Frank Paul Salamid was born Francisco Paolo Salamido in the town of Monopoli, way down in the heel of Italy, on 23 October 1881. Family lore has it that he was in town for the 1906 earthquake and was a barber at the time. However, his name first appeared in the 1900 directory, in the classifieds as a cement contractor. Then and thereafter, his address was on Manila Avenue.
I’ve documented the triangular Frank Salamid stamp from 1909 to 1949, one of Oakland’s longest records. From the start, his marks always varied. Here are three different examples from 1909.
Although the stamps read “Frank Salamid & Co.,” in 1911 and 1912 he started wiping out the “& Co.” part. My only clue about this is that in the 1910 directory he used the address 619 47th Street. I surmise that he started a proper company at that address and soon thought better of it, reverting to a one-man practice or a small team based out of his home.
Frank’s brother Angelo (1896-1997) came to America in 1914, working first in Pennsylvania and then in Oakland with Frank. Angelo Salamid first appeared in the 1917 directory at the same address as Frank, 5348 Manila Avenue. They and their respective families seem to have lived together, or at least within a few homes of each other, into the 1940s.
I haven’t found a mark from 1920, but in 1921 Frank appeared to have lost one of his most important numerals.
After that he acquired a new set of smaller numerals that allowed him to customize his marks even more capriciously — sometimes with months and days, sometimes inside the triangle instead of out. I’ve always thought this example from 23 December 1929 was poignant, coming as it did after the October stock-market crash and just two days before Christmas, when every extra dollar must have meant a lot.
The 1930s were good for Frank and Angelo. Their work is integral to the Idora Park development, the remarkable 3700 block of Elston Avenue, and elsewhere. In this period he got lax about wiping away the “& Co.”
Soon thereafter (the family source puts it at 1951), Frank sold the business to Angelo, retired to Glenn County and that was it. The family home for most of their time was at 5350 Manila, but the sidewalk there is blank.
Frank died in December 1969. Angelo and his son Anthony (Tony) carried on with the ubiquitous “A Salamid” stamp from 1951 into the 1970s, although none of their marks were dated.
Angelo lived to the age of 100. Tony, now retired, lives in Pleasant Hill, and other descendants live in the East Bay. My thanks to Patrick Salamid for the family stories.