Ca1862 California Pioneer Cartographer & Inventor A. B. Bowers Cdv Photo For Sale

Exceptionally rare and original, ca1862, CDV Photograph of the important Sonoma County, California civil and topographical engineer, map maker and inventor and patentee of the hydraulic dredger and the hydraulic system of dredging - Alphonzo B. Bowers.


This wonderful Photograph measures approx. 2 1/8� by 3 3/8� and is mounted on its original, gilt border, square corner, Card Mount (the mount measures 2 1/2� by 3 7/8�). The photographer’s mark on the reverse is from the early Petaluma, California photographer B. R. Johnson. The photograph is not dated but was likely taken sometime around 1862 when Bowers was in Petaluma completing his survey which resulted the first Map of Sonoma County, California. The subject of the Photo is identified in period manuscript on the reverse which reads “A. B. Bowers�.


The Image offered here depicts Bowers as he would likely have traveled in the field while doing the survey for his Map. He wears a revolver and a MASSIVE Bowie Knife at his belt, has a rife slung on a strap around his neck and over his left shoulder and holds a pair of field glasses / binoculars in his left hand. He certainly looks the part of the consummate California “gentleman explorer� - a cross between a “49er� / Mountain Man and a frontier cartographer.


Alphonzo B. Bowers, Alphonzo Benjamin Hay-Thompson Bowers or A. B. Bowers, was the inventor and patentee of the hydraulic dredger and the hydraulic system. He was born September 25, 1830, in West Baldwin, Maine. When Bowers' health began to decline while in his early twenties, he traveled to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1853. He taught at several schools in Sonoma County, California living in Petaluma from . In 1863, he was employed to finish a farm map of the county and was never paid for it. To record this event he wrote and published “HISTORY OF THE BOWERS MAP�. He moved to San Francisco in 1867 where he built models of his hydraulic dredging inventions. He contracted typhoid fever and remained unemployed. In 1873, he was appointed Secretary of a Board of Engineers to remodel the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California.


Click Here to read more About the Fascinating and Amazing Life of A. B. Bowers.


This rare and original, period, Albumen CDV Photograph of Alphonso B. Bowers is in very good to excellent condition. The Photograph itself is clean and crisp exhibiting sharp focus, strong and rich, warm tonality. The Card Mount is also clean and crisp - ever so slightly trimmed at the bottom edge (not affecting the Photo itself) and slightly clipped at the corners (to facilitate insertion into a period CDV Photo Album). Simply a wonderful and classic Western Americana / California cartographer / “Gentleman Explorer� CDV Photograph.


An exceptionally rare and perhaps unique, ca1862 CDV Photograph of the important Sonoma County, California civil and topographical engineer, map maker, and the inventor and patentee of the hydraulic dredger and the hydraulic system of dredging - Alphonzo B. Bowers and a fantastic addition to any collection!!!


A Bit More About the Fascinating Life and Work of Alphonzo B. Bowers:


Alphonzo Benjamin Bowers was born in West Baldwin Cumberland County Maine. His father was a farmer and mill owner and in these mills young Bowers worked giving his mechanical genius full play. At sixteen years of age he left the Mills and for the next seven years he studied from twelve to sixteen hours a day but his health broke down under the strain. With the hope of improving both health and fortune he went to California via the Isthmus in 1853. An old Sonoma County paper telling of his arrival on the Pacific Coast says that he was robbed on the steamer in his sleep and had just one dime in his pocket when the ship landed. He proceeded to throw that coin overboard and came ashore absolutely penniless. He went first to the gold mines where he worked for some time but an attack of sunstroke compelled him to seek indoor employment.


A year after his arrival in California he moved to Petaluma and took charge of the public school there which was previously in the charge of the Benicia Collegiate Institute (for two terms) and the San Francisco English and Classical High School (for one term). Bowers devoted every moment of his spare time to the collection of data for a map of Sonoma County which he was preparing. He eventually secured legislative permission to make a topographical map of Sonoma County California and after spending six years of hard labor and much borrowed money, the county authorities refused to pay leaving him heavily in debt. He published a volume titled “History of the Bowers Map� - an indignant protest against those who benefited by his labor and refused him justice. The Sacramento Union described Bowers’ Map as “the most perfect county map ever published in the United States�. His losses on the map, including cost of litigation, added up to about $53,000.


