Posts Tagged ‘Ford’
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
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 competitors, 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.
In the Fall of 1955, the Ford Motor Company had dedicated two plants to produce the new “E-car” that was to anchor its future… but hadn’t yet settle on the new auto’s name. Stumped, Ford called on one of America’s foremost poets, Marianne Moore to come up with “inspirational names.” Ms. Moore obliged, submitting a list that included: “Resilient Bullet,” “Ford Silver Sword,” “Mongoose Civique,” “Varsity Stroke,” “Pastelogram,” “Andante con Moto,” and “Utopian Turtletop.”
Ford settled on “Edsel.”
As we ruminate on nomination, we might send speedy birthday greetings to Ferruccio Lamborghini; he was born on this date in 1916. After World War II, Lamborghini built a smal engineering and manufacturing empire, starting with tractors made from reconfigured surplus military vehicles, then air-conditioning and heating systems. As his wealth grew, he began to buy luxury sports cars, ultimately a Ferrari, the pinnacle of the day. But Lamborghini found his Ferrari (especially its clutch) wanting, so decided to start a rival sports car company, Automobili Lamborghini, in 1963. That same year he debuted its first car, the Lamborghini 350 GTV, a two-seater coupe with a V12 engine– and a killer clutch.
If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you? That sobering question hovers like an apparition over each of the Willard Asylum suitcases. From the 1910s through the 1960s, many patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane left suitcases behind when they passed away, with nobody to claim them. Upon the center’s closure in 1995, employees found hundreds of these time capsules stored in a locked attic. Working with the New York State Museum, former Willard staffers were able to preserve the hidden cache of luggage as part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Photographer Jon Crispin has long been drawn to the ghostly remains of abandoned psychiatric institutions. After learning of the Willard suitcases, Crispin sought the museum’s permission to document each case and its contents. In 2011, Crispin completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the first phase of the project, which he recently finished. Next spring, a selection of his photos will accompany the inaugural exhibit at the San Francisco Exploratorium’s new location…
Read the whole remarkable story, “Abandoned Suitcases Reveal Private Lives of Insane Asylum Patients,” and see more of Crispin’s remarkable photos, at Collectors Weekly.
[TotH to Rudy Rucker]
As we remember to “roll, not fold,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1959 that the Ford Motor Company announced that it would discontinue it’s Edsel line of cars. Introduced to great fanfare on September 4, 1957– “E Day”– total Edsel sales were only about 84,000– less than half the company’s projected break-even point.
From Chaplin and Keaton to Astaire and Olivier; from Kurosawa and Godard to von Sternberg and Tarkovsky; from Scorsese and Hitchcock to Ford and Huston– 300 Free Movies Online.
(Readers should be sure to look through the list to the very bottom, where they will find a list of links to more streaming riches…)
As we politely refuse butter, we might recall that it was on this date in 1958 that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married; they celebrated their 50th anniversary just months before Newman succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 83.
From Photographer Alain Delorme, an extraordinary slideshow featuring things on the move in China.
(Thanks, Dan Sturges)
As we rebalance our loads, we might recall that it was on this date in 1998, five days after the company was formed by $37 billion merger, that DaimlerChrysler first traded in the New York Stock Exchange; at that moment, DaimlerChrysler was the fifth-largest auto manufacturer in the world (after General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen). The plan was for further growth, via the creation of a single powerhouse car company that could compete in all markets, all over the world… But in the event, Chrysler lost so much money– $1.5 billion in 2006 alone– that in 2007, Daimler paid a private equity firm to take the company off its hands. Two years later, in 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy (again); in order to stay afloat, it merged with Italian automaker Fiat.
Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, inventors of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (source: IBM)
Twenty years ago, technicians at IBM’s Almaden Research Lab pulled a nifty stunt with their scanning tunneling microscope (STM). IBM scientists had invented the STM nine years earlier in IBM’s Zurich Lab (and received a Nobel prize for it in 1996); while the STM was originally intended simply to create visualizations of things very, very tiny, the folks at Almaden realized that the technique used– it “felt” the atoms in question with similarly-charged particles, then mapped the object– could be reversed: the STM could change it’s charge, “pin” an atom, and move it… The first illustration– and, some argue, the first example of “practical” nanotechnology– was this IBM logo, “written” in xenon atoms:
Over the last two decades, the STM has become a critical tool for chip makers, enabling them to perfect current DRAM and flash memories. Now, the folks at Almaden, still pushing the limits of their gear, they’ve turned their STMs into slo-mo movie cameras, and captured the atomic process of setting and erasing a bit on a single atom– that’s to say, of the operation of a single-atom DRAM.
Practical applications- atomic memories, better solar cells, and ultimately, atomic scale quantum computers– are, of course, some way off… but Moore’s Law seems safe for awhile.
Read all about it in EE Times.
As we drop the needle on that Steve Martin album, we might recall that it was on this date in 1908 that the Model T went on sale; it cost $825 (roughly equivalent to $20,000) today. Ford’s advances in the technologies used both in the car and in its manufacture, along with economies of scale, resulted in steady price reductions over the next decade: by the 1920s, the price had fallen to $290 (equivalent to roughly $3,250 today).