Hi Josh !
Welcome aboard ! The practice of issuing badges occurred from the very start of street railways with drivers, gripmen, and motormen being issued them for the same reasons that badges are issued today. In the early years, particularly in rural areas, street railway company workers often were not in uniform. It seems that the colder the climate, the more that this predominated. I have heard of a motorman's coat which consisted of multiple hides of leather stitched together to form a tremendously heavy (but insulated) warm coat of approximately three inches thickness ! Badge issuance was for the same reasons they are issued today - identification and security. It was very important for members of the general public to be able to identify a legitimate street railway employee. The "good old days" weren't completely innocent, and there were more than a few undesireables back then who would pose as street railway men in order to collect some unsanctioned "fares". A railway type uniform might be procurred (or stolen) and the con might be made so much easier if it weren't for a positive means of identification. Also, the badge was a way for the companies to control who had access to their facilities. The times were filled with all sorts of labor unrest, riots, work slow downs and strikes, as well as competition and sabotage from rival companies and services. A company would demand a badge from a striker, the penalty for not returning it would be immediate dismissal from the company with no consideration of re-instatement. The companies needed this control from keeping their equipment and property from ruin in cases such as I have mentioned. I think also, that the prestige of being awarded a badge, an acknowledgement that one was in a particularly prestigious profession (more respected than today) was a reason for issuance.
The badge that you possess is a gem. First and most importantly, it represents your grandfather's life, in a proud, public-service profession, and secondly, it is quite rare. I would keep it under lock and key in a fire proof safe. You should be very proud.
The Trolley and Interurban Directory by Gross has this regarding the Claremont Railway and Lighting Company:
Initials; CRY&L CO.
5.33 miles of track
Incorporated in 1901
General Offices in Claremont, NH
Ended in 1907, at which time they re-organized.
(There is also a Claremont Railway Co., initials C RYCO., general offices in Claremont, which shows up, no further info. Based upon what I read in McGraw (below), I'm guessing that it was the CRY&L's successor.)
The McGraw Electric Railway Manual, Vol. 10, pgs. 128-129, says this about the CRY&L CO.:
Chartered 3/22/03 (?)
Owns and operates the electric lighting plant of Claremont.
8 miles of track
owned 7 cars
President H.R. Beckwith
(In discrepencies with Gross, I'd go with McGraw as it was written at the time (albeit just prior to) of the railway.)
Any chance that we could see a photo of this great badge ?
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