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herbert e. kichline wbo raleigh nc

May 2, 1945, I celebrated the 39th anniversary of my entry into the Weather Bureau. Before I entered the Bureau in Nashville, Tenn., in 1906, my somewhat varied activities had included working in a steel plant, selling life insurance, and teaching school for several years. ( It is my observation that the last named vocation seems to have been followed by quite a few weathermen at one time or another.)

But to go back to my earlier pre-Bureau days. I was born near Easton, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 1879. After graduating from high school and completing a year of preparatory school, I found it necessary to go to work, so never entered college. After entering the Bureau, I began to rue the fact that part of my four years spent studying Latin, and three Greek, in high school and preparatory school hadn’t been added to the time spent there on mathematics and physics. This regret – and my familiarity with math and physics – was increased materially by dint of a good deal of digging on the Bureau’s promotion examinations.

In those days those of us who did not have a college diploma were required to pass a set of examinations in order to become eligible for each grade promotion. $720. $1000, $1200…. and then, when a man was well acquainted with secant and cosecant and could explain the earth’s wobble and show that he clearly understood precession of the equinoxes and a number of other things, he landed the princely salary of $1440 per annum.

But there were other compensations. The variety of activities carried on by the Bureau held the interest of many of us.

Since entering the Bureau I have made observations, drawn maps, done some printing and much chalk plate work. For the benefit of newer employees who don’t know how the bunions on the third finger right hand , of a number of their seniors came about, weather maps were at one time printed by the chalk plate method, which involved cutting the data with a steel stylus on a thin (about 1/16”) coating of chalk on a steel plate of about the same thickness, and from this chalk dye making a stereotyped metal cast from which the maps were printed. While doing chalk plate work, I introduced a method by which the small 8 X 10 map was produced in two colors and at the same time the daily labor cut to less than half.

Other phases of Bureau work in which I have engaged are climatology, river forecasting, broadcasting and administration. Stations at which I have served while with the Bureau, in addition to Nashville, are Ithaca, Philadelphia, Cheyenne, and lastly Raleigh, where I landed in 1916 and where I have been in charge since 1939.

Music and singing have been my great delight. Especial favorites have been oratorio, cantata and Gilbert and Sullivan light opera. I have done solo work in music of these types with local choruses in Cheyenne and Raleigh.

In October 1906, I was married to Anna L. Bachman of Pennsylvania. One of our two daughters, Mildred, is teaching Bible in high school; the other, Betty, who is now Mrs. James Gerow, shares my interest in music. She plays pipe organ and her husband is an accomplished trumpet soloist. I share pretty enthusiastically her interest in my two grandsons Jimmie Gerow, aged 5, and David, aged 2.

In: “The BREEZE”, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 10, 1945. P.5.


Mr. Herbert E. Kichline, 64, with the Weather Bureau at Raleigh WBO since 1916, died at his home December 19, following a lingering illness.

Funeral services were conducted at the Michell Funeral Home by Dr. F. Orio Mixon, pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church. Members of the Senior Board of Deacons of the Church served as pallbearers. Interment was at Easton, Pa., Mr. Kichline’s birthplace.

Before going to Raleigh, Mr. Kichline was with the Bureau in Nashville, Ithaca, Philadelphia, and Cheyenne.

In: “The BREEZE”, Vol. 2, No. 12, January 10, 1946. P. 3.

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