Sunday, May 25, 2014

1904 Data Recovery: J. Bolgiano & Son Seed Company's Sad Story

With all the news of hackers infiltrating large businesses and stealing sensitive information I think many of us have forgotten how in the early years our first concerns of other people holding our data was about backups - did they have sufficient safely placed redundancy to repair data destroyed by "acts of god"?.  

Here is a 20th century seed story that just makes you quietly shake your head at the complexity of data recovery.
from http://www.shorpy.com/node/10096
http://www.shorpy.com/user/1678
American Poultry Advocate, 1904
It is more than probable that every reader of this paper has heard of the wonderfully disastrous fire which so recently burned the heart out of the city of Baltimore. Unless you just happened to know some one who was living or doing business in Baltimore, it is likely that you gave the fire hardly more than a passing thought. But what do you think it means to the people of Baltimore? What do you thing it means for instance, to J. Bolgiano & Sons,

the seedsmen who have for eighty-seven years been doing business In the fated city? In all that long period they have never before suffered from fire. Indeed, they felt perfectly safe this time, for when the fire first started it was more than ten city squares away from them. Later, and when they thought they were endangered — though the fire was still six squares from them — they employed two hundred hands and fifty drays and began the removal of their large retail seed stock to one of their warehouses a long distance from the fire, and where they felt everything would be safe. It transpired, however, that by a shifting of the winds the fire ate relentlessly away until both retail stores, offices, packing rooms and warehouses were destroyed. Bolgianos made a brave fight to save the orders and seeds for their thousands of customers, but fate was against them. The orders already booked and the lists of names of multiplied thousands of customers all over the world were lost in the twinkle of an eye.
With absolutely nothing to work with, nothing to aid them except their fair name and excellent reputation, the Bolgianos have set to work with firm hands and brave hearts to rebuild their business. They have already laid in a large stock of the very best farm and garden seeds, notwithstanding the short seed crop of the past season, and will be able to fill orders as usual. Since all their advance orders and names of customers are burned, they have very little to begin on. Will those of our readers who ordered from Bolgiano & Sons write a postal card at once, simply giving your name and post office address? Do this whether you are an old or new customer of theirs. Send them your name anyhow, so that they may send you their catalogue another season. Simply address the card to J. Bolgiano & Sons, Baltimore, Md.

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