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Friday, October 28, 2011

Where Was the Stevens Level Company Located?

“We recently purchased a Stevens level made in Newton Falls, Ohio. Where was this company located in town?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff is familiar with Stevens levels; there are several in the library’s Local History Room.

The History of Newton Falls compiled by Ella Woodward (1942 edition) devotes page 100 to Stevens’ Levels. Ernest A Stevens Sr. developed the idea, patented, and placed a level on the market in 1914. In 1921, he and his son, E.A. Stevens Jr. formed a partnership to specialize in the manufacture of only levels. Woodward states that this “. . . novel invention . . . is destined to become of tremendous national as well as international importance . . . Though only pocket size  . . . proves to be just as effective as the larger ones, and more readily applied any place. Since 1914 Mr. Stevens developed two new models, the ‘Pocket Surface Level’ and the ‘Lino and Surface Level’ both being completed and placed on the market in December 1922.” As of 1942, the latest location of the factory was at the corner of Milton Blvd. & Arlington Rd.  The article mentioned that they had been made at different locations but the aforementioned was the present and permanent one.

The History of Newton Falls [Revised edition 1977, p. 216] notes that original building location was at the site of the present Home Oil Company on North Canal Street.  Following the death of E.A. Stevens Sr. “in 1925, his son continued the business with a location in Detroit, Michigan. The main facility was  . . . at [the southeast corner] of Milton Boulevard and Arlington Road from 1941 through 1952 . . . business was sold in 1952 to Columbian Vise of Cleveland, and later to the Warren Tool Corporation of Warren, Ohio, in 1966.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can You Help Me Find a Vegetarian Indian Cookbook?

“I was watching a TV show with Gordon Ramsey featuring best restaurants. The episode was about vegetarian Indian food. I was hoping you could help me find a cookbook for it.” In order for the Newton Falls Public Library staff to assist our patron, our first step was to find what restaurant was on the show.

We discovered information about the show online by searching for ‘Gordon Ramsay best restaurants.” There is a BBC program titled Ramsay’s Best Restaurant. On the episode guide we found two Indian restaurants competing against each other. “With two generations of family behind the food, Prashad specializes in vegetarian dishes and the chefs use their hands to prepare the food, believing that love will be passed through each dish.” This was the one which our patron viewed.

Searching online for “Prashad vegetarian cookbook” we found two books, Prashad-Cooking with Indian Masters by J.Indersingh Kalra and Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad. Our patron thought she might like the latter, so we placed a hold on it through our new shared Clevnet catalog,, and will notify her when it arrives at our library.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is There Another Portable Way to Listen to Books?

Our caller said, “I really enjoy audio books, but my CD player broke. I would like to try something other than a CD one. Is there another portable way to listen to books?” Many members of the Newton Falls Public Library staff also enjoy listening to works by their favorite authors while driving or doing chores.

Many of us listen to books on Playaways, each holding just one title. The more popular choices are MP3 players and iPods. Our patron asked for a recommendation. Since we felt that her choice needed to be dependent on her personal preferences of product capabilities, price, etc., we recommended that she either talk to others who own them, visit local stores that carry them, or view online reviews.

Consumer Reports last reviewed MP3 players in December of 2010. Technology changes so quickly and our patron wanted newer information, so we looked online. We typed in “MP3 players reviews” and found several sites for her including and  We recommended that she duplicate our search to learn more about what was available.

Once our patron decides which player she would like; she can download free audio books from the library’s catalog. Newton Falls Public Library is presently part of the Ohio eBook Project.  Beginning November 1st, titles can be downloaded from our new Clevnet catalog

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who is Norma Shearer?

“We were going through things belonging to deceased relative, and came across an autographed photo of Norma Shearer. Can you help me find out who she was?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff confessed that they had never heard of Norma either, but would be happy to see what information we could find for our patron.

Our search began online and we discovered the Internet Movie Database website,, had a great deal of information about this actress from the 1920s through 1940s. Edith Norma Shearer was born on August 10, 1902 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. The 5’1” actress’ most famous roles were in the movies: The Divorcee  (1930) for which she won an Oscar, The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), and Romeo and Juliet (1936). She was offered the parts of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), the starring role in Mrs. Miniver (1942) and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard (1950). According to the book, AmericanNational Biography, she also turned down the lead role in Pride and Prejudice. She died on June 12, 1983. The IMDb website offers some interesting sidelights about her including her noticing a photo of the daughter of a ski lodge receptionist’s daughter and recommending her to MGM. The girl in the photo became famous and known as Janet Leigh. “F. Scott Fitzgerald based one of his most famous stories, ‘Crazy Sunday,’ on a party hosted by Shearer, who also inspired the story's main character, Stella Calman  . . . She is one of the celebrities whose picture Anne Frank placed on the wall of her bedroom in the ‘Secret Annex’ while in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam.”

On page 25 of the book 60 Years of the Oscar: the official history of the Academy Awards  by Robert Osborne, in the 1929-1930 awards Shearer was actually nominated for best actress in two films, The Divorcee and Their Own Desire. The following year the rule was changed so this situation could not again occur. The website, lists Shearer’s six Academy Award Best Actress nominations.

Our patron was surprised to learn how well known she was, and wondered how much the photograph might be worth. A variety of online sites offer Norma Shearer signed photographs for sale, ranging from $14.99 to several hundred dollars. Realizing that it is really only worth what someone is willing to pay; hoping to increase the value, our patron decided to see if she could locate a photograph which is the same as hers, discover if it is related to a particular film, and date the picture.