Saturday, November 14, 2020

in 1924, a successful attorney contracted Frank Lloyd Wright to design a motorists tourism resort on the peak of Maryland’s Sugarloaf Mountain named the Automobile Objective

Gordon Strong had bought the mountain and surrounding real estate, hoping to build a resort to attract urban motorists from nearby D.C. and Baltimore who were eager to escape the urban hubbub. 

He had a road built to the summit, with a series of overlooks to take advantage of the remarkable vistas. Strong’s plan for the facility was to “serve as an objective for short motor trips on the part of residents of the vicinity,” and the project was named the Automobile Objective.

 Wright decided to use spiral ramps, as they allowed for the “movement of people sitting comfortable in their own cars … with the whole landscape revolving about them, as exposed to view as though they were in an aeroplane … The spiral is so natural and organic a form for whatever would ascend that I did not see why it should not be played upon and made equally available for descent at one and the same time.”

It took Wright almost a year to complete the design. In August of 1925, he made a formal presentation to Strong and his fellow Chicago businessmen. 

The design upset the building’s patron and the entire idea was scrapped

The 1977 Pontiac Can Am wasn't supposed to be a rare vehicle, but because the only mold that made the car's unique rear spoiler broke early in the production run, it ceased production literally overnight with just 1,130 units built

The cars were sent to Motortown for their build by the Famous Jim Wangers back in 1977

Pontiac was planning on building 2,500 cars for the 77 model year, and the orders from new buyers exceeded 5,000 units. 

However, before they could fulfill all of the orders, the custom mold for the unique three-piece spoiler mysteriously broke and production was halted. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Cybathlon is a competition for athletes using robot-assisted technologies to accelerate the development of assistive technology. The powered wheelchairs are impressive

skip to 52 seconds on this next video

I think this is the first time I've seen this photo not cropped, but full original size, and colorized

the San Diego Packard club has an online archive of their newsletters, back to 1976

TIL of Dr Ron McNair, astronaut, and public library legend.

McNair was born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina, and in the summer of 1959, he refused to leave the racially segregated Lake City Public Library without being allowed to check out his books. 9 years old, and knew what was right, wrong, and stupid. 

He went out into the world, this beautiful world that often is marred by shitty narrowminded people that demonstrate the worst of what humans are capable of, and got a PHD from MIT, and joined NASA in 1978 when the shuttle program was in concept stage, where he was one of 35 astronaut candidates selected from a pool of 11,000 applicants to become a member of NASA's elite Space Shuttle program.

He crewed on the Challenger in 1984, and again, in 1986, on it's last flight. 

He must have been mentioned in the incredible play '73 Seconds', but I simply have a terrible memory, and can't recall what they said about any of the 7 people who died when the shuttle exploded over Florida. 

Incredible play that toured in the 2017 Fringe Fest. 

That library is now named for Ron McNair. 

The library that wouldn't let him check out books because caucasians in South Carolina in the 50s were some racist, narrow minded, ignorant, stupid people. Some were worse than that, others were just not concerned about being part of a system that wouldn't allow a brilliant kid to check out books from a library because he didn't look like his ancestors came from Europe. 

Frankly there were alot of people that didn't have a bit of common sense, some others decided it was fine to jail Asians that were living in the USA during WW2.  

None of the people in the American federal, state, or local governments seemed to have much of a problem with all of this racist behavior. Sadly, it's true that a lot of people are missing the component of living that causes them to think about things, be empathetic, brilliant, sympathetic, analytic, logical, smart, nice, terrific, generous, and terrific. It must be awfully easy to be a horrible human being. 

Dr Ron McNair was quite a great guy... he played the saxophone very well, and his lifelong commitment was to continue his quest to inspire and encourage students to dream big, work hard and accomplish their goals.

If universities with enormous financial resources felt the same, ponder what the results could be if kids that wanted to get a great education might accomplish with it.... 

Harvard has 38 billion dollars in the bank. Doing nothing. Harvard is ranked as the best university in the English speaking world, and probably is the best compared to all others also, but, who knows. 
The University of Texas has 30 billion. 
Yale has 29.3 billion, and is ranked 5th best university in the world
Stanford has 26 billion and is ranked 6th best university in the world
Princeton has 26 billon and is ranked 10th best university in the world
MIT has 16 billion, was founded by founded with money left by George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak.  
the University of Pennsylvania, co–founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751, is ranked today as the 15th–best university in the world. The university is best known as the home of the Wharton School of Business.

All of the top 20 richest (by the amount of money in the bank) universities (except Texas) charges each student about 52 thousand dollars a year. None charge more than 59.5k.. Texas charges 38k

Improvising sometimes has potentially bad side effects

Paris-Rouen Reliability Trial, 22Jul 1894, Comte de Dion (#4), in the De Dion-Bouton 20 CV Victoria

they pulled the steam shovel out of Wixom Lake! (thanks Marc B!)

