On March 27th…

March 27, 1895: Gilchrist copied the Fortesque exam. [3STU]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1904)

“I have a letter here, Mr. Soames, which I wrote to you early this morning in the middle of a restless night. It was before I knew that my sin had found me out. Here it is, sir. You will see that I have said, `I have determined not to go in for the examination. I have been offered a commission in the Rhodesian Police, and I am going out to South Africa at once.’ ”

“I am indeed pleased to hear that you did not intend to profit by your unfair advantage,” said Soames. “But why did you change your purpose?”

Gilchrist pointed to Bannister.

Illustration by Arthur Twiddle for The Strand Magazine (1908)

 

March 27, 1902: Constable Downing was bitten by Cook. [WIST]

“It was about two hours ago. The light was just fading. I was sitting reading in the chair, I don’t know what made me look up, but there was a face looking in at me through the lower pane. Lord, sir, what a face it was! I’ll see it in my dreams.”

Cover illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele for Collier’s (1908)

“Chips” says: To me this picture represents Holmes inside a room working to Thwart Evil. While Evil is is outside waiting to overwhelm Good.

Source:A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes According to Zeisler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BS

Posted by “Chips” and  “Selena Buttons”

On March 26th…

Leonard Nimoy on tour as Holmes

Leonard Nimoy was born March 26, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts.

From 1973 on, he played Star Trek‘s Mr Spock on television and in films, so he is best known for that role. But he also played Sherlock Holmes in a touring production of William Gillette’s play. Asked about Holmes, he said:

He’s an asocial man, hardly your average 9-to-5 worker with a family. Instead, he’s chosen a very special kind of life, and he has very little respect for most of the people around him who are also involved in his profession. He’s an outsider, in so many ways—particularly in his relationships, with women. Holmes is very much an alien, all right, and I felt that I could understand him the same way I understood Spock.

“Chips” was fortunate enough to see the show, and he writes:

I have been in love with Leonard Nimoy since Star Trek. I was so lucky to get tickets to see him in person when he came to Denver in the William Gillette play. I wish he could done more as Holmes. The oddball casting was Allan Sues, a off the wall comedian who overplayed Moriarty but was completely outdone by Nimoy’s serious acting ability. Nimoy only varied once into Spock once during the play and he did it so well it fit right in.

I still have the play souvenir program that I keep in a place of honor.

from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

 

Source:
Information provided by A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”).

Posted by The Dynamic Duo of “Chips” (aka Ron) and “Selena Buttons” (aka Beth)

On March 25th…

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (July 1891)

March 25, 1889: The betrothal of the King of Bohemia to Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen was announced. [SCAN]

“Because she has said that she would send it on the day when the betrothal was publicly proclaimed. That will be next Monday.”

“Oh, then, we have three days yet,” said Holmes, with a yawn.

Source
A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo “Chips” (aka Ron) and “Selena Buttons” (aka Beth)

On March 24th…

March 24, 1889: Irene and Godfrey Norton left for the Continent. [SCAN]

Film still of portrait of Irene Adler in Granada "A Scandal in Bohemia"
Portrait of Irene Adler in the Granada Television adaptation of “A Scandal in Bohemia”

March 24, 1889: Holmes received a portrait of Irene Adler. [SCAN]

“What a woman – oh, what a woman!” cried the King of Bohemia, when we had all three read this epistle. “Did I not tell you how quick and resolute she was? Would she not have made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity she was not on my level?”

“From what I have seen of the lady, she seems, indeed, to be on a very different level to your Majesty,” said Holmes, coldly. “I am sorry that I have not been able to bring your Majesty’s business to a more successful conclusion.”

Another favorite Canonical moment from “Chips”.

Source
A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo “Chips” (aka Ron) and “Selena Buttons” (aka Beth)

On March 20th… A Scandal

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand magazine [July 1891]

One night – it was on the 20th of March, 1888 – I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice), when my way led me through Baker Street. [SCAN, emphasis added]

In A Curious Collection of Dates, Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”) write about this opening sentence:

“Although Watson is (atypically) quite clear on the date for ‘A Scandal in Bohemia,’ it’s a puzzling one. First, he describes a Lenten wedding – a Victorian faux pas. More bizarrely, however, he claims to be married, when – if the dating of The Sign of the Four is correct – he has yet to meet his wife.”

Over the years, of course, Sherlockians have tried to reconcile this puzzle in various ways. Baring-Gould puts the case in May of 1887, while Zeisler argues for March of 1889. Whenever it happened, I think we’re all glad that it did.

