flickr-free-ic3d pan white
View allAll Photos Tagged Associating+with+a+Distributor

Painting of the Val D'Orcia DSC_9877

 

06/06/2015 05:59:37

The sun is already up and turns on the already colored hills of the Val D'Orcia ............

 

Hello everyone,

Thank you so much for your visit and support ..

 

All Right Reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator Fabrizio Massetti

 

28COM 14B.51 - Nominations of Cultural Properties to the World Heritage List (Val d'Orcia)

Val d'Orcia

The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated in the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. The landscape’s distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. The inscription covers: an agrarian and pastoral landscape reflecting innovative land-management systems; towns and villages; farmhouses; and the Roman Via Francigena and its associated abbeys, inns, shrines, bridges, etc.

  

Justification for Inscription.

  

Criterion (iv): The Val d’Orcia is an exceptional reflection of the way the landscape was re-written in Renaissance times to reflect the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing pictures.

Criterion (vi): The landscape of the Val d’Orcia was celebrated by painters from the Siennese School, which flourished during the Renaissance. Images of the Val d’Orcia, and particularly depictions of landscapes where people are depicted as living in harmony with nature, have come to be seen as icons of the Renaissance and have profoundly influenced the development of landscape thinking.

  

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation

Update 2015-07-11: CitiesXL isn't for me but Cities Skylines by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive is the spiritual successor to Simcity 4.

 

A view of South Lake Union and Queen Anne Hill after inspired by the official announcement that SimCity 5 has been under development with a February 2013 release date. This is one of those games that I would get without a second thought if it weren't for the number of questionable incidents involving Electronic Arts' Origin content delivery system. That aside SimCity 5 will feature curved roads, zoning, and a rigid-body dynamics physics engine. After almost a decade of waiting it's great to see the continuation of a classic game series.

 

SimCity Announce Trailer Insider's Look :

www.youtube.com/watch?v=T70evBJE93s&feature=player_em...

SimCity 5 developers Q&A on Reddit:

www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/qp15f/maxis_iama_in_eas...

 

Update:

Even though a robust multi-player SimCity is something a lot of people wanted, the game series was always single player-centric where mobile users with no internet connection can play anytime. Additionally Electronic Arts is well-known for shutting down game servers after a few years rendering games to become partially functional or not at all. SimCity 4 was released in 2003 and I and many others up until the last few years have been playing it on and off. It's unrealistic to expect companies to run servers indefinitely to begin with so gamers as well as fans have good reasons to believe that SimCity 5's lifespan will be significantly less than its predecessors.

kotaku.com/5971235/cloud-computing-is-why-the-new-simcity...

 

Update - 2013-03-08:

It's almost a year later and SimCity 5 has been released. From what I've seen the game discourages exploration by not allowing loading from an earlier save point which limits the educational aspect and fun in a sandbox simulator. I can see a hardcore game mode where decisions are permanent so emotional connections with cities are stronger, but this ain't Fire Emblem. SC5 also traded scale for detail. It's not the game that I wanted but parts of it looks like serious fun. Unfortunately just about everyone who's not playing are on a SimCity Disaster Watch.

 

Maxis and Electronic Arts still make great games but EA as a publisher and distributor has the dubious distinction of being responsible for the worst roll-out in gaming history so far. An EA Korea Facebook manager's accusation of piracy in Asian countries as a factor of server outages is a reminder that CEO or intern, anyone in a position dealing with the public are required to do their homework on the products and services they're representing.

 

I still play Diablo 3 and while it's annoying when servers are down I bought into the constant connection because I play public games often and sometimes the auction house can be played as a separate game in of itself. SimCity 5 offers regional play which is great but in single player mode the lack of reverting to a previous save and a saved city can only be loaded from their associated server aren't compelling enough to require a constant internet connection.

 

While most people don't care the digital rights management or DRM issue is a real and major reason for the constant internet connection, but not the only one. The elimination of the secondary used-games market and planned obsolescence by shutting down servers and forcing people to move to the next game iteration are also business strategies being tested.

 

EA has decided to give out a free game as an apology which is nice. But eating the transaction costs and giving a full refund to those who paid for a SC5 license would have been nicer, and a SC5 single player offline mode would have been the best solution. Voting with your wallet by itself is ineffective since it can be misinterpreted or even be invisible. There has to be communication, sometimes very emotional communication before large organizations can be motivated to change their course of action. I do feel bad for many of the developers and other creatives that worked hard on SC5 and hope their future projects will avoid everything that's happening here.

 

Update - 2013-03-20:

Pretty much everything that's happened so far:

 

kotaku.com/5991077/your-complete-guide-to-the-simcity-dis...

 

SC5 has been mostly stabilized so people are busy trying to break it to see its inner workings. Obviously all simulations require a certain amount of abstraction but investigations revealed that the simulation itself is broken where sims take the shortest path regardless of traffic and go to the first home or work they see each day. The reasons given for the constant internet connection were found to be less than truthful as well.

 

Partly because of this and various other reasons, EA's CEO has been sacrificed and Origin is holding a gamer appreciation sale for PR damage control. Large publicly traded corporations are beholden to its investors and EA can't revert back to when Trip Hawkins first founded it to help game developers so a change in culture can't be expected to occur overnight. Still, there's a lot of companies that don't have the financial strength to ride out a bad Costa Concordia PR disaster so maybe this will deter them from making similar decisions.

 

SC5 is a great looking game but I can't and won't even pirate it. Security or ethical issues aside there's no reason to because my limited game time and finances should be used to support good games, with the occasional sale. I'll approach the next SimCity with a skeptical but still open mind though. Keep the art and audio assets, allow online as optional, fix the simulation engine and I just might be there.

 

kotaku.com/5989893/if-simcity-was-a-noir-film

A banana is an edible fruit, botanically a berry, produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. (In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called plantains.) The fruit is variable in size, color and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic (seedless) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name Musa sapientum is no longer used.

 

Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and banana beer and as ornamental plants.

 

Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between "bananas" and "plantains". Especially in the Americas and Europe, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called "plantains". In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many more kinds of banana are grown and eaten, so the simple two-fold distinction is not useful and is not made in local languages.

 

The term "banana" is also used as the common name for the plants which produce the fruit. This can extend to other members of the genus Musa like the scarlet banana (Musa coccinea), pink banana (Musa velutina) and the Fe'i bananas. It can also refer to members of the genus Ensete, like the snow banana (Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana (Ensete ventricosum). Both genera are classified under the banana family, Musaceae.

