A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7500 images, 4 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 4,200+ total posts
This report by Henri Moreau (1893-1978) and Paul Chovin--"L'arme allemande de represailles V1"--is an offprint from Genie Civil, and printed 1 January 1945. It is 9x6 inches and runs a pretty-involved eight pages, and was printed in Paris (newly liberated from the German army 25 August 1944) on the first day of 1945.
I was frankly surprised to find this fairly-well documented piece on the V-1, and couldn't find much on it at all, so I reprinted the report in its entirety. Some of the text runs off the side of the scanner, but that is the best I can do in scanning the pamphlet without taking it completely apart.
Here's an interesting find made while browsing a volume of The Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature, and the Arts1 (of the Royal Society of Great Britain): Samuel Ware's2 “A Design for making a Public Road under the Thames from the east side of the Tower near Iron Gate Stairs to the opposite side of the River near Horseley down”. This interesting article outlines a proposal and plan by Ware for building a convenient/strategic tunnel under the Thames. This proposal was made a year before the M. Isabord Brunel/Isambord Kingdom Brunel Thames Tunnel project, which when completed in 1843 was called “the Eighth Wonder of the World”, being the first tunnel built under a navigable river. This project was an incomplete success, as it was opened to only pedestrian traffic for decades until in 1869 it was modified to accept trains (which were smoking coal trains, not replaced with a cleaner electric variety until 1913). In any event the idea was to be able to transport goods under the Thames, which would replace the practice of across-the-Thames shipment that would necessitate stopping the very vigorous sailing traffic on the river. It is interesting to note that in the Ware plan it is the snaking approaches to the tunnel that would accept wagons and carriages are plainly visible; the Brunel plan called for such access but ran out of money before the commerce aspect of entering the tunnel was built. “
This is a cross section of the porposed tunnel, wide and tall enough for carriages and two walkways:
[Detail from the 13" folding cross section of the Thames tunnel.]
And a rather massive entrance to the proposed tunnel:
From the Ware article:
“The following particulars of the Estimate describe the mode of erecting the arch way: Compensation for the ground and buildings on the north side of the river and for the ground and buildings on the south side to form the approaches cofferdams in ten successive lengths or removes to keep out the water and strutting to keep up the ground; Steam Engines to keep the works within the cofferdams dry and subsequently for draining the road should there be occasion; Digging out a channel in the bed of the river for the arch way and the ground for the approaches; Removing the refuse earth claying filling in and leveling two feet above the extrados of the arch Yorkshire; Ledgers for the foundations of the arch way and walls of the approaches and embankments and piling as occasion may require; Stone work cut in voussoirs of the arch and counter arch; Lining with lead 10lb to the foot superficial enveloping these arches; Super arch of brick work lined externally with tiles in; Centering for the arches; Forming and gravelling the road ascending one foot perpendicular to twenty feet horizontal; Drains pipes foot paths and lamps; Embankments and other walls and parapets in the approaches; Facings to the entrances to the arch ways and tollhouses. Estimated amount of the above works 250,000 [pounds]”
“Political Advantages: The communications by this road between the officers of government and the Mint; Trinity House Custom House and the Tower may be facilitated; A readier transfer of soldiers arms and stores to and from the counties north and east of London and the Tower to and from Woolwich Chatham and Sheerness by land will be obtained by this arch way; This arch way may be made a military pass there being proposed a private way to it from the Tower...”
1. London, printed by John Murray, 1824, volume XVII. 8.5x5”, 408pp, 3 plates, plus a long folding schematic of the engineering proposal for building a road under the Thames.
2. Samuel Ware (1781-1860) was employed by the sixth Duke of Devonshire on both his English and Irish properties. In 1814 he exhibited a view of Lismore Castle at the Royal Academy. Ware was architect to 'many excellent buildings in Ireland'...”--Dictionary of Irish Architects, 1729-1940.
Also included in the volume:
Poisson, Simeon Denis. “Extract of a Memoir on the Theory of Magnetism, read at the Academy of Sciences, 2 Feb 1824, pp 317-334;
Daniell, Ferederic. “On Evaporation”, pp 46-62;
Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias. “Remarks on the Catalogue of the Orbits of the Comets that have been hithertoo computed”, pp85-96;
Encke, Johann Franz. “Further Remarks on the Periodic Comets...” pp 98-100.
Earlier this morning I was looking at a collection here of British political leaflets (half around the 1893-1895 period, and then a bunch around the election of 1945) when I read a very dynamically-designed handout on how the Conservative government mobilized private industry into wartime production, and concentrating on the much-beloved and critical creation of the "Mulberry", or the Mulberry Floating Harbor. It was striking to me as the creation of the enormous floating harbor was a deep secret as it was an essential element in supporting/supplying the Allied invasion force in Normandy--and yet here it was, used by the Conservative party in an effort to re-elect Prime Minister Churchill, in a publication printed perhaps just a year after they were pulled across the Channel and presented to the world.
And it happens again in the following leaflet, though this one employs more of the previously secret stuff.
I should say that this election in July 1945, just weeks after VE Day, produced what must have been a very surprising/shocking result, a result probably none the less surprising ti the unexpected victor, Clement Attlee, whose Labor Party produced a seemingly impossible small landslide victory over the (probably) most important man to the Allied war cause in WWII, Winston Churchill, and the Conservatives. (Churchill would return the favor in 1951.)
Be that as it may, in this leaflet, "Free Enterprise Helped Us To Win", produced by the Conservatives and ending with the ringing slogan, "Vote National", used a number of the important and secret military developments of WWII as examples of private enterprise contributing to the war effort and standards of free enterprise. Included here are:
the private designers who helped produce the singular Spitfire and other warplanes;
F.I.D.O, the Fog Investigation Dispersal Operation, which was a system installed at airfields by which (as teh acronym tells us) dissipated fog and smog so that bombers and fighter planes could land in foggy conditions;
P.L.U.T.O.: "Pipe Under the Ocean", an enormous operation, was an oil pipeline that stretched from England under the Channel and basically deep into Europe, a much more efficient and effective way of getting fuel to your advancing armies than, say, the German shipping fuel across the Mediterranean where Rommel's necessary petrol was happily torpedoed;
and as mentioned the Mulberry Harbours, plus the "sticky bomb", the "flying dustbins, the Spigot mortar, and the P.I.A.T...all brought about by Free Enterprise, according to the leaflet.
I'm not saying anything about this in a judgmental way--I was just very surprised to see all of this here, in a public handout leaflet, a brief description of some formerly very secret stuff.
"An Aviator's-Eye View: a City Seen from an Aeroplane" is a wonderful composite image published in the Illustrated London News on October 30, 1909. It represents the city from the point of view of the observer--in this case, the Comte de Lambert, who was the first person in France to receive flight instruction from Wilbur Wright, and who made what the New York Times referred to as "the most remarkable cross-country flight ever accomplished in an aeroplane1". This was reported in the Times on October 19, 1909, when de Lambert "left the Juvisy Aerodrome at 4:36 o'clock in a Wright machine, flew across Paris to the Eiffel Tower, circled it, and returned to his starting point, arriving safely at 5:25", during which he reached a height of about 1300 feet. The you-are-there perspective is a very uncommon one in my experience, and now doubt this one must have given the readers of the ILN a queasy feeling of what flying looked like.
New York Times, October 19, 1909: "PARIS, Oct. 18. -- The most remarkable cross-country flight ever accomplished in an aeroplane was made this afternoon by Count de Lambert. He left the Juvisy Aerodrome at 4:36 o'clock in a Wright machine, flew across Paris to the Eiffel Tower, circled it, and returned to his starting point, arriving safely at 5:25..."
Joseph Plateau, "On a New and Curious Application of the Permanence of Impressions on the Retina", in Philosophical Magazine, volume 36, January-June 1850, pp 434-436; followed immediately in a much longer paper, "Second Paper on a New and Curious Application of the Permanence of Impressions on the Retina", pp 436-452, with two plates.
From: An Annotated Bibliography of Flicker Fusion Phenomena...1740-1952, by Carney Landis, p.
Plateaun (1801-1883) was the inventor of the Phenakistoscope in 1829, and contributed often (especially with considerable papers in 1835 and 1836) on the issue of persistence of vision. Here he writes of that and the flicker effect, which is the optical illusion in which individual sequential units of images are viewed as a continuous motion of images, which is a trick of the visual system and makes such this as the movies and cartoons and animated shows possible. It is a terrible irony that this great writer on physiological optics would be blind or nearly so by the 1840's, this a result of an experiment conducted requiring him to stare at the sun for nearly half a minute.
"Plateau studied in great detail the phenomena of accidental colors and irradiation, both of which he considered as arising from a similar cause related to the persistence of the image on the retina. Accidental colors are those that appear after staring for some time at a colored object and then at a black surface, or closing one’s eyes and pressing one’s hands over them. An image of the object appears, usually in complementary color and slightly diminished in size. Plateau’s results include his discovery that accidental colors combine both with each other and with real colors according to the usual laws of color mixture. In irradiation luminous objects on a dark background appear enlarged, a factor clearly of interest to astronomers, among whom the question of the extent of the enlargement was causing controversy. Plateau showed that enlargement occurs regardless of the distance from the object and—explaining the varied experiences of the controversialists—that the mean amount of enlargement from the same source varied considerably from one individual to another."--Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Also in this volume: J. Locke, "On the Phatascope", pp 453-457, "instrument for giving single vision with two eyes" (--Living pictures; their history, photoproduction and practical working. With a digest of British patents and annotated bibliography, Henry Hopwood, 1899.)
Among the many other articles in this volume is William Fishburn Donkin's "On the Geometrical Interpretation of Quaternions", pp 489-502. (See Alexander MacFarlane's Bibliography of Quaternions..., 1904, full text here: http://ow.ly/kFRy304gfVD
See The History of Discovery of Cinematography timeline, which is especially interesting for the pre-1850 entries http://precinemahistory.net/1850.htm
The OED identifies the first usage of "anti-aircraft" 1914, which to me sounds about right--and pre-war, of course. That said there were many opportunities to talk about something like anti-aircraft, as bombs had been dropped from balloons by 1849, and airplanes had been dropping grenades/bombs on soldiers and civilians since at least 1911--so the need for combating aircraft was there even though it took the English language a few years to catch up to expressing this idea in a hyphenated term. By (July 23) 1927, when this short picture-article appeared in the Illustrated London News, there was enormous evidence and experience in anti-aircraft weaponry, and it seems that the Soviet Union was in a full-bore status to acquire a competent system, or at least they were talking about some aspects of it.
And thank goodness for the artist who provided us with the right stuff to discern the "bomb falling", dropped from one of the "attacking Bomber Squadron" able to elude the anti-aircraft defenses. The changes proposed were somewhat large in regards to the AA emplacements--on the other hand, the reassignment of space in a city, spreading stuff out so that dropped and exploded bombs would destroy less given the proximity of structures to one another, is an absolutely monumental undertaking. The city rebuilding is also predicated on a problem, as the bomb used in the scenario is only 1000-kilograms. This sort of thinking extends into the nuclear age when think tanks proposed Atomurbias, spreading out the population of the U.S. to basically everywhere, as well as evenly distributing industrial centers throughout the country (sometimes underground). There are problems enough relieving Flint of its water supply problems--it would be terrifying to think of redistributing the majority of the population of the U.S. and providing entirely new urban-ish areas for everyone to move into. Of course there wouldn't be enough material to do this, or workers, or more, or will, but that didn't stop people from undertaking some federally-funded planning for it.
The other part of this scenario is the protection from poison gas. And I guess we can just stop right there, with that small tank "neutralizer" that is supposed to absorb poison fumes and release "purified air", because that sort of protection just will not happen...especially back in 1927.
This is the design for two sister torpedo boats, created by Yarrow & Co. (Poplar, East London) in 1887 for the Spanish government. The torpedo boat was not a terribly-new idea by this point, the first "modern" version of the craft built in 1875 (HMS Lightning), with earlier versions launched during the U.S. Civil War (like the CSS David). The designs shown here are for the Azor and the Halcon,135' of attack-capacity (with 1600 hp), certainly making them high consideration for the folks on the receiving end, leading to the development of the torpedo boast destroyers to protect the big battleships and hunt the torpedo boats, and idea that would lead to "destroyers". In any event, I found the image attractive and interesting, and thought I'd share it:
[Image will become clearer when expanded/Source: The Engineer, October 21, 1887.]
I'm not that convinced that a lot of "cooling off" was being done down in the tunnels of the Comstock Lode, though I guess it is all relative, and so perhaps these guys were able to enjoy themselves a little compared to swinging a pick axe or shoveling with a shovel in a cramped, damp, loud, dark place, underground.
I found this in the detail of a great cross section image on the Library of Congress site http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/pga.01999/:
"Mining on the Comstock / drawn by T.L. Dawes ; engraved and printed by Le Count Bro's., San Francisco"
which was printed by lithography by Le Count Brothers in San Francisco in 1877.
The cross section shows how life and business was being conducted underground, and gives a sense of the claustrophobia-making closeness of it all:
In any event, it was very difficult work in a difficult spot, using difficult tools, breathing difficult air, and this cross section gives a pretty good idea of what that could have been like.
The Soo Locks at Sault (the "soo" of "Soo") Ste. Marie are the four parallel locks that connect Lake Superior with Lake Huron and thus the rest of the Great Lakes--the Poe Locks, designed by O.M. Poe, are on of the four, and when it was completed in 1896 it was the world's largest. At 800'x100' they were enormous, and controlled the displacement of a lot of water, and the illustrations below show some examples of the meat of the engineering that controlled that process. I have these loose engravings from an unfortunately unidentified source (though they are from a U.S. Lake Survey,between 1898-1909) and decided to share them because of their deep engineering beauty. They are fantastically-rendered objects, filled with steam and grease and huge amounts of The Heavy Stuff, all of which display a remarkable feat of engineering.
The images are clearer when you click and expand....
In the midst of a short article on bits of transportation advances of the future are these two wonderful futuro-peeps, selected here because of their appearance more so than anything else, as there isn't really anything else to go on. The article has 13 illustrations over four pages and perhaps is 750 words long, so the narrative is heavily dependent upon the images and imagination. That said, the two I'm interested in here have almost no text accompanying them. So be it.
The first is a mammoth transatlantic seaplane, "proposed by a German inventor"--and that's it. I can't tell how "giant" it is supposed to be, nor how many engines, or if there's anything going on inside the wings, and so on. But it does look streamlined and tubular and blocky, which is a hard thing to do at the same time, in a loud-stealthy way.
[Source, Popular Mechanics, August, 1928.]
The other image is that of one tower in a series of untold numbers of such towers popping up throughout France, much like Rommel's asparagus in Normandy, I guess, except more numerous, and far taller. Iterating the height of the structure by the cars at its base, I take this one to be about 150-175' high, from which there are many suspended tubular cages within which travels a 10' long torpedo-like tube that would speed mail from station to station across France at 200 mph. The engineers were Hirschauer and Talon, and from another source1 I see the invention described as "la torpille postale", which is what the mail carriers looked like, except sitting on four wheels, and going really fast on a skinny track suspended a hundred feet off the ground.
I can't but help to think about this arrangement of wire and cable and flowing mail as a kind of non-computer email--it has seemed odd to me for a long time that the one of the backbones of our communication existence is strung up above the ground on wires that are for the most part hung on dead recycled trees. Granted the mail would travel a lot faster in France in 1928 at 200 mph, but completely unforeseen and not-knowable is that email would be a little faster, cruising along at a big chunk of the speed of light. Seems as though there would have to be thousands of these lighthouse-like structures built to accommodate the French mail demand--no doubt they would have been pesky reminders of a past's attempt at the future, though perhaps being France and all the mail carriers might have blown them up.
Franklin, Benjamin. Suite de la Lettre de M. Benjamin Franklin, a M. David le Roy, Membre de pluisseurs Academies, Contenant Differenres Observations sur la Marine, a three-part series printed in Observations sur la Physique sur l'Histoire Naturelle et sur les Arts, avec des Planches en Taille-Douce....dedicated to M. Le Comte d'Artois, and edited by l'Abbe Rozier, J.A. Mongez, and M. de la Metherie, in the issue for July-December 1787, volume 31, and Printed in Paris at the Bureau of the Journal de Phyique, 1787. (he title of the Franklin, translated: (A) Letter(s) from Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to Mr. Alphonsus le Roy, member of several academies, at Paris. Containing sundry Maritime Observations.) The papers appeared in September pp 224-231; October, pp 254-264;December pp 456-468.