Source:
Information provided by A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”)

Posted by The Dynamic Duo: “Chips” aka Ron and “Selena Buttons” aka Beth.

On March 19th… Vamberry, the Wine Merchant

“First Edition Wines” from 221B Cellars (photo courtesy Ashley Polasek)

“They are not all successes, Watson,” said he, “but there are some pretty little problems among them. Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife.” [MUSG]

In A Curious Collection of Dates, Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”), dedicate this day to Arminius Vamberry, born March 19, 1832 (possibly). They write:

“According to Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Arminius Vamberry (German: Hermann Bamberger) was a wine collector. But the Hungarian language professor, who may or may not have been born on this date in 1832, was so much more.”

Their concise account of his adventurous life (including the reason he is featured on the day that might not have been his actual birthday) ends with this interesting speculation:

“In 2005, the British National Archives released a collection of late 19th-century secret service documents. There were several revelations, one being that Vamberry had served for over a decade as a foreign agent, providing information about the Turkish government and its relations with Austria-Hungary and Russia. Records reveal that he frequently asked for cash and was known for being ‘alarmist.’ One has to wonder if it was in this capacity that he ended up as one of Holmes’s ‘pretty little problems,’ sent to 221B by way of the Diogenes Club and a particular minor government official.”

Source:
Information provided by A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”)
Posted by The Dynamic Duo Ron (JHWS Chips) and Beth (JHWS Selena)

On March 18th… The Man with the Watches

Illustration by Frank Craig for The Strand (July 1898)

At five o’clock on the evening of the 18th of March in the year [1892] a train left Euston Station for Manchester. It was a rainy, squally day, which grew wilder as it progressed, so it was by no means the weather in which anyone would travel who was not driven to do so by necessity. The train, however, is a favourite one among Manchester business men who are returning from town, for it does the journey in four hours and twenty minutes, with only three stoppages upon the way. In spite of the inclement evening it was, therefore, fairly well filled upon the occasion of which I speak. The guard of the train was a tried servant of the company – a man who had worked for twenty-two years without a blemish or complaint. His name was John Palmer. (from “The Man with the Watches”, emphasis added)

“The Man with the Watches”, a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, appeared in The Strand magazine in July 1898, with illustrations by Frank Craig. It could be inferred that the detective in the story is Sherlock Holmes (though he’s never named), so the story is considered by some to be an extra-canonical case. It is one of the stories collected in Jack Tracy’s Sherlock Holmes: The Published Apocrypha. A review of that book by James O’Leary (JHWS “Pippin”) is available via our friends at I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: Classics of Sherlockiana: the Apocrypha of Sherlock Holmes.

Sources:
Brought to our attention by A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”). The full text of The Man with the Watches is available online.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo of Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena Buttons”)

On March 17th… Denis is Born


Denis Stewart Percy Conan Doyle was born on March 17, 1909, the third child of Arthur Conan Doyle, and the first child of his marriage to Jean Leckie. Arthur Conan Doyle originally suggested the name James Denis Pack Conan Doyle, honoring the baby’s maternal grandfather (James Blythe Leckie) and paternal grandmother’s family (the Packs). Arthur’s mother, however, insisted on the name Percy.

Arthur later wrote to his mother, “I have never seen so bright and intelligent a child. His head too is wonderfully formed. He will do deeds if he lives.”

Denis did live, marrying Georgian princess Nina Mdivani in 1936, working with his brother Adrian in managing the Conan Doyle estate, and enjoying motor racing and big game hunting. He died on March 9, 1955.

Source:
Information provided by A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”).
Posted by The Dynamic Duo of Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena”)

On March 16… We Travel. Or Do We?

Illustration by Philip Cornell (JHWS “Parkes”)

It was, then, in the spring of the year 1897 that Holmes’s iron constitution showed some symptoms of giving way in the face of constant hard work of a most exacting kind, aggravated, perhaps, by occasional indiscretions of his own. In March of that year Dr. Moore Agar, of Harley Street, whose dramatic introduction to Holmes I may some day recount, gave positive injunctions that the famous private agent would lay aside all his cases and surrender himself to complete rest if he wished to avert an absolute breakdown. The state of his health was not a matter in which he himself took the faintest interest, for his mental detachment was absolute, but he was induced at last, on the threat of being permanently disqualified from work, to give himself a complete change of scene and air. Thus it was that in the early spring of that year we found ourselves together in a small cottage near Poldhu Bay, at the farther extremity of the Cornish peninsula. [DEVI]

According to Guinn and Mahoney in A Curious Collection of Dates, the Adventure of the Devil’s Foot begins on March 16, 1897.