 

DESCRIPTION

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a "corm". Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a "false stem" or pseudostem. Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a "stalk" (petiole) and a blade (lamina). The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath; the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, which is all that supports the plant. The edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart. Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around 3 m to 'Gros Michel' at 7 m or more. Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres long and 60 cm wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

 

When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is perennial. In the plantation system of cultivation, only one of the offshoots will be allowed to develop in order to maintain spacing. The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

 

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called "hands"), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh 30–50 kilograms. Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or "finger") average 125 grams, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter.

 

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety can be split lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels by manually deforming the unopened fruit. In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.

 

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. The banana equivalent dose of radiation is sometimes used in nuclear communication to compare radiation levels and exposures.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The word banana is thought to be of West African origin, possibly from the Wolof word banaana, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.

 

TAXONOMY

The genus Musa was created by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name may be derived from Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus, or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, mauz. Musa is in the family Musaceae. The APG III system assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales, part of the commelinid clade of the monocotyledonous flowering plants. Some 70 species of Musa were recognized by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of January 2013; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

 

The classification of cultivated bananas has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists. Linnaeus originally placed bananas into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantains. Subsequently further species names were added. However, this approach proved inadequate to address the sheer number of cultivars existing in the primary center of diversity of the genus, Southeast Asia. Many of these cultivars were given names which proved to be synonyms.

 

In a series of papers published in 1947 onwards, Ernest Cheesman showed that Linnaeus's Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca were actually cultivars and descendants of two wild seed-producing species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla. He recommended the abolition of Linnaeus's species in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct groups of cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics that are the combination of the two. Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed a genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the earlier classification of bananas based on assigning scientific names to cultivated varieties. Despite this, the original names are still recognized by some authorities today, leading to confusion.

 

The currently accepted scientific names for most groups of cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla for the ancestral species, and Musa × paradisiaca L. for the hybrid M. acuminata × M. balbisiana.

 

Synonyms of M. × paradisica include:

A large number of subspecific and varietial names of M. × paradisiaca, including M. p. subsp. sapientum (L.) Kuntze

Musa × dacca Horan.

Musa × sapidisiaca K.C.Jacob, nom. superfl.

Musa × sapientum L., and a large number of its varietal names, including M. × sapientum var. paradisiaca (L.) Baker, nom. illeg.

 

Generally, modern classifications of banana cultivars follow Simmonds and Shepherd's system. Cultivars are placed in groups based on the number of chromosomes they have and which species they are derived from. Thus the Latundan banana is placed in the AAB Group, showing that it is a triploid derived from both M. acuminata (A) and M. balbisiana (B). For a list of the cultivars classified under this system see List of banana cultivars.

 

In 2012, a team of scientists announced they had achieved a draft sequence of the genome of Musa acuminata.

 

BANANAS & PLANTAINS

In regions such as North America and Europe, Musa fruits offered for sale can be divided into "bananas" and "plantains", based on their intended use as food. Thus the banana producer and distributor Chiquita produces publicity material for the American market which says that "a plantain is not a banana". The stated differences are that plantains are more starchy and less sweet; they are eaten cooked rather than raw; they have thicker skin, which may be green, yellow or black; and they can be used at any stage of ripeness. Linnaeus made the same distinction between plantains and bananas when first naming two "species" of Musa. Members of the "plantain subgroup" of banana cultivars, most important as food in West Africa and Latin America, correspond to the Chiquita description, having long pointed fruit. They are described by Ploetz et al. as "true" plantains, distinct from other cooking bananas. The cooking bananas of East Africa belong to a different group, the East African Highland bananas, so would not qualify as "true" plantains on this definition.

 

An alternative approach divides bananas into dessert bananas and cooking bananas, with plantains being one of the subgroups of cooking bananas. Triploid cultivars derived solely from M. acuminata are examples of "dessert bananas", whereas triploid cultivars derived from the hybrid between M. acuminata and M. balbinosa (in particular the plantain subgroup of the AAB Group) are "plantains". Small farmers in Colombia grow a much wider range of cultivars than large commercial plantations. A study of these cultivars showed that they could be placed into at least three groups based on their characteristics: dessert bananas, non-plantain cooking bananas, and plantains, although there were overlaps between dessert and cooking bananas.

 

In Southeast Asia – the center of diversity for bananas, both wild and cultivated – the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" does not work, according to Valmayor et al. Many bananas are used both raw and cooked. There are starchy cooking bananas which are smaller than those eaten raw. The range of colors, sizes and shapes is far wider than in those grown or sold in Africa, Europe or the Americas.[35] Southeast Asian languages do not make the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" that is made in English (and Spanish). Thus both Cavendish cultivars, the classic yellow dessert bananas, and Saba cultivars, used mainly for cooking, are called pisang in Malaysia and Indonesia, kluai in Thailand and chuoi in Vietnam. Fe'i bananas, grown and eaten in the islands of the Pacific, are derived from entirely different wild species than traditional bananas and plantains. Most Fe'i bananas are cooked, but Karat bananas, which are short and squat with bright red skins, very different from the usual yellow dessert bananas, are eaten raw.

 

In summary, in commerce in Europe and the Americas (although not in small-scale cultivation), it is possible to distinguish between "bananas", which are eaten raw, and "plantains", which are cooked. In other regions of the world, particularly India, Southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific, there are many more kinds of banana and the two-fold distinction is not useful and not made in local languages. Plantains are one of many kinds of cooking bananas, which are not always distinct from dessert bananas.

 

HISTORICAL CULTIVATION

Farmers in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.

 

Phytolith discoveries in Cameroon dating to the first millennium BCE triggered an as yet unresolved debate about the date of first cultivation in Africa. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in Madagascar around that time. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than late 6th century CE. It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.

 

The banana may also have been present in isolated locations elsewhere in the Middle East on the eve of Islam. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into North Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world. In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting.

 

Bananas were certainly grown in the Christian Kingdom of Cyprus by the late medieval period. Writing in 1458, the Italian traveller and writer Gabriele Capodilista wrote favourably of the extensive farm produce of the estates at Episkopi, near modern day Limassol, including the region's banana plantations.

 

Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century.

 

Many wild banana species as well as cultivars exist in extraordinary diversity in New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines.

 

There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries. The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means 'You can smell it from the next mountain.' The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long.

—Mike Peed, The New Yorker

 

In 1999 archaeologists in London discovered what they believed to be the oldest banana in the UK, in a Tudor rubbish tip.

 

PLANTATION CULTIVATION IN THE CARIBBEAN,

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale at very high prices shortly after the Civil War, though it was only in the 1880s that it became more widespread. As late as the Victorian Era, bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available. Jules Verne introduces bananas to his readers with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

 

The earliest modern plantations originated in Jamaica and the related Western Caribbean Zone, including most of Central America. It involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed bananas to have more time between harvesting and ripening. North America shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company started this process in the 1870s, but railroad builders like Minor C Keith also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today's Chiquita Brands International and Dole. These companies were monopolistic, vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies (economies that were internally self-sufficient, virtually tax exempt, and export oriented that contribute very little to the host economy). Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term Banana republic for states like Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics or playing the international interests of the United States, especially during the Cold War, to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.

 

PEASANT CULTIVATION FOR EXPORT IN THE CARIBBEAN

The vast majority of the world's bananas today are cultivated for family consumption or for sale on local markets. India is the world leader in this sort of production, but many other Asian and African countries where climate and soil conditions allow cultivation also host large populations of banana growers who sell at least some of their crop.

 

There are peasant sector banana growers who produce for the world market in the Caribbean, however. The Windward Islands are notable for the growing, largely of Cavendish bananas, for an international market, generally in Europe but also in North America. In the Caribbean, and especially in Dominica where this sort of cultivation is widespread, holdings are in the 1–2 acre range. In many cases the farmer earns additional money from other crops, from engaging in labor outside the farm, and from a share of the earnings of relatives living overseas. This style of cultivation often was popular in the islands as bananas required little labor input and brought welcome extra income. Banana crops are vulnerable to destruction by high winds, such as tropical storms or cyclones.

 

After the signing of the NAFTA agreements in the 1990s, however, the tide turned against peasant producers. Their costs of production were relatively high and the ending of favorable tariff and other supports, especially in the European Economic Community, made it difficult for peasant producers to compete with the bananas grown on large plantations by the well capitalized firms like Chiquita and Dole. Not only did the large companies have access to cheap labor in the areas they worked, but they were better able to afford modern agronomic advances such as fertilization. The "dollar banana" produced by these concerns made the profit margins for peasant bananas unsustainable.

 

Caribbean countries have sought to redress this problem by providing government supported agronomic services and helping to organize producers' cooperatives. They have also been supporters of the Fair Trade movement which seeks to balance the inequities in the world trade in commodities.

 

EAST AFRICA

Most farms supply local consumption. Cooking bananas represent a major food source and a major income source for smallhold farmers. In east Africa, highland bananas are of greatest importance as a staple food crop. In countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda per capita consumption has been estimated at 45 kilograms per year, the highest in the world.

 

MODERN CULTIVATION

All widely cultivated bananas today descend from the two wild bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. While the original wild bananas contained large seeds, diploid or polyploid cultivars (some being hybrids) with tiny seeds are preferred for human raw fruit consumption. These are propagated asexually from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce two shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months. The life of a banana plantation is 25 years or longer, during which time the individual stools or planting sites may move slightly from their original positions as lateral rhizome formation dictates.

 

Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic, i.e. the flesh of the fruit swells and ripens without its seeds being fertilized and developing. Lacking viable seeds, propagation typically involves farmers removing and transplanting part of the underground stem (called a corm). Usually this is done by carefully removing a sucker (a vertical shoot that develops from the base of the banana pseudostem) with some roots intact. However, small sympodial corms, representing not yet elongated suckers, are easier to transplant and can be left out of the ground for up to two weeks; they require minimal care and can be shipped in bulk.It is not necessary to include the corm or root structure to propagate bananas; severed suckers without root material can be propagated in damp sand, although this takes somewhat longer.In some countries, commercial propagation occurs by means of tissue culture. This method is preferred since it ensures disease-free planting material. When using vegetative parts such as suckers for propagation, there is a risk of transmitting diseases (especially the devastating Panama disease).As a non-seasonal crop, bananas are available fresh year-round.

 

CAVENDISH

In global commerce in 2009, by far the most important cultivars belonged to the triploid AAA group of Musa acuminata, commonly referred to as Cavendish group bananas. They accounted for the majority of banana exports, despite only coming into existence in 1836. The cultivars Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain (Chiquita Banana) gained popularity in the 1950s after the previous mass-produced cultivar, Gros Michel (also an AAA group cultivar), became commercially unviable due to Panama disease, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum which attacks the roots of the banana plant. Cavendish cultivars are resistant to the Panama Disease but in 2013 there were fears that the Black Sigatoka fungus would in turn make Cavendish bananas unviable.

 

Ease of transport and shelf life rather than superior taste make the Dwarf Cavendish the main export banana.

 

Even though it is no longer viable for large scale cultivation, Gros Michel is not extinct and is still grown in areas where Panama disease is not found. Likewise, Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain are in no danger of extinction, but they may leave supermarket shelves if disease makes it impossible to supply the global market. It is unclear if any existing cultivar can replace Cavendish bananas, so various hybridisation and genetic engineering programs are attempting to create a disease-resistant, mass-market banana.

 

RIPENING

Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color consumers normally associate with supermarket bananas is, in fact, caused by the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 13.5 and 15 °C during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and the bananas turn gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.

 

"Tree-ripened" Cavendish bananas have a greenish-yellow appearance which changes to a brownish-yellow as they ripen further. Although both flavor and texture of tree-ripened bananas is generally regarded as superior to any type of green-picked fruit, this reduces shelf life to only 7–10 days.Bananas can be ordered by the retailer "ungassed" (i.e. not treated with ethylene), and may show up at the supermarket fully green. Guineos verdes (green bananas) that have not been gassed will never fully ripen before becoming rotten. Instead of fresh eating, these bananas are best suited to cooking, as seen in Mexican culinary dishes.A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light. This property is attributed to the degradation of chlorophyll leading to the accumulation of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit. The chlorophyll breakdown product is stabilized by a propionate ester group. Banana-plant leaves also fluoresce in the same way. Green bananas do not fluoresce. The study suggested that this allows animals which can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum (tetrachromats and pentachromats) to more easily detect ripened bananas.

 

STORAGE & TRANSPORT

Bananas must be transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets. To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at 13 °C. On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process.

 

Carbon dioxide (which bananas produce) and ethylene absorbents extend fruit life even at high temperatures. This effect can be exploited by packing banana in a polyethylene bag and including an ethylene absorbent, e.g., potassium permanganate, on an inert carrier. The bag is then sealed with a band or string. This treatment has been shown to more than double lifespans up to 3–4 weeks without the need for refrigeration.

 

FRUIT

Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both the skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. The primary component of the aroma of fresh bananas is isoamyl acetate (also known as banana oil), which, along with several other compounds such as butyl acetate and isobutyl acetate, is a significant contributor to banana flavor.

 

During the ripening process, bananas produce the gas ethylene, which acts as a plant hormone and indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a "starchier" taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens.

 

Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail for those places in Asia that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas feature prominently in Philippine cuisine, being part of traditional dishes and desserts like maruya, turrón, and halo-halo or saba con yelo. Most of these dishes use the Saba or Cardaba banana cultivar. Bananas are also commonly used in cuisine in the South-Indian state of Kerala, where they are steamed (puzhungiyathu), made into curries, fried into chips (upperi) or fried in batter (pazhampori). Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya or Kerala pazhampori, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A similar dish is known in the United Kingdom and United States as banana fritters.

 

Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes, such as the Pazham Pachadi prepared in Kerala.

 

Seeded bananas (Musa balbisiana), one of the forerunners of the common domesticated banana, are sold in markets in Indonesia.

 

FLOWER

Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods. The flavor resembles that of artichoke. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.

 

LEAVES

Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesian cuisine, banana leaf is employed in cooking method called pepes and botok; the banana leaf packages containing food ingredients and spices are cooked on steam, in boiled water or grilled on charcoal. In the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in every occasion the food must be served in a banana leaf and as a part of the food a banana is served. Steamed with dishes they impart a subtle sweet flavor. They often serve as a wrapping for grilling food. The leaves contain the juices, protect food from burning and add a subtle flavor. In Tamil Nadu (India) leaves are fully dried and used as packing material for food stuffs and also making cups to hold liquid foods. In Central American countries, banana leaves are often used as wrappers for tamales.

 

TRUNK

The tender core of the banana plant's trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, and notably in the Burmese dish mohinga.

 

FIBER

TEXTILES

The banana plant has long been a source of fiber for high quality textiles. In Japan, banana cultivation for clothing and household use dates back to at least the 13th century. In the Japanese system, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. Harvested shoots are first boiled in lye to prepare fibers for yarn-making. These banana shoots produce fibers of varying degrees of softness, yielding yarns and textiles with differing qualities for specific uses. For example, the outermost fibers of the shoots are the coarsest, and are suitable for tablecloths, while the softest innermost fibers are desirable for kimono and kamishimo. This traditional Japanese cloth-making process requires many steps, all performed by hand.

 

In a Nepalese system the trunk is harvested instead, and small pieces are subjected to a softening process, mechanical fiber extraction, bleaching and drying. After that, the fibers are sent to the Kathmandu Valley for use in rugs with a silk-like texture. These banana fiber rugs are woven by traditional Nepalese hand-knotting methods, and are sold RugMark certified.

 

In South Indian state of Tamil Nadu after harvesting for fruit the trunk (outer layer of the shoot) is made into fine thread used in making of flower garlands instead of thread.

 

PAPER

Banana fiber is used in the production of banana paper. Banana paper is made from two different parts: the bark of the banana plant, mainly used for artistic purposes, or from the fibers of the stem and non-usable fruits. The paper is either hand-made or by industrial process.

  

Why many of our customers see m43 is doomed 1:

 

The thing that would concern me if I was in management in Canon, or Nikon, or indeed Pentax, Olympus or Fuji is brand recognition among younger generations and in developing markets.

 

Of course to us (middle aged enthusiasts) Canon, Nikon, etc. means something positive. We recognize them as 'photo' brands And although we may be Nikon users (or Canon, Fuji, Olympus or Pentax users) we recognize and accept the others as photo brands because we know that historically they have earned their place in the market. They are familiar to us.

But a child born today is much more likely to be exposed to brands more relevant to him or her. Like the brands that manufacture phones, or tablets, or Apps, or even sportswear.

Similar is true of emerging markets. Some years back Yashica(I do not know what Yashica is, so he must be much older than me) used to be No. 1 in India. Why? Presumably because the Yashica importer / distributor did a better job at the time in establishing that brand in a market that was starting from a very low base and had few if any historical brand preconceptions.

So should, say, Nike suddenly decide to start marketing cameras aimed at younger people they might have a lot more brand recognition in a relatively short time than say the market leader, i.e. Canon. After all what does Canon do that really appeals to a teenager? Cameras? Granddad products. Copiers? Office Valium, and of course, medical equipment such as CT scan and X-Ray machine, but people even know that they make such variety of things? And the same also applies to the other 'established' photo companies maybe except Sony, whose one of main businesses is PlayStation.

 

Of course there are many technological hurdles that a new brand would have to overcome to compete, let alone dominate in the photo market but those are certainly not insurmountable, should of course anyone think it is actually worth doing, and if it is too difficult they can just buy the techs needed to enter into this market.

Remember this.... Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Samsung did not move to Mirrorless because they wanted to. They moved because they were forced to. They really had no other choice.

All four companies failed in the DSLR market, and had to try something else. They could not compete with Canon, Nikon and to a large extent Pentax in the DSLR market, and had to either retreat to fixed lens cameras, or try something else. So they tried so-called Mirrorless system camera with mixed success. It didn't end well for Samsung, but the other three seem to be doing fairly well, especially for Fuji.

At least they are doing better than when they were selling EVolt DSLRs (Olympus), Lumix DSLRs(Paasonic), re-branded Nikon DSLRs (Fujifilm), or re-branded Pentax DSLRs (Samsung).

And we all know it was a good thing for them even for a very temporal time that they did actually try something different, because the bottom fell out of the P&S market.

Without an ILC to sell when the market is moving to higher ground for survival, you end up becoming Casio, that said though, oddly enough , Casio is actually outdoing the 3 that tried something new. But the real question is why they did not do well in DSLR market?

I think because,like our old customers said it above, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax and Fuji had no brand recognition and not enough number of fanatic supporters, at the time. At least not enough number to compete Canon, Nikon and Sony in DSLR business.

Sony is another story, and a more actually much more complicated one. They seem to compete in every market, hoping that something sticks. And right now Sony E/FE seems to have pretty good traction, and Sony A Mount is believed to be on the way out. However, Sony denies it firmly at CP Plus and NBA.

At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the 'the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging.

Sony says, it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that incredible things to come into the A mount. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement for the A mount FF body became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? Sony is really odd, they seem to be really obsessed with shocking the public with every camera announcement kind of idea.

But is A mount really doomed ? I 'd say no. Many people think it is really long await, but hey see the reality, the A99 was announced in November 2012, the Canon EOS5DMK3 was announced in Feb,2012 and still not updated, so no need irrational panic just yet.

The D800/E was updated because it was a flawed camera from the start and Nikon could not hide the many many technical design flaws and many usability issues of that camera. The D800 did not do well in the camera market despite of the common forum myth that the D800 killed the 5DMK3 and the A99 in terms of sells,etc.

I think this clearly shows us what sells and no, following the idea proposed by the camera fanatics at many fora does not work. The D800 is a big mistake for Nikon, not many people wanted it, not many people obsessed with the tiny bit better DR at the very base ISO. By comparison, the Sony A7R was a huge success for Sony because it was a more logical choice for many of us who really wanted the tiny bit better DR of the D800 sensor since that tiny Sony took all our existing Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica M, Minolta Sony A, etc, without any issue. And for ultimate IQ work, we do not need the flappy mirror and the associated mirror shock.

I think, despite of the common forum myth that m43 is selling very well and no 1 in Japan,etc, it is the most doomed future-less system out there.

All the current ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X2 when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, or FF, or an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people anyway.

Then why not just go all way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon or Sony A mount but m43?

Nikon Fand Sony Alpha mount have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based hybrid-minded gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

After all, to most of NORMAL people, Panasonic is really nothing but a microwave company as my Thai friend, who has been an assistant prof at Bangkok university.

He hated Panasonic cameras although he loved GH4 when I had him try my GH4 without Panasonic name, I covered the name with blacktape. And sadly enough, Panasonic understands it, so they tend to put Leica name on their lenses, but did not have the guts to change the brand name on their camera.

  

UPDATE 1: Looks like both Fuji and Sony have actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

UPDATE2: I was told the A7M3 would finally be announced in November and A9 might be announced in September.

But I think the A9 is a mythical camera and will not be announced soon. It might really be in work, but not announced before this Photokina. If it is really coming, I am sure it will be announced in Sept a week or a couple of weeks before the actual event in Germany.

But personally, I am not really interested in the mythical A9, but I want to get a A7M3 to replace all my cameras. The A9 would have to be much bigger than the A7M2 with much more powerful processor for faster shooting rate, probably really well sealed and much better AF but I do not need any of these features. I just want a refined A7M2 with a higher resolution sensor with better dust buster, and of course 4k with at least the same A6300 IQ. And I am quite sure this time we will finally see the long awaited A99Mk2 just before or after Photokina.

  

Star Trails

Leaghur Station, Lake Mungo National Park, Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area,

nr Balranald, NSW, Australia

 

Best viewed LARGE

  

Subject matter: foreground: Commer Truck (marked T Arnold, Distributor, Red Cliff), part of

    the farm dump associated with Leaghur Station. The truck shows up on satellite images

    (see Google Earth) at these coords: 33°37'8.13"S 143° 2'12.78"E.—back ground: southern sky.—

    Photo taken on occasion ofCharles Sturt University's 2013 residential school for the subject

     'Heritage Site Management' (PKM397).

Set up: Image shot with a Nikon D800 with AF-S Nikkor f/4 16-35mm ED VR mounted on

    Gitzo GT2330 Series 2 Reporter ALR tripod and GH2750QR off-centre ball head. —

    Camera aimed at the southern celestial pole.

Camera Setting: ISO250, 16mm, f13; 248 frames @ 30secs each, 1 sec interval

    (via Nikon Cable Release MC-36), equalling 2hrs 9mins exposure; foreground illuminated on

    two frames by light painting with torch (flashlight).

Post-processing: Each frame exposure corrected in CS3 with Auto-Levels function, then stacked

    with StarStaX, producing this this image, which was then blended in CS3 with this image which

    had been shot just after sunset (setting for second image: ISO100, 30sec, f/4; foreground

    illuminated by firing the flash of a second camera).

  

:copyright: Dirk HR Spennemann 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

=====================================================================

Comments and faves are very welcome, but please do not post any gaudy, large group

invites or animated images. They will be deleted. Thanks...

=====================================================================

 

Timeline of motoring history 1679 - 1939

  

1679

Practical French scientist Denis Papin invents the pressure-cooker or ‘digester’.

 

1690

Many before him have experimented with single charges of gunpowder as a means of moving a piston in a bore but, Denis Papin publishes his ideas for harnessing steam as an alternative, to achieve repeated cycles of movement. In doing so, he recognises the potential for a mechanical alternative to animals for mobilising carriages. He goes on to build the first steam engine, which is used to pump water to a canal running between Kassel and Karlshaven in Germany.

 

1698

English military engineer Thomas Savery uses Papin’s ‘Digester’ as the basis of a crude steam engine for pumping water out of flooded mine-shafts.

 

1712

Denis Papin, visiting London in the hope of finding patronage, writes to a friend reporting his failure and asking for financial support to pay for his return to Germany. Never heard of again, it is likely that Papin died in London in abject poverty and complete anonymity.

 

Thomas Newcomen, an "ironmonger" and blacksmith of Dartmouth, England, patents the "Atmospheric Steam Engine" and, together with John Calley starts to build and sell engines for pumping water out of mines.

 

1765

James Watt, while engaged in repairing a Newcomen engine, comes up with several improvements which substantially change its method of operation and increase its efficiency. In so doing he lays a firm foundation for the design of all steam engines yet to come.

 

1769

In Paris, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot, a military engineer, demonstrates a self propelled steam vehicle - the first on record. The French government requests Cugnot to design and build a larger vehicle, capable of moving large amounts of artillery.

 

1770

At the French government’s immense cost, Cugnot builds ‘Fardier’ a large three- wheeled artillery carriage and creates history’s first motor accident by knocking down part of a wall.

 

1787

Oliver Evans of Maryland patents a steam engine for the use in powering carts and carriages.

 

1801

Richard Trevithick, an early pioneer of the Steam Railway, builds the first successful motor vehicle, and drives it through Camborne, Cornwall. Four days later it is destroyed by fire.

 

1803

Trevithick builds a second steam powered carriage, which makes several successful runs through the streets of London. Unfortunately it also frightens horses and kindles considerable public hostility.

