Friday, January 13, 2017

My Eateries of Memory

Thinking back over the restaurants and other purveyors of food where I have eaten during my 80 plus years, a number come readily to mind.  They range from eateries of my childhood to one which I have visited just last year.  Some are memorable because of their food.  Others are included here because of personal incidents that come associated with them.  All have a special meaning for me.

A fixture on Toledo’s Madison Avenue for more than 55 years, Bud & Luke’s was established by brother automobile salesmen, Eugene “Bud” and Glenn “Luke” Fowler in the late 1930s.  From the outset the Fowlers tried to give its patron a new restaurant experience, to forget the unhappy times of the Great Depression and World War II.  The waiters were famous for their antics, making wisecracks about customers, banging on pots and pans, and leading sing-a-longs.
The maitre d’ shortened the tie of one of our neighbors with a scissors, alleging that it was too long.  My father took me there for lunch once when I was seven.  Holding court there was “Bucky” the dwarf Buckeye Beer mascot on roller-skates but I was too shy to shake his hand.  The restaurant closed in December 1996.

When I was barely a teenager, the family went to California to visit relatives.  While we were there my aunt took my mother, brother and me for lunch to the Brown Derby, a famous Hollywood restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard.  It was famous for attracting movie stars and other celebrities.  For a green kid from Toledo it was a big thrill and while we craned our necks to find a household name or two, we glimpsed only “wannabes.”  To young for the hard stuff we watched as our mother and aunt downed highballs.  They must have been potent.  The ladies giggled all the way home. 
I have always had a soft spot for the Diary Queen.  Although the well-known chain first began in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940, an outlet did not arrive in Toledo until after World War II.  Their soft ice cream products were a revelation.  My favorite confection was their fresh blueberry shake when the fruit was available.  It still makes my mouth water.  Dairy Queen so impressed my father, who always was looking to abandon dentistry for something else, that he seriously considered investing in a franchise.  That sounded good to my brother and me, both still in high school, until it became clear we were to work there and Mom would do the cooking.  All three of us objected and Dad went back to looking down people’ mouths all day.  

About 1900, Richard Becker, a Milwaukee restauranteur, decided to transform an vacant Methodist church adjacent to the Pabst Brewery into a saloon called the Forst-Keller.  Then he wrote the famous axe—swinging prohibitionist, Carrie Nation, inviting her to visit.  In jail in Topeka, Kansas for another rampage, she replied that “When I come to Milwaukee I will give you a call. I will bring my hatchet and will make souvenirs of that hell hole.”  Mrs. Nation never came and the Forst-Keller was still in business when I arrived in Milwaukee and, of drinking age, made it my favorite watering hole.  The food was good, the beer fresh from Pabst, and the ambiance “Gemütlichkeit.”  It closed in September 1973 but recently steps have been taken to re-open its hallowed doors.

My work frequently has taken me to Hawaii, often with companions.  Almost immediately after landing — usually about midnight at our take-off location but late afternoon in Honolulu — we head for the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach.  Awaiting us is the famed rum drink, a pu pu platter of chicken sate’, spare ribs, egg rolls, skewered beef, crab rangoon and other delectables, and graceful Hawaiian song and dance while the sun sets over the Pacific — a perfect way to end a 10 hour airplane flight. 

For a while my work required trips to Paris on a regular basis, staying in the 16th Arrondissement.  Just around the corner from my hotel, almost perched on the banks of the Seine River once day I found a small neighborhood restaurant all dressed out in yellow.  Appropriately it was called “Le Tournesol,” or “The Sunflower.”  The ambiance inside was cozy and the food delicious, the menu a simple one that features French favorite.  I could not get there often enough.  In recent years it has been update and given an art deco look to the restaurant.  Informants assure me that the meals are still top notch.