But! In Dorn’s A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes, the Adventure of the Devil’s Foot begins on April 8, 1897.

These two listings are contrary to each other as to when this case started. It is an example of one of my favorite controversies in Sherlockian scholarly world: Figuring out when each case occurred, based on clues picked up from the case and our outlandish Sherlockian minds. So, on we go, and we shall see if the chronology of Leah Guinn and Jaime Maloney and their volume disagree in other cases with the chronology of William Dorn and his volume.

Sources:
A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”) and A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI

Posted by Ron aka “Chips” and Beth aka “Selena Buttons”, proud columnists for the John H Watson Society.

On March 14th…

Jean Leckie (1906)

Jean Elizabeth Leckie was born March 14, 1874 to James Blythe Leckie and Selina Leckie in London, England.

At age twenty-three, while studying voice, she met Arthur Conan Doyle. At the time, he was thirty-eight and married with two children. His wife, Louisa, was suffering from tuberculosis.

Reportedly, Arthur immediately fell in love with Jean, but he remained faithful to Louisa until her death in 1906.

Arthur and Jean married September 18th, 1907, and had three children: Denis, Adrian, and Lena Jean. She survived her husband by ten years, passing away on June 27, 1940.

Source:
Information provided by A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”).
Posted by The Dynamic Duo of Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena”)

On March 13th… Tidbits is Born (Sort of)

Portrait of George Newnes

Sir George Newnes was born March 13, 1851, in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. In 1881, he founded a new magazine that would include small articles (“tit-bits”) reprinted from other publications. He called it, of course, Tit-Bits. (Or, to give it its proper full title: Tit-Bits from all the Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in the World.)

Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”) write in A Curious Collection of Dates:

Tit-Bits from all the Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in the World, Issue 1

The new magazine entered the marketplace at the perfect time: literacy rates had grown in England thanks to the Compulsory Education Act of 1870, and an increasingly urban, commuting public welcomed interesting train reading that did not require the commitment of a lengthy serial. It didn’t hurt that Newness was an expert promoter: Tit-Bits offered train insurance, contests for everything from cash to a house – even, in 1903, buried treasure.

He went on to found The Strand Magazine in 1891, which stated in its first issue, “It will contain stories and articles by the best British writers, and special translations from the first foreign authors. These will be illustrated by eminent artists.” The July 1891 issue contained the first appearance of “A Scandal in Bohemia”.

“Chips” notes: I think this is where the name of our column came from back when I
first joined this world of 1895 at about the age of 11.

Sources:

Information provided by the volume A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”). Digitized copy of the first volume of The Strand: An Illustrated Monthly held by the University of California available via Google Books.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo: Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena Buttons”)

On March 12th… A Model for Moriarty

Quotation from “The Outlook for the Flying Machine” by Professor Simon Newcomb [The Independent, 22 October 1903]
Simon Newcomb was born on March 12, 1835, in Wallace, Nova Scotia, Canada.

One hardly knows where, in the history of science, to look for an important movement that had its effective start in so pure and simple an accident as that which led to the building of the great Washington telescope, and went on to the discovery of the satellites of Mars. [Simon Newcomb, The Reminiscences of an Astronomer, 1903

Who was Simon Newcomb?

[Illustration by Sidney Paget for “The Final Problem”, The Strand Magazine, December 1893]

Is he not the celebrated author of The Dynamics of an Asteroid – a book which ascends to such rarefied heights of pure mathematics that it is said that there was no man in the scientific press capable of criticizing it? [VALL]

In A Curious Collection of Dates, Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”) note:

Several men have the dubious honor of being considered models for James Moriarty, and eminent American astronomer Simon Newcomb is one of them.

Newcomb was a gifted mathematician who, like Moriarty, applied his genius to the field of astronomy. In 1861, his paper “On the Secular Variations and Mutual Relations of the Orbits of the Asteroids” was published in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It is possible that Arthur Conan Doyle came across Newcomb’s work in his own wide-ranging studies.

Another side of Newcomb

Also like Moriarty, Newcomb appears to have had a darker side. He studied mathematics under Benjamin Peirce at Harvard, later becoming friends with him. Newcomb did not become friends with Peirce’s son, Charles, a fellow mathematician four years Newcomb’s junior. In Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life, biographer Joseph Brent credits Newcomb with no less than the “successful destruction of” Peirce’s career. Among other moves to sabotage Peirce, and perhaps motivated by his profound disapproval of Peirce’s recent divorce and marriage to his mistress, Newcomb played a major part in the denial of Peirce’s 1902 application for a Carnegie grant.

