Wednesday, August 8, 2012

History for the senses

A typical mimeograph machine illus.
  August 8, 1876 - Thomas Alva Edison received a U S Patent for the mimeograph.  If you are old enough you probably remember the smell of copies made on one of these.  It would have been white paper with blue or purple print.  The machines were in a lot of schools, churches, town offices and regular offices all over the world.  My grade school was too small for one, but in high school they were evident. 
  One hundred years later one of the places that I worked at, for a short while, had a machine we used every day for shipping and export/import papers.  Later on at the South Portland, Maine School Department business office we had one, it was rarely used then.
  Mimeographs were gradually replace by copiers of differing types, that's a subject for another time.
Convair B-36B photo  please click to enlarge
  August 8, 1946- Consolidated Vultee (Convair) flew the giant B-36 for the first time.  This plane was the first very long range aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons - the Cold War expanded.  Version of this plane flew from SAC bases all over the world, including Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine (The County (the closest to Europe in the USA).
  The plane in the photo is a B-36B which included, in addition to the six piston engines (R4360), two J57 jet engine near the outer tip of each wing, enlarge the photo by clicking on it.  The Peacemaker also had the longest wingspan (over 172 feet) of any aircraft ever flown by the U. S. Air Force.
  Part of the regular maintenance was changing each of the fifty-six spark plugs on each of the six piston engines.  Each piston engine had it's own 100 gallon oil tank.
  To get an idea of the planes size the wing root (where the wing joins the fuselage) are 7 1/2 feet tall.  A transport version (C-99) was built, it was a double decker.  A civilian version of the C-99 was on the drawing board - it would have been the first Jumbo Airliner. 
  The B-52 replaced the B-36 in the 1950's and the last one retired from active service in 1959.

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