SEPTEMBER 2017

SEPTEMBER  2017
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO - STANDARD OIL. Still dominating strangling the nation, a century later.

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Friday, April 02, 2010

WHAT'S IN A NAME

I can not think of a more unlucky, misbegotten group of failures and frauds and grief stricken dullards than the men who collectively are responsible for one of the most vital and fundamental inventions of the modern world.
It all started with a Parisian named Barthelmy Thimonnier, who invented the sewing machine in 1830. I know, you think it was invented by Elias Howe, but that is because Elias Howe was a “patent troll” and a liar.
And because, in 1840, a mob of French "Luddiet" tailors broke into Thimonnier’s factory, smashed his machines, burned the factory down and almost lynched Barthelmy. He died flat broke and forgotten in 1857. But first he invented the sewing machine.
The vacuum he left behind was filled by the American Walter Hunt, who was a mechanical genius and a business boob from upstate New York. Walter invented the safety pin, U.S, patient #6281, and a repeating rifle, and a bicycle and a road sweeper. And then, in 1834, he improved on Thimonnier’s sewing machine.
What Walter Hunt actually invented was a sewing needle with the hole - aka, the eye - at the pointy end. As the needle pushed through the cloth, the eye carried the thread with it. When the needle stopped it formed a loop in the thread behind it, and a second thread (from the bobbin) was pushed through the loop. The needle was then withdrawn, pulling the loop tight or “locking” it, around the bobbin thread. This “Lockstitch” was sheer genius, a brilliant insight, but Hunt never did anything with it because he didn’t want to be lynched by American tailors, and he was safely making plenty of money from his safety pin. And that opened the door for Elias Howe.
Elias Howe told at least two versions of how he "invented" the sewing machine. In the sympathetic version he spent hours watching his poor wife (since dead, and unavilable to testify) earn extra money doing piecemeal sewing work to support his family. In the Freudian version, Howe dreamed about Indians shooting arrows through a blanket.
In fact Howe had been a mechanic repairing looms in a textile mill, before he started living off his wife's sewing abilities, and that is where he learned all about shuttles and bobbins, and probably saw a version of Hunts sewing machine. Like a loom, Howe’s sewing machine, patient #4750 - granted in 1846 -  fed the cloth in vertically and the needle and bobbin worked horizontally. Howe’s sewing machine worked , sort of, but it was so clumsy that Howe couldn’t find anybody to buy it. He never made a dime from the actual invention.
Then in 1850 Howe saw a demonstration of a machine which did work, built by a mechanic and an actor and one of the most foul-tempered bigamists in antebellum America, Mr. Isaac Singer. Singer’s sewing machine put the needle vertical and fed the cloth in horizontally, which made the whole thing functional. But Howe noticed that Singer had 'borrowed' his lockstitch. When Howe demanded $25,000 in “royalties” (i.e. blackmail), one of Singer’s long suffering business partners observed that, “Howe is a perfect humbug. He knows quite well he never invented anything of value.” Singer was typically more direct, offering to “kick (Howe) down the steps of the machine shop.” What eventually made Howe a wealthy humbug was the patent for his lockstitch. As a magazine at the time noted, Howe had “litigated himself into fortune and fame.” But then this story is not about the sewing machine.This story is about another patent Elias Howe trolled for, this one granted him in 1851.
And just like his sewing machine, Howe’s patent for an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure” did not work. He just filed it away and waited to see if anybody else ever fixed it. But, since nobody else made his ugly and clumsy device work during his lifetime, Howe had nobody to sue and the device remained an obscure little footnote. And people continued to live with the original “Clothing Closure” device, the button.
Originally Whitcomb Judson was not interested in replacing the button. This rather odd man liked to eat bananas and mushrooms because he thought the mushrooms gave him psychic powers. Judson’s “mushroom visions” told him was going to get rich designing pneumatic street cars, (he was granted 14 patents for them), a mode of transport described rather unhelpfully in his advertising as “…a screw, but without a thread; and this screw though always revolving in one direction, will send the (trolley) cars in either direction, and do this by a pure and simple rolling and not a sliding friction..” It sounded mysterious and magical, and was actually used briefly in England in 1864 to transport tourists 600 yards between Waterloo and Whitehall stations. But Judson’s railway went nowhere in America.
So, in 1893, as a back up invention, he marketed his patent #’s 504038 and 504037 as a “claps lock” for ladies high button shoes, and “…wherever it is desired to detachable connect a pair of adjacent flexible parts.” Mr. Judson explained that “...each link of each chain (4 links per inch) is provided both with a male and a female coupling part…”. But sadly this coupling had a tendency to pop open, leaving the lady in question barefoot on the public way. So, in 1896, Judson added “….a cam-action slider…” to his invention, now calling it his “C-curity Fastener”. The company he formed to exploit the C-curity (The Universal Fastener Company) did well, and the gilled fungi lover was making money, but he never got as rich as he had expected. It was a shame the mushrooms never warned Judson about the dangers of eating too many mushrooms becaue Judson died of liver disease in 1909.
And that brings us to the dull Mr. Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback, a Swiss emigrant to Canada, working as an electrical engineer for Universal Fastener and married to the plant manager’s daughter, Elvira. In 1911 Elvira died, and to distract himself from his grief Gideon started fiddling with Judson's “C-curity Fastener”. He added more teeth (the male coupler), ten to an inch, and widened the slider, and then he realized he could do away with the couplers entirely. All he needed was the teeth. Gideon called his invention the “'Separable Fastener”, Patent # 1219881, granted in 1917. Gideon even designed a machine to mass produce his fastener.
In 1923, when Mr. B.F. Goodrich saw the new fasteners used on a pair of rubber galoshes his company was trying to sell the U.S. Army, he was delighted, telling an employee to “Zip ‘er up.” And thus was born the onomatopoeia of the new invention, the name that sounds like the sound the Separable Fastener makes when it is used; the zipper. And the world has been a better place ever since.
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

APRIL FOOLS, 2010

I don’t approve of practical jokes. I seen nothing humorous in having your shoes set afire while you are wearing them. And dribble glasses are not only not practical they are also not funny - especially on “April Fools Day”, when every glass is a dribble glass and every shoe is a potential combustion chamber. And it turns out that this celebration of sociopathic behavior was invented by the French, a nation without humorous inclinations since Moliere slipped on a banana peel in 1673. But the story of April Fool’s Day began long before that tragic event, when in 1564 King Charles IX decided to follow Pope Gregory’s suggestion and begin the New Year with January rather than April. Why the French originally celebrated New Years Day on April 1st, I have no idea.

Now, in the 16th century France had only one road. It came out of Paris, turned left, looped all the way around the city and re-entered on the other side of town. This tragic design error,(the World’s first traffic circle) made communication with the majority of the nation difficult (and introducing the phrase “Out-of-the-loop”) and when combined with the French phone system - which was in no better shape in the 16th century than it is today - meant that a lot of peasants never got the King’s memo concerning the calendar adjustment.
So as they had every year, thousands of these ill-informed peasants journeyed to Paris during the last week of March and on what they thought was New Year’s Eve, gathered in Bastille Square to say bonjour to 1565 and watch the guillotine drop on 1566. In unison they gleefully chanted, “Cing, quartre, trios, deux, un” and…No guillotine. No satisfying plop of a head into the basket. No champaign corks popping. No le Dick Clark. Instead of cheers and shouts of glee, mass ennui broke out amongst the masses. Now anyone who has experienced the Parisian version of “good manners” can imagine what came next; the locals mocked the bewildered peasants and made them feel like complete Americans,…ah,I mean,fools. But the way they did it makes the word “odd” seem inadequate.
For reasons beyond understanding the Parisians snuck up behind their confused country cousins, surreptitiously stuck a paper fish to the bumpkin’s backs and then shouted in a loud voice, “Poisson d’Avril!”, which translates as “April Fish!”, and then collapsed in raucous laughter and shouts of “tres bien.”
Why would they shout “April Fish!”? I have no idea. But, perhaps the first Parisian to label his victim an April “fool” immediately received a mouth full of fist, while calling the victim an April “fish” confused him just long enough so that the prankster could escape.
I have long thought that this uncharacteristic outbreak of French “humor” was actually inspired by Charles’ Italian Queen, Catherine de Medici, who was already famous throughout Europe for her gastronomical gags, such as her duck a la cyanide with a hemlock sauce. Only a Medici could see the humor in humiliating the people who handled your food.
But however it started, the Parisians knew a good time when they saw it and they sent peasants on “fool’s errands”, and tricked peasants with “fool’s tales”, until every April 1st, France reverberated with gales of laughter and shouts of “Poisson d’Avril!” Good times. But eventually the Parisian bullies grew bored with taunting the unresponsive peasants and in 1572 they shifted their attentions to the Huguenots. But by then the tradition of humiliating people for your own amusement on the first day of April had become popular. And like Disco music and Special Federal Prosecutors, once invented some institutions have proven impossible to stop.
This holiday for the humor-impaired spread around the globe with the new calendar like a fungus, infecting and evolving a little in each afflicted nation. The Germans added the “Kick Me” sign, and a second day which they call “Taily Day”, to further enjoy the frivolity of bruised buttocks. Ahh, those Germans.
In Portugal today’s innocent victim is hit with flour, sometimes while it is still in the bag - the flour not the victim. In Scotland the target is humiliatingly referred to as an “April Gawk” (?!), in England as a “Noodle” and in Canada as an “American.” I would have expected mental health professionals to call for a stop to this public insanity but evidently they are too busy setting their patients’ shoes on fire.
Not even a war could snap the world out of this cruel insanity. In what may have been the first time a practical joke qualified as a war crime, on April 1, 1915 a French pilot buzzed the German trenches and dropped a huge bomb, which bounced. Four years later the citizens of Venice awoke on April 1, to discover their sidewalks littered with cow manurer, the "gag" of a visiting Englishman, Horace de Vere Cole, with too much money in his pocket. But then what can you expect from a man who would honeymoon on April Fool's day? Bad humor moved into the electronic age in 1957 when BBC Television News broadcast a report about the successful and bountiful Swiss harvest of spaghetti.  On April Fool's Day in 1992, National Public Radio in the United States, broadcast the announcement that Richard Nixon was coming out of retirement to run again for President, under the slogan, "I didn't do anything wrong and I won't do it again."
Some years later, ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, carried a report that the nation was about to switch to "Metric Time". The next morning would begn at midnight, but each minute would be made up of 100 milidays, each hour of 100 centedays, and each day would consist of 20 decadays. It is alledged that the following morning nobody in Australia showed up at work on time, but it is unclear if that was because the April Fools joke or merely the typical state of affairs in Australia.
Admit it; there is no defense against April Fool tomfoolery, except a preemptive strike. So button up your top button, zip up your pants, tie your shoes and look out for that cat. Load up your water gun, warm up your fart cushion and repeat after me; “Poison d’Avril, sucker!”
Funny, huh?
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A FASCINATING WOMAN

I wish I had met Sara Emily Howe. She must have been a hoot. Talking with her must have been like a ride down Space Mountain at Disneyland; a thrilling sensation of breakneck speed, careening turns and narrowly missed catastrophe, followed immediately by an edge of your seat debacle. She was, according to one biographer, “one of the most exuberant, spontaneous, imaginative, and unnecessary liars that ever breathed”.  She was also a life long con artist. The only safe way to converse with Sara Howe was with both hands on your wallet. And even then, before I left the room, I would count my cash and my fingers. Alas, I shall never meet Sara, for, like John the Baptist, she was a prophet, foretelling the coming of Bernie Madoff, 125 years in the future.
By all accounts Mrs. Sara E. Howe was an amiable and gregarious woman of about sixty years of age when she first began our story. And when, during the winter of 1879, the owner of Number 2, Garland Street, in Boston, inquired of her, Mrs. Howe cheerfully explained that she wanted to buy the house because she was an agent for a charity organized by “The Quaker Aide Society” of Alexandria, Virginia. Using resources donated by and to the community, a bank (of sorts) had been created, “The Pacific Loan Company”, for the benefit of single women “young and old”. Deposits from ladies would be accepted, under strict rules and regulations. And it would all be headquartered in this humble home, if Mrs. Howe decided to buy it.
The seller, a woman and a successful grocer, was intrigued, and asked what the regulations were. Mrs. Howe explained that the bank would accept no deposits of less than $200 cash, and none of more than $1,000 cash. Generous interest of 8 % per month (per one thousand dollars on deposit) would be paid, once every three months, in advance. Further, Mrs. Howe assured the seller, the principle could be withdrawn at any time, during regular business hours. It was such an intriguing proposition that the seller not only granted Mrs. Howe a mortgage on the home, but she also invested the down payment with the Mrs. Howe. And with that single transaction the Ladies Bank of Boston, was born.
It was all a fraud, of course. There was no “Quaker Aide Society”, and thus they had no fund. The “Pacific Loan Company” consisted of Mrs. Sara E. Howe and her purse and her wits. But, for the mere investment of this invention, Sara Howe had received a real brick house she could live in. Of course, in three months, Mrs. Howe was required to meet the first payment. But that 8% payment was, at most, a fraction of what a mortgage payment would have been. And the lady grocer now felt safe sharing her good fortune with friends, who, one after the other, rushed to “invest” their savings with the “Ladies Bank of Boston.” And once that first cash had passed into Sara’s hands, the game was afoot.
The United States Census of 1870 was the first to inquire about working women. To its own surprise it found that at the height of the Victorian age, which was predicated upon women being less than men, women made up 15% of the work force. Despite this, legally, “…married women had rights similar to the rights of children….” Her property was her husband’s, but not the reverse. Her income was his, but not the reverse. “The wife was not able to (even sign) a contract on her own.” (Wikipedia – “Women in the Victorian era). However, because legally an adult women was a child, she could not be punished “…for certain offences, such as theft or bulgury, if she acted under the command of her husband.” And this may explain at least in part why Mrs. Howe had a husband, Mr. Florimund L. Howe. It seems he did not participate in the affairs of the bank, but he would have proved a handy “fall guy”, should one ever be needed.
Mrs. Howe never advertised, and never solicited deposits for her bank. She did not have to. However, she dutifully paid each lady their 8% dividend every three months. And as word of this windfall spread, new deposits accelerated. By the end of the 1879, Sara had 125 depositors and a staff of half a dozen – all women. So regularly did the “bank” meet its obligations that few if any ever sought to withdraw their principle. And then on January 8th and 9th , 1880 the Boston Herald published an investigative story on the bank, under the sneering headline, “How’s This for High? Eight per Cent a Month paid by a South End Bank For Women Only”. The reporter had even traded in his trousers for a dress and bonnet to interview employees, thinking his costume fooled the staff. He implied by tone and content that the bank was a fraud. So now the truth was out there.
Henry Clapp, in an article for The Atlantic Monthly, written in July 1881, (“Sympathetic Banking”) wrote that “Mrs. Howe and her crew have often boasted of the good which came to them from this their first passage at arms with a newspaper.” In fact, after the publicity they were deluged with new “customers”. It was found necessary to open two branch offices of the “bank” to handle the flood. And in May Sara Howe bought a larger home on Franklyn Square, in Boston, for which she paid cash - $20,000 in $100 bills. Shortly there after she bought a second home for $40,000, and paid for it the same way – with hundred dollar bills. By September of 1881, the “bank” was attracting twelve new depositors a day, and had deposits of half a million dollars. When asked how she maintained such a monotonous success for her depositors, Mrs. Howe would always demur, saying “We never discuss our methods.”
In fact Mrs, Howe was running a pyramid scam, in which there is no actual investment. Rather, today’s investor’s money was used to pay yesterday’s investors. And that is, by definition, a dead end. Assuming every one of the world’s six billion people invested $1 in a pyramid scheme, then the scheme would contain at most $6 billion. At best, everyone would get their initial investment back, with no profit. But since the early investors are given profits, to entice later investors, all pyramid schemes collapse, leaving later investors asking where their money went. To join early is to defraud others. To join late is to hand your life to thieves. Steve Keen (www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/01/02/ponzi-maths-part-3) explains that there is never a reservoir of money sitting somewhere that could disappear. As soon as the cash comes in, it is paid out, “to investors who…spent it, or used it to pay other debts…So it evaporates in a comparative flash.” Or, in Mr. Clapp’s words, it exploded, and “Under that detonating dynamite disappeared the intelligence and the morality of women.” Heaven knows, no men have ever fallen for a pyramid scam.
The explosion went off Saturday, September 25th when the Boston Daily Advertiser began a relentless series of articles on the “bank.” By the following Wednesday a run began on the bank. On Friday alone, it is reported, the “Ladies Bank” returned $80,000 to its investors. But that meant that a large number of women were still making deposits, even during the run on the bank. The term “dupes” seems too inoffensive and incomplete a description. But the run continue, and the fresh investors could not keep pace. On Monday, October 4th, Mrs. Howe announced a suspension of payments. On Thursday, October 14th her home and all bank property was seized by the courts. On Saturday, October 16th, Mrs. Howe was arrested. “The Nation” magazine called it the first “conviction by newspaper.”
Mr. Florimund L Howe was paid $1,000 to drop any claims against the estate, and disappeared. That cleared the way for an accouting. It was figured that perhaps 1,500 women had deposited money in the bank. Three hundred got their money back. Nine hundred filed claims, but got nothing. Perhaps another two hundred were too destitute or too embarrassed to even file a claim. And Sara Howe, protesting during her trial that, if freed she could easily pay all debts, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Upon her release, Mrs. Howe immediately opened another bank, and customers flocked to give her their money. But she had learned from her first experience, and when her deposits reached $50,000, she and the money disappeared.
She turned up in Chicago, using the name of “Mrs. Elmer”, and paying $7 a week on every $100 deposited. Just as she was recognized, she disappeared again. She next appeared in New Brunswick, Canada, pulling the same scam, dropping out of sight when the local press began to show an interest. Age finally drove her back to Boston, where she died, destitute. And the last word should perhaps belong to Mr. Clapp. “The truth about Mrs. Howe”, he wrote, ‘was simply this: that she was a miserable old rogue”.
Yea, but she must have been fascinating to talk to, if you kept your hand on your wallet.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

THE AMAZING RACE: PART III - CROSS WINDS

I figure that Cal Rogers was feeling pretty confident on the morning of Saturday, September 23, 1911; but then, Cal Rogers was always pretty confident. But this morning in particular he had received word that Jimmy Ward had dropped out of the “Hearst Coast-to-Coast Race” after crashing (yet again!) 5 miles outside of Addison, New York. Cal already knew that Bob Fowler, who had started out from San Francisco, had failed three times to get over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, finally cracking up near the summit, and reducing his Wright Flyer “B” to kindling and canvas. That left just himself, Cal Rogers, the six foot four inch adventurer from Pittsburg in the running for the $50,000.00 first place prize.
Of course, he still had to get to California himself. He was barely a tenth of the way across the continent now, and he had already crashed three times, and he was already decorated with bandages for all the scrapes and scratches he had suffered in all those crashes. Part of the problem was that when Cal had taken off from Booklyn he had been a pilot for all of four months. He had less than 60 hours of flying experience. He knew nothing about navigation by air, and there was no one to teach him. The longest flight so far in the United States had been one from St. Louis to New York City, completed just a month before, by somebody else. In short, Cal was at the very edge of human experience in flight, both physically and mechanically.
The Wright engine on his “Vin Fiz Flyer" had no throttle. The engine was either on or off, at full power or at zero. The pilot had only one way to alter his speed, and that was to “advance the spark”, meaning to alter the instant in the compression cycle when the spark plug fired. In a modern internal combustion engine of the 1920's this would be controlled mechanically by a carburetor. But in the Wright engine of 1911 it was done by physically moving the sparkplug a fraction of an inch into or out of the cylinder via a dial – by hand. The engines' designer, Charlie Taylor, had taken a leave of absence from the Wright workshop in Ohio to accompany the "Vin Fiz Flyer" across the country. So Cal had the best mechanical brain in America behind his flight.  But this process of adjusting the spark plug had its own problems which would soon become evident to both Cal and Charlie.
It took two days to repair the Vin Fiz after the crash at Middletown, New York on September 17. So Cal did not get back into the race until the twenty-first of September. His first leg that day was to be a hop to Hancock, New York, (40 miles east of Binghamton). But half way there Cal noticed his radiator had sprung a leak. He kept an eye on the precious fluid dripping from his engine and then, just as he was over the town “…plop! Out flew a defective spark plug. Making the plug adjustable had also made it prone to vibrating itself right out of the engine! In an instant, the Vin Fiz suddenly lost 25% of its power, and the plane had precious little to spare. Cal suddenly found himself plumeting for the ground. He managed to steer for an open field, pulling the "Vin Fiz's" nose up at just the last second. There was nothing to do but wait for the his service train, the "Vin Fiz Special".
The next two weeks would prove to be difficult, as California receded farther and farther away in distance and in time. While making a normal landing at Binghamton, as Cal would later say, “…There was a snap of breaking timber and my right skid had gone". The broken skid was easily replaced over night, from the supplies carried on board the “Vin Fiz Special”, the 3 car train that followed and led Cal across the countryside. It carried parts, aviation fuel, a rolling repair shop, Cal’s wife, Mable, his mother Maude (ne Rogers) Sweitzer, his chief mechanic Charley Tailor, his second mechanic, Charles (Wiggie) Wiggen, three assistants, assorted newspaper reporters and photographers.
With such lavious support, Cal was airborne again on the morning of the twenty-second. But as he approached a landing at Elmira, New York that afternoon he snagged some telegraph wires. More repairs were required. As Cal traversed the border lands between Pennsylvania and western New York State, he hit a patch of good weather and made up time, at least until he reached Salamanca, New York, high up on the Allegheny River. Late the afternoon of September 24th , just after taking off from Salamanca, another spark plug vibrated its way out of his engine. But this time Cal coolly reached behind his back, grabbed the hot plug in his glove and held it in place as he made a perfect landing (with one hand) on the Allegheny Indian reservation outside of Red House, N.Y. Cal screwed the sparkplug firmly back in and with help of a couple of men, turned the plane around for take off. But he couldn’t work up enough speed and had to abort and try again. A second attempt also had to be aborted. Each time the two helpful locals tried to warn Cal that he was aiming at a barbed wire fence, which he evidently did see in the gathering doom. But either because he didn’t understand what they were saying (he was deaf,) or because he was in such a rush, Cal ignored their warnings and the third time proved to be the charm. Cal taxied directly into the barbed wire fench, ripping the fabric covering the wings to shreds, and wrapping the prickly wire around the frame. It would take two days of yet more work to free the “Vin Fiz” to fly yet again.
Cal was back in the air on September 27th , and had safe landings that day and the next. But on the 29th, he was grounded by bad weather. Still, September 30th saw him break out of the Alleghenies and enter the flatlands of the old Middle West. The "Vin Fiz" covered 200 miles on September 30th . He would have gone further but a clogged fuel line forced him down late in the day near Akron, Ohio. Cal spent that night fending off curious cows who seemed determined to crush his fragile airplane under their big fat hooves. (Or maybe they were trying to catch a flight to someplace more accomidating to vegitarians.)
On Sunday, October first, Cal stopped at first Mansfield and then Marion, Ohio, before being forced down by another clogged fuel line at Rivare, Indiana, just over the state line. Under threatening skies Cal cleared the fuel line and took off again, only to fly directly into a thunderstorm, the first pilot to ever do so. As lightening snapped around his plane, Cal was the first pilot to experience downdrafts and wind shear, and as quickly as he could, Cal landed the "Vin Fiz" again, in the tiny Hoosier town of Geneva. As soon as the weather cleared he flew on to Huntington, Indiana, where he was met by an enthusiastic crowd, and was able to spend the night on board the train with his dear Mable. And his dear mother Maria.
The next morning, October 2nd, the winds were still gusting and again Cal had a hard time working up speed on his 35 horsepower Wright engine. Just as he felt his skids leave the ground he realized he was heading for a crowd of people. He yanked the stick to the left, passed under telegraph wires, and bounced his left wing off a bump in the ground. Cal was thrown out of his seat and scrapped his forehead, the left wing of the “Vin Fizz” was crumpled and folded up. Cal was mostly uninjured. And the “lucky” bottle of soda dangling from the strut was unbroken, yet again. But it would take two days to repair the “Vin Fiz”, essentially its third complete rebuild since takeoff.
On October 4th Cal flew to Hammond, Indiana, where he landed just before 6 P.M., on a plowed field on the Jarnecke Farm. He slept that night in the comfort of the Majestic Hotel. But high winds kept him grounded for another two days.
Finally, in desperation, on the 7th, Cal loaded the “Vin Fiz” aboard his train and moved it to the village of Lansing, Illinois, where he found a fallow field with a wind break. This allowed him to finally take off again. (As his journey westward had not moved him closer to Chicago, technically, he had not advanced his position in the race.)
Cal Rogers finally reached the air field in Cicero, Illinois, on the westside of Chicago, on the afternoon of October 8th. This was near where, at the air show in Grant Park on the lake shore just two months before, Cal had made his public debut as a pilot. He now had less than three weeks left by the rules of the contest to fly the remaining 2,000 miles across the Mississippi and the western half of the Untied States, cross the Rocky Moountains and the Sierra Nevada and the deseret between. Cal Rogers was the only man still in the race, but he was running out of time.
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NEXT TIME; OLD MAN RIVER

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