In contrast to the relatively obscure Le Tournesol is the Brasserie Ile Saint Louis, a popular spot that sits at the southern end of an island in the middle of Paris and the Seine River.  It is popular with the sporting crowd.  My memory is not of the food but of bringing my goddaughter for dinner there just after the British ruby team had bested the French at a local pitch. In a boisterous mood, dozens of British fans invaded the place, harassing the chefs, and bothering the customers until the owner mounted a table and threatened to call in the gendarme.  My only thought was what I would tell the girl’s parents when we were hauled off in a raid.  Fortunately the threat worked, the Brits calmed down, and we ate in peace. 

German food also can be delicious.  My father, a short ordercook in his youth, always proclaimed Milwaukee’s Karl Ratzsch’s as the best restaurant in which he had ever eaten.  Over subsequent years, I have enjoyed many excellent meals there — liver dumpling soup, wiener schnitzel, roast goose, port chops — the list goes on and on.  Dessert was always German schaum tort, that is, egg whites whipped to a froth, baked until stiff and then filled with a syrup of strawberries.  Ratzsch’s also served good drinks.  I had quaffed more than enough free martinis one afternoon at a motion picture promotion at the restaurant when my boss on the Milwaukee Sentinel summoned me back to the office to drive him to another story.  How I did it — and he never knew — is still a mystery to me.

Memphis is the place for barbecue, the tourist brochures tell us.  I agree.  Shown here is the front — not the back — of the Rendezvous, a ribs joint extraordinaire.  The exhaust fans and smoke stacks are aimed directly at the public, wafting the smell of charcoal ribs out into the public way.  My hotel was directly across the way and I was drawn like a humming bird to a honeysuckle bush into its folds.  The dry rub ribs, the house specialty, were so delicious that I ate there for the two nights and would have gone back for a third but had to leave Memphis.
In order not to dwell entirely on the past, for my last memorable eatery, I have chose L’ Auberge Chez Francois.  This famous eatery in the rolling hills of Northern Virginia was located in downtown Washington, D.C., when I first arrived some 55 years ago.  It was my introduction to good French food.  Then the restaurant moved from the District to the hinterlands.  Through friends my wife and I later were reintroduced to the “Chez” and dine there on special occasions.   A photograph of the former restaurant is on the wall and I never fail to look at it with more than a touch of nostalgia for days gone by.

Nostalgia is an appropriate way to end a piece about these ten eateries.  Bud and Luke’s, The Brown Derby, and the Forst-Keller long since have shut their  doors.  Dairy Queen exists today usually as initials.  Ratzsch’s declined after being sold by the family.  Others like the Mai Tai Bar and Chez Francois have maintained their special qualities over the years.  All continue to come to mind from time to time as special memories.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

“White Beaver” and the Foe He Could Not Vanquish

Many a 19th Century boy, fetching the dime novel hidden in the corn crib, thrilled to the adventures of “White Beaver” as in story after story the hero overcame all odds to best his evil enemies.  In real life White Beaver, aka Dr. Frank Powell, found one adversary too strong:  The federal food and drug agency that condemned as fraudulent the patent medicines he had invented and given his Indian name.

Born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1845, David Frank Powell was the son of a physician of Scottish descent and a mother who was half Seneca Indian.  When his father died at an early age, his mother took him and his brothers to live in New York State during the Civil War.  During the postwar period, the Powells moved to Chicago where Frank went to work as a drug clerk and then on to Nebraska.  In 1868 he entered medical school at Louisville University in Kentucky graduating at the head of his class.

While in Nebraska, Powell had met Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, and other figures of the old West.  After graduation he went back to the state and was named to a government post as surgeon in the Department of the Platte and later made Medicine Chief of the Winnebago Indians.  According to legend, Frank got his name, “White Beaver” from riding into the camp of a hostile group of Indians, several of whom he earlier had killed in hand-to-hand combat, in order to inoculate the residents against small pox.  Others say he got it by rescuing a Sioux princess.  Regardless, he embraced the title, let his hair grow long, and began to polish his legend.
During this period he also had become reacquainted with Buffalo Bill.  An excellent marksman, Powell from time to time provided Cody’s touring show not only with a doctor but a sharpshooter.  Shown here is a photo of the two (Frank right) as they looked during their touring days.  Above is Powell's rifle.  It was a Winchester Model 1873, 38-40 caliber, with a 22 inch octagon barrel, full magazine, and a shotgun butt.