 

1805

In 1804 Oliver Evans, builds the world's first amphibious vehicle, ‘Orukter Amphibolas’, a steam powered dredger on wheels, for the Philadelphia Health Service. In July of 1805 it makes a one and a half mile journey from Central-Square to the banks of the Schuykill. It weighs 20 tons and is powered by a 5 HP twin cylinder beam engine driving both the paddle and 2 wheels. With no method of steering on land, the vehicle is much more successful as a boat.

 

1807

In Switzerland, Francois Isaac de Rivaz builds, and demonstrates the first working internal combustion engine. It is fuelled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen and reliant on a foot-operated exhaust valve. Mounted on small trolley, travels just a few metres.

 

1816

Concerned about the number of people being killed by exploding steam engines Reverend Robert Stirling invents and patents an alternative which is not only safer but also much more efficient. It runs on hot air and rotation is caused by heat differentials as it passes between various parts of the engine. It can use a number of alternative fuels to heat the air and, in spite of its improved safety and superior efficiency, it remains largely ignored for use in vehicles.

 

1826

Samuel Brown patents and builds his "gas-and-vacuum" engine. It has two cylinders linked by a rocking beam, with a capacity of 8,800cc and an output of just 4hp. The engine powering a carriage successfully drives up Shooters Hill at Blackheath, on the outskirts of London.

 

1829

Goldsworthy Gurney, having built his ‘London and Bath’ steam coach, sets out on the world’s first long distance coach service, a round trip from London to Bath and back. While the outward journey is marked by many breakdowns the return journey is accomplished in ten hours at an average speed of 8.4 miles per hour. Gurney is later to be the inventor of the theatrical ‘Limelight’.

 

1830

A regular steam omnibus service is established between Stratford, East London, and Paddington, West London by Walter Hancock. Using ‘Infant’, his second steam carriage.

 

1831

Sir Charles Dance sets up the world's first scheduled passenger service by automobiles between Gloucester and Cheltenham, using three Gurney steam carriages. It operates for just a few months.

 

1834

In London, Walter Hancock sets up a chain of garages to service his passenger carrying steam omnibuses en route between their destinations.

 

1845

Robert William Thomson of Stonehaven, Scotland patents the world’s first vulcanized rubber pneumatic tyre. It is well received on trials in London but does not reach production for fear of its cost.

 

1859

Belgian J. J. Etienne Lenoir builds the worlds first practicable internal combustion engine running on a mixture of coal gas and air and using a ‘jumping-spark’ ignition system. A company is formed in Paris to develop the engine further.

 

1860

Le Monde Illustre. Devotes an article to J. J. Etienne Lenoir's first gas- engined carriage.

First oil well in USA is drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

 

1862

French engineer Alphonse Beau de Rochas, patents the four-stroke cycle used in most modern internal combustion engines.

 

1863

Lenoir demonstrates a second carriage, powered by a 1.5hp ‘liquid hydrocarbon' engine. Several six-mile journeys are successfully completed between Paris and Vincennes.

 

1864

Alexander II Tsar of Russia buys one of Lenoir’s carriages making it the first export sale of a car in history.

 

1865

Britain’s government introduces the 'Locomotives on Highways Act' more widely known as the 'Red Flag Act'. This requires that all mechanically powered road vehicles must have three drivers, must be limited to 4 mph on the open road and 2 mph in town and, must be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag, to warn the public.

 

1866

In Germany Nikolaus August Otto patents a "free-piston" atmospheric engine.

 

1868

First steam driven vehicle ‘Cornubia’, exported to India.

 

1872

Nikolaus Otto and Eugen Langen form N.A. Otto & Cie to produce the ‘free-piston’ engine.

 

1877

The smooth-running "Otto silent" engine is patented in Germany as employees, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach prepare it for production.

 

1879

An initial ‘master patent' for the automobile is filed in the United States by engineer and Patents Lawyer George B. Selden. He extends his application period for many years, by filing many amendments to delay its issue. Meanwhile he struggles to establish his own production capability.

 

1885

A petroleum (gasoline) powered four stroke engine is used to adapt a horse carriage by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.

 

French inventor Ferdinand Forest, builds an opposed-piston engine with low tension magneto ignition and a spray carburettor.

 

1886

Nicolaus Otto fails to obtain a patent covering his four-stroke engine because of Alphonse Beau de Rochas’ 1862 patent in France. Nevertheless we still refer to the four-stroke principle as the Otto cycle

 

Carl Benz's three wheeler, makes its first successful runs. This is the first petroleum powered car to be designed from scratch, rather than adapted from a horse-drawn carriage.

 

1888

John Boyd Dunlop a Scottish Veterinary Surgeon living in Belfast, re-invents and re-patents the pneumatic tyre without knowledge of the previous work and patent of fellow Scott Robert William Thomson.

 

In the UK, Brighton inventor Magnus Volk begins production of electric carriages. His electric Railway still runs along the coast today.

 

Karl Benz starts to produce three wheeled, petroleum powered cars; sales are slow.

 

1889

Daimler sells rights for France to a new V configured twin cylinder engine to Panhard & Levassor

 

1890

With no thought of manufacturing cars, Panhard & Levassor licence the Peugeot ironmongery business to use the engine in automotive applications.

 

Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft set up by Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Bad Cannstatt, Germany.

 

1891

M. Levassor decides to build cars after all, designing and building a rear engined car.

Frederick R. Simms acquires Daimler rights in the UK, with the intention of using the engines to power motor launches.

 

Ferdinand Forest produces the world's first four cylinder petrol engine with mechanical valve operation for use in boats and goes on to build the world's first six cylinder engine for the same purpose. The marine application ensures that his contribution to motoring history is ignored.

 

1892

Levassor introduces a new design of motor car which is to become the template for the vast majority of designs for many years to come. Four wheels, front mounted engine, sliding gear transmission and rear wheel drive. At first this configuration is known as Systeme Panhard.

 

1893

Brothers Charles Edgar Duryea and James Frank Duryea of Springfield, Massachussetts build their first motor buggy, Charles having an established background in the cycle trade. They are credited with being the first in America to build a practicable automobile.

 

Karl Benz introduces the "Viktoria", powered by a 3hp petroleum (gasoline) engine with a top speed of 11mph. Forty-five cars are in this year.

 

1894

After many years of financial difficulty, Karl Benz begins 'mass production' of two models, the Velo and the Viktoria.

 

Henry G. Morris and Pedro Salom of Philadelphia open America's first car factory to build Electrobat electric cars.

 

The Apperson brothers and Elwood Haynes of Kokomo, Indiana collaborate to build an automobile.

