Tag Archives: invention

Epic Harbour Destructions

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Oh, sure, they always say it’s to increase harborage and improve the port facilities.

Never mind the wetlands or the natural flow of the harbors. Do any of these old plans to do massive Dutch re-arrangement on American or European harbours look like an *improvement* to you? Especially those who know the areas.

I keep seeing pure hubris — “We can rearrange the heavens and the earth, therefore we should, ’cause we’ll feel almighty afterward.” Think of it as the logical extension of the accomplishments of the Suez and Panama Canals, of Hoover Dam, and other titanic works.

The Reber Plan of 1942 was one of the last of these proposed, filling half of the Bay Area’s bay, providing a potential rival to the Golden Gate Bridge in the barrier blocking the remaining bay from the sea. A ship canal provided salt-water circulation and access, but … why restrict access to a few ships at a time, having to be overseen by a traffic controller, in place of the present huge entry? Read the rest of this entry

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What Were They Thinking?

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Having read all the 1819-1918 spec fi I could acquire, I have now fallen into a new reading habit: Popular Science Monthly magazine. It started by way of random research for 1934 and 1937 projects, especially once the first got rolled back to 1931.

Unlike, say, Popular Mechanix, PSM combine everything from articles on the early Rhine ESP studies to building ornate ship models. The covers represent everything from shipyards to air races, but the emphasis is on postulated vehicles — usually on the drawing boards, not often proven to work. But once they make PSM’s cover, they can live on in minds, just as the inventor envisaged them.

But what were they thinking to think of this?


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Crawling from the Waves …

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Was it an obsession of the public? Of inventors? Of  just Popular Science Monthly? They have so many covers in the Thirties, let along interior blurbs, on amphibious vehicles. It’s as if giant airships and helipads weren’t enough any more. They would give you plans for building your own boat, but surely the future held something more complex, more glamorous, than the hollow in the water that had been used for thousands of years.

The giant below, from April of 1931, is even accompanied by photos of the inventor in his prototype — a one-man craft no more than fifteen feet long.

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