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Posts Tagged ‘Zeppelin

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger”*…

 

Castillo_de_San_Marcos

 

In 1702, when the Spanish still ruled Florida, an English fleet from colonial Carolina approached Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish stronghold on the Atlantic shore.

The fort guarded the Spanish empire’s trade routes as well as the surrounding city of St. Augustine, and the English wanted to run this politically and economically important outpost for themselves. Led by Carolina’s governor James Moore, the English boats dropped their anchors and laid siege.

But even after nearly two months of being shelled with cannonballs and gunfire, the fort’s walls wouldn’t give. In fact, they appeared to be “swallowing” the British cannonballs, which then became embedded within the stone. Precisely how the walls did this remained a mystery for the next three centuries.

Normally, a cannonball creates long, deep cracks in stone that radiate out from the impact’s center, causing catastrophic damage to a structure. This was clearly not the case for the walls surrounding Castillo de San Marcos. Built from coquina—sedimentary rock formed from compressed shells of dead marine organisms—the walls suffered little damage from the British onslaught. As one Englishman described it, the rock “will not splinter but will give way to cannon ball as though you would stick a knife into cheese.”…

The secret of the Spanish– and what it might mean for the future: “The Mystery of Florida’s Cannonball-Eating Spanish Fort.”

* Friedrich Nietzsche

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As we muse on mutable materials, we might send altitudinous birthday greetings to Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin; he was born on this date in 1838.  An inventor, engineer, and manufacturer, he was the aviation pioneer who built the first rigid dirigible airships– called, in his honor, Zeppelins.

He patented his idea in 1895, then formed a company to build airships in 1898–  though many thought his invention incredible, and dubbed him “Foolish Count.”  His first airship took off on July 2, 1900; its success stimulated funding.  Eventually, he produced more than 100 dirigibles for military uses in World War I, during which, the Zeppelins were used to bomb Britain.  After the war, he continued to improve the design and built a fleet of airships for commercial passenger service, which included transatlantic flights.  Zeppelin use ended after the May 6, 1937 Hindenburg fire disaster at Lakehurst, N.J.

220px-Bildnis_Ferdinand_von_Zeppelin source

 

Written by LW

July 8, 2019 at 1:01 am

Then and now…

 

Filmmaker Simon Smith has come up with a clever way to show how much (or little) London has changed over the last century.

In the 1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed his travels around Great Britain for a project called The Open Road. He used a film coloring process based on the one his father developed, exposing black and white film through color filters. Claude’s project still captivates viewers today; the British Film Institute eventually restored and re-released it for a 21st century audience.

The London portion of The Open Road inspired Smith to make his own, matching version. In his six-month project, titled London In 1927 and 2013, Smith re-shot each of the scenes Friese-Greene documented 86 years prior. He then lined it up with the 1927 footage for comparison…

email readers click here for Smith’s film

Read more at “London, Then and Now (1927 to 2013)”; and see Friese-Greene’s The Open Road here.

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As we redouble our efforts to master The Knowledge, we might recall that it was on this date in 1915 that Great Yarmouth became the first British town attacked from the air in WWI, when two German zeppelins (which had intended to attack Hull, but gone astray) dropped bombs on the Norfolk port.  Zeppelin attacks continued and soon reached London… “shaping” the urban landscape that Friese-Greene captured just over a decade later.

The aftermath of a zeppelin bombing in London. 1915

source

Written by LW

January 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

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