With his Indian nickname, his time in the West, and his association with Buffalo Bill Cody,  Frank Powell was a natural for dime novel fiction, a boom business in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The stories were about his “daring do” against a string of adversaries.  White Beaver is shown here on the cover of  Beadle’s Dime Library, in a white hat on the trail of evil-doers.  Among titles were “White Beaver, the Indian Medicine Chief: the Romantic and Adventurous Life of Dr. Frank Powell,” “The Wizard Brothers, or, White Beaver’s Red Trail,” which also featured Powell’s brothers, “Buffalo Bill’s Sharpshooters, or, the Surgeon Scout to the Rescue”; “Buffalo Bill’s Swoop, a Buffalo Bill and Surgeon Frank Powell Adventure.”   Although some stories  were attributed to him as author it is doubtful that he wrote any.

In fact, much of the time Powell was working as a small town doctor in placid LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  By now divorced and remarried, he also was putting his energies into mixing up and marketing a series of patent medicines.  This was an era when Indian remedies were very popular with the American public and Powell was quick to jump on the bandwagon.  Buffalo Bill Cody helped him by investing in manufacturing the nostrums.  A photo shows Cody, left, sitting with Powell while two of White Beavers' brothers stand behind.

Best known of these concoctions was “White Beaver Cough Cream,” as advertised on the trade card that introduced this vignette and on one below.  The cough cream was described as:  “A soothing compound of lung healing root and herb juices, an unrivaled remedy for the cure of coughs, colds, croup, pleurisy, bronchitis, and all other diseases of lungs or bronchial tubes.”  Fifty cents would buy a generous helping of the cream in an apothecary type glass jar with a removable top.  Smaller amounts came in clear embossed flask-shaped containers.  

 In his advertising Powell often used testimonials.  W. G. Smith of Mahias, Michigan, opined on the cough cream:  “I consider it the Best Cough Medicine in the Country.”  N. F. Wetmore, a M.D. from North Freedom, Wisconsin, hailed it for “excellent satisfaction.”   Another potion was “White Beaver’s Wonder Worker” said to “instantly relieve either internal or external pain.”  A third product Powell dubbed “Yosemite Yarrow.”

Cody and Powell also were associated in other business ventures. They founded a cereal company that produced a coffee substitute from roasted bran called “Panmilt”. The primary target market were Mormons who did not drink caffeine.  The Latter Day Saints apparently did not like the taste of roasted bran and the venture failed.  

Apparently White Beaver had no end of schemes, including one to colonize a couple million acres of land in Mexico said to be “free for the taking.”  With money from investors, including Cody, he tried to sign up European colonists. Another investor summed up the result:  “Doc Powell couldn’t find nobody in Europe or anyplace else that wanted to colonize that acreage of Mexican desert.  I had nobody to blame but myself, and Cody lost a lot more than I did.  But he had a whole lot else.”
Although for a time the remedies sold well, with Frank regularly visiting Milwaukee and other larger cities in Wisconsin and neighboring states to push his merchandise.  With the passage of the Food and Drugs Act in 1906, however, Federal authorities were on White Beaver’s trail.  In 1915, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin filed suit in federal court alleging that both White Beaver’s Cough Cream and Wonder Worker were in violation of the pure foods statute.  Analysis by the Bureau of Chemistry showed that the cough cream contained morphine, chloroform, creosote, ammonium chloride, and methyl slicylate.   It was misbranded by claiming that it was “a remedy for croup, pleurisy and all other diseases of the lungs and air passages and effective as a lung healer in consumption when, in truth and in fact, it was not.”

White Beaver’s Wonder Worker came in for similar harsh treatment.  In liquid form, it proved to be just under 75 percent alcohol, that is, 150 proof — putting it among the strongest alcoholic liquors on the market today.  In addition, it contained 1.70 grams of chloroform, and .09 gram of morphine and traces of camphor, capsicum, oil of turpentines and free ammonia.  This concoction was not a cure for the many ailments claimed in its advertising, including cholera infantum, fever and ague, and “summer complaints of children.”  The company admitted guilt, paid a $300 fine, and White Beaver’s products disappeared.

Meanwhile Powell had complemented his doctoring with politics, winning two elections for mayor of LaCrosse and unsuccessfully running for governor of Wisconsin.  His campaigning involved handing out a card with his portrait, one without the long hair and leather garments.  It did,however, contain a reminder that the candidate was White Beaver.  Eventually Powells entrepreneur sights shifted Westward, taking him into lumber, mining and other ventures, likely with Buffalo Bill in tow.  He was on such a business trip to California in May 1906 when he died on a train near El Paso, Texas, at the age of 61. 

Even White Beaver’s going was the stuff of legends.  Powell reportedly had asked that he be cremated and his ashes be spread at Red Butte, Wyoming, shown here.   According to a biographer, the friends transporting his remains got drunk and failed to notice that his ashes were leaking out of a pack on their mule.  By the time the funeral cortege got to Red Butte, Powell's ashes were spread across a wide swath of the West.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Schafer & Vater Provided Little Nips at Christmas

 When Gustav Schafer and Guenther Vater founded the their ceramics factory in Thuringa, Germany in 1890, their objective was to make high quality porcelain.  Among the wares flowing from their pottery, shown right, were a wide variety of figural bottles, each containing several swallows of liquor and meant as giveaways by saloons and other drinking establishments.  Because the Christmas season was a prime time for such gift-giving,  a number of these bottles,  sometime called “nips,” had a holiday theme.

Initially these items were produced and sold primarily in Germany and Austria, but about 1910 the U.S. department store giant, Sears Roebuck & Co., began to import and distribute nationwide Schafer & Vater pottery, including the Christmas nips.  Thus they are found with greetings in both German and English.
One of the most artful was a figural of a woman in a white evening gown and wearing a feathered boa.  Somewhat inexplicably, she is riding a turkey while carrying a bottle of liquor in one hand and a glass in the other.  The base reads:  “Merry Xmas.”  The back reveals an opening through which the liquor may be accessed and a swirling molasses look to the glaze.  A paper label, now long gone, was pasted there to remind the imbiber of the originator of the gift.

Frequently the partners would produce similar nips for both German and American audiences.  An example is a figure of a “Father Christmas” aka Santa Claus carrying both a sack (presumably of toys) and a Christmas tree.  In his right hand Santa appears to be holding a liquor bottle, a feature that characterizes most of these Schafer & Vater items.  The German model greets “Fröhe Weihnachten;”  the American model, “Merry Christmas.”  

The American market for these holiday nips must have proved very profitable for the Thuringan partners whose ceramics factory had expanded to three kilns and  a workforce of 200 by 1913.  They became known for their skill with two glazes, a light blue one applied directly to the ceramic object, as well as a honey brown that often covered the backs.  The two Santa figures shown here illustrate the use of those glazes.  

A familiar form for Schafer & Vater figural nips was a figure imposed on a flagon that bore a small handle that could be used to hoist the bottle to the lips.  Shown here are two Santas, one in the blue glaze made for the German market and a look-alike in multiple colors made for the U.S.  Both have a small doll-like figure at the base and a bottle labeled “Prosit” in hand.  It took little imagination to understand that something spiritous was inside.

