Archive for the ‘Contributions to the World’ Category

Klaus-Günter Jacobi’s Contribution To The World

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

If socialism is such a great economic system, why have so many people died trying to escape it?

Risking imprisonment, torture and death, Klaus-Günter Jacobi modified a BMW Isetta to help his friend escape the oppression of East Germany in 1963. Nine others were able to escape using the same method.

[Escaping East Berlin in a 1961 BMW Isetta [via]. Short vid here.]

Armistice Day: The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month, 1918

Monday, 11 November 2019

Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, many Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day.

A Brief History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniform Holiday Act ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.

[Source, more at the link. Related posts here.]

John Harrison’s Contribution To The World

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Self-taught John Harrison spent 43 years overcoming engineering challenges to develop the first marine chronometer. Harrison won a British competition to resolve deep sea navigation problems, but it took him several years to win the full prize.

In 1714, the British government offered a longitude prize for a method of determining longitude at sea, with the awards ranging from £10,000 to £20,000 (£2 million to £4 million in 2019 terms) depending on accuracy. John Harrison, a Yorkshire carpenter, submitted a project in 1730, and in 1735 completed a clock based on a pair of counter-oscillating weighted beams connected by springs whose motion was not influenced by gravity or the motion of a ship. His first two sea timepieces H1 and H2 (completed in 1741) used this system, but he realized that they had a fundamental sensitivity to centrifugal force, which meant that they could never be accurate enough at sea. Construction of his third machine, designated H3, in 1759 included novel circular balances and the invention of the bi-metallic strip and caged roller bearings, inventions which are still widely used. However, H3’s circular balances still proved too inaccurate and he eventually abandoned the large machines.

Harrison solved the precision problems with his much smaller H4 chronometer design in 1761. H4 looked much like a large five-inch (12 cm) diameter pocket watch. In 1761, Harrison submitted H4 for the £20,000 longitude prize. His design used a fast-beating balance wheel controlled by a temperature-compensated spiral spring. These features remained in use until stable electronic oscillators allowed very accurate portable timepieces to be made at affordable cost.

£20,000 in 1714 = ±£3,837,000 in 2018 = ±$4,733,000 USD.

$110k/year is not a bad payoff for a 45 year-long side project. Harrison began as a 21 year-old, and was 66 when he resolved the problem and received the full amount of the prize. He died 17 years later in 1776.

[Image and story here & here.]

Henri Lanos 1888 – Les Travaux de la Tour Eiffel – La Grande Echelle

Monday, 8 July 2019

Henri Lanos (1859-1929) was a French illustrator and painter whose work appeared in French magazines like La Caricature, L’Illustration and Je Sais Tout. He was member of the Société des Artistes Français (French Artists Society).

3-point perspective (1 point + zenith + right) is awesome. He even detailed rivets, and showed Paris’ 1855 Palais de l’Industrie in the distance.

[Found here, via here.]

R.I.P. Tim Conway (1933-2019)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The guy was naturally funny, especially when ad-libbing, and he did it all without profanity. Tim Conway was a real class act. We’ll miss him.

[Update:

A cartoonist named Randy Bish posted that tribute (via here).]

 

Robert H. Keaton’s Contribution To The World: The Music Typing Machine

Monday, 6 May 2019

It’s an interesting arrangement that gives the Keaton Music Typewriter its distinctive look. In terms of engineering, thanks to a curved meter on the left that Keaton called the Scale Shift Handle and Scale Shift Indicator, it’s easy to control exactly where the notes and characters fall on the page. By moving the handle up or down a notch, the typewriter adjusts to print 1/24 inch in either direction. Moving one notch up or down will cause the character to fall one musical step either way.

It appears that the typed sheet music in the museum display (the 2nd image) is turned 90 degrees from the way the machine types, or perhaps it’s a different model.

[Images and text found here; Original Patent here; Video here.]

Benjamin J.S. Cahill’s Contributions To The World

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

From the map inset:

“THE NEW STYLE WORLD MAP IS MADE BY CUTTING CROSSES AT 6 EQUIDISTANT POINTS ON THE COVERING OF A SPHERE WHICH IS THEN LAID OUT FLAT.

THE BUTTERFLY MAP

SHOWS THE WORLD JUST ABOUT AS ONE SEES IT ON A GLOBE WITHOUT EXAGGERATION OR DISTORTION OR ERRORS OF DISTANCE, AREA, OR DIRECTION. LONG DISTANCE FLIGHTS ALL OVER THE WORLD CAN BE ACCURATELY COMPARED ON THIS MAP AS ON NO OTHER.”


Bernard Joseph Stanislaus Cahill (1866–1944), cartographer and Architect, was the inventor of the octahedral “Butterfly Map” (published 1909; patented 1913).


At the start of his professional career in 1896, Cahill participated in the Phoebe Hearst competition for the design of the U. C. Berkeley campus. He was elected an Associate Member of the A.I.A. in 1899. He wrote articles for the “California Architect and Building News” and later for “The Architect and Engineer.” An early advocate of city planning, Cahill helped to define the concept of a “civic center” with his 1904 design of the San Francisco Civic Center, which he felt was the basis for the plan adopted by the city in 1912. He continued to be involved in the plan for the city, and wrote letters to the editor and articles expressing his ideas on the proper plan.

A specialist in mausoleum design and mortuary architecture, Cahill designed the catacombs and columbarium for the Cypress Lawn Cemetery, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (San Francisco), Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Memorial Building (Oakland), the St. Mary’s Cemetery mausoleum (Sacramento), and the Diamond Head Memorial Park in Honolulu [more here].


[Map found here.]

Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delightful Butt Music

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

[Hieronymus Bosch‘s Butt Music found here.]

Driftwood Charlie’s Contribution To The World

Monday, 18 February 2019

In 1947 the doctors said that Charles Kasling had only a short time to live unless he moved to a hot, dry climate. First he moved to the Death Valley area, and in 1960 he left for Yuma, Arizona, where Driftwood Charley’s World of Lost Art was created.”

Social Security records indicate Charles Kasling was born July 10, 1901 and passed away in March of 1985, a testament to desert living.

Unfortunately most of his artwork has been destroyed by vandalism and the elements.

[Postcard image found here. More about Driftwood Charlie here and here.]

Freddy Heineken’s Contribution To The World: Beer Bottle Masonry

Thursday, 3 January 2019

 

…The idea of turning waste into useful products came to life brilliantly in 1963 with the Heineken WOBO (world bottle). Envisioned by beer brewer Alfred Heineken and designed by Dutch architect John Habraken, the “brick that holds beer” was ahead of its ecodesign time, letting beer lovers and builders alike drink and design all in one sitting.

This is masonry. Each course is restrained by the male/female neck/punt connection, but the glass frogs (the bumps on the tops and bottom sides of the bottle) don’t provide a lot of friction, so some method of vertical reinforcement is required. Can’t tell how they anchored it to the foundation, or how they attached the roof framing.

I suppose it works in regions with few earthquakes, no serious windloads, and for people who really like green beer bottle natural lighting.

[Found here via here.]


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