Friday, September 19, 2008

Detectives III.

This is coolbert:

"Asking the Detectives" - - conclusion.

3. Farmer in Nebraska wants to know if a pane of glass, etched with an image of the battleship U.S.S. Olympia [1898 - - flagship of the American Asiatic Squadron], found set in a door frame of an abandoned farm house, was an original - - authentic - - decorative item from the stateroom of the vessel [Olympia]!

That such a fancy and fragile pane of glass would actually be found on a warship seems difficult to imagine! But not necessarily so difficult to imagine! The Olympia, at the time of the Spanish-American War [1898], was the most powerful warship in the world - - YES - - but also served as a place where diplomatic receptions and negotiations were quite often held.

A flag officer, such as Commodore Dewey [commander of the Asiatic Squadron], as a part of his normal functions, was expected to entertain potentates and foreign guests on a regular basis. Soirees’ involving dignitaries were a common event aboard the Olympia? The use of fine china, silverware, decorative items and etched glass panes was not out of the question in such instances.

"the Captain's and Admiral's Quarters . . . resemble Victorian sitting rooms, complete with tall cupboards, overstuffed furniture, and fireplace."

The “detective” is able to determine that the fancy etched glass WAS NOT an ornate decorative item originally found aboard the U.S.S. Olympia. WAS a collectible sold to the general public as memorabilia in the aftermath of the Battle of Manila Bay.

The United States emerged from the Spanish-American War as a world-power of the foremost rank. Combined economic and military might with power projection to all points of the globe. Power projection a result of naval might. Naval might as exemplified in the person of Commodore Dewey.

Dewey in particular was a figure held in high esteem by the American public. Was felt to be capable of ascending to very high political office, even the Presidency itself. Collectibles such as the pane of etched glass bearing the image of the U.S.S. Olympia were popular with the public at that exact moment!

The Olympia currently is a floating museum at dock in Philadelphia? A popular destination for tourists.


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