(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘battery

“The future is electric”…

One of the many Fritchle electric cars manufactured in the early 20th century

And also a thing of the past…

For a brief period in the early 20th century in the United States, the electric car was high society’s hottest commodity, sought after by socialites and businessmen alike…

During the early years of the “Automotive Age,”—from about 1896 to 1930—as many as 1,800 different car manufacturers functioned in the U.S. While innovators in Europe had been working on battery-powered vehicles since the 1830s, the first successful electric car in the U.S. made its debut in 1890 thanks to a chemist from Iowa. His six-passenger was basically an electrified wagon that hit a top speed of 14 mph.

By 1900, electric cars were so popular that New York City had a fleet of electric taxis, and electric cars accounted for a third of all vehicles on the road. People liked them because in many ways early electric cars outperformed their gas competitors. Electric cars didn’t have the smell, noise, or vibration found in steam or gasoline cars. They were easier to operate, lacked a manual crank to start, and didn’t require the same difficult-to-change gear system as gas cars.

Electric cars became extremely popular in cities, especially with upper-class women who disliked the noisy and smelly attributes of gasoline-powered cars. A New York Times article from 1911 reported, “The designers of electric passenger car-carrying vehicles have made great advances in the past few years, and these machines have retained all their early popularity and are steadily growing in favor with both men and women.”…

Like today, one of the challenges for early electric car owners was where to charge them. But by 1910 owners could install their own charging stations on their property, and an increasing number of car-repair shops popped up that allowed electric cars to charge overnight.

One of the most eccentric and interesting manufacturers of early electric cars was Oliver P. Fritchle, a chemist and electrical engineer who began as an auto repairman until he realized he could build a better electric car himself. Fritchle sold his first vehicle in 1906 and set up a production plant in Denver, Colorado, in 1908.

Fritchle made one of the best car batteries in the business, which he claimed could travel 100 miles on a single charge

An advertisement for a Fritchle electric car. Via American-Automobiles.com

What’s old is new again: “Before Tesla: Why everyone wanted an electric car in 1905,” from Megan Barber (@megcbarber) in @Curbed.

J. P. Morgan

###

As we recharge, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that the U.S. Federal government standardized the size of license plates throughout the U.S. Originally, owners had been responsible for their own tags; then individual states had designed– and dimensioned– license plates, resulting in wide variations.

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 5, 2021 at 1:00 am

“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works”*…

 

Alan Jacobs has written seventy-nine theses on technology for disputation. A disputation is an old technology, a formal technique of debate and argument that took shape in medieval universities in Paris, Bologna, and Oxford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In its most general form, a disputation consisted of a thesis, a counter-thesis, and a string of arguments, usually buttressed by citations of Aristotle, Augustine, or the Bible.

But disputations were not just formal arguments. They were public performances that trained university students in how to seek and argue for the truth. They made demands on students and masters alike. Truth was hard won; it was to be found in multiple, sometimes conflicting traditions; it required one to give and recognize arguments; and, perhaps above all, it demanded an epistemic humility, an acknowledgment that truth was something sought, not something produced.

It is, then, in this spirit that Jacobs offers, tongue firmly in cheek, his seventy-nine theses on technology and what it means to inhabit a world formed by it. They are pithy, witty, ponderous, and full of life…

Give them the consideration they deserve at “79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation.”  Then participate in the discussion at Hedgehog Review‘s Infernal Machine.

[TotH to @alexismadrigal]

C.f. also: “We Put A Chip In It!” (“It was just a dumb thing. Then we put a chip in it. Now it’s a smart thing.”)

* Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

###

As we celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, we might add a candle for Conrad Hubert; he was also born on this date, in 1856.  An inventor who first created electric novelties (like battery-powered lighted flower pots and scarf pins), he is best remembered for developing the tubular “Flash Light” (an extension of his work on battery-powered bicycle lights) in the late 1890s.  In 1902, Hubert joined with W.H. Lawrence, who had manufactured the first consumer battery to power home telephones, to create the Ever Ready battery company.

1899 Electrical Age Magazine ad for Ever Ready Electric Flashlight

 source

Conrad Hubert

 source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Getting struck by lightning is like winning the lottery, except of course, not as lucky”*…

 

On the coast of Venezuela, in the small fishing village of Ologa, lies a square kilometer that is struck by more lightning than anywhere else on the planet almost every other night of the year.  Reuter’s photojournalist Jorge Silva offers an illustrated tour at “Venezuela’s eternal storm.”

* Jarod Kintz

###

As we take cover, we might send highly-charged birthday greetings to Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta; he was born on this date in 1745.  Volta was a physicist who studied what we now call electrical capacitance; he developed (separate) means to study both electrical potential (V ) and charge (Q ), and discovered that for a given object, they are proportional.  This is often called “Volta’s Law”; the unit of electrical potential is universally called the “volt.”  For all of this, Volta may be best remembered as the inventor of the first battery (which he called the “voltaic pile“).

 source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 18, 2015 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: