Posts Tagged ‘scientific american’

One of the more “action-packed” Scientific American editions is dated June 26, 1909. On the cover is a comparison of the “Zeppelin II” with the battleship “Louisiana” and a photo of the Metropolitan Tower in New York City. Today it is a little slow at the gallery, so I took some time to read the contents.

In this edition, there was a correction to a previous statement:

“We recently made the statement that there was no spectroscopic evidence of water vapor on Mars. We are informed by the secretary of Lowell Observatory that not only has the presence of water vapor in the atmospher of Mars been spectroscopically detected by Mr. Slipher at Flagstaff, but that it has been photographed and the amount of water measured by Prof. Very.”

How about signaling to Mars? There are many suggestions, including a “black cloth laid in a pattern on a wide plain.” What is remarkable about correspondence with Scientific American is the presumption that there are indeed sentient beings on the planet. For example, if there were a pattern of black cloth on a plain, one writer explains that it would not be possible: “Hence a Martian will look at the dark side of the earth, and only see its blackness.”  Also, I didn’t know that a heliotrope could be “used to transmit signals or messages” anywhere, much less to Mars. John Ford dismisses the possibility: “Now, if you project a signal in a straight line from the observatory at Washington to an observatory in a great city on Mars (!), using the point where you see mars as the point of direction, where would your signal or message be when it has traveled a distance from the earth to Mars?”  Indeed it is “a well-known fact that the stars are not where we see them.”

Maybe the Curiosity can put all of these questions to rest.

Heliotrope is also a color and the name of a flower. And what does Scientific American have to say about colors? Well, Louis Prang, who came to be known as the father of the American Christmas card, who died while on his way to the Seattle Exposition, devoted more than forty years to the creation of standard colors.

The first time that people in the vicinity of New York City witnessed “real flights by an aeroplane” was scheduled for June 26. There was an exhibition sponsored by the Aeronautic Society at Morris Park where there would be a baloon race and a flight by the society’s dirigible. Two bi-planes (one of which was flown by Glenn H. Curtiss for the Scientific American trophy) and a monoplane were exhibited.

“The Non-Man-Killing Aeroplane of the Future Will Be Created from Our Crushed Bodies” Ralph Johnstone

The Wright Brothers also made this edition. Dayton, Ohio held a celebration, including a parade, honoring the development of transporation in America. The Wright Brothers were awarded medals by Congress and the city of Dayton.

In the Wright Brother’s article, there were sentiments that in some respects, reflected my thoughts about innovation when so many are discouraged about funding shortfalls. Scientific American paraphrased Wilbur Wright’s speech in this way:  “Although inventors sometimes complain of lack of sympathy and encouragement, he and his brother had not found it so, for at the very beginning of their experiments they had received offers of financial assistance from people who had nothing to gain. In his opinion, if worthy inventors did not get assistance it was because their needs were not known and not because of indifference.”

Here is a transcription of the speech:

“It is sometimes said that inventors receive little encouragement in the early stages of their work.We have very little complaint to offer on this score.  During our first trials we received offers of help from all quarters. Just because we didn’t find it necessary to accept the proffers of help is no reason why it did not show that the world is full of sympathy and willing to come forth to encourage whatever is right and useful. Even today if $1,000,000 could secure another Tennyson or Shakespeare, the money would be forthcoming. The trouble is not due to the heart of the world, but rather to the machinery, which it is necessary to first put in operation.”

All was not sweetness and light, however. The above mentioned Curtiss and the Wright Brothers were involved in a protracted lawsuit where the Wright Brothers claimed that Curtiss had infringed on their  patents US821393 US1075533. The dispute wasn’t settled until 1914, when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in the Wrights’ favor.

What are your plans and dreams? Come talk about them at Steam at Harper’s Ferry! Who knows where they will lead.

Original Victorian-era Scientific American magazines, including this edition, may be purchased at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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An extras casting assistant sent me an email with additional casting information. Based on the email, it looks like they need people ASAP for these roles.

“I am forwarding this information to you for the roles that need
to be filled for the upcoming filming that will be held in the Harper’sFerry
area.  They can reply to the below address if they are interested in being part of the production.

Individuals can reply with images to periodextras@gmail.com.”

Young Teddy Roosevelet age 24-26  5’9ish preferably with period wardrobe
(holster, has to ride horse)
Emma Goldman
Morgan’s Mother dark hair 30 nice looking
Ida Tarbell
Leon Csolgosz

Period prostitutes – bar ladies

The character links are mine – don’t blame the production crew!

Good luck!

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I was just pulling together some material about the 1889 Paris Exhibition from Scientific American, dated 4/6/1889 when I saw this timely article on artistic inventions and employment – here is an excerpt:

“Frequently one sees appalling computations of the vast number of workmen who are constantly thrown out of employment by new mechanical inventions that take the place of human hands. But along with the displacement of hand labor there has gone a replacement, in consequence of the increased production that always follows a cheaper process of manufacture. Especially is this observable in all artistic matters. Pictures that are now produced and given away as advertisements could not be bought except by the well-to-do a century ago. Art has been applied to a thousand articles of daily use, and artistic forms thus perpetuated have come to the homes even of the poor. Cheaper processes of engraving are now in use; but instead of causing the employment of fewer artists this requires the services of more and better artists, and they are paid now more than they ever were. A new class of artists have sprung into existence. They are known as pen and ink draughtsmen, and it is they who have made the illustrated newspapers of to-day far superior to those of a century ago. …

But it is not alone in picture making that the progress of invention gives new employment for artists. … There are armies of artists engaged in making patterns and designs that were never needed in the world until new processes of duplication created an almost insatiable demand for variety. …

[I]t must be admitted that though mechanical inventions have put a great many persons out of work, they have also put a great many persons into work, besides producing for the multitude an endless variety of beautiful and useful as well as cheap products.”

This article was previously published in Baldwin’s Textile Designer.  The original Scientific American edition dated April 6, 1889 is available for sale at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.


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I didn’t realize how many Scientific Americans I have featuring trains & zeppelins until today as I finished up displays. Hope folks enjoy them as much as I do!

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