A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7000 images, 3.6 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, The Paris Review, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 3,000+ total posts
I've seen a number of "found" USS Enterprise outlines in antique images recently: this one occurs in the May 1935 issue of Popular Science Monthly. This image shows a proposal for a versatile hangar for dirigibles: the airship could moor itself to a traveling mooring mast that looks like it could do a 360 on tacks around the landing area, and then brought down to a landing on the circular pad, which can be lowered to place the dirigible in an attached hangar. It looks as though multiple hangars could be attached to this complex.
Here's another view, from the cover--a non-"found" NCC-1701 design:
The days of the great airships were pretty numbered by this point, its future only 600 days away or so from crashing and burning along with the Hindenburg in May 1937.
For other related posts on this blog just enter "dirigible" in the Google search box at upper left.
This fine little inset appears in "Chart of Principal Vegetable Growths and Chief Staples" from Matthew Fontaine Maury's Physical Geography, a classic work for schools, which was printed in 1873. Maury is considered to be the father of U.S. oceanography (The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), was the groundbreaking work) and was a real pioneer in several areas. This did not exclude his adventures on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Confederate States of America, where he served as Chief of Sea Coast, River and Harbor Defenses, among other things. Maury had a complicated relationship with the idea of slavery, attempting to eradicate slavery (and slaves) by removing the institution and perhaps the owners and their plantations to the Amazon basin.
This small inset (above) measures 6x2.5" in the original on a 13x10" map, and shows the elevations at which certain trees and plants are found. It is an ingenious display, and depicts about 60 different samples. (The print in the map is about 1mm tall, by the way.)
This beautiful ad appeared in the middle of The Engineer, published in London on 14 July 1876. John Fowler & Co. sold all manner of steam machinery for agricultural and mining purposes, as we can see in the little drawings that illustrate the ad--and particularly the mining scene, which shows the Fowler machinery above and below ground. The original ad is about 5"x7"--the little mine shaft at bottom is only a few millimeters.
J.G. Heck wrote and compiled a fascinating and complex work entitled The Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Art, and was published in America for the first time in 1851 following Spencer Baird’s translation from its original German.
The key to his work is the amount of data displayed on each of the 500 engraved plates illustrating this work and the way in which it is arranged. The design and layout of the 30,000 items on these 500 plates was a work of genius, and for my money it is easily the best-presented complex means of the display of data and objects that was published in the 19th century.
The image above is from one engraved plate featuring 43 aspects of the human eye--beautifully arranged, and somehow fitting perfectly on the 9x11" sheet of paper. It is a work of real design engineering.
Here's an interesting formerly Top Secret document from the Lee Groves collection of the George C. Marshall Foundation:
The document is dated two days after the Trinity test of 16 July--I presently do not know why this is so.
"The sketch is of a test cylinder procured and installed at a time when we were uncertain as to the explosive power of the bomb. If, at the time of the test, we anticipated that the force might be relatively small or even that there might be no nuclear explosion, we were going to place the bomb in the cylinder so that it would be possible to recover the plutonium."--Marshall Foundation, below.
The cylinder/container for the bomb was called "Jumbo", and was 25'x10' and 214 tons--a big thing. It was decided at some near point that "Jumbo" would not be necessary as it became evident to many that the bomb would indeed "work". "Jumbo" and the tower were constructed and ready but abandoned for their intended purpose--it was left to stand, about 800 yards from the point of explosion; afterwards, "Jumbo" remained intact but its steel tower was completely destroyed.
Source: the George C. Marshall Foundation: http://marshallfoundation.org/library/documents/steel-test-cylinder-tower-july-18-1945/#sthash.ccG8PSRb.dpuf
Before the Neil deGrasse Tyson version and update of Carl Sagan's landmark television series, Cosmos, there was Alexander von Humboldt, and his enormously influential book of the same title, printed in 1845-1862. Well, von Humboldt's (1769-1859) book was actually Kosmos when published in German, which is where it started its life (and which von Humboldt suffered mightily for in it English translation). Von Humboldt was enormously studied and educated and of a high scientific mind over many subjects, one of those 19th century figures who seemed as though they could know everything, a polymath of high order (along the lines of Goethe and von Helmholtz and Thomas Young and others). He was a meteorologist and biogeographer before those sciences existed; a naturalist, geographer, archaeologist, and explorer, a natural philosopher of magnitudes.
The original of this map is available for purchase from the blog's bookstore, here.
Kosmos reflected his lifelong interest in order, and what he did was astonishing--he attempted to unifying the complexities of nature in one book (of five volumes), binding the various branches of science together in a cohesive whole, attempting to show how the laws of the universe acted here on Earth. It was a very influential work, very progressive, a masterwork of scientific method.
Sagan (and Tyson, soon) tried to explain what the universe was all about; 160+ years ago, so did von Humboldt, and for his time he came damned close to doing so, or as close as anyone could possibly come.
The fine little inset1 above (1x1.5 inches in real life) is an excellent display of water/land mass of the Earth, and is but one of eleven such images on this beautiful image (which appears in full, below):
"Der Erdkorper in seiner Gestaltung. Erdansichten. Entworfen von Tr. Bromme. Ausgefuhrt v. E. Winckelmann", published in Stuttgart, by Verlag von Krais & Hoffman. This map appeared in the atlas of Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos, 1851.
This is a large, full front page advertisement for ultraviolet therapy, and appears in the Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig) for September 21, 1922. Therapy using UV lamps of various origins was of relatively recent origin (ultraviolet radiation being discovered by Johann Ritter in 1801) as stated in the text here, which gives a pretty lengthy appreciation of the history of the use of crystal lamps, and noting (in paragraph four) that the principle in the invention of such material was Richard Kuch. (Kuch was a physicist and chemist who created the first mercury vapor quartz glass lamp in 1905 and the first mercury vapor high pressure lamp in 1906.) UV treatment does have its proper place in the history of medicine, but it certainly came to occupy a lofty perch in quack medical treatments for home use in curing everything from cancer to gout to dandruff via the "purple light rays". I really don't know all that much about this subject and was reporting on the design aspect of the ad--the treatment of the subject though certainly seems academic, complete with a priced guide to related literature.
People were of two minds when it came to rat hunting at the Front in 1916, or so it would seem: rats seem to have been fair game in the trenches, given the tough conditions and close quarters; on the other hand, rats in the open, along the roads, were let to live by many who thought that killing in battle was enough, and that a respect for other life--even rats-- was an acknowledged necessity. In the scene below we see British soldiers going about the business of eradicating rats from the trenches--with bayonets. A terrier is let loose on one, while the soldier in the background displays his trophy above the fire line for the Germans across the killing fields to see, as no doubt the enemy had the same problem, and there was at least in this brief moment a common human contact.
[Source: the Illustrated London News, April 1, 1916.]
This is a rare broadside (about 24" tall) seeking household items and money for the relief of the striking workers of the hard/tough/brutal Somerset Mine strike of 1922-3. The miners struck for union representation from the United Mine Workers against the Berwind-White Company, which ran a very tight ship, evidently. The miners for Somerset lived in a classical company-town existence, with their pay being mostly entirely absorbed by the company via rent for company-owned houses, stores, food, water, and so on, all aspects of life controlled by the employer who/which retrieved the salary of its underpaid workers by controlling all aspects of the workers' lives. So the miners struck for representation from the union for more money and management resisted, especially since it would cost them profit during a year that saw coal production falling by a third. So the strike began and lasted from 1922 to 1923, during which Berwind-White employed scabs and security and thugs to intimidate and control their workers, evicting 1200, sending hundreds of families into a Pennsylvania tent life for the winter, stopping the flow of water, and general thuggery. The strike ended unsuccessfully in 1923, though the union came in by 1933.
Reading this summation and plea is a heartbreaker, and will no doubt make a person appreciate the idea of unions, especially in the U.S.A. of the 1920's/1930's.
The "fair" in this pamphlet, Ford at the Fair, was the Chicago World's Fair of 1932, and it was a souvenir for the visitor to the Ford Motor Company pavilion. Well, the building--pretty in profile, but odd/weird in plan--held other exhibitors whose business was related in support of Ford (Alcoa, Anaconda Copper, Bendix, etc.), and displayed in a singular turnaround the Cars as Consumable Products. (Remember that world's fairs such as this were still mostly displays of technology and industry and business, so you were more likely to see a Meat Pavilion or Heinz Products then than to see curious rides and historical whatnots in present incarnations.)
This unusual Bavarian trophy/hunt display of a couple of Fords in the middle of the floor plan--which says simply "hanging cars" on the map looked impressive and a little alien-esque:
And the map of the pavilion, which once you get over the possible Renaissance-like plan, and you pull back a little bit, it takes on a bit of a profile of a tank-like dragster:
In any event, this was a glorification process wrapped around a celebration of old-timey industrial celebration, presented in gleaming metallic greens and blues, and rubber, and gasoline, and oil, and hope.
Here's an interesting video showing the Ford pavilion at the fair, found at youtube.com: