Tag Archives: USA

Samuel Gompers

Originally published August 6, 2016.

Samuel Gompers was born in London, England in 1850.  At the age of 10, he was sent to work as a cigar maker apprentice to help out his impoverished family.

In 1863 the Gompers’ immigrated to the US and settled into Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  For the first year and a half in New York, Samuel assisted his dad manufacture cigars at their home.


The US issued a stamp commemorating Samuel Gompers on January 27, 1950.  The image above at right courtesy of Amazon.

In 1864 Samuel Gompers joined the Cigarmakers’  Local 15 Union became active in its activities.  In 1875 Gompers became president of Local 114 of the Cigarmakers’ union and introduced high dues to cover the cost of implementing out of work benefits, sick benefits and death benefits for members in good standing.  In 1886 Gompers was elected as second vice-president and in 1896 first vice-president of the Cigarmakers’ International Union.  He continued on as first vice-president with them until his death in 1924.

In 1881 he helped form the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, which went on to become the American Federation of Labor in 1886.  Gompers was its president from its inception until his death in December of 1924, with the exception of 1895.

A cover addressed to Samuel Gompers when he was President of the AFL.


Classic Aircraft on US Airmails

Originally published July 30, 2012

One of my favourite stamp sets is the American Airmail stamps issued in the summer of 1947.  The 3 value set features prominent aircraft and landmarks of the time.   The stamps were printed by rotary press and are perforated 11 x 10½. 

The 10¢ value features the Martin 2-0-2 and the Pan American Union Building in Washington DC.  The Martin 2-0-2 first flew in November of 1946 and was built as an intended replacement for the venerable DC-3.  With a production run of only 47 aircraft, these aircraft were in operation until the mid-1970s.  The major operators of the 2-0-2 were Northwest Orient Airlines, LAN Chile and Trans World Airlines.

The Pan American Union Building was built between 1908 and 1910.  The cornerstone was laid on May 11, 1908 by Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, and Andrew Carnegie.  The headquarters of the Organization of American States, it hosted the initial meeting of the International Labour Organization in 1919 and the Washington Naval Conference of 1921.

A Lockheed Constellation and the New York skyline are shown on the 15¢ value.  The Lockheed Constellation was first flown in 1943.  The “Connie” first served as a military transport before becoming a civilian airliner.  856 Constellations were built and the aircraft were used from their introduction until the 1990s.  A “Connie” was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidential aircraft.  Major operators were Trans World Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Pan Am and Air France.

There are few views that are as iconic as the New York skyline.   We can see the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and many more buildings.

Finally, the 25¢ value shows us a Boeing Stratocruiser flying over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  The Stratocruiser was first flown on July 8th, 1947 and was based on the Stratofreighter which was derived from the Superfortress.  With only 59 aircraft built the Stratocruiser was one of, if not the most luxurious airliner of this period.   Major operators were Pan Am, BOAC and Northwest Orient Airlines.

Built between January 1933 and Aril 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is most likely the worlds most photographed bridge. Linking San Francisco and Marin County the Golden Gate Bridge spans 8,981 feet.  It stands 746 feet high and at high tide provides 220 feet of clearance below the bridge deck.