Airplanes: “Calvin Frye was much interested in mechanical developments and was a steady subscriber to technical magazines. When it was announced that an airplane meet would take place at Squantum, Massachusetts, Mr. Frye and other members of the household very much wished to attend. Mrs. Eddy agreed that the household should be divided into two groups to go on separate days. Accordingly, on the first day, when Calvin Frye had finished his duties, he jumped into the White steamer automobile which was waiting at the door and was off to Squantum. The little group returned to the family circle at five that afternoon. This was the longest vacation Mr. Frye had taken in all his twenty-eight years of service.”1

Automobile: “Mrs. Eddy did not care for the automobile. Although she owned cars for the use of the members of her household, only on one occasion did she ride in one of them. She much preferred her reliable pair of horses, Major and Princess, for she felt that she knew them and that they knew her.”2 John Salchow mentions in his reminiscence that Eddy also later bought a small Ford, which was much easier to drive, for her household to use for errands.3 For more information on one such automobile in use at Eddy’s house, please see the Library’s November 2011 object of the month.

Electricity: Eddy used electricity, but preferred gaslight for reading (light bulbs at this time were harsh and glaring).4

Elevator: There were two electric elevators at Chestnut Hill. One, for the staff, was completed just before Eddy moved in on January 26, 1908. The other was connected to Eddy’s rooms and was completed in February 1908. Electric elevators were a newer technology at that time and Eddy had some reservations about their safety.5 However, in the end she was assured of their security and “she was greatly pleased with…the new elevator, which dropped her immediately to the porte-cochère where she took her carriage.”6

Phonograph: At Chestnut Hill there was a player piano and a Victrola, and although Eddy seldom listened to the piano she took keen pleasure in a few of the Victrola recordings by leading musicians.7

Telephone: There were telephones at Chestnut Hill. It’s not clear whether Eddy used a telephone, but she did use a form of a call button which allowed her to ring for different staff members.8

Telescope: “At one time Mr. Dickey bought a telescope, which was placed on the roof at Chestnut Hill, for the use of the family. We all became quite interested in astronomy. I remember going up there one night to see Halley’s comet, but I never succeeded in finding it. Miss Eveleth, Mrs. Sargent and most of the members of the household went up from time to time and some of them developed quite a knowledge of the subject.”9

Typewriter: Eddy’s secretaries frequently used typewriters, beginning as early as the 1880s.10

Vacuum cleaner: “There were no vacuum cleaners until after I had been there several months (1908). I think we had almost the first one that came out.”11

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  1. Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1994), 223-224.
  2. Ibid., 221, 223-224.
  3. Rem. John Salchow, 110.
  4. Rem. Irving Tomlinson, 774.
  5. S. S. Beman to Mary Baker Eddy, November 1907, L16497.
  6. Rem. Adam Dickey, 120.
  7. Lyman P. Powell, Mary Baker Eddy: A Life Size Portrait (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1991), 236.
  8. Rem. Salchow, 54.
  9. Ibid., 119-20.
  10. Rem. Tomlinson, 774.
  11. Rem. Martha Wilcox, 20.