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New in 2011
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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 sidewalk/floor/roof plate
Jacob Jacobs' 1881 Patent
sidewalk/floor/roof plate
6" square
  • 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
Brown Brothers hexagonal vault light (Hyatt's patent)
Brown Brothers
No. 2 Vault Light
21" across the flats