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Posts Tagged ‘automobile

“Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves”*…

 

Produced at the height of the Cold War [1956], and made at the behest of the American Petroleum Institute (still the biggest lobby for the U.S. oil and gas industry), this great little promotional film from John Sutherland Studios [producer of other such gems as “Rhapsody of Steel,” “A is for Atom,” and “Wise Use of Credit’; c.f. here] champions not only the wonders of oil as might be expected, but also free-market capitalism. The surprisingly humorous cartoon tells the story of how the suspiciously Stalin-like leader of Mars, named Ogg, sends a rather calamity-prone citizen to Earth to find a better power source for his poorly-running “state limousine”. The exploring Martian, of course, lands in the United States and soon discovers the many and myriad delights of petroleum, and that, in contrast to his home planet, competition between companies is rife. His take-home lesson (and one drilled into the viewer on numerous occasions) is that “competing for the customer’s dollar” is key to the success of the oil industry and, of course, the thriving country as a whole. Delivering the news to Ogg back on Mars, the leader replies defiantly that “competition is downright un-Martian”, but the ordinary Martians are not to be deterred and soon rise up to overthrow Ogg and set up a thriving oil industry (and capitalist culture) of their own — the short ending with the slogan “destination unlimited” writ proudly across the screen…

Via Public Domain Review, and the Internet Archive.

* Eric Hoffer

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As we fill ‘er up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that Bertha Benz, wife of inventor Karl Benz made the first motor tour. Without her husband’s knowledge, she borrowed one of his cars and with their teenage sons travelled 180 km to visit relatives for 5 days. She drove her sons, Richard and Eugen, 14 and 15 years old, in Benz’s newly-constructed “Patent Motorwagen” automobile, from Mannheim to Pforzheim– a distance of more than 106 km (66 miles).  She thus became the first person to drive an automobile over more than just a very short distance… and in so doing, brought her husband’s handiwork worldwide attention, securing his company’s first sales.

The Benz Patent-Motorwagen Number 3 of 1886, used by Bertha Benz for the highly publicized first long distance road trip

source

 

 

Written by LW

August 12, 2017 at 1:01 am

“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it”*…

 

From Ulysses S. Grant to Philando Castile— how the automobile fundamentally changed the relationship between the police and the citizenry: “A Brief History of the Traffic Stop (Or How the Car Created the Police State).”

* Dudley Moore

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As we stay in our lanes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1900 that the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was founded in Akron, Ohio (also home to arch-rival Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and another two mid-sized competitor tire places, General Tire and Rubber and BF Goodrich).  The company’s founder, Harvey Firestone, parlayed his close friendship with Henry Ford into a role as prime tire supplier to the Ford Motor Company, starting in 1906 with tires for the Model T.  In 1926, the company opened the Firestone Natural Rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia.  The largest plantation of it’s kind in the world, it operated until it was seized, in 1990, by Charles taylor and his NPFL forces.  The company’s ventures in Liberia have been the subject of considerable scrutiny and criticism, including a 2005 Alien Tort Claims Act case brought in California by the International Labor Rights Fund and a 2014 investigative report by ProPublica entitled “Firestone and the Warlord,” and a PBS Frontline documentary by the same name.

The first Firestone store

source

 

Written by LW

August 3, 2016 at 1:01 am

If we do not meet with agreeable things, we shall at least meet with something new…

Optimism is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it’s wrong.
– Voltaire, Candide, Chapter XIX

Just over 250 years ago, a short volume by Voltaire– Candide, ou l’Optimisme— was making the underground rounds.  Within a month of its publication in January of 1759, the Grand Council of Geneva and the administrators of Paris had banned Candide; still, it sold twenty thousand to thirty thousand copies by the end of the year in over twenty editions, a clear best-seller by the standards of the time.  In 1762, Candide joined Giordano Bruno’s works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.  (Indeed, though its authorship was a badly-kept secret, Candide was, as can be noted above, ostensibly written by “Doctor Ralph’; Voltaire only admitted his paternity in 1768.)

Now, through April, readers can revel both in Voltaire’s sardonic indictment of optimism (and poor Gottfried Liebniz) and in the stories that surround it:  The New York Public Library is hosting “Candide at 250: Scandal and Success”– an exhibit (at the Schwartzman Building Gallery) and a wonderful on-line experience.

Then, “let us cultivate our garden.”

As we discipline our inner Pangloss, we might recall that it was on this date in 1886 that Karl Friedrich Benz patented the Benz Patent Motorwagon– the first “automobile” entirely designed to generate its own power (via a water-cooled gasoline engine)… that’s to say, not simply a motorized stage coach or horse carriage.

The Benz Patent Motorwagon

When the vinyl met the road…

From the ever-interesting folks at OOK (Observing Obscure Kulture), a tribute to the must-have auto accessory of the 50s and early 60s:

Hey, vinyl fanatics, have you ever wished you could listen to your records while cruising in your car? From the mid-50’s to the early 60’s, Chrysler made this dream a reality with two generations of in-car phonographs. The original Highway Hi-Fi hit the streets in Autumn of 1955, for model year 1956 — a factory option in the full Chrysler Corporation line of vehicles: Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, DeSoto and Imperial.

More at “Highway Hi-Fi.”

As we crank up the volume, we might devote ourselves to productive thought, following the example of Edward Gibbon, who wrote:

It was at Rome, on the 15th of October 1764, as I sat musing amid the ruins of the capitol, while the bare-footed friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter (today, the Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli), that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind … But my original plan was circumscribed to the decay of the City, rather than of the Empire.

Gibbon completed The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (timely reading even– perhaps especially– today) on June 27, 1787.

Gibbon, by Sir Joshua Reynolds

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