 

1895

Karl Benz sells 135 motor vehicles in the year.

 

Sir David Salomans organises Britain's first exhibition of motor vehicles in the open air in October at Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

 

In November, the first indoor exhibition of cars in Britain takes place, at the Stanley Cycle Show.

Selden's master patent is finally granted in the USA, after years of revision.

 

First petrol engine produced by De Dion and Bouton.

 

The Autocar magazine founded by J. J. Henry Sturmey.

 

Frederick, Frank and George Lanchester build the first all-British, four-wheel, petrol driven car featuring many technical innovations. Lanchester will go on to rival Rolls Royce in their reputation for excellence, but fail to achieve long-term commercial success.

 

A Peugeot L'Eclair becomes the first car to run on Michelin pneumatic tyres.

 

1896

The British Motor Industry is born when Harry J. Lawson launches the Daimler Motor Company in Coventry.

 

British Parliament repeals the Red Flag Act and raises the speed limit to l4mph; Lawson organises the first Run from London to Brighton to commemorate ‘Emancipation Day’.

 

Duryea brings two cars over to Europe for the Emancipation Day event.

 

American pioneers Henry Ford, Charles Brady King, Ransome Eli Olds and Alexander Winton all complete and test their first cars.

 

The first car to be sold with pneumatic tyres as standard is Leon Bollee's Voiturette.

 

Harry J. Lawson forms the Great Horseless Carriage Company (later the Motor Manufacturing Company) to acquire the rights to all important Continental patents, in an effort to gain control of the British motor industry.

 

1897

Emil Jellinek, financier, international diplomat and racing enthusiast, orders the first four cylinder Daimler.

 

The first commercially available steam cars are manufactured by twin brothers Francis and Freelan Stanley.

 

Alexander Winton a bicycle manufacturer of Cleveland, Ohio incorporates the Winton Motor Carriage Co.

 

The Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, at the time the USA’s largest cycle manufacturer, begin their attempt to build cars in large quantities.

 

A British-built Daimler is driven from John O’Groats to Lands End by Henry Sturmey, at the time a journalist with ‘The Autocar’ magazine.

 

The Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland is founded by F.R.Simms.

Emile Levassor dies.

 

R.E. Olds and a group of Lansing businessmen invest $50,000 to create The Olds Motor Vehicle Company.

 

Leon Serpollet builds his first steam car.

 

1898

James Ward Packard of Warren, Ohio, becomes one of the earliest buyers of a Winton and, immediately unsatisfied with it’s reliability and performance begins literally, to ‘pick it to pieces’.

 

Rudolf Diesel is granted a patent for an internal combustion engine where extremely high compression of the fuel/air mixture causes self-ignition, rather than a spark.

 

Using a De Dion engine and axle, Louise Renault builds his first car.

 

Panhard-Levassor adopt the steering wheel instead of the tiller.

 

De Dion Bouton introduce the Voiturette.

 

Coventry-Daimler release their first four cylinder model.

 

The first Napier power unit is built.

 

1899

FIAT, Sunbeam, Wolseley, Albion and Isotta Fraschini begin production.

 

In the USA, the Olds Motor Vehicle Company also begins Production.

 

1900

Gottlieb Daimler dies at the age of 66. One week later Emil Jellinek secures an exclusivity agreement with Wilhelm Maybach. The cars in which he has been involved and will be marketing, will now be named after his favourite daughter, Mercedes.

 

The Thousand Miles Trial is organised by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland to demonstrate the reliability and efficiency of the motor vehicle to the British public. Many people will see a car for the first time in their lives.

 

American manufacturers produce a total of 4192 cars, each selling at an average price of $1000.00.

 

1901

With an exclusive sales agreement and some technical input from Emile Jellinek , Daimler at Bad-Cannstatt introduces the new ‘Mercedes’. Jellinek will both race these cars with great success and sell them to a personally selected clientele.

 

Ettore Bugatti wins the Milan Grand Prix in his Type 2 and exhibits it at the Milan International Motorcar Exhibition. He is approached by de-Dietrich of Niederbronn in the Alsace region and offered a licensing deal to design cars for them. Since he is still legally a minor, his father Carlo signs the contract.

 

The Olsmobile ‘Curved Dash’ model becomes the world’s first mass-produced petroleum (gas) powered car.

 

John Starley dies, without seeing a Rover car go into production.

 

1902

Packard patents and introduces the "H" gearshift pattern so familiar today.

 

Dr E C Lehwess sets out on the first attempt to drive around the world in a specially adapted Panhard Levassor bus named "Passe Partout" ("Anything Goes"). With no time-limit his intended route runs from London, through Europe to Asia, from where the bus will be shipped to California to cross the USA and return to England by ship across the Atlantic Ocean. He gets as far as Nizhni Novgorod in Eastern Russia, where "Passe Partout" and the attempt, have to be abandoned in deep snow.

 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is founded by Frederick R. Simms.

 

1903

The British Parliament passes the Motor Car Act, raising the speed limit from 12 to 20mph, introducing driving licences and establishing the registration and numbering of cars.

 

17,000 vehicles are now registered in Britain.

 

Henry Ford finally succeeds in raising $28,000.00 to found the Ford Motor Company and begin production and sales of his Model A runabout.

 

In Detroit, the Cadillac Motor Car Company is founded by precision engineer Henry Martyn Leland.

 

In London, The Vauxhall Iron Works builds its first car.

 

Marcel Renault is one of 10 drivers killed in that year’s Paris-Madrid race.

 

Administration of George B. Selden’s ‘master patent for the automobile’ is taken over by the newly formed Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, with the intention of pursuing numerous manufacturers for infringement, to gain compensation and future royalties.

 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders hosts its first motor show at the Crystal Palace, in South London.

 

The first completely new Benz, the front engined ‘Parsifal 12/18’, is designed by Marius Barbarou and introduced to compete with the very successful Mercedes Simplex.

 

A six cylinder, four wheel drive racing car is introduced by Dutch manufacturer Spyker.

 

The first six cylinder production car is introduced by Napier.

 

James H. Whiting, co-founder of the Flint Wagon Works, persuades his partners to buy the Buick Motor Car Company, at that time a very small car manufacturer. Whiting becomes President and David Buick is General Manager.

 

Mary Anderson is granted a patent for a handle-operated windshield wiper, originally intended to help the streetcar drivers of New York.

 

1904

On January 1st, The Motor Car Act becomes law in Great Britain.

 

Having built his first motor car Henry Royce meets Charles Stewart Rolls, already successful in the sales of quality cars in London and Royce agrees to manufacture a range of cars exclusively for sale by CS Rolls & Co. They are to be known by the name Rolls-Royce.

 

The Sturtevant brothers of Boston, Massachusetts invent the first automatic gearbox. With two forward speeds it is dependent on rotation by the engine, of centrifugal weights which, all too often disintegrate. The unit may not be a complete success but at least it points the way for future developments.

 

Ford begins to export cars to Britain.

 

Having invented the modern bicycle 18 years earlier, Rover embarks on the manufacture of cars.

 

De Launay Belleville is founded in Saint Denis sur Seine, central France, with Marius Barbarou as engineer.

 

William Crapo Durant, Co-owner of Durant-Dort Carriage Company, the USA’s largest carriage makers, is approached by James Whiting to promote his Buick automobiles. Durant becomes Buick's General Manager.

 

Having refused to pay royalties to the Association of Licensed Automotive Manufacturers for infringement of George B Selden’s master patent, Henry Ford is taken to court. Key to Ford’s defence is that Selden has never even built a car and the validity of the patent is therefore questionable. The judge orders Selden to build a car in accordance with his patent.

 

1905

Herbert Austin, resigns as general manager of Wolseley to set up his own company at Longbridge, Birmingham.

 

The American the market for cars is enlarged by the introduction of installment finance plans.

 

The Automobile Association is set up to represent the interests of British motorists finding themselves easy targets for Police officers keen to gain promotion based on the numbers of speeding motorists caught and convicted!

 

1906

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) introduce a horsepower formula, largely based on the Cylinder bore of an engine.

 

The successful commercial collaboration between Henry Royce and C S Rolls results in the formation of the Rolls-Royce company and the launch of the 40/50hp six-cylinder ‘Silver Ghost’, soon to be hailed as 'the best car in the world'.

 

Ford introduces the Model N at the New York Auto Show. Selling initially at $500,

 

The American car industry produces 33,500 cars.

 

Former Fiat test-driver Vincenzo Lancia sets up his own company in Turin with his friend and colleague Claudio Fogolin.

 

Britain exports a total of two cars per month to France while importing a total of 400 cars per month from France.

 

Otto Zachow and William Besserdich of Clintonville, Wisconsin, built the first successful 4-wheel-drive car.

 

1907

A year after its announcement, the price of Ford’s Model N had already risen to $600.

 

King Edward VII awards the Automobile Club the Royal accolade.

 

Willys-Overland is formed following the purchase of the Overland Company of Indianapilolis by John Willys.

 

Over 60,000 Cars are now registered in Britain.

 

A Rolls-Royce ‘Silver Ghost’ completes a 15000 miles test under supervision of the RAC, with just one enforced stop.

 

Also completing a 15,000 mile test is a 45hp Hotchkiss, wearing out 46 tyres in the process.

 

Otto Zachow and William Besserdich begin a company called the Four Wheel Drive Auto Co.

 

1908

Ford build the first Model T. This year’s production totals 8000.

 

Based on a previous, failed attempt to bring together America’s top four car manufacturers William Crapo Durant incorporates General Motors of New Jersey (GM) with a capital of $2,000. Within 12 days the company has raised $12,000,000 cash, enough to buy Buick and Oldsmobile in quick succession.

 

In London The Royal Automobile Club awards Cadillac the Dewar Trophy following the dismantling, mixing and re-assembly of components from three ‘Model K’ runabouts.

 

1909

The General Motors Company acquires Cadillac and Oakland.

 

William Durant fails to raise the $9.5 million needed to buy Ford.

 

Louis Chevrolet drives a Buick to victory in the fifth "Indy car" race at Crown Point, Indianapolis.

 

Fernand Renault is dies after a long illness. Now alone at the helm, Louis Renault changes the company’s name to Les Automobiles Renault.

 

While still engaged by de Deutz, Ettore Bugatti and good friend Felix Kortz build the ‘Type 10’ in the cellar of his house, probably as an expression of his imminent intention to establish his own production.

 

Joseph Sankey & Sons of Bilston, near Woverhampton, specialists in steel pressings, commence production of stamped body panels for Arrol-Johnston cars.

 

Joseph Sankey & Sons develop the first detachable pressed-steel artillery wheel, a considerable improvement over the wooden carriage wheels which most vehicles had used previously.

 

Louis Coatalen is appointed as chief engineer at Sunbeam and starts to design cars capable of achieving records at Brooklands race track in Surrey.

 

H.F.S. Morgan builds his first car, a three-wheeler with a twin cylinder 8hp engine, seating for one, tiller steering and patented ‘sliding pillar’ independent front suspension.

 

Charles Franklin Kettering, having already invented, designed and developed the electric cash register, bank accounting machines and a superior ignition system for cars while working for NCR, sets up Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco). 8000 ignition systems are supplied to Cadillac in his first year of production.

 

1910

De Dion-Bouton introduces the first "mass-produced" V8 engine in the world.

 

Automobile production in the Untied States reaches 181,000.

 

The proposal to place a tax on petrol is rejected by the British Parliament.

 

Charles Stewart Rolls is killed at the age of 33, when his biplane crashes during a flying competition in Bournemouth.

 

The RAC devises the horsepower ratings by which cars in Britain are taxed.

 

Wireless radio is installed in a car with considerable effect although the equipment is very bulky.

 

Having spent the past 9 years designing cars for deDeutz and Mathis-Hermès, Ettore Bugatti sets up his own factory at Molsheim in the Alsace region (German territory until 1919, French thereafter) and starts production of his ‘Type 11’.

 

Crossley, Arrol Johnston, Argyll and Isotta Fraschini offer four wheel braking.

 

1911

Burley Swiss racing driver and talented engineer Louis Chevrolet drives a Buick for Willam Durant in the first Indianapolis 500. A broken camshaft forces early retirement. Louis’s brothers, Arthur and Gaston, are also keen racing drivers.

 

Having been ousted from General Motors William Durrant hires Louis Chevrolet as a consultant to develop a high quality car and forms the Chevrolet Motor Company.

 

Ford opens its first factory outside the USA at Trafford Park, Manchester, UK. With an annual output of 3000 Model Ts, Ford soon becomes Britain's biggest car maker.

 

Cadillac 20/30hp model comes with ignition, electric lighting and electric self-starting developed by Charles F. Kettering’s Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco).

 

The Selden Patent