1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Friday, March 07, 2008

Elyria


Dateline: Elyria, Ohio.
Actually, I know virtually nothing about the place other than that God's Most Perfect Pipe Wrench is manufactured there.
On the subject of pipe wrenches, in 1925 the "Ridgid Pattern" was patented and thus it did in at a stroke the venerable old Stillson wrench (pat 1869).
There was nothing inherently wrong with the Stillson design. It had just been around a long time - and the Ridgid design did prove to be simpler and stronger and so, thus changed what a pipe wrench would look like forever.
Nowadays, any store selling tools, even if their wrenches are straight from China, will be selling pipe wrenches based on the Ridgid pattern.

Pictured above, at top, an 18" Ridgid. Solid, boring, indestructible.
Below it is an oddity. A 10" Ridgid Brand, Stillson Pattern wrench
Wonderous as the world of wrenches can be, that's not what this is about.
In the early part of the 20th century, another homegrown, Elyria industry was the Garford Motor Truck Company.
Pictured next, in a wonderful photograph by Darius Kinsey in Washington state, a Garford log truck - with a very, gnarly cedar log.
And the truck. Did 'ya ever see anything so adorably ugly?
Anyway, this was their, Garford's product.
These trucks were used by the army and others despite their "A Face That Only a Mother Could Love" looks.
At some point, some time when "there was a war on", a Garford piss-anted four, ten-ton gun barrels, one at a time - a five-ton Garofrd at that - to some remote California, Artillery emplacement.
In 1914, one customer of particular significance was the Russians. They'd been experimenting with the idea of the "armored car" for some time and one of their more successful attempts was built on the Garford truck "platform".
Enter the "Putilov-Garford Armored Car" although the "car bit may be a bit of a stretch.
At 8.6 tons, this was no light runabout. Also, being that it was built on the sleek, Garford chassis, it was top-heavy to begin with. Several additional tons of armor and armament only served to make it more unstable.
So, it was hard to handle, restricted to roads because it kept wanting to lie down. And this is the successful one?
Not without good reason however. To wit: Firepower, three Maxims and a 76.2mm gun.
And, even though the P-G was slower than Christmas, that sluggish pace did bring with it the benefit of thick armor - a maximum of 13mm - and a gun that could kick ass on anything it's likely to run across.
The only drawback to the design was that the gun faced to the rear and could only traverse through 270 degrees. However a Maxim apiece was mounted in sponsons on either side to cover the front.
The fifty or which were produced, served admirably - up until 1917 when Russia fell apart.
P-G's were then used, during the Russian Civil War, by the Bolsheviks with great effect as tank killers, knocking out the Brit Mk IV and V's that had been given to the whites.
They were also captured and used by the Germans during their Civil War in 1918.
During the '20's the faithful remnant were converted into armed railway trolleys by simply replacing the cast-iron and solid rubber wheels with railroad wheels.
The Germans destroyed the last of the Putilov-Garfords in 1941.
Alas. A long way from that little town in Ohio.
And finally, back to that little town: Following various rabbit trails re Garford trucks, I found this Flickr photo and it provided my "thesis".
What you're looking at is a cottonwood tree that has grown through and around a truck chassis.
Located in the city of Elyria itself (on North St. A street only a few hundred feet in length). The site where I found it is here, and you can get to a satelite map to where "The truck in the tree" (A Garford) is located by just scrolling down a bit in the comments.
If it was fifty miles away - I'd go see it. A three-day drive? I'll fill in the blanks.

6 comments:

Andy Sparrow said...

You know, some enterprising filmaker needs to do a remake of Wages of Fear/ Sorcerer(choose your poison) with a convoy of those bad boys. Maybe if the Cohn brothers ever get off the "No Country for Old Men" wave...

Kevin said...

Great post, on what is your best topic of choice (as exemplified by the blog's name), from my humble opinion, but I repeat myself, I do say that a lot, don't I? Have you ever thought about a book? No, I'm asking that serioulsy (a pause, as the blog owner rushes to his keyboard to reveal he *already* had been published in his long, exciting life... oh, Gawd, I feel so inadequate).

Assrot said...

I absolutely love the new image you have at the top of your blog. I remember when I was a young one my daddy and papaw driving across bridges like this in Georgia.

Old wooden, log bridges creak and groan and sway back and forth. You just know you're going to wind up right side down in the river but it never happens.

When I moved to Florida in the early 70s that's what they had for bridges across the canals in unincorporated Palm Beach County. I've driven across many of them. It was still a rush just like in the old days of my boyhood.

Alas, nothing ever stays the same and all the really fine things in life generally get replaced by some "modern" piece of shit. That was the way the wooden log bridges went here and back home in Georgia by the mid 80s or so.

Thanks for a good memory. Some real Deja Vu there. I can smell the river and hear the bridge groaning over the sound of the old Chevy flat six my papaw drove around right now.

Joe

Don Gwinn said...

I learned something new today. Thanks, Oliver.

MoE said...

...What I think is interesting is that the Garford on the log bridge is a right-hand-drive. The word "GARFORD" is spelled out right on the bumper of the truck, so it's not just a flipped negative, so...

They've also taken the radiator cap off, which is never a good thing for heavy operation.

...and Joe, when did Chevy have a 'Flat 6,' unless you mean a Corvair? The "Blue Flame" was Chevy's big benefit over Ford, 6-cylinders *and* ohv... am I wrong?

Chris O said...

Came across this via the model T forum. The Russians never did *anything* small, did they? Wonderful article!
thanks.

Locations of visitors to this page