Schafer & Vater obviously had their own ideas of how Americans celebrated the holiday season.  Although drinking had its place in all the figurals, activities differed.  Shown here is a jolly sort with a night cap, possibly straight out of “The Night Before Christmas,” whose red cheek and nose indicate more than a passing acquaintance with alcohol.  In fact he holds a glass filled with a red cocktail or liqueur in his hand while pointing at “Merry Christmas.”

Someone at the factory must have thought Americans go bowling on Christmas, given the figure shown here.  (In truth, I have bowled on the day after.)  On the base this nip likely would have a backstamp impressed with a crown above an “R” in a star.  Sometimes “Made in Germany” was stamped in black.  That said, Schafer & Vater items can be found without any stamp or reference to their origin.  They must be identified by their appearance.

The idea of going hunting on Christmas was not without foundation.  Many in Northern Wisconsin, for example, make it an annual event.  They attend midnight church services and awake early to hunt. While carrying along a bottle of liquor, as this sharpshooter is doing, is not unknown in those cold climes it is discouraged by the authorities.  

Why a pig would be chosen as a symbol of the holiday is somewhat obscure.  My mother of German ancestry often cooked a pork roast for our Christmas dinner and swine are frequently found in German art and artifacts.  This pig looks extremely uncomfortable, perhaps indicating foreknowledge of its fate on someone’s dinner table, perhaps with an apple in its mouth.  A second pig, shown below, seems to be smiling — perhaps spared this year.  Note that here the brown glaze on the back has been made to resemble wood grain.
There they are — a dozen examples of the legacy of Schafer & Vater.  The firm continued production through two World Wars but its position in former Communist East Germany limited its markets in the U.S. and elsewhere and the firm closed in 1962.  Reports are that in 1972 the East German government assumed full control of the vacant factory and company records and moulds were  destroyed.  Moreover, in post-Prohibition United States it was illegal for drinking establishments to give such items away.  Nevertheless, we can still enjoy Schafer & Vader nips as expressions of the joys of drinking at Christmas — or anytime.  They are treasured relics of the 20th Century.

Friday, November 18, 2016

From Toilets to Tankards, Maddock Could Shape the Pot

Thomas Maddock, shown here, knew the ceramics business when he emigrated from England in 1847.  Eventually becoming a partner in a Trenton, New Jersey, pottery firm, Maddock determined that “sanitary ware” (read bathroom stuff) that had been imported from abroad could be made in the U.S.  He soon captured 80% of the U.S. market for sinks, toilets, and chamber pots and then turned back to his roots in decorated stoneware and china.  Among the results were an impressive array of beer mugs, steins and pitchers for souvenir purposes, hotel use and fraternal organizations. 

An excellent example of Maddock’s craft is a mug that was made for a convention of the National Association of Master Plumbers held in Atlantic City in 1914.  Likely because these same plumbers were installing Maddock sinks and toilets, the company produced a extraordinary vessel. It featured a platinum or silver “art nouveau” design of swirls and bands.  By that time, Thomas Maddock had bought out his partners, taken his four sons into the business, and in 1903 died at the age of 85. 

Maddock’s sons continued to be in the forefront of decorated porcelain.  The quality of their transfer printing rivaled England and had few peers in the U.S.  A prime example of the art is the beer mug shown here.  A comely lass with a low cut bodice looks out at us with a slight fetching smile.  On the other side we learn that this mug was an advertising give-away from The Broadway of Erie, Pennsylvania, likely a pre-Prohibition saloon. 

A  beer stein from the pottery shows wear on both the handle, rim and lettering, suggesting that an “overglaze” transfer was used.  This method, while less expensive to produce than under-glaze, is likely to show wear over time since it must adhere to the much harder porcelain surface.  Although there have been several breweries bearing the name, this item appears to be from the Acme Brewing Company of San Francisco. 

Important customers for the Maddocks were fraternal organizations, particularly groups associated with the Masons.  Shown here is stein that is a excellent example of the family’s ability to produce elaborate decorated stoneware.  It shows the Lulu Shriners temple in Atlanta, Georgia, and dates from about 1904.   These would have been ordered from the Trenton pottery as souvenirs of  anniversaries or other special occasions.

