December 31, 2011
- The City of Pittsburgh,
from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 62, Number 367,
December 1880. There's a nice image on every page, but the writing
is really dreadful—I am reminded of H. L. Mencken's criticism
of Warren G. Harding's inaugural address:
"...he writes the worst English that I
have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges;
it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of
stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically
through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur
creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish,
and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is
rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
From "Gamalieliese," originally published in the Baltimore Evening
Sun, March 7, 1921.
December 24, 2011
Jacob Jacobs' 1881 Patent
- Observe the Jacobs glass plate on the right. This heavy
off-clear/light-smoke tile, 6" square and 7/8" thick,
has two patterns recessed into its top surface: a large
square (in ¼" from the outside edge) and a central sun,
both of which would have originally been filled with a non-slip
compound ("cement, vitreous material, metal", etc).
It's embossed on the bottom
"JACOBS PAT APRIL 12 1881"
along one side, which is getting weak, so the patent date has
been added again in stamped letters along another side, which reads
"PAT APRIL 12, 81." and is much sharper.
Making glass surfaces non-slip was
the patent's main design.
- The Surge Steel Fence Post
December 23, 2011