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Science, Technology, and Mathematics > History of Science and Technology > Transportation History

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Dirigible Dreams Cover

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Dirigible Dreams

The Age of the Airship

C. Michael Hiam

Here is the story of airships—manmade flying machines without wings—from their earliest beginnings to the modern era of blimps. In postcards and advertisements, the sleek, silver, cigar-shaped airships, or dirigibles, were the embodiment of futuristic visions of air travel. They immediately captivated the imaginations of people worldwide, but in less than fifty years dirigible became a byword for doomed futurism, an Icarian figure of industrial hubris. Dirigible Dreams looks back on this bygone era, when the future of exploration, commercial travel, and warfare largely involved the prospect of wingless flight. In Dirigible Dreams, C. Michael Hiam celebrates the legendary figures of this promising technology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the doomed polar explorers S. A. Andrée and Walter Wellman, and the great Prussian inventor and promoter Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, among other pivotal figures—and recounts fascinating stories of exploration, transatlantic journeys, and floating armadas that rained death during World War I. While there were triumphs, such as the polar flight of the Norge, most of these tales are of disaster and woe, culminating in perhaps the most famous disaster of all time, the crash of the Hindenburg.

This story of daring men and their flying machines, dreamers and adventurers who pushed modern technology to—and often beyond—its limitations, is an informative and exciting mix of history, technology, awe-inspiring exploits, and warfare that will captivate readers with its depiction of a lost golden age of air travel. Readable and authoritative, enlivened by colorful characters and nail-biting drama, Dirigible Dreams will appeal to a new generation of general readers and scholars interested in the origins of modern aviation.

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The Electric Pullman

A History of the Niles Car & Manufacturing Company

Lawrence A. Brough

Entering an already crowded and established industry, the Niles Car & Manufacturing Company in Ohio began business with surprising success, producing well over 1,000 electric and steam railway cars—cars so durable they rarely needed to be replaced. That durability essentially put the company out of business, and it vanished from the scene as quickly as it had appeared, leaving little behind except its sturdy railway cars. The story of this highly regarded company spans just 16 years, from Niles’s incorporation in 1901 to the abandonment of railway car production and sale of the property to a firm that would briefly build engine parts during World War I. Including unpublished photographs and rosters of railway cars produced by the company and still in existence in railroad museums, Electric Pullman will appeal to railroad enthusiasts everywhere.

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Epicyclic Drive Trains

Analysis, Synthesis, and Applications

Herbert W. Müller

This first English-language edition is a completely revised and expanded version of Die Umlaufgetriebe, published by the Springer-Verlag in 1971. It will be extremely useful to American engineers since it stresses the efficiencies of new and existing transmission designs and provides concise guide rules as well as worksheets. A thorough understanding of the sometimes difficult material is facilitated through the use of both schematic and symbolic diagrams. The book is profusely illustrated and analyzes many applications. These drives receive an unusually clear treatment because at Dr. Müller’s discovery of their perfect analogy to the simple epicyclic drive trains. Unified methods of analysis and synthesis of complex drives are employed throughout, suggesting that further simplifications may be possible through the use of a multivalued logic system which is analogous to the bivalent logic system of digital electronics. This book presents a clear and concise description of a multitude of revolving gear trains in terms common to all, whereas previous publications have been limited to treatment on interesting subproblems. Its well-reasoned definitions and classifications will aid engineers in the selection and design of the best drives for any given application.

European Capital, British Iron, and an American Dream Cover

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European Capital, British Iron, and an American Dream

The Story of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad

By William Reynolds

The Atlantic & Great Western Railroad was one of the earliest and largest east-west railroad projects in the United States. It was the dream of American builders William Reynolds of Pennsylvania and Marvin Kent of Ohio. By using the non-standard six-foot gauge, these men helped construct a trunk line connecting the Atlantic tidewater with the Mississippi River "without break of gauge." Money for the construction came principally from European investors, like Don Jose de Salamanca of Spain, while Great Britain furnished the iron. A strong English support group included James McHenry, Sir Samuel Morton Peto, and the brilliant engineer, Thomas Kennard. This American-European enterprise represented a unique example of intercontinental cooperation in railroad history. Reynolds was the first president of the Pennsylvania and New York divisions of the A&GW. This published history is the first published source on this important railroad. With a memorable talent for detail and authority, Reynolds demonstrates how difficult it was to build a railroad against a backdrop of the Civil War. The lack of capital and resources, the scarcity of labor, the control of the oil market, and the endless struggle against hostile public opinion and fierce competitors like the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central posed challenges that were not easily overcome. Yet, as Reynolds states, "in the face of all these formidable obstacles, the enterprise was crowned with success."