The Maddock artisans had the “in house” ability  to produce their own transfer engravings and decals in order to customize a standard line of souvenir ceramic forms.  They developed a enameling process that allowed the pottery to copy fine line designs from steel engravings, beyond much of the competition’s ability to copy.

In December 1909 the company provided a celebratory stein for the Tristam B. Freedman Chapter of Masons in Philadelphia.  Named for the English immigrant founder of a famous auction house in the City of Brotherly Love, this chapter was founded  by seven break-away Masonic brethren in 1873.  Note that the symbolism on the stein includes the keystone recognizing Pennsylvania as the Keystone State.

Frequent organizational commissions for Maddock were for sets of ware that included a tall pitcher with matching mugs.  Shown here is an example of a pitcher made to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Northern Chapter No. 25 of Masons from Newark, New Jersey.  Dated 1913, this vessel is particular notable for the elegant shading of blue from light to dark.  The set below shows another example of the company mastery of design and underglaze transfer printing.  It shows men bowling and features attractive silver trim.  These ceramics were made for an Eagles Club event.
We move from Maddock-produced artsy production to perhaps the company’s most remembered contribution to the American pottery scene: Its football steins.  With Harry Maddock listed as the inventor, the company was awarded a patent on this item in January 1905 and produced thousands of them for fans.  

Ivy League schools seem particularly well represented in the output.  Shown below are two examples.  The Princeton pigskin has the laces showing at the side;  on the Cornell example, they sit on the front.  Somewhat incongruous, however, is the figure on the latter.  It appears to be a track and field participant, a pole vaulter or javelin thrower.   Thinly clad as he is, he would be mincemeat on the gridiron.

After the death of Thomas Maddock, his sons changed the name of the firm, to Thomas Maddock’s Sons Company.  One son, John Maddock, left and started his own pottery company in Trenton; his mark can be found on items similar to those shown here.  The company that Thomas had founded was acquired in 1929 by the Sanitary Manufacturing Company that ultimately became American Standard, a familiar name in bathroom fixtures today.

It is worth mentioning the Maddock firm for two other achievements.  The company is given credit for inventing the flush mechanism of the toilet we know today, a highly useful modern convenience.  Another is the chamber pot it produced about 1890 that resided in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House for decades until President Truman’s wife, Bess, gave it away to a servant, likely feeling it had outlived its usefulness.

For a long time it has been my impression that Thomas and his sons have gone without significant recognition for their ceramic creations.  Miller’s “20th Century Ceramics,” a standard reference, devotes to the Trenton pottery only a brief paragraph and one photo of a plate. Why?  It occurs to me that perhaps the Maddocks’ mass production of bathroom “potties” has led to diminished respect for its decorative pottery.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Funeral Home Ambulances: A Conflict of Interest?

There was a time in America when funeral homes were the chief purveyor of  ambulance services, a phenomenon I have highlighted in two earlier posts [see references below]. Someone needing immediate hospital attention often would be transported there by the local undertaker who frequently issued artifacts such as paperweights to advertise the service.
Memphis blogger Vance Lauderdale sees this practice as a business conflict: “This is just so wrong.  It would be like morticians sitting in the emergency rooms, with an embalming kit in their laps.”  Among the Memphis undertakers to whom he was referring was Spencer Company.   Its scalloped glass weight advertised “Superior Ambulance Service.”  The stained glass windows at the rear would indicate that their vehicle also doubled as a hearse.

A fancier ambulance with a longer body and front mounted spare tire graced thescalloped paperweight from John V. May.  May, a lifelong resident of Chicago, opened his undertaking business in 1914 on Milwaukee Avenue.  As was often the case he and his family lived on the premises.  Many other morticians were completing with May for customers and his ambulance service was a way of setting himself apart and gaining a business advantage.

