Another wonderful guest post today, this well-researched item comes from Leo of Postcardiness:

Leo tells us:

On 03/26/2010, a book arrived in the mail that I had won on eBay:

General Electric Catalog GEA-600A, published in 1930 by the General Electric Company, Schenectady, New York.

It is quite unusual to find any items laid in to a book won on eBay, since nearly always the eBay seller has removed all loose materials. However, this book, which is a massive, 1146 page, catalog of industrial electrical items offered by the General Electric Company as of 1930, had one 8 ½” X 11” sheet of paper tucked between the last page and the inside back cover. Viola! A forgotten bookmark!

The front of the letterhead stationery is unused.

This is the letterhead printed text:

FORM G 9 10-9-25


Commonwealth Edison Company


The “10-9-25” indicates that stationery with this design (Form G 9) was approved on October 9, 1925, which establishes an earliest-possible date for any authored text found on that form. Since the date of publication of the G. E. Catalog is 1930, one can estimate the date of any written or typed text on the stationery to be somewhere in the 1925 to 1935 range.

Although the stationary is unused on the front, the back (verso) of the sheet has the following typewritten text, which I have edited slightly in order to facilitate readability (text that I have added is enclosed in brackets):



Telephone----------------------Kedzie 0636 & Nevada 1386

Load Dispatcher---------------3 Rings.

Power Supervisor--------------2 Rings – Horn.

C. S. L. Load Dispatcher-----Dearborn 8800 Local 252


Sections #27 & 28.

Operators will receive orders from any C. A. & E. employee or Elevated Railway employee to close or open the sections mentioned above.

The Power Supervisor must be notified of any orders to close these sections and his approval obtained before sections are closed.

Operators will get the name and position of the person giving such order and enter same in Daily Logbook.

“L” Sections #25, 26 and C. A. & E. #27 and #28 are tied together at Laramie Tower during peak loads.

Do not run Rotary #3 and #4 in parallel alone as they do not work good together; have another machine [turned] on with Rotaries #3 and #4, if possible.


As specified in rules and regulations-

Report all operating trouble to Operating Division, and all maintenance trouble to Maintenance Division. If it is both kinds of trouble, report to both Divisions.

After office hours, the Edison Telephone operator will know where members of the operating and maintenance can be reached.


Chicago surface lines

Report all section openings to the C. S. L. Dispatcher.

Report all machine openings to the C. S. L. Dispatcher and to the C. R. T., and to the superintendent of [the] railway substation AND Mr. Essington: Telephone Dearborn 8800.

Do not call Mr. Essington outside of office hours, except where service cannot be promptly restored.

Elevated Railway

Report all cases of Section trouble to Power Supervisor and all cases (except when a section opens and is promptly closed) to the load dispatcher, and [to the] superintendent of Railway Substations.

Note: C. A. & E. stands for Chicago, Aurora and Elgin (Railroad Corporation)

Note: C. S. L. stands for Chicago Surface Lines.

Note: C. R. T. stands for Chicago Rapid Transit (Company)

The inside front cover of the catalog is inscribed with the name (W. J. Pearce) and address of the owner, and also this information: Kolmar Substation: 616 S. Kolmar Avenue, Chicago, Commonwelth [sic] Edison. The misspelling of “Commonwealth” in the catalog inscription leads me to surmise that Mr. Pearce (assuming that “W. J.” is a male) is the person who typed the Kolmar Substation Write-Up, since it is laced with many typos and misspellings. A Mapquest search yielded some interesting information. The Eisenhower Expressway (which currently has the Chicago Transit Authority line running along its median) is located about a block south of 616 S. Kolmar Avenue, and a very large building still exists at that address, which is now the location of the Aries Charter Transportation Company.

The Laramie Tower referenced in the Write-Up was most likely situated in the vicinity of the intersection of S. Laramie Avenue with either W. Flournoy Street or W. Lexington Street, since several railroad lines, including the C. A. & E. line, merge just a few blocks west of Laramie. According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer of Sunday, August 4, 2002, titled “Rail tower closes after nearly century”, a railroad tower would house an operator who would manually control traffic of area railroads: “The tower's levers allowed the operator to manually move tracks left or right to send trains in the correct direction. The flip of a switch changed signal lights, commanding trains when to stop and go.”

Per Wikipedia, The Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad was known colloquially as the “Roarin’ Elgin” or the “Great Third Rail”. I say “was” because the C. A. & E. abruptly ceased operating at noon on July 3, 1957. A resource for more information about the C. A. & E., including route maps and timetables, is located here:

I have learned so much about Chicago-area interurban transportation of the 1930s from this forgotten bookmark! – Leo

Leo, your thorough research makes me look like a lazy bum! Seriously, thanks so much. Fascinating material.

-Click to enlarge photos-

1 comment:

  1. Just love the line "Do not call Mr. Essington outside of office hours . . . " Found a Mr. Essington who lived to age 90, In Memorium, here at CTA Transit News via

    Might "Do not disturb" be a secret of longevity?!