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

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

read about, Bicycling’s Golden Age

Ancestor of all Bicycles

“Truly, the bicycle is the
most influential piece of
product design ever.”
Hugh Pearman

 

mount-tambora-indonesia

1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora, Indonesia

It was the early-18th century in Western Europe when man first began experimenting with human-powered vehicles. In the beginning, these vehicles consisted of four or more wheels and could accommodate up to seven passengers. Much different than carts or carriages, they had handles or ropes for men on foot to push or pull. They were attempts at replacing horses with humans.

Even back in the 1800s, the purchase of a horse was expensive for the working man. No fit and wealthy gentleman would be without a horse for pleasure riding. They usually had horses for drawing carriages, but most affluent European men owned horses for leisure riding.

That all changed in 1815 when the world was thrown into turmoil. A turmoil not from a war or an economic crisis, but because of a small island over six thousand miles from Europe in the South Pacific.

On April 10, 1815, halfway between Asia and Australia, Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia. It was to become the largest volcanic explosion in recorded history as well as claiming the most fatalities. Mount Tambora’s eruption killed well over 71,000 of its people. This once silent volcano erupted with the power equivalent to 1,000 atomic explosions, blasting about 38 cubic miles of ash, pumice and other matter into the atmosphere.

Ashes reflected the sun’s light and cooled the earth’s surface. Temperatures dropped below freezing in July from Mexico to Vienna. Unexpected snowstorms and rainstorms brought travel to a stop. Farms and grain stores were washed away. Crops failed. Livestock died by the tens of thousands. The world was gripped by the worst famine in a century, and infectious diseases such as typhus was rampant. The year 1816 would become known as “the year without a summer.”

karl-wilhelm-friedrich-christian-ludwig-drais

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Christian Ludwig Drais

With all the soot and ash engulfing Europe, there was one ray of hope to this gloomy disaster. He was a 31-year-old aristocrat, an expert in forestry, an enthusiastic and passionate horseman as well as an avid inventor from Baden, Germany. His name was Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Christian Ludwig Drais, otherwise known as Baron Drais von Sauerbronn. Baron Drais’ beloved horses died from environmental causes from the volcano eruption, and set the Baron on a journey to invent the bicycle.

It’s not known for sure what the impetus was for the Baron to think about the problems confronting the horses, and how those factors affected gentlemen who rode for pleasure. But somehow, his grief from losing his horses, led him to thinking about the basic form of the horse and its accommodations for a rider. He began with experimenting with a wooden and wrought iron frame and a pair of carriage wheels in tandem. The result would be recognized by anyone today as, the ancestor of all bicycles.

Shine On

read more about, The Baron Drais

Viewing Habits

“I have a problem with the strip
that runs along the bottom of the news programs.
Don’t these idiots who run the news programs know
we don’t want to read.
That’s why we’re watching TV.”
Jerry Seinfeld

 

Viewing Habits

Standing behind the Ampex Mark IV Video Tape Recorder. From left to right: Charlie Anderson, Ray Dolby, Alex Maxey, Shelby Henderson, Charles Ginsburg, and Fred Pfost.

We have become so spoiled with our current technology. We can stream television and movies virtually any time and on a multitude of devices. When television first began, most shows were broadcast live because of the limitations of the technology. There were no home DVR‘s. There were no video tapes that broadcasters used. And no sports slow-motion instant replays. All our television shows, including the news was broadcast live.

Thanks to some very innovative men, we now have the luxury of taping shows and watching them when we want to watch them with or without commercials.

In the early 1950s, engineer Charles Ginsburg and his team at Ampex Corporation, Charles Andersen, Ray Dolby, Shelby Henderson, Fred Pfost, and Alex Maxey developed the world’s first practical video tape recorder known as the Video Television Recorder aka VTR. These video tape recorders would allow television stations to record shows and replay them when they wanted to.

After several years of testing and development, on November 30, 1956 The Ampex Mark IV Video Tape Recorder went on the air, for the first time, from CBS Television City, in Hollywood, California, broadcasting a West Coast delayed broadcast of DOUGLAS EDWARDS AND THE NEWS. This, as far as it is known, was the first time in history that any video tape had been broadcast anywhere. NBC followed suit at the beginning of 1957, and ABC began delayed broadcasts from video tape for the West Coast in early April of 1957.

This VTR invention revolutionized television broadcasting forever. Thanks to Ginsberg and his team, we now have entire control over what and when we watch our favorite shows. Which today, has dramatically changed all of our television viewing habits.

Shine On