Like May, John A. Gentleman was an undertaker, opening his Omaha, Nebraska, funeral home in 1906.  In the 1920s the firm moved to the “Gold Coast” area of Omaha at 34th and Farnam Street and issued a paperweight featuring his ambulance.  Gentleman worked 50 years as an undertaker, before retiring in 1956 and selling his business to new owners who kept his name on the funeral home, one still in operation.

An acclaimed African-American business in Memphis was T. H. Hayes and Sons Funeral Home, run by Thomas Henry Hayes, his wife, and two sons.  The father founded it in 1902.  It is said that his range of services were affordable to the working class as well as to the elite.  In addiction to his ambulance Hayes had ten rigs, five hearses, carriages, and 12 horses in his stables.  When the funeral home closed in the early 1970s it was acclaimed Memphis oldest African- American owned business. 
One of the few vehicles whose make was identified on an advertising artifact was this Holmes Sedan from the Ludlow Ambulance Service.  The Holmes was a popular air-cooled American automobile built from 1918 to 1923 in Canton, Ohio. The car was famous for its louvered front grill that included a series of horizontal slits bringing in air any.  An embezzlement by a top company executive in 1921 sealed the fate of the company founded by Engineer Arthur Holmes and it failed in 1923.

Perhaps the King Ambulance weight does not belong in this list.  It was truly a doctor and hospital-based service, unaffiliated with any funeral home.  Founded in 1886 and one of the first physicians exchanges and nurses registries in San Francisco, it was housed in a renovated Victorian mansion in the center city.  In 1954 King merged with American Ambulance.  The resulting King-American Ambulance Company has established itself as the longest operating private ambulance service in San Francisco and the West Coast.

The Peoples Undertaking Company, a Dallas, Texas, business that advertised as the home of the “Peoples Burial Association,” issued this celluloid item that is described as a “paper clip and hook.”  It occurs to me that It also might have been hung on a Christmas tree as an ornament, although it lacks a certain festive flavor.  I have been unable to find any information on this establishment.  The building shown here for 500 South Good Street appears to have been replaced.
With this celluloid pocket mirror we appear to return to an ambulance clearly being part of a funeral home business, this one in Norfolk, Virginia.  It is from L. R. Cromer and Company that appears to be the forerunner of a still extant funeral business in the that city.  
Often in small town America, even into mid-20th Century, the undertaker also was a furniture dealer.  Makes sense. The funeral director was buying caskets, a kind of furniture, why not add tables and chairs?  Bayermann & Krug of Racine, Wisconsin, combined those businesses and added an ambulance service.  They issued a clothes brush for their clients that up close reveals a vehicle with a red cross in the window motoring along.  
Last month I did a post on paperweights that were issued by coffin makers to advertise their works.  One outfit particularly known and collected for their casket and animal form weights has been Crane & Breed.  At that time I was unaware that this Cincinnati company also built hearses — hearses that could double as ambulances, as in the photo here.  This model was described thus:  “The body is painted bronze green and the running gear carmine. The interior is finished in solid mahogany with an elevated cot on rollers. The vehicle is fitted with the best rubber tires and in winter will be heated with carbon stoves.”   That elevated cot, of course, could accommodate a patient on the way to the hospital or a body going to the graveyard. 
The hearse/ambulance automobile hybrid lasted some 70 years.  Until as late as 1979 hearses in the U.S. could be combination coaches that also served as ambulances.  In the late 1970s, however, stricter Federal standards were decreed for ambulances.  The hybrids were unable to meet them and manufacturing was discontinued.  In many smaller communities even today ambulances in vehicles distinct from hearses continue to be the business of the local undertaker.

Note: My first article on this subject, “Where to Buddy?  Hospital or Graveyard?” was posted during July 2009. It presented six paperweights and two pocket mirrors.  A second, called  “Chasing the Ambulance:  But Wait…Is It a Hearse?” followed in May 2013.  That one displayed ten weights.