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Grand Central's Engineer

William J. Wilgus and the Planning of Modern Manhattan

Kurt C. Schlichting

Few people have had as profound an impact on the history of New York City as William J. Wilgus. As chief engineer of the New York Central Railroad, Wilgus conceived the Grand Central Terminal, the city’s magnificent monument to America’s Railway Age. Kurt C. Schlichting here examines the remarkable career of this innovator, revealing how his tireless work moving people and goods over and under Manhattan Island’s surrounding waterways forever changed New York’s bustling transportation system. After his herculean efforts on behalf of Grand Central, the most complicated construction project in New York’s history, Wilgus turned to solving the city’s transportation quandary: Manhattan—the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of the United States in the twentieth century—was separated from the mainland by two major rivers to the west and east, a deep-water estuary to the south, and the Harlem River to the north. Wilgus believed that railroads and mass transportation provided the answer to New York City’s complicated geography. His ingenious ideas included a freight subway linking rail facilities in New Jersey with manufacturers and shippers in Manhattan, a freight and passenger tunnel connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn, and a belt railway interconnecting sixteen private railroads serving the metropolitan area. Schlichting’s deep passion for Wilgus and his engineering achievements are evident in the pages of this fascinating work. Wilgus was a true pioneer, and Schlichting ensures that his brilliant contributions to New York City’s transportation system will not be forgotten.

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Graveyard of the Lakes

Mark L. Thompson

For the first time, a historian and seasoned mariner looks beyond the specific circumstances of individual shipwrecks in an effort to reach a clearer understanding of the economic, political, and psychological factors that have influenced the 25,000 wrecks on the Great Lakes over the past 300 years. Looking at the entire tragic history of shipwrecks on North America's expansive inland seas, from the 1679 loss of the Griffon to the mysterious sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, Mark L. Thompson concludes that a wreck is not an isolated event. In Graveyard of the Lakes, Thompson suggests that most of the accidents and deaths on the lakes have been the result of human error, ranging from simple mistakes to gross incompetence. In addition to his compelling analysis of the causes of shipwrecks, Thompson includes factual accounts of more than one hundred wrecks. Graveyard of the Lakes will forever change the reader's perspective on shipwrecks.

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Harriman vs. Hill

Wall Street’s Great Railroad War

Larry Haeg

In 1901, the Northern Pacific was an unlikely prize: a twice-bankrupt construction of the federal government, it was a two-bit railroad (literally—five years back, its stock traded for twenty-five cents a share). But it was also a key to connecting eastern markets through Chicago to the rising West. Two titans of American railroads set their sights on it: James J. Hill, head of the Great Northern and largest individual shareholder of the Northern Pacific, and Edward Harriman, head of the Union Pacific and the Southern Pacific. The subsequent contest was unprecedented in the history of American enterprise, pitting not only Hill against Harriman but also Big Oil against Big Steel and J. P. Morgan against the Rockefellers, with a supporting cast of enough wealthy investors to fill the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria.

The story, told here in full for the first time, transports us to the New York Stock Exchange during the unfolding of the earliest modern-day stock market panic. Harriman vs. Hill re-creates the drama of four tumultuous days in May 1901, when the common stock of the Northern Pacific rocketed from one hundred ten dollars a share to one thousand in a mere seventeen hours of trading—the result of an inadvertent “corner” caused by the opposing forces. Panic followed and then, in short order, a calamity for the “shorts,” a compromise, the near-collapse of Wall Street brokerages and banks, the most precipitous decline ever in American stock values, and the fastest recovery. Larry Haeg brings to life the ensuing stalemate and truce, which led to the forming of a holding company, briefly the biggest railroad combine in American history, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the deal, launching the reputation of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as the “great dissenter” and President Theodore Roosevelt as the “trust buster.” The forces of competition and combination, unfettered growth, government regulation, and corporate ambition—all the elements of American business at its best and worst—come into play in the account of this epic battle, whose effects echo through our economy to this day.

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Henry's Lieutenants

Ford R. Bryan

Although Henry Ford gloried in the limelight of highly publicized achievement, he privately admitted, "I don't do so much, I just go around lighting fires under other people." Henry's Lieutenants features biographies of thirty-five "other people" who served Henry Ford in a variety of capacities, and nearly all of whom contributed to his fame. These biographical sketches and career highlights reflect the people of high caliber employed by Henry Ford to accomplish his goals: Harry Bennett, Albert Kahn, Ernest Kanzler, William S. Knudsen, and Charles E. Sorenson, among others. Most were employed by the Ford Motor Company, although a few of them were Ford's personal employees satisfying concurrent needs of a more private nature, including his farming, educational, and sociological ventures. Ford Bryan obtained a considerable amount of the material in this book from the oral reminiscences of the subjects themselves.

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Hero of the Angry Sky

The World War I Diary and Letters of David S.Ingalls, America's First Naval Ace

Geoffrey L. Rossano

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History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad

Maury Klein

" After the Civil War, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad took the lead among southern railroads in developing rail systems and organizing transcontinental travel. Through two world wars, federal government control, internal crises, external dissension, the Depression, and the great Ohio River flood of 1937, the L&N Railroad remained one of the country's most efficient lines. It is a southern institution and a railroad buff's dream. When eminent railroad historian Maury Klein's definitive History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad was first published in 1972, it quickly became one of the most sought after books on railroad history. This new edition both restores a hard-to-find classic to print and provides a new introduction by Klein detailing the L&N's history in the thirty years since the book was first published.

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