It is highly unlikely that Conan Doyle was aware of these facts: however, the story of a mathematical genius with a dark side doing battle with an unconventional genius dedicated to logic sounds familiar all the same. [from A Curious Collection of Dates]

Sources:

Information from the volume A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”). Additional information from the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life by Joseph Brent.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo, Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena Buttons”)

On March 10th…

March 10, 1883: Elias Openshaw received five orange pips. [FIVE]

What harmless seeds!
Why were they sent to this man?
And what do these men have to do with it?

Could these be a mystery soon to be connected to Holmes?

Source A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI

Posted by
Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena Buttons”), co-conspirators for Tid Bits

On March 9th… A Loss


On March 9, 1955, Denis Percy Stewart Conan Doyle (born 1909), son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, died in India. He was the first child of Arthur Conan Doyle’s marriage to Jean Leckie, and the eldest surviving son after the death of his half-brother, Kingsley, in 1918.

From information provided by the volume A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”), we find this note in E W Smith’s “From the Editor’s Commonplace Book” in the July 1955 issue of the Baker Street Journal:

[Denis was n]ever too sympathetic with the doings of the Baker Street Irregulars — he found the profound pseudo-scholarship angle a little baffling — [but] Denis was nevertheless an interested and sometimes charming observer.

Denis Conan Doyle attended the 1949 BSI Dinner and was perhaps somewhat miffed that Holmes and Watson, rather than his father, were getting all the attention. Smith goes to recall:

And then, a few minutes later, he got to his feet, at Chris Morley’s invitation, and gave a simple and very moving little talk on ‘My Father’s Friend, Mr Sherlock Holmes’.

 

Posted by The Dynamic Duo (JHWS Chips) aka Ron and (JHWS Selena) aka Beth

On March 1st… Watson Was A Woman!

At the annual dinner gathering of the Baker Street Irregulars in 1941, Rex Stout delivered a paper with a shocking premise to the members of what was at that time a men-only organization.

On March 1, 1941, the paper was published for general consumption in The Saturday Review of Literature:

WATSON WAS A WOMAN

It created a huge stir amongst the members of the BSI. (Legend says the assembled membership carried Stout out of the building and dumped him in the snow!) Stout concluded both his speech and paper with a promise to produce results of future research study in a two volume study. It never materialized.

Source
Information came from the volume A Curious Collection of Dates, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”)

Posted by The Dynamic Duo Co-columnists Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena”).

On February 28th… Arthur Conan Doyle Goes to Sea (Twice)

“On the quarterdeck” [from Life on a Greenland Whaler]
On February 28, 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle, still a medical student, set sail from Peterhead on the Hope, a whaling ship bound for seven months in the Arctic. He was to be the ship’s surgeon  taking the place of a friend who could not make at the last moment.

He published an account of his journey in The Strand magazine in January, 1897, under the title “Life on a Greenland Whaler”.

It is brutal work, though not more brutal than that which goes onto supply every dinner-table in the country. And yet those glaring crimson pools upon the dazzling white of the ice-fields, under the peaceful silence of a blue Arctic sky, did seem a horrible intrusion. But an inexorable demand creates an inexorable supply, and the seals, by their death, help to give a living to the long line of seamen, dockers, tanners, curers, triers, chandlers, leather merchants, and oil-sellers, who stand between this annual butchery on the one hand, and the exquisite, with his soft leather boots, or the savant using a delicate oil for his philosophical instruments, upon the other.


He kept a journal of his experiences. That handwritten journal, complete with illustration sketches, can be seen in Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure (2012), edited by Jon Lellenberg (JHWS “Towser”) and Daniel Stashower. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Arthur Conan Doyle’s personality as well as his adventures. In an interview for NPR, Lellenberg says:

I remember there’s one entry where he says, ‘We had nothing to do, and we did it.’ And another entry, he talks about spending the night with the crew, which is basically an evening of music, song, drinking — he says, ‘gin and tobacco in the crew’s berths.’ And the next entry starts, ‘Suffered for the gin and tobacco.’ … He’s a young man reporting what he’s seeing and hearing and experiencing in quite a remarkable way.

Two years later, on February 28, 1900, Arthur Conan Doyle boarded the troop transport Oriental for the 3 week voyage to South Africa. He had been waiting for his orders to come he asked by a friend to go to the South African town of Bloemfontein. He was to help set up a hospital. He was help pick personnel, work as a physician and be unofficial supervisor.