Thursday, November 12, 2020

high speed unicycle faceplant

plank road!&p=75336551&viewfull=1#post75336551

built to hold a LOT of weight

G. Vinet (#10), DNF, on Amédée Bollée 8 CV in the Paris-Amsterdam-Paris (FRA-NL), 5Jul 1898

Actress Natalie Kingston in the Jackman Special,1927

I don't recall ever posting about the Lozier before... but they were quite the accomplished gentleman's racecar, and the most expensive American automobile of the “brass era”, a rival of Rolls-Royce. (thanks Joe S!)

no doubt the windshield was designed for racing aerodynamics. 

Rumor has it that the fenders, headlights, etc, were designed to be removed or reinstalled within one hour so the car could be driven to the track , stripped , raced , and reassembled and driven home.

Lozier used to make bicycles in Toledo, Ohio and began making automobiles back in 1899. 
Full production began in 1905 in Plattsburgh, NY and was later moved to Detroit.

Advertised as 'The Quality Car For Quality People,' the Lozier failed to sell well. The last model was made in 1917 and the company used its metalworking expertise to produce store shelving and fixtures. Most of those beige metal shelves you see at Wal-Mart and Safeway are made by Lozier.

Lozier is one of the largest - if not the largest - store-fixturing companies in the U.S.

Doesn't matter what it says, check out the letter head. Now THAT is style!

cool photos found on

 where there are photos of cool things and beautiful athletic women. 

'72 Demon

I had a 72 Demon with a 340... fun cheap car!

The Salmon Bay Bridge friendly wave of Victor Elsasser, the railroad bridge operator

The old bridge was built starting in 1913 and is something of an industrial relic, but remains on the job well into the 21st century. Another old-school aspect of the structure, which carries 30-40 trains a day, are the human operators who are always on duty there.

The bridge was built by the Great Northern Railway 107 years ago as part of its cross-country route connecting Seattle to the Midwest and points beyond. Great Northern “descendant” BNSF Railway announced in October that rather than completely replace the beloved bridge – which would’ve been a major loss of a visual landmark – they will instead renovate it and keep the old structure looking mostly the same. A date has not yet been set for the renovation work to begin.

One part of the structure that you may not have noticed, and that’s likely to remain on the renovated bridge, is a little shack on the northeast side, situated right alongside the tracks. Inside this tiny building are the controls that move the bridge up and down, and the drawbridge operator whose job it is to manage rail traffic across the bridge, and coordinate with the marine traffic headed to and from the locks.

One of the operators who’s been on the job in the little shack for many years is Victor “Butch” Elsasser. 

When he first got a job with the railroad as a young man, he thought of it more as a stepping stone, and didn’t think it would lead to a career.

That was 46 years ago.

For the trains that pass – many of which are crewed by fellow railroad workers he’s known for a long time – Butch has a special way of greeting them as they go by.

“Believe it or not, I actually have this great big white glove that looks kind of like a Mickey Mouse glove, a big white hand,” Elsasser said, describing a gift he received from his brother. “And so as they come around the bend from the south end of the bridge and they come into sight, I give them this great big wave, back and forth.”

good morning!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

1912 Russo-Balt S24-30 Series 7 with a four-seat Grand Tourismo body on a No. 14 chassis. (thanks Steve!)

It was built by the Russo-Baltic Waggon Factory in Riga, Latvia (Russian Empire), with the office and another factory being in St. Petersburg.   Also known as Russo-Baltique, the company was founded in 1874 and began building cars in 1909.  They were the most successful pre-revolution  manufacturer.  In 1922 the factory was moved to Moscow where civilian automobile production ended in 1923, while armored car production continued until 1941 when the factory was evacuated to Kazan and began producing aircraft.  The company had also built Igor Sikorsky designed aircraft (they hired him when he was 22) from 1912 to 1917.

I don't think I've posted this before

the rarely seen 1969 Barracuda fastback with the factory recall rims

cool photo from Esther Bubley

Esther Bubley was an American photographer who specialized in expressive photos of ordinary people in everyday lives. She worked for several agencies of the American government and her work also featured in several news and photographic magazines.

A protégée of Roy Stryker at the U.S. Office of War Information and subsequently at Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), Esther Bubley (1921-1998) was a preeminent freelance photographer during the "golden age" of American photojournalism, from 1945 to 1965. 

Bubley was a thriving professional, traveling throughout the world, photographing stories for magazines such as LIFE and the Ladies' Home Journal and for prestigious corporate clients that included Pepsi-Cola and Pan American World Airways.


Abandoned 1908 train bridge near Toledo, Ohio

Santa is a trucker... I bet you didn't know that

a homebuilt snow plow built in 1974, on top of a 1951 flat car. Has been sitting abandoned in Ririe, ID

from the the rustyrails community on Reddit

The PS.SPEICHER museum at Einbeck’s former granary. 400 vehicles with two, three and four wheels in the restored and historically preserved former granary spans eight rooms across six stories with a total area of 5,000 m²