Prized Possession

“Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying
or getting overly angry or to maintain control.”
Dennis Haysbert

 

Going Viral 2

 

 

It seems like Purell is everywhere these days, except at the stores. Believe it or not, Purell is struggling to keep up with all the orders across the world, and that’s even with the company working around the clock to fill the supply and the demand.

It’s hard to believe that not too long ago no one had ever heard of Purell. Since its creation in 1946 by husband and wife, Jerry and Goldie Lippman, from Akron, Ohio, Purell has been owned and produced by GOJO Industry, still a family owned business.

During World War II, Goldie worked at the Miller Tire Co. rubber factory and Jerry at the Goodyear Aircraft plant. Like all Miller Tire employees there, this husband and wife  often came home with sticky, difficult-to-remove graphite, tar, and carbon on their hands and clothes. Jerry and Goldie disliked all the products and cleaners used to clean their clothes, so they set out to find an effective cleaning product that could be used without water.

Goldie and Jerry worked with Professor Clarence Cook of Kent State University’s chemistry department to formulate a heavy-duty hand cleaner. They called it GOJO Hand Cleaner and sold it to rubber workers, who had sometimes used benzene and other noxious chemicals to clean their skin. After the war, the Lippman’s began marketing to automotive service facilities and GOJO was so successful, they quit their factory jobs and started GOJO.

Jerry, the never ending inventor came up with the first-ever portion-control dispenser, and was granted a patent in 1952. This creative invention served as the foundation for becoming the leader in heavy-duty hand cleaner across the country in the automotive after-market and industrial markets. You can thank Jerry for every soap dispenser on the wall today.

In the late 1980s, the company perfected an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that was much easier on the skin. Actually, Purell lost money for years on their hand sanitizer until 2002 when the CDC determined alcohol-based products were effective in sanitizing hands.

As we all know today, if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle of Purell, you’re one of the lucky ones. Who would’ve thought in the beginning of March 2020 a little plastic bottle of hand sanitizer would be a prized possession.

Shine On

World Reboot

“The practical importance
of the preservation of our forests
is augmented by their relations to
climate, soil and streams.”
John Muir

World Reboot

Around the globe humanity is in a crisis. Here in California, Governor Newsom announced a state wide “Stay Home” program for all our 40 million people. It was strongly recommended to everyone stay home and not go out unless to exercise or get necessary supplies for you or your family. We are living in unprecedented times.

Spring arrived yesterday with very little recognition. I was only reminded it was spring by a reminder from my iPhone. At a time of year when most of us are happy to welcome spring, the Coronavirus situation has created health and economic anxiety for all humans. I believe  there is a massive silver lining in all of this.

If we can quiet the mind just enough and listen, we will hear Mother Nature breathing a subtle yet immensely deep sigh of relief. The air is cleaner. The water is cleaner. Proving that if we just leave nature alone it has the power to restore itself, quickly.

As I take my daily walks, I see dolphins and whales and wonder what the dolphins and whales are feeling right now. If I were able to know, I would say they are elated that the water they live in and the air they breathe is being purified and cleansed.

The question becomes, how will humans respond?  Whether we like it or not, we are all impacted by this. Our patterns of living have been enormously disrupted. Our health and finances lie in the balance. And how we treat each other has become more important than ever.

In the midst of great fear and uncertainty – all of which is legitimate – this becomes a huge opportunity for us. The optimist in me wants to believe this will be the wakeup call our species has desperately needed. This is our chance to realize we truly are all in this together, that what I do affects you and vice versa. ‘We are One’ is a Truth, not just a pleasant-sounding spiritual philosophy.

My hope is that even though the fear is palpable and justified, we can come from a place of Love for each other and for this majestic planet we call home as the World reboots.

Shine On

Survival of The Fittest

“In the long history of humankind and animal kind,
those who learned to collaborate
and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” 
Charles Darwin

 

Survival of the Fittest

Charles Robert Darwin 1809-1892

 

We are currently living in a very precarious time. Except for outbreaks of a War and the attack of 911, the USA hasn’t experienced such a fast paradigm shift in our life styles in almost a century.

If you are over 90 years old, you understand what it means to make big sacrifices for the good of all mankind. Anyone under 90 years old has never experienced a major crisis of this magnitude. The last time this Nation faced a major crisis was the 1929 stock market crash.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced challenges when he took office back in March 4, 1933 during the height of the depression and made his famous speech: “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Words that are probably the most iconic used by any President.

Roosevelt faced the economic crisis and the American people, who had just lost about everything, including hope, with honesty and compassion. Most don’t realize, he prefaced his famous speech with saying this is an important time to tell the truth and that the dire facts have to be understood. He continued to say that we have to come together as a Nation and that he was taking responsibility for the Great Depression and he would go to Congress with a series of measures to recommend to Congress.

Through all of this, Roosevelt gave our Nation a sense of hope and trust that he would get them through this harsh time. As we all know, he did succeed and was responsible for many life supporting government programs we have today.

The Coronavirus pandemic is challenging our values, beliefs, trusts and our existence. Let’s face it, unless you live under a rock, it’s the number one topic and concern for everyone especially our leaders.

I’m sure like all of you, I’ve been reading, watching the news and researching about the Coronavirus. Facts about where it’s heading, how to possibly prevent the spread and all the daunting statistics are overwhelming.

After analyzing all of this Coronavirus information, I can’t help but think about the great Charles Darwin. Most of you fellow Blogaholics know who Darwin was but in case you don’t: Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is one of the most important concepts and organizing principles of modern biology. … And because of its clarity, the phrase coined not by Darwin but by, Herbert Spencer, “survival of the fittest” is still widely used to explain natural selection to people interested in understanding the evolution of life on Earth.

As we are learning, the Coronavirus is not discriminating between, race, economic class, continents or social status. It appears it is choosing to infect the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Anyone with what they are calling, “underlying conditions”, whether they have diabetes, autoimmune disease, emphysema, etc. has a compromised immune system period. That’s why healthy children, anyone from age 10-40 without any existing illness are having a better chance of surviving the virus.

The media as well as our leaders have a great deal of impact on how we respond to this crisis. As the Coronavirus continues to unfold on to our Nation of panicked, stressed and frightened people, this is the time we need to work together, be more patient, not panic, we need excellent honest leadership (that’s an entire other issue) and most importantly, we must take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Because, as we are witnessing, the government can only do so much to protect its people. It will eventually come down to, survival of the fittest.

Shine On

Bicycling’s Golden Age

“When the spirits are low,
when the day appears dark,
when work becomes monotonous,
when hope hardly seems worth having,
just mount a bicycle and go out
for a spin down the road,
without thought on anything
but the ride you are taking.”
Arthur Conan Doyle

Bike Poster 1890s

Victor, Victoria bicycles Overman Wheel Co., 1896. Artist: Will Bradley

During the turn of the century, the modern bicycle sparked a nation-wide bicycle craze. Zeal for this new two-wheeled vehicle became especially popular in Southern California. With California’s ideal year-round weather conditions, this new healthy outdoor activity attracted both young and old as well as men and women.

Enthusiasts organized group rides across the Southland, formed local bicycle clubs, and lobbied for the construction of bicycle roads.

bicycles-come-to-california

LA Times Bicycle Club members ride north on Western Avenue toward Hollywood. Circa 1894

The most famous bicycle route was the California Cycleway, an elevated bikeway extending from the historic Los Angeles Plaza to Pasadena’s Hotel Green. Made of Oregon pine, the cycleway had easy grades, sparing cyclists from the hilly terrain between the two cities.

california-cyclewayA one-and-a-quarter-mile stretch of the privately financed cycleway, pictured here, opened in 1897 between the Hotel Green and South Pasadena’s Raymond Hotel.

Unfortunately, by 1910 the cycleway had fallen into disuse. Its full route to Los Angeles was never completed. Today, the Arroyo Seco Parkway uses much of the California Cycleway’s original right-of-way.

Another popular cycling corridor lay between Los Angeles and the town of Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times Bicycle Club organized runs along the route, whose unpaved roads eventually became our modern-day, traffic-choked boulevards.

With cycling becoming more and more popular, the beach community of Santa Monica with the help of The Southern Pacific Railroad, built the “Santa Monica Cycle Path”. The 1896 photograph below, shows the beginning of the bike path which later extended to Downtown Los Angeles.

sm-bike-path

Santa Monica to Los Angeles cycle path @ 1896

Meanwhile in the Northern California town of Davis, the high-wheel bicycle was making a surge. Because the agricultural land around the City of Davis is flat and the climate is relatively mild year-round, riding a bicycle became the mode of transportation and an easy way to get around town.

University of California students have been coming to Davis since 1908 and bicycling has always been an important part of their campus experience. After the city incorporated in 1917, the increasing number of paved roads encouraged local citizens to take up cycling.

Due to rapid growth of the university and the city, traffic conflicts between bikes and vehicles were increasing throughout the 20th century. After acknowledging that the well-educated and well-traveled citizenry would be receptive to European-style bikeways, the Davis City Council decided in 1967 to create a few short blocks of bicycle lanes. As a result, Davis became the first city in the United States to install official city bicycle lanes.

1900 bike pathThe combined system of bicycle lanes and dedicated bike paths today reaches well over 100 miles in a small town that is only about 11 square miles. Davis has become a model for hundreds of U.S. cities because of its safe, integrated bicycle transportation network. The UC Davis campus has developed its own extensive bicycle path system and support programs.

Many remaining high-wheelers were collected during scrap metal drives during the Great War of 1914–18, making the few remaining machines valuable and highly desired collectibles today, as well as nostalgic reminders of bicycling’s Golden Age.

Shine On


To learn more about the history of bicycles, visit the Bicycle Hall of Fame in Davis, California. Follow the link below:

US Bicycling Hall of Fame

 

Bicycles in America

“Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance
you must keep moving.”
Albert Einstein

 

WK Clarkson

W. K. Clarkson, Jr.

 

Almost simultaneously across the Atlantic in the United States, while the Baron built his cherry tree wood and softwood Draisine, W. K. Clarkson, Jr. of New York, was granted a patent for a velocipede on June 26, 1819. Unfortunately, the records for the patent were destroyed in a fire at the Patent Office in 1836 and we no longer know what this patent covered.

There is no evidence that bicycling gained much popularity in the U.S. at the time. However, around 1863 in Paris, Pierre Michaux played an important part in velocipede development when in his workshop Pierre added pedals to the front axle. To this day it’s not certain whether he or his employee Pierre Lallement is entitled to the credit.

Lallement moved to New Haven Connecticut, and in 1866 he was granted a patent for improvements in velocipedes. Then in 1868, the Hanlon brothers of New York, improved Lallement’s vehicle.

Americans began to show an immense enthusiasm for the velocipede in 1868. By early 1869, a number of carriage builders were making cycles. Numerous riding schools were established in many eastern cities, and the sport of riding became suddenly popular, especially among the students of Harvard and Yale Universities. The craze ended as suddenly as it began. By the end of May in 1869 bicycling was a dying sport.

The reasons for the decline was because the cycles were heavy and cumbersome. There was no cushioning and the rider had to steer and pedal the same front wheel. Riding a velocipede took a great deal of strength and coordination. Cities also began to pass ordinances against riding on pedestrian sidewalks. Further use and development in the United States remained nearly at a standstill during the 1870s.

By the late 1870s, bicycles and tricycles using wire-spoked wheels were commonly seen, notably in England. James Starley of Coventry introduced the Ariel in 1871, a high-wheeled bicycle with wire spokes that was copied for two decades. This type of cycle, with modifications, gained popularity and later became known as an “Ordinary”.

columbia-bicycleAmericans again became interested in bicycles, and began importing machines from England. Albert A. Pope became the first American bicycle manufacturer. In 1878 he began manufacturing bicycles under the trade name “Columbia” in Connecticut.

Twenty years after the success of the Columbia, the American Bicycle Company was founded by Albert Augustus Pope. Shortly after, Pope incorporated the American Bicycle Company on May 12, 1899.

In 1898, the U.S. bicycle industry was caught in a downward spiral of market saturation, over-supply and intense price competition. In an attempt to control supply and limit competition, 42 manufacturers (later over 75 companies) formed the American Bicycle Company and soon afterwards announced plans to open a branch plant in Canada called the National Cycle Company.

American Bicycle later bought the Gormully & Jeffery Manufacturing Company which made Rambler brand bicycles. Rambler bicycle was obtained in 1900 after Thomas B. Jeffery sold it to focus on the Rambler automobile.

Bicycles began to evolve more and more. The Ordinary, or high-wheel bicycle as it is currently called, was light weight and fast. But it was also hazardous, since the rider’s center of gravity was only slightly behind the large front wheel and the rider was in danger of taking what came to be called a “header”—flying over the handlebars.

Ordinary BikesBecause of the Ordinary’s inherent danger, efforts were made to design a safer bicycle. Some people tried to modify the Ordinary to make it safer, others put their efforts into redesigning the bicycle. The latter path won out as “Safety” bicycles became more popular. These cycles had two small wheels of equal size, a chain driver, and gears. Soon after the advent of the Safety bicycle, John Boyd Dunlop patented a pneumatic tire (in both England and the United States). Brakes were also improved in the 1890s.

The number of bicycles in use boomed as production rose from an estimated 200,000 bicycles in 1889 to 1,000,000 in 1899 as popularity skyrocketed for bicycles in America.

Shine On

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