Source
Information for this post comes from the excellent A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”)

Posted by Chips and Selena

On February 25th… An Execution

Portrait of Charles Peace (1832-1879)

Charles Peace, English burglar and murderer, was executed on February 25, 1879.

Why is this important to us? Because of the following quote from the Canon:

“A complex mind,” said Holmes. “All great criminals have that. My old friend Charlie Peace was a violin virtuoso.”

The case the quote is from  ______________________. Please fill in the blank or ask us and we will tell you.

Charles Peace embarked on a life of crime after being maimed in an industrial accident as a boy. After killing a policeman in Manchester, he fled to his home-town of Sheffield, where he became obsessed with his neighbour’s wife and shot the husband dead. Settling in London, he carried out multiple burglaries before being caught in the prosperous suburb of Blackheath, wounding the policeman who arrested him. He was linked to the Sheffield murder and tried at Leeds Assizes. Found guilty, he was hanged at Armley Prison.

Sources
This information is from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.
The idea to use this story came from the volume A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”). Their story is more detailed and interesting. Look it up. You will enjoy. Leah and Jaime speculate that Holmes as a young man may have been one of the visitors that Peace entertained before Peace was hanged. Since they both had crime interests and violins in common.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo Co-columnists Ron (JHWS “Chips”) Beth (JHWS “Selena”).

On February 24th… Another Detective, Another Doctor

There was a detective who had books put out about his adventures. Some of those volumes had titles like The Adventures, The Return, The Memoirs, and The Casebook. It came to 70 stories by the original author.

The Detective had a companion, a medical Doctor who was a widower. The Doctor moved out of the flat they shared together when he remarried. In the United States, there grew up a society to honor the detective and authorized other groups around the country to do the same.

Artwork by Charles Hall (Hat tip to Bob Byrne for identifying the artist!)

This group was called the PSI. The Detective is Solor Pons.

The author of the Solar Pons series, August Derleth, was born on February 24, 1909 in Sauk City, Wisconsin.

For more details, check the stories and you will find the love of the author for our Holmes and Watson in his Pons and Parker.

Source:
Information provided from the volume A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”).

Posted by The Dynamic Duo: ‘Chips’ aka Ron and ‘Selena’ aka Beth

On February 23rd… The Singular Affair of the Aluminum

Name the two cases these quotes are from if you would like:

We all filed into the front room and sat round the central table while the Inspector unlocked a square tin box and laid a small heap of things before us. There was a box of vestas, two inches of tallow candle, an A D P brier-root pipe, a pouch of seal-skin with half an ounce of long-cut Cavendish, a silver watch with a gold chain, five sovereigns in gold, an aluminum pencil-case, a few papers, and an ivory-handled knife with a very delicate, inflexible bade marked Weiss & Co., London.

And:

Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife.

Portrait of Charles Martin Hall
Portrait of Charles Martin Hall (1863-1914)

 

What do these two quotations have in common? Aluminum!

Charles Martin Hall was able to isolate “aluminum metal by passing an electric current through a solution of aluminum oxide in molten cryoliteFebruary 23, 1886.

The “Hall Process” made aluminum available for use in relatively inexpensive commercial products like the pencil-case and crutch above.

Source
Information provided from the volume A Curious Collection of Dates, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”), with additional information on the Hall Process from the American Chemical Society.

On February 22nd…

February 22, 1886: The beryl coronet was reclaimed by its owner. [BERY]

Illustration for the Beryl Coronet by J C Drake
J C Drake illustration for the Chicago Inter-Ocean

“That would be unnecessary. Three thousand will cover the matter. And there is a little reward, I fancy. Have you your cheque-book? Here is a pen. Better make it out for four thousand pounds.”

With a dazed face the banker made out the required cheque. Holmes walked over to his desk, took out a little triangular piece of gold with three gems in it, and threw it down upon the table.

With a shriek of joy our client clutched it up.

“You have it!” he gasped. “I am saved! I am saved!”

The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been, and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom.

“There is one other thing you owe, Mr. Holder,” said Sherlock Holmes, rather sternly.

“Owe!” He caught up a pen. “Name the sum, and I will pay it.”

“No, the debt is not to me. You owe a very humble apology to that noble lad, your son, who has carried himself in this matter as I should be proud to see my own son do, should I ever chance to have one.”

Source
Information provided by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI, from his book, A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes.