A Look Inside the Data: The Vail Company

Welcome to another installment of The Deluge! 

I wanted to blog today about an interesting report I came across in the California Water Documents collection. This particular file caught my attention because it is a handwritten and typed document. The table includes details about the installation of pumps and tanks at different wells completed by the Vail Company in 1920. The Vail Company were builders who constructed pumps at numerous wells around Southern California.

Handwritten Table

Foreman’s daily reports from Cantarini Well – Vail Company, 1920

Typed Table

Cantarini Well and Vail Co.

I did some research into what the “Cantarini Well” is. Other mentions of the well are in the California Water Documents collection, but the letters mostly contain correspondence about normal business procedures. I was able to uncover that Cantarini is actually not a “What” but a “Who”: Auguste Cantarini, an agricultural financier in Temecula during the early twentieth century. These wells must be located on land owned by Cantarini.

For more information about the Vail Company, click here to see a letter from 1918 detailing the labor conditions workers endured while on the job in Temecula, CA.

Along with my interest in Cantarini, the table provided here features some special data I had never seen before in the collection.  

The handwritten notes reportedly come from the three foremen with the initials C.W. (C. Waggoner), R.F.C. (R. F. Carmichael), and J.E.M. (J. E. Masters). The foremen indicate how many men worked a job, how many horses were used, and for how long. The only data present about how long a job took is “1/2” which leads me to believe even the hardest jobs only took half a day to complete. Imagine seeing a cart and four horses pulling a giant cement tube via a pulley system?

Have a great day and thank you for checking out The Deluge!