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Archive for March, 2011

*Recent ruminations from LUPEC, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Barbara West

“Mary S.” of St. Louis, Missouri (c. 1851-1880) was an inventor who led a life of genius and poverty. Lacking finances and confidence, she sold the rights to her mechanical inventions to various male agents, for as little as $5 each. These men received 53 patents and a great deal of wealth. Mary S. herself died impoverished at roughly age thirty.

A businesswoman and former intelligence agent for the Union army during the Civil War, Charlotte Smith was known for empathizing with the struggles of self-supporting women.

The tragic story of Mary S. spurred Smith, an acquaintance, to seek justice and recognition for women inventors. She wrote about Mary S. in The Woman Inventor, a magazine she founded in 1891. She also pushed for the publication of an official List of Women Patentees. Feminists used the list to argue for women’s suffrage. Today, the list remains the major source of information on 19th-century female inventors. These women were patronizingly dubbed “Lady Edisons.”

Thanks to the list, we know that nearly 4,000 women received U.S. patents between 1809 and 1895—more than 5,000 if design patents are counted. One of the era’s most prolific female inventors was Margaret Knight of Boston (1838-1914). She is credited with about 90 inventions and 22 patents, the most famous of which was the first machine to make the square-bottomed paper bags that are still used in grocery stores today.

In the late 1890s, Smith moved to Boston, where she founded a Women’s Rescue League. In 1907, she organized a Woman’s Board of Trade. After spending thousands of dollars on projects to help women become self-supporting, and years of direct charity to homeless and desperate women, Charlotte Smith died alone in Boston in 1917. She was seventy-seven.

Here’s a cocktail with which to toast our industrious forebroads, known as “Lady Edisons,” this Women’s History Month.

EDISONIAN COCKTAIL

2 ounces brandy
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake brandy, Campari and lemon juice with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pinky Gonzales + Pink Lady

Women’s History Month is upon us! Today we’ll raise a glass to bartending forebroad Ada Coleman, creator of the Hanky Panky, which is also the namesake drink of LUPEC Boston founder, Misty Kalkofen.

Coleman was the first head barman at the famed American Bar in London. As the story goes, “Coley,” a mixologist of reputable character who could trash-talk with the best of them, invented the drink for a colorful bar regular. Coleman spoke of it herself, to a London newspaper in 1925:

“The late Charles Hawtrey … was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was over working, he used to come into the bar and say, ‘Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.’ It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’ And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.”

Coleman worked at the American Bar at the swank Savoy Hotel from 1903-1926, during the cocktail’s coming-out era in Europe. Owners renamed their establishments “American Bars” as a selling point—a way of distinguishing them from mere pubs or gin & tonic joints. The American craft of mixing up Sazeracs, Martinis, Ramos Gin Fizzes and the like became all the rage. Coleman’s barstools saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, WC Fields, Prince of Wales and Mark Twain.

Bartender Harry Craddock filled Ada’s role managing the bar in 1924, after he had left dry America for work abroad. In 1930, he published The Savoy Cocktail Book, an Art Deco gem & many a bartender’s bible. In it, for the first time, is the printed recipe for the Hanky-Panky, below. Mix one up as you toast Coley whose spirit lives on in the likes of modern bartending broad, LUPEC’s own Hanky Panky.

HANKY-PANKY
The original, from the Savoy Cocktail Book

2 Dashes Fernet Branca
1/2 Italian Vermouth
1/2 Dry Gin

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

CIN-CIN!
FOR MORE GREAT STORIES AND LORE, VISIT LUPECBOSTON.COM.

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

March 3rd marks the birthday of blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow. Born Harlean Carpenter but affectionately known as “the Baby,” the actress would have turned 100 this week.

Harlow’s career started as a happy accident when she drove a friend to an audition at Fox shortly after she moved to California with her first husband. Though fascinated by the studio environment, 17-year-old Jean had no desire to become an actress—even after her friend returned to the car with three Fox executives in tow, who produced a letter of introduction to the head of casting after laying eyes on the beauty. Weeks later she took them up on the offer just to win a bet.

Known for her on-screen persona as a vampy sex object, off-screen Jean possessed a naiveté and complete lack of guile about her considerable physical attributes. “When we walked down the street, she would literally stop traffic,” a high school classmate of hers remembered. “Men would climb out of their cars and follow her.”

Frank Capra was the first director to take an interest in cultivating Harlow’s talents as an actress when they worked together on Platinum Blonde, and his efforts paid off. Her next film, Red-Headed Woman, elevated her from sex goddess to comedic actress and was, in Harlow’s words, “the first chance I ever had to do something in pictures other than swivel my hips.”

Baby Jean’s career came to an untimely end when she died from kidney failure in 1937 at just 26 years old. With over 40 films already under her belt, many believe she might have gone on to become one of the most accomplished actresses in American cinema. Here’s to Baby Jean.

PLATINUM BLONDE

1 1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz cream
1/2 oz Cointreau

Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!
FOR MORE GREAT COCKTAIL RECIPES VISIT LUPECBOSTON.COM.

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