George who?

September 23, 2008

Our automotive history is full of colorful characters and interesting stories. We’ll write about one such person now. George B. Selden (1846-1922) was a patent attorney in Rochester, New York. Mr. Selden filed for a patent for a “road engine” on May, 8, 1879. For some reason it was pre-dated to 1877, and patent number 549.160 was granted on November, 5, 1895.

Mr. Selden knew the automobile industry would get a lot bigger. He also knew a patent was only good for 17 years. Knowing a loophole in the laws he stretched from application to issue out to 16 years by taking the maximum time allowed by law to answer inquiries from the Patent Office. It’s estimated he made over $200,000 before the patent was ruled invalid.

By the time the patent was granted, his “road engine” had evolved into a three cylinder motor vehicle, on paper, that caused automakers fits at the time. His patent allowed him to collect royalties from all American car manufacturers, because his was the first and he claimed all the other carmakers copied his patent.

Henry Ford refused to pay royalties to Mr. Selden, because he claimed the patent was questionable since Mr. Selden had never actually built the car. When Henry Ford refused to pay royalties to Mr. Selden’s holding company, the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM), Selden took Ford through a long court battle.

Almost all the other car manufacturers payed the royalties, and vehicles had to have the statement “Licensed under the Selden Patent” somewhere on them. Even advertising at the time had to mention this.

In 1904 a judge deemed Selden’s patent good and ordered Henry Ford to pay royalties. Selden had won the battle, but not the war. George B. Selden did finally produce a car bearing his name, and it was an utter disaster. This caused the patent to be overturned in 1911, and once again Henry Ford didn’t pay royalties. It also helped all car manufacturers build their cars at a lower price.

The Brayton-type 2-cycle engine was a hot air engine, and is the basis for all gas turbine engines. Including the engine detail in the patent was Selden’s eventual downfall. On top of that he didn’t specify either gas or kerosene as the fuel, only a hydrocarbon.

George B. Selden died at age 78 on January 17, 1922 and was buried in Rochester, New York.

Comments on this or anything else are welcome.


September 22, 2008

We went to the Northpark Cruise-in Saturday night, and it seemed like a good turnout. We really liked the old hook and ladder with a flag on top. Once again we chatted with Dale Gilmour for a minute as he and the club were putting on the show. Thanks for another great cruise.

Here are some new words that we recieved-

Thanks Al.

1. BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

2. SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

3. ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success, and advancement by kissing up to the boss, rather than working hard

4. SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

5. CUBE FARM : An office filled with cubicles.

6. PRAIRIE DOGGING : When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls, to see what’s going on.

7. MOUSE POTATO : The on-line, wired generation’s answer to the couch potato.

8. SITCOMS: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. That Yuppies get into when they have children, and one of them stops working to stay home, with the kids.

9. STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

10. SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

11. XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies, from one’s workplace.

12. IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are Annoying, but you find yourself unable to stop watching them.

13. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

14. ADMINISPHERE : The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the admonisher are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

15. 404 : Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error Message ‘404 Not Found,’ meaning that the requested site, could not be located.

16. GENERICA : Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same, no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, and subdivisions.

17. OHNOSECOND : That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize, that you’ve just made a BIG MISTAKE. (Like after hitting send on an email, by mistake).

18. WOOFS: Well-Off Older Folks.

19. CROP DUSTING Surreptitiously passing gas, while passing through a Cube Farm.

Comments on just about anything are welcome.

In the beginning

September 20, 2008

We’ve covered different parts of the history of the car, but not the beginning. We’ll do some posts on that now. We’ll start with some useless trivia and little known facts.

The first know self-propelled vehicle was the 1770 French Cugnot, which was a steam-powered artillery tractor.

In 1893; the U.S. Office of Road Inquiry is established and the first brick surfaced rural road was laid in Wooster Pike, Ohio.

In 1895 the Chicago Times-Herald race was held, and won by a Duryea; two automotive magazines debuted, the Horseless Age and The Motorcycle.

In 1896 the first track race was held at Narragansett Park in Rhode Island. The winner of the first race was a Riker Electric.

In 1899 engine emissions caused concerns, and solutions sought, including the concept of a catalytic converter. Boston banned cars from its park to stop accidents involving runaway horses. The American Auto Club of America was founded, and Motor Age magazine debuts.

