Women of the West

They left the vine-wreathed cottage and the mansion on the hill, the houses in the busy streets where life is never still, the pleasure of the city, and the friends they cherished best: for love they faced the wilderness–The Women of the West.

The roar, and rush, and fever of the city died away, and the old-time joys and faces–they were gone for man a day: In their place the lurching coach-wheel, or the creaking bullock-chains, o’er the everlasting sameness of the never-ending plains.

In the slab-built, zinc-roofed homestead of some lately-settled run, in the tent beside the bankment of a railway just begun, in the huts on new selections, in the camps of man’s unrest, on the frontiers of the Nation, live the Women of the West.

The red sun robs their beauty, and in weariness and pain, the slow years steal the nameless grace that never comes again; and there are hours men cannot soothe, and words men cannot say–the nearest woman’s face may be a hundred miles away.

The wide Bush holds the secret of their longings and desires, when the white stars in reverence light their holy altar-fires, and silence, like the touch of God, sinks deep into the breast perchance He hears and understands the Women of the West.

For them no trumpet sounds the call, no poet plies his arts–they only hear the beating of their gallant, loving hearts. But they have sung with silent lives the song all songs above, the holiness of sacrifice, the dignity of love.

Well have we held our father’s creed. No call has passed us by. We faced and fought the wilderness, we sent our sons to die. And we have hearts to do and dare, and yet, o’er all the rest, the hearts that made the Nation were the Women of the West.

George Essex Evans (1863-1909)

Thomas Edison’s Failed Invention

Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” One has to admire Thomas Edison if not be inspired by him. He was an American inventor and businessman. He invented the light bulb, motion picture camera, and stock ticker among other inventions. He never stopped working; he was always creating something because something was always inspiring him to do so.

That is what happened when the stylus of the telegraph caught his eye; as the apparatus transmitted messages the stylus would puncture the paper, leaving a mark of chemical solution underneath. In 1875 he invented the electric pen, the intent was to have it perforate a sheet of paper to make multiple copies; this would eliminate the tedious act of making copies by hand. It was a commercial failure because by then the market had shifted to simpler methods such as the type writer, carbon paper and the mimeograph.

Then one day along came Samuel O’Reilly an Irish immigrant who was walking down the streets of New York, passed by a window display of the electrical pen, and had an idea. What if he could use the electrical pen for his own purpose?

In 1891 he patented the electric pen as the tattoo machine used today. He was already an established tattoo artist in New York, but with the tattoo machine he was able to create faster and cleaner lines. He even took in an apprentice to teach them how to use the machine. There have been very few changes added to the machine since Edison’s original idea. As Edison once said, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”  M. Stieg