In 1863 to secure means to finish his map he accepted a position in the Surveyor General's office and was thus brought in daily contact with all matters pertaining to swamp lands and their reclamation This led him to continue his investigation of dredging and ditching machinery and he soon came to the conclusion that the proper mode of leveeing a river was to take the material from its bottom. While pursuing his investigations one day in the Mercantile Library his eye fell upon the following sentence in Cressy's Encyclopedia of Engineering: “Balme made a vertical wheel which worked between two boats armed with six buckets which lifted a vast deal of mud�. This was written in 1630 during the reign of Charles I. The thought immediately occurred to him that a device could be made which would obviate the defects that had hitherto made all rotary dredges unsuccessful - to wit: A dredge that could be controlled and made to do clean work with a device for transporting to a distant place that vast deal of mud lifted by the wheel. Bowers made a drawing was made in pencil on a piece of brown paper on the morning of July 3rd, 1864. This was the day and year of the momentous birth of his invention though nothing has been found to anticipate most of his claims prior to the filing of his application for patent.


Bankrupt financially, sick in body and heart he went to San Francisco in 1867 and began to make models and tried to raise the funds necessary to introduce his invention. In the fall of 1873 he was appointed Secretary of a Board of Engineers to re model the Mare Island Navy Yard but completed the task with difficulty having recently suffered from typhoid fever. He then went to work for a company putting in water works in an interior towns of California under the promise that if he would do the engineering work a company should be organized to take out his patents and build and work his machines. This company eventually failed and Bowers finally patented his inventions on his own.


Bowers spent most of the rest of his life trying to get others to build dredging machines based on his patents and filing patent infringement lawsuits against a myriad of companied who built dredging machinery based on his designs. In the vast majority of cases Bowers prevailed in his litigation and some of the cases he filed became landmark patent infringement are still sited to this day. By the end of his life Bowers was president of three large dredging companies, vice president of several others and had interests in many in many large dredging contracts around the world. Still he pursued cases against those who trespass on his rights with unrelenting pertinacity.


A late 19th century publication describes Bowers as follows: “Thirty years ago this remarkable man was regarded as a visionary and his dredge as impracticable. The civilized world today acknowledges his genius and he stands in the front rank of inventors. His transcendent conception is benevolent in character and calculated to augment the powers of man and ameliorate his condition. It has dug canals, deepened harbors, irrigated lands, reclaimed tide and marsh land, filled and made solid ground of land reclaimed from the sea and planted prosperous towns thereon. It has improved the sanitary conditions of large cities and saved many human lives. In the race of original minds he struck out upon a trackless sea. He is the Columbus of the art of hydraulic dredging and filling.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE: We will be leaving for 11 days (much needed) vacation on the afternoon of Friday July 19th and we will be away until July 30st. This we will be away when this sale closes on July 22nd. We will be unable to ship any items until Wednesday July 31st at the earliest - If this is a problem for you then PLEASE DO NOT offer ON ITEMS IN THIS WEEK'S sale. Thanks for your interest in our weekly sales and for your support over the past 13+ years. We plan to continue to offer our usual selection of rare and interesting lots for sale on in the years to come!!

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The amount quoted for Shipping & Handling is calculated by and is equal to the EXACT amount charged by the Post Office plus a $1.00 "packing fee" - the $1.00 fee is our only compensation for the virgin packing materials we use on all of our professionally packaged boxes as well as our cost for the salaried help that does most of our packing - as I am sure you can see, we make NO profit on the Shipping charges and, in fact, our costs are usually greater than the $1.00 fee. Please contact us if there are any issues regarding the cost of shipping.



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Ca1862 California Pioneer Cartographer & Inventor A. B. Bowers Cdv Photo

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Ca1862 California Pioneer Cartographer & Inventor A. B. Bowers Cdv Photo:
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