Hellfire & Stratton: Historical Notes


Chapter I

The Wayne House Hotel

The Wayne House Hotel was a real hotel in Fort Wayne, existing in the location the book places it. See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #7, location 133 at 17 W. Columbia Street.

Fort Wayne Gazette

In the Hotel, Randy Hellfire was reading the Fort Wayne Gazette.
The Journal Gazette traces its origins to 1863, to the foundation of The Fort Wayne Gazette. It was originally founded to support Lincoln and oppose slavery. In 1899, The Fort Wayne Gazette merged with The Journal. The Journal Gazette has always been a privately-owned newspaper.

Flat Cap

Bowler Hat

It’s believed bowler hat was designed in 1849 by the London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowler to fulfill an order placed by hatters James Lock & Co. of St James’s. The hat was commissioned to protect gamekeepers from low-hanging branches while on horseback.

Smith & Wesson Model 3 Revolver




Twenty-five-cent piece

Outside the hotel, Hellfire flipped a silver twenty-five-cent piece. Joey was surprised and grateful as it was “almost enough to buy ten pounds of potatoes and a pound of bacon.” This is an historically accurate depiction of what 25 cents could buy during that period

Aherns Boiler

Until Fox’s 1893 invention, a steamer required a separate hose wagon to carry its hose load).

All of Latta’s steam fire engines had been built with square boilers, horizontal piston pumps, and three wheels. These engines were known as “click” style.

In 1870, Chris Ahrens introduced a new style of steam fire engine, called the “upright”. It was mounted on four wood or iron wheels, with a round boiler that could raise steam from cold water in 5 minutes (half the time of the old Shawk boiler). It also had a one, or two-cylinder vertical piston pump.

The one-and-three-quarter inch smooth bore hose nozzle mentioned in the story would be a logical size choice for that boiler make, model, and time period.

Chapter II

Union Hotel

There was an actual Union Hotel. It was located across the street from a plumbing store between S. Harrison Street and Maiden Lane. See Sanborn Map Company Fort Wayne 1890 Map #7 Location 138.

Australian Department of Defense

Australia has had different Departments of Defense since 1901. The current Australian Department of Defense was created in 1942. Although this story takes place in 1893, Bradford Stratton is a time traveler from the future, and once served as a medic with the Australian Department of Defense.  How he arrived in 1893 will be dealt with in future stories.

The date reporting the first use of true rockets was in 1232. The scientific foundations for modern rocketry were laid by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727).

Congreve rockets were used by British ships to pound Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, they inspired Francis Scott Key to write “the rockets’ red glare,” in a poem that later became The Star-Spangled Banner.

Although it is doubtful there are any records of rocket research by the U.S. military in the 1890s, to have Lear and Scott researching in the manor they were doing, was scientifically feasible in 1893, the year of this story.

Michigan Company C

Sterling served with Hellfire as a sharpshooter in Michigan Company C. Michigan Company C was a real sharpshooter unit during the U.S. Civil War. Captain Benjamin Giroux was the commander, who replaced Benjamin Duesler in 1861.


Turpentine was common in the 1800s often used as lamp oil, sometimes mixed with ethanol for lamp oil also. It was used as a cheap alternative to whale oil and was eventually replaced by kerosene. Turpentine was used as lamp oil and for the manufacturing of medicines and rubber, as early as the 1700s.

Chapter III

Telescoping cup anemometer and weathervane

Anemometers measure the speed of wind or the current of gas. The first known description of an anemometer was given by Leon Battista Alberti in 1450. The idea of a telescoping Anemometer would be to have telescoping poles rather than one very long pole, making it easier to carry or transport.


War Between the States era field desk

To see some good images of Civil War Era field desks, click in the following link. https://www.pinterest.ca/joebaerwald/civil-war-field-desk/

10-digit Thomas Arthrometer

Arthrometers were the first early calculating machines that were sturdy enough to be used daily in the office or on a battlefield. The device was patented in France by Thomas de Colmar in 1820. Various companies produced them till 1915 during  World War One


See Rockets in Chapter II Notes


Nitroglycerin was invented in 1847. nitroglycerin is used in explosives, propellants, and in medicine as early as the 1840s. Although it was unlikely used as propellant during the time of this story, it was scientifically possible.

As for this story, Bradford Stratton, having been from the future, would have introduced the concept of using nitroglycerin as a propellant to Thorton Leer and Winston Scott. (Bradford Stratton is a time traveler from around the year 2010 and that will be addressed in more in future stories.)