touch

As indicated in our paper Newsletters, we've migrated the Chapter to an electronic distribution scheme.  It's vastly cheaper and more timely.  We have an experimental Facebook Group http://www.facebook.com/groups/135094169846655/ that allows you to post relevant things . Please join it! And even more important, please contribute to it!  The National SIA has also moved to electronic distributions in addition to our  traditional paper distributions of IA and SIAN.  We encourage you to sign up for the  National SIA eMail news below, and to check off the Samuel Knight Chapter in your choice. If you only want to receive Chapter eNews, please drop Jay an email.

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