In 1900 the first National American Automobile Show was held at Madison Square Gardens. Families could even drive an obstacle course, and the event drew 48,000 people.

In 1901 New York State began license motor vehicles and earns nearly $1,000 the first year. The “Spindletop” gusher came in slashing crude oil prices to under a nickel a barrel.

1902 saw the first automobile warranty, 60 days; the first used car lot opens in New York, and the Ford “999” race car set a world speed record by traveling 5 miles in 5 minutes and 28 seconds!

In 1904 the Prest-O-Lite Company was formed to perfect a safe way to use acetylene gas for headlamps.

1905 innovations included Goodyear universal rims, ignition locks, power tire pumps, Gabriel exhaust horns, and weed tire chains.

In 1907 humps were installed on some streets in Glencoe, Illinois to slow traffic; and President William Howard Taft ordered a White Steamer making it the first official White House automobile.

1909 saw Mrs. John R. Ramsey become the first woman to drive accross America; she did it in a Maxwell.

In 1910 the Indianapolis Speedway opened.

1911 saw the first painted center lines on a highway near Detroit. The winner of the first Indy 500, Ray Harroun, did so as the first car in America to use a rear-view mirror. The first Truck Show in the country was also held in conjunction with the 11th National Automobile Show in New York.

In 1912, the city of Chicago enacted an ordinance against horn blowing.

In 1913, a 90 day warranty is offered on new cars for the first time; and Gulf Oil Company is the first to hand out free maps to customers.

And in 1914, construction of the Lincoln Highway begins. This would eventually link New York to San Fransisco. Electric stop lights are installed in Cleveland, Ohio; and the first stop sign is installed in Detroit.

Now you also know the worthless trivia about the early days of the automobile. Comments on this or any other subject are welcome.

Casey Anthony and the Guardian Angels

September 19, 2008

The Casey Anthony story just keeps getting stranger. Now the Guardian Angels got involved to help stop the madness. For the story go to
the Orlando Sentinal. We’re glad the Angels stepped in to free up the police so they can do their job.

We have to wonder, when does protesting cross the line? Walking and holding signs is one thing; but transpassing, throwing things at the house, and screaming insults isn’t going to solve anything. If someone down there doesn’t get a lick of sense pretty soon, somebody’s going to hurt. You people should remember that a mother with a ballbat isn’t going to play baseball at 1 am.

If these protesters were really upset about Casey Anthony, wouldn’t their time be better spent searching for the missing girl instead of trying to get in a newsclip on the Nancy Grace Show?

That’s our thoughts, your thoughts and comments on this or any other subject are welcome.

A few events

September 19, 2008

We’re going to post a few upcoming events. These are no where near all the events, just ones we either go to, or informed about.

This Saturday, from 6 pm until everyone goes home, the River Valley Classics are hosting a cruise-in at Northpark Mall. Dale Gilmour has informed us that the charity for this cruise is the American Red Cross. Since it’s getting late in the year, you’ll want to make this one. Maid-Rite usually has a booth, and buy some 50/50 tickets while you’re there. You could win some money, and you’ll help the Red Cross at the same time. It’s only $2 for spectators to see hundreds of really neat cars and trucks, meet a bunch of good people, and have a great time. This cruise is held in the parking lot behind the Sears store.

This Sunday is the Arrowhead Ranch Round-Up, to be held at the Ranch, 12200 104th St., Coal Valley. Admission is free, and you can register for the auction from 8:30 am on. For more information, or to see what’s up for auction go

Next Saturday, from 6 pm on will be the cruise-in at Southpark hosted by the Quad Cities Cruisers. They’re only having one more cruise this year, so if you’re not doing anything cruise over to the lot behind JC Penny’s and have a look.

Also next weekend is the Lake Davenport Sailing Club’s 48th Annual Polar Bear Regatta. Race times are Saturday 10 am, and 1 and 3 pm. On Sunday, races will be held at 9:30 and 10:45 am. Doc assures us you can see the races from Prospect Terrace, the river front, and the Gazebo near the Water Company downstream to the Boathouse Restaurant. You can go to the club’s website here.

That’s a few events going on in our area. Comments are always welcome.
Or you can call Doc at 563-650-5645.

Clarification rant

September 18, 2008

Earlier we did a rant on the shootings last night. As is often the case, we didn’t do a good job of explaining a few things. So here goes. When we said that the candidates who ran on a platform of public safety lost the election, and the candidates who ran with a priority of development won; that’s what happened. That doesn’t mean the people who got elected don’t care about public safety, it just wasn’t a priority during their campaign.

That being said, the City Leaders are spending over $12 million on a new library and improvements to Centenial Park. How much extra went to public safety this year? Has the gang unit been funded?

We also know the police can’t be everywhere at once. We feel they do an excellent job, considering how far apart the trouble areas are. If police get calls to Goose Creek, east SoLo, and West 6th, they’re spread out. We also don’t know anyone smart enough to get to the area before the shots are fired.

We agree with nitrous55 in that we citizens have to take the blame also. People just don’t want to get involved; don’t want to miss their favorite TV show, or claim they don’t have time. A lot more people have to get pro-active. We need more neighborhood watches, more people calling the police when something happens, and we need more people outside at night.

One thing that would help, in our opinion, is to bring back the Citywide Crime Committee. Perhaps a new and improved version would be even better. We need a weekly meeting where the police, the City Leaders, concerned citizens, and crime watch groups can get together. This could be a place where citizens could notify the police of activities in their area, the police can pass along relevent information, and a representitive of the City could advise any legal actions that could be taken. And it would be free, or at least cheaper than any alternative we can think of.

Perhaps someone could hold a meeting to give out information on how to handle different crimes that pop up from time to time. Inform people on options they could use to get and keep their neighborhoods safe. That’s our opinion, comments on this or any subject are welcome.

Early sick of it rant

September 17, 2008

By now some of you have heard of the drive-by shootings tonight. It started about 9 pm at 12th and Perry streets, then 14th and Iowa streets, then the 1900 block, and finally the 2200 block of Iowa. Due to one of these we have a nice yellow tape tied to our garage. We don’t know what makes these punks pull this stuff, but it’s getting old really fast.

As far as we know at least nobody was hit, but these cowards should be put away for a long time when found and convicted. At 9 pm in the SoLo area and the other areas when these events occured, kids are still out. We are amazed none of them has been hurt by these jerks. In the last election the majority of the citizens voted for development and against public safety. Nice going. Now we’ll have a fancy park, a fancy library, a fancy bike lane, and other fancy amenitiesl and those of us who live SoLo will still have to put up with the drive-by shootings.

Yes, we can afford to move. No, we won’t. We like our house and our neighborhood. We just don’t like some of the residents of apartments around us. We’ll get busy again and clean out the undesireables and take our neighborhood back.

That’s our early rant, comments on this or any subject are welcome.

Some updated news

September 17, 2008

While we did a couple car posts, the crime just kept on trucking. Below are a few updates from the FBI.

From the District of Columbia; eight members of the 662 Boss Piru gang, which purports to be a sect of the notorious, nationwide Bloods gang, have been charged by a federal grand jury in a 19-count indictment. A young female gang member wanted leave the gang and they didn’t like it. For more go

The crime statistic from the FBI for 2007 say that the crime rate is down. Violent crime dropped .7% and property crime is down 1.4% from the previous year. It’s a start. To read more go

A 45 year old Maryland man was sentenced to eight years in prison for downloading child porn from the internet. This sick freak downloaded 2,000 pictures and 75 videos of prepubescent females and images showing bondage and infants. For the story go

The FBI has updated its wanted page for crimes against children.
To see the page go

And of course, earlier in the week Casey Anthony was arrested again, and bonded out again, on felony fraud charges. He daughter Caylee is still missing, this woman is still stonewalling police, and still manintains she’s innocent. She’s definitly a world class pathalogical liar.

Comments are always welcome.

Muscle cars?

September 15, 2008

 The 2010 Camaro will weigh between 3,700 pounds for the v-6 version, to roughly 3,900 pounds for the SS, price for the SS is supposed to be around 40 grand. For that you get a 300 hp small block.
 When the 2010 Challenger hits the market it will weight in at 4,100 pounds and it’s estimated to cost north of 30 grand.
 The 2,007 Charger SRT8 weighed 4,088 pounds and cost $35,320 with a 5.7 Liter 350 hp Hemi.
 The 2009 Corvette weighs  3,180-3,217 pounds, cost up to $102,450.00, and have a supercharged small block.
 The 2008 Ford GT 500KR weighs 3,950 pounds, has a 4.6 liter motor; and if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

 The 1968 Camaro with a big block weighed 2,955 pounds, cost $2,694 and made around 375 horsepower.
 The 1970 Challenger weighed 3,028 pounds, cost $2,851 with a 340.
 The 1968 Charger R/T  weighed 3,646 pounds, cost $3,592, and included a 426 cubic inch 425 hp Hemi. 
 The 1968 Corvette Sting Ray coupe weight 3,055 pounds and cost $4,663 with a small block.
 The 1968 Shelby GT 500Kr weighed 3,200 pounds, cost $4,473, and had a 428 cubic inch motor.

 Why do I bring this up? First, I don’t think  a two ton chunk of steel no matter how good looking, is a muscle car. The other part starts in 1963 with the National Emissions Standards Act. This was revised in 1965 as Title II of the Clean Air Act. Then there’s the start of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Act of 1975.

 The original muscle cars didn’t have air bags, smog pumps, EGRs, ECUs, side collision bars, and reinforced roofs. The also didn’t have 5 mph bumpers, overdrive, air-conditioning, and a plush interior.

 In the earlier days we never heard of the Big 3 asking for a bail-out. The government keeps restricting the automakers and it’s gotten to the point they’re not making money. We believe if the automakers were less regulated they might come up with a model that doesn’t look like a refrigerator, have the pick-up of a refrigerator, and the list price of a small house.

 That’s our post, your comments on this or any other subject are welcome.

GM turns 100

September 15, 2008

2008 is a big year for car buffs. Both Ford and GM turn 100 this year, and there are several other anniversaries also. This post we thought GM deserved the spotlight, so here’s a few things about the company.

 William C. Durant founded General Motors in 1908, but was ousted from the company in 1910. We’ll list a little history of each car in GM’s beginning and a brief history.

 In 1903, David Dunbar Buick built his first car with chain drive and overhead valves. It was a rarity then, and set his car apart from others. Mr. Durant bought out Buick in 1908 to start GM.

 Cadillac was started in late 1902 by Henry Martyn Leland, an engineer who worked for both Ford and Oldsmobile. Cadillac became part of GM in 1909 as the upper-middle-priced car of the fleet. In 1915 Cadillac pioneered the V-8 setting standards for smoothness, power, and reliability.

 After he was ousted from GM, Mr. Durant founded Chevrolet in 1911 in an effort to regain control of GM. By 1915, he had Chevrolet built up as a force to be reckoned with, and by 1918 it was a part of GM.By the mid 20s’ Chevrolet was GM’s biggest seller and has been ever since. Even with all that, Chevy didn’t pass Ford in production until 1927.

 Ransom Eli Olds put his first car together in 1891 as an experiment. He began regular production in 1897, the year the Olds Motor Vehicle Company was founded; and is the only American car company founded in the nineteenth century to survive into the twenty-first century. Ransom left Olds in 1904 to form Reo, and the company took a nosedive. GM bought the Olds Company in 1908 and still had sluggish sales. Olds sales picked up in 1916 due to the introduction of the side-valve V-8.

 The first Pontiac, the 1926 Six, boosted the popularity of its parent, the Oakland. GM ditched the Oakland in 1931 due to the depression and poor sales. In 1933 GM tightened its belt by streamlining all lines into three divisions: Cadillac, Chevrolet, and B-O-P (Buick, Olds, Pontiac).

 Some highlights of the history are-

 1932- Buick introduces the silent second synchromesh transmission.

 1938- Buick introduces all coil spring susupension.

 1948- Cadillac introduced the tailfins, and Chevrolets of this year were the last to be known as fat fenders.

 1949- Oldsmobile had two new inovations; the Rocket V-8, and the 98 Holiday pillarless coupe (hardtop).

 1953- Buick introduces the V-8 that would become known as the nailhead.

 1955- Intoduction of the first Chevrolet small block, the 265 V-8. Pontiac brings out the 287.2 cubic inch Strato-Streak V-8.

 1957- Chevrolet ups the ante with a 283 V-8. Oldsmobile starts the J2 option high performance V-8.

 1958- First year of Impala, and introduction of the 348 cubic inch V-8.

 That’s the nickel tour of GM, comments on this or any other subject are welcome.