By the time Benjamin Franklin published these three pieces—letters he had written at sea— he already had a lot of experience with the voyage, having made numerous trips oversea since 1754. At this point he was the American envoy to France, and had been (very successfully!) busy at securing arms and agreements from France, and put his time during the crossing to some concentrated use.
These three letters by Franklin to le Roy are remarkable for their insight and invention, describing new types of ship sails and anchors, propulsion systems, hull and planking designs—and of course the first description in a scientific publication of the Gulf Stream. And in all of this Franklin as shipboard, biding his time at sea, thinking and experimenting, coming up with ideas that were of high interest though not necessarily workable, and some just frankly beyond his big grasp.
I was really shocked when I started piecing my way through this volume, and finding the Franklin. Honestly, I didn't know the significance of the Franklin starting into it, the thing only dawning on me as I got half-way through the second letter, and with a squint recognizing that what he was talking about in the waters off of the coast of “Floride” was in fact the Gulf Stream. “Oh” is what I said to myself. This is that paper. At least it wasn't a terribly obvious overmiss—this version of the famous description of the Gulf Stream didn't come with a map, and the illustrations were little bits showing flouncy sails (of dubious application, sorry) and sea brakes. Even when I realized that this was the Gulf Stream Paper, its significance still wasn't significant, as the great report occupies just a small portion of one of three letters. So it goes.
The first publication of these letters appeared in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia (the society founded by Franlin in 1743) about a year earlier, and which contained the famous map (15x8” or so, A Chart of the Gulf Stream with Remarks Upon the Navigation from Newfoundland to New-York In order to avoid the Gulf Stream . . . and nor included here) which he completed with the help of his first cousin Thomas Folger. Actually the two had printed an earlier version, in 1769/70, though the map received basically no circulation and was famously disappeared for 200 years before being unearthed.
There were earlier references to the Gulf Stream—as with the ignored Walter Haxton chart of 1735—though nothing nearly so complete and accurate as the Franklin map.
This is the first French version of the letters, and so the first French translation of the description of the Gulf Stream; it was also the first appearance of the article in Europe.
It has been said that the work by Franklin was ignored and associated with inferiority by the Brits because of the adolescent nature of the American Republic and the inexperience of its navy, especially in regard to the Royal Navy. The Gulf Stream simply couldn't be a discovery of a “river in the ocean” as described by a bunch of fisherman in a colony far from the birthright of a proper navy and scientific inheritance. But of course the Brits were wrong.
Here's a bit from the letters on the Gulf Stream, appearing in my journal on page 460-1, translated:
“This stream is probably generated by the great accumulation of water on the eastern coast of America between the tropics, by the trade winds which constantly blow there. It is known that a large piece of water ten miles broad and generally only three feet deep, has by a strong wind had its waters driven to one side and sustained so as to become six feet deep, while the windward side was laid dry. This may give some idea of the quantity heaped up on the American coast, and the reason of its running down in a strong current through the islands into the Bay of Mexico, and from thence issuing through the gulph [gulf] of Florida, and proceeding along the coast to the banks of Newfoundland, where it turns off towards and runs down through the western islands. “
Well, sheesh. There was a lot of thinking going on in this letters—not bad for a guy with other things going on in his head regarding the founding of a new nation.
I couldn't resist this display found in a short work on the gold fields in Queensland, Australia. William Adams & Company furnished the necessaries for running oil rigs and various mining instruments. The gear is just nicely displayed and presented:
Source: The Goldfields of Queensland. Charters Towers Goldfield, by William Lees. Queensland, Outridge Printing Company, 1899. 24.5x18cm, (xii), 34pp. Numerous small inset throughout, including larger images of works, as well as birds-eye views of Charters Towers, Queensland, and four other full-page photo images, plus a full-page plan of the works. (The title page calls for “With Plan” and I'm pretty sure that the full-page plan is it; I can find no evidence of a folding plan or any such thing in the table of contents. The publication is also filled with many advertisements.
Retinal identification is here, and it is in the future; it was in the past's version of the future in the P.K. Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in 1968 which was turned into the film Blade Runner in 1982. But long before any of this was Carleton Simon and Isidore Goldstein, who figured out that everyone has a unique display of veins in their retina. Of course this is not exactly as obvious as fingerprints, but evidently it was a whole new thing in 1936--highly interesting. ANd what struck me was the "retinal protractor" which was like a grid placed on the photograph of the retina onto which the veins would be plotted, from there it went to another step to assign numerical values.
Source: Carleton Simon. The retinal method of identification; a new system of classifying retinal patterns. Presented at the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police at Kansas City,Mo.,September 21st to 24th, 1936. 11x8.5" cover/title, followed by 4 leaves of photographs showing the sections of the retina, examples of the veinous patterns, and a retina protractor explaining the sections of the retina in a common language for placement.
Dr. Simon--"Criminologist of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, New York Association of Chiefs of Police..." is the Simon of Simon & (Dr. Isidore) Goldstein, whose groundbreaking paper1 introducing the uniqueness of the patterns of retinal blood vessels and their use in identification, was published on September 15, just a week before this address. This publication may have been a handout for the address--it consists of one page of cover text and a separate four leaves of retinal pattern photographs with a cover sheet.
1. "One of the most accurate techniques for human identification is based on the uniqueness of the retina blood vessels pattern. The unique structure of the blood vessels in the retina pattern was first introduced in 1936 by Simon and Goldestein" . Simon C,, Goldstein, I., "Retinal Method of Identification", New York State J Med. 1936 Sep; 15-- noted in "Retinal Identification System using Fourier-Mellin Transform and Fuzzy Clustering" Hadi Jafariani and Hamid Tabatabaee, Indian Journal of Science and Technology, Vol 7(9), 1289–1296, September 2014.
There is an origin certainly for the reference to "shooting" fil or "shooting" a movie and such, and I think that it is fair to say that the following two illustrations of photographic innovations will explain that origin. The first is E. Enjalbert's "photo-revolver", a woodcut and explanation of which appeared in Scientific American (""A Photographic Revolver for Amateurs" ) May 17, 1884. It really is an ingenious thing: the lens of the camera was located in the barrel (#2) with the camera apparatus in section "H"; the photo-sensitive plates (life sized at #3), are both pushed forward and down with the action of the trigger/hammer. It is a snappy design. On the other hand I don't think I'd want to actually use the thing in an urban environment, as there might not be time for an explanation that "this is a ....".
(From the signature at bottom right of teh wood engraver this was no doubt published earlier in La Nature.)
And then there's the great Etienne Marey's "Fusil Photographique", as it appeared in La Nature in 1882, which was an early and significant step in the development of cinematography, though again a highly problematic and time-invasive explanation out in public might escape the user:
If there was any debate on the origin of the above-mentioned phrase, this might sway it.
I bumped into this robot in the pages of Illustrated London News for August 27, 1932. The idea of mechanical people had been around at least since the early 19th century, and by the time this one appeared i its gleaming glory in 1932, the word "robot" was around for a dozen years, invented in 1920 by Karel Capek for his book on the future called R.U.R. Actually the human-like forms created by Capek in this early scifi work were biotech, and not fully mechanized.) The form of the robot stretches back hundreds of years, in a way--if not the exactly the idea of a robot, but at least with the appearance of one. "Alpha" was anthropomorphic, but hardly what you'd call bio-mechanical, or even pretending to be so. It was created by Harry May of London, and was evidently 6'4" tall and weighed a ton (or two, perhaps), and was supposed to entertain and answer questions from the crowd when unveiled at the London Radio Exhibition of 1932. Mr. May kept the details of his creation secret, though no doubt the robot was operated offstage by confederates, the voice supplied by wireless. Still, Alpha was a major attraction, and kept people entertained, if not confused. In any event, it looked frightening as a vision of a possible 1930's future-vision.
[Source: http://davidbuckley.net/DB/HistoryMakers/Alpha1932.htm This is a very interesting blog by David Buckley, including a long chronological section on the developments of robots--Alpha appears on this list, which includes six or so good links for contemporary stories about the robot's appearance.]