Sunday, April 11, 2021

one of the few to make history, Arthur Warner, who was the first American private citizen to purchase an airplane, with the wealth he made from inventing the speedometer, and selling a LOT of them. Not only is he the Warner of Stewart Warner, he's also the Warner on the Borg Warner trophy

A self-taught engineer, inventor, businessman and pioneer aviator, with his brother Charles he invented the first automobile speedometer, which made him rich.  

The Warner Instrument Co. was incorporated in 1903, with Warner as vice president and general manager. 

He was the first American private citizen to purchase an airplane, he bought one disassembled from Glenn Curtiss for $6000, the 3rd Curtiss had made, then assembled it without instructions or manuals, and became the first person to fly in Wisconsin, at Beloit on November 4, 1909. He got 50 feet off the ground and traveled a quarter mile. This also made him the eleventh American pilot.

In 1912, he sold his speedometer company for $1.2 million.

In 1917, the Warner Manufacturing Co. came into existence, with Warner as president, to make automobile and truck trailers. Inventions that he developed in connection with this business included the electric brake and power clutch. He retired in 1934.

Stewart Warner was founded as Stewart & Clark Company in 1905 by John K. Stewart. 

Their speedometers were used in the Ford Model T.

 In 1912 John Stewart joined with Edgar Bassick to make vehicle instruments and horns. Bassick owned Alemite Co. and Stewart had bought the Warner Instrument Company; thus the name was changed to the Stewart-Warner Corporation. 

They also made radios and refrigerators, among other products, and produced the ubiquitous "zerk" grease fitting, named after its inventor, associated with the company.

The company also made heat exchangers starting in the 1940s under the South Wind Division, but after then, it became independent of its parent. Stewart-Warner ranked 95th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts

Stewart-Warner was also a manufacturer and distributor of scoreboards, beginning in 1966. Scoreboards created and installed during the 1960s and 1970s included most of the famous stadiums and arenas

Arthur P. and Charles H. Warner patented the "auto-meter," which provided drivers not only with accurate readings of speeds up to 60 mph, but also kept track of the distances their cars had gone.

Coming from a sales background and largely self-educated in electrical engineering, A.P. Warner rose quickly through the ranks of the Northern Electric Company of Madison, Wisconsin and by 1897, at the age of only 27, became the head of the company's Milwaukee office. 

In Milwaukee, A.P. became familiar with automobiles through the Wood Electric car, which A.P. used to help advertise the Northern Electric Company whose products helped recharge the car's batteries. He also saw the need for an instrument to measure acceleration in a uniform manner to reflect the actual speed as it increased.

The addition of an odometer to measure and reset "touring trip" distances was another important advance for many users since road maps of the early twentieth century were scarce and often undependable. Guide books often proved the most reliable means of navigation, but used directions such as "Turn right at the yellow house and go 3.5 miles to a crossroad; turn left 4 miles to the school house, then right 7.5 miles." Without an accurate means to gauge distance, a driver would have to stop frequently to ask directions.

One competitor, the Stewart and Clark Company of Chicago, abandoned its centrifugal model speedometers and started to manufacture magnetic-based speedometers based closely on the Warner model. 

The Warners sued for patent infringement and eventually won, but still sold their company to Stewart and Clark in 1912 for $1,800,000. The new company reorganized as Stewart-Warner and by the 1920s Warner magnetic speedometers became standard equipment on over 90% of the automobiles manufactured in the United States.

In addition to their speedometer success, the Warner brothers continued to invent and market many other products such as auto and truck trailers, electric brakes and clutches, basing many of their businesses out of Beloit. As part of their interest in advertising and association with timing instruments, the Warners also served as official timers of the fledgling Indianapolis 500 auto race for several years. The winner of the Indy 500 still receives the Borg-Warner Trophy to this day.

The connection to the Moto Meter:

Eager to grow quickly, in 1913, the Stewart-Warner Speedometer Corporation (S-W) had one of its employees, (engineer Edward A. Larson) who attended the National Auto Show held in New York City’s Grand Central Palace (January 3 – 10), procure an early version of the Motometer Company’s radiator-mounted motor heat indicator trade name branded the BOYCE MOTO-METER. Larson was a direct report to S-W management.

After dubiously acquiring the engine temperature indicator Larson set up a series of meetings with Motometer Co. president George H. Townsend II to uncover just how the device worked. Once he had gained enough information S-W set about reverse engineering the Moto-Meter and constructing their version.

The connection to Alemite, and Zerk fittings:

In 1924, Alemite introduced the P-25 air-operated lubrication service pump to meet the demand for quicker and easier servicing tools. With a 25-pound capacity, the pump enabled service stations to lubricate a vehicle much faster, making it more profitable for business owners. Later that same year, the P-100 was introduced for those performing a large volume of lubrication services. It soon became common throughout the industry to “alemite” vehicles.

In April of 1924, Alemite purchased the Allyne-Zerk Company, and the Zerk line of lubricant fittings and guns was added to the Alemite offering. This new line of products featured a “push-type” system, differentiating it from Alemite’s “pin-type” system. Later that same year, the Stewart-Warner Speedometer Corporation acquired the Bassick-Alemite Corporation, adding even more opportunities for growth.

And that's how this is connected to the post from a couple days ago about Zerk. 

Farnum Fish, 16 years old with wealthy parents (they bought him a $5000 dollar airplane in 1911) set the record for flying over water in 1912, here he is at a flying exhibition at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds. He was, at the age of 15, the "youngest licensed aviator in the world"

With his parents bankrolling his every wish, the 16-year-old, California-born Farnun Fish learned to fly at the Wright Aviation School in Dayton, Ohio. 

Then, they bought him a $5,000 Wright Flyer Model B and he went on the exhibition circuit.

In February 1912, he participated in a pilots meet at Emeryville Race Track, in California, where he carried the first airmail to Oakland.

Next he attended a small meet in April at the Coronado Polo Grounds in San Diego, where he angered Glenn Curtiss when he landed without invitation on Curtiss's airfield

He was the first to carry newspapers, and at the time, that was a big deal, as it was far faster than the train for circulation of news.

On May 17, 1912, Fish was arrested "after landing with a woman passenger in Grant Park" in Chicago.

He avoided a fine by claiming engine trouble.

Imagine how damn awesome it would be for your sex life, to be 16, with your own airplane, your parents bankroll, and celebrity status.

In these photos, Fish had recently completed a promotional flight from Chicago to Milwaukee that was the record for over-water flight. This close-up offers an excellent view of the manner in which the early Wright planes were controlled.

But his youthful life of adventure didn't end with fairground exhibitions... no, it was getting shot while flying recon for Pancho Villa, I shit you not. 

On May 15, 1915, Fish was flying reconnaissance for Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution. While 500 feet over a large body of soldiers, he was shot at; one bullet entered his calf, passed through his thigh and ended up in his shoulder.

 He managed to return to his base before crashing in his bullet-ridden aircraft, making him, according to Dr. John H. Lienhard, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston, "the first airplane casualty in the history of aerial warfare."

publicity photos of movie making in 1928, at Pennco field. It doesn't seem like they're actually making a movie, just getting the actresses and cars, a plane and a camera set up for promo photos

They're using the ruble seat, and that's something I don't often see in old photos

have you heard of the Prairie Schooner steakhouse restaurant in Ogden Utah? Looks like the new owners that bought it in 2018 really have made it a fun place to get some great food. They even named one steak a Wagonmaster. I like that


interesting bike design

but it's probably cheaper to get a great bike lock instead

from these photos, it seems like airplanes need a tractor like an oceanliner needs a tugboat

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Helen Longstreet married Confederate general John Longstreet when she was 34, and he was 76. At age 80 she was building B-29 bombers during World War II.

 There are so many incredible stories that we'll never hear of in our lifetimes, be sure to write your biography for your descendants

Helen Dortch was born in Carnesville, Georgia, and attended Georgia Baptist Female Seminary (now Brenau College) and the Notre Dame Convent in Maryland. 

Having met Longstreet through her roommate, she married him on September 8, 1897, when she was just 34 and he was 76. She was widowed in 1904.

Prior to marrying Longstreet, she was the first woman in Georgia to serve as Assistant State Librarian in 1894. She also authored the "Dortch Bill" (which became law in 1896) to allow a woman to hold the office of State Librarian.

During World War II she was a Rosie the Riveter at the Bell Aircraft plant in Atlanta. She said, "I was at the head of my class in riveting school. In fact I was the only one in it." 

In 1943, at the height of World War II, the widow Longstreet took a job as a riveter at a B-29 aircraft factory in Marietta, Ga. She was 80, described as “frail but vivacious,” yet was determined to contribute as she could. “This is the most horrible war of them all,” she told a reporter. “It makes General Sherman look like a piker. I want to get it over with. I want to build bombers to bomb Hitler.”

She worked in the factory for two years, refused to join the union, never missed a day of work or showed up late for a shift. Widow Longstreet told Life magazine reporters, surprised to find a Civil War General’s widow alive and well and working for the war effort, “I just want to build bombers to bomb Hitler.”

Dortch refused to give her age to the reporter, claiming only that she was “older than 50,” and added: “Never mind my age. I can handle that riveting thing as well as anyone. I’m intending to complete in five weeks three courses which normally take three weeks.”

She lived in a trailer camp near the factory and spent long hours in training to learn her craft. “I could not stay out of this war,” she said. “It’s not the soldiers fighting soldiers like it used to be. It’s a war on helpless civilians, on children and the infirm. They are the ones who suffer. Lee, my husband, and many another southerner proved that Americans surrender only to Americans, so we are bound to come out victorious.”

In 1947, she became the first woman to have her portrait placed in the State Capitol.

General Longstreet served in a variety of government positions after the war, including ambassador to Turkey and as a Federal Marshall. He served as a railroad commissioner and spent his final years trying to refute continued attacks on his character raised by his former friends and brothers in arms who labeled him as a traitor to a failed ideal. His 1896 memoirs, a labor of five years titled “From Manassas to Appomattox”, he attempted to set the record straight.

He contracted pneumonia and died in Gainesville, Georgia on January 2, 1904, six days before his 83rd birthday. Longstreet outlived most of his contemporary detractors, and was one of only a handful of Civil War Generals to live into the 20th century.

For the next 58 years, Helen Longstreet worked tirelessly to rebuild the General’s tattered legacy.

Helen Dortch Longstreet earned the nickname of the “Fighting Lady” for being a champion of many causes including environmental preservation, physical fitness, women’s rights, civil rights and as a Confederate memorialist. She was the first woman to run for public office in the state of Georgia and was thereby instrumental in breaking down the prejudice against women holding high political positions.

Mrs. Longstreet detailed her plan to raise funds for the Longstreet Monument by awarding a new 1949 Kaiser-Frazer automobile to the “prettiest girl in the County whose citizens make the largest contribution to the Longstreet Memorial Association in proportion to population.” Mrs. Longstreet states, “I thought this would cause the ordinaries to contribute and to appeal to their friends for contributions…I would risk my life on the bet that this plan will prove a glorious success.” Mrs. Longstreet’s ambitious plan included buying 48 Kaiser-Frazer cars (at $ 2,000 each) on credit to be awarded in all 48 states.

Not only did she organize the Longstreet Memorial Association, she created both the Longstreet Memorial Exhibit at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and at the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco in 1940.

On July 3 of 1998, one of the last monuments was erected on the Gettysburg National Military Park. It was an equestrian statue of General James Longstreet on his horse “Hero” in Pitzer Woods on Confederate Avenue. Perhaps most astonishingly, 135 years after the battle, Jamie Longstreet Paterson, the 67-year-old granddaughter of General Longstreet was there to see it.

The General James Longstreet Memorial Bridge is an 824-foot long span, built by the American Bridge Company, across the Chattahoochee River.

The first Red Baby sold in So. Africa purchased by Messrs. Nelson and De Kock, Deering dealers Malmesburg, C.P. - So. Africa. 1925. I've never heard of the Red Baby Speed Truck by IH or McCormick Deering before

McCormick-Deering Red Baby Speed Truck.

Ernest Cobb, Largo, Fla. Replaced an old Six-Speed Special with DS-30 155-inch wheelbase for sprayer work in grove. Tank is an 800-gallon capacity

well, this is random, the Hurst golf cart without Linda

I've never heard of Winther vehicles before. These are both in 1921. The company was in Wisconsin, and only lasted 11 years

Martin P. Winther incorporated Winther Motor and Truck Company in December 1916, initially manufacturing a rear-drive Winther truck. 

Shortly after, the factory manufactured the 4-wheel-drive Winther-Marwin truck, and the Winther passenger car 1920-23. 

The truck cabs were open and fitted with low doors. Initial capacities were 2,3,4 and 6 tons and were priced from $2,750 to $4,600. Later vehicles extended the line and included trucks in the 1 to 7 ton range. As early as 1919 the company claimed that the Winthers vehicles were the dominating truck in the U.S. Navy. The smaller (1-2 ton) trucks were aimed at the agricultural market, while the heavier models were intended for use in the logging, fire fighting, and snowplowing industries. 

The latter made early use of rotary plows; one of the largest used two engines, the rear one over the rear axle to drive the truck and the front one for the plow, with the fully-enclosed cab between. In the 1920s, electric starters were added to most vehicles.

 In 1926, the company produced five vehicle styles ranging from 1 1/2 to 5/7 tons. In its last year the products were renamed Winther-Kenosha, and in the summer of 1927 the plant was sold to H.P. Olsen.

when I was a kid, Howard Hughes was incredibly famous, but I suspect anyone between 10 and 20 years old right now would not know who he was. Fame is fleeting for the vast majority of celebs

with his U.S. Army Boeing pursuit plane in 1934

Hughes had rebuilt the plane in order to increase its speed, and in 1934, he set a new national record.

nice eye catching way to get people to look at what you're selling. 1935

John Wayne, on the set of 'The Horse Soldiers'

This image was printed in "Harvester World" magazine (April 1959, pg. 23). Photo by John Hamilton for International Harvester.

Local auto dealer had been dumping 'jalopies' in this small lake for 15 years, but then retrieved them for the war scrap drive. Shawano Wisconsin, about 25 miles northwest of Green Bay

In 1942, government officials announced, “that all old jalopies, worn-out automobiles unsuited for transportation, must be scrapped to furnish weapons of war for our armed forces, under an edict issued by the automobile graveyard section of the War Production Board.” Many Wisconsin residents stepped up to do their part, but one enterprising car dealer in Shawano saw an opportunity to cash in.

Albert Radtke had operated a new car dealership in Shawano since 1927. The used car business had carved out a significant market niche after the First World War, but not all the trade-in vehicles that Radtke took in were in good enough shape to profitably resell. 

Radtke claimed that he sold around 200 new cars per year and with almost every sale he took in a used car in trade. It a car was resalable, Radtke would put it on the lot. However, in the case where a used car had little market value, Radtke had a different solution. 

He would strip the cars of any useable parts then wait for winter. When freezing weather came, Radtke would tow the junk cars out to the middle of an unnamed frozen lake near Zachow (there aren't any, so, this is misleading) and leave them there. When the spring thaw came, the cars sank to the bottom.

 By 1942, Radtke had been doing this for fifteen years. There were over 500 cars in that lake.

the red marker is Zachow, and the city of Shawano, where his car dealership was, is in the center of the map, and there are no lakes near Zachow. So, it's far more likely that he dumped the cars into the lakes north of Shawano. Keep in mind, he left the cars on the frozen lake for every winter for 15 years. He would need a remote lake no one was bothering to fish in, but large enough to keep dropping cars into, 500 of them. Zachow, mentioned in the story, doesn't have anything that fits the lake size needed

As the wartime scrap metal drives got underway, Representative N. Sherer for Milwaukee’s graveyard section got wind of the car-filled lake and considered it a gold mine. He arranged for local farmer Philip Whitman to recover the vehicles. Radtke agreed to show Whitman which lake they were in, but on one condition. 

Radtke, who did nothing to help, insisted on being paid $1.50 for every car that Whitman snagged with a grappling hook and pulled out with his tractor.

In 1942, scrap automobiles sold for $15 apiece, and scrap metal from a single demolished vehicle, it was estimated, could be processed into 35 50-caliber machine guns, so it was worth Whitman’s time to do this. If nothing else, it was certainly worthwhile to the environmental health of the lake as he dragged 15 cars out in the first day alone.

What a horrible guy. Despicable. 

Anyone want to guess how badly this asshole damaged the biochemistry of the lake by hiding cars in it? How much oil, gas, grease, lead, etc was leaching into the water and making the fish, birds, furry critters, etc sick? As well as the water draining out of the lake via some stream or river

I was born and raised over the north eastern border of Wisconsin in Michigan's upper Peninsula. That the lakes and rivers stay clean, is important to me. That anyone would intentionally foully pollute them just to hide junk is atrocious

how does anything as simple, and as useful, as a Jeep, end up in a junkyard?

This must have done a lot of work back in the day, simple design instead of some expensive yacht moving machine with slings and 4 wheels

WW1 cannon awaiting melt-down, Chicago, '42

1936. Hawks Miller HM-1 racer.


A Piaggio Ape 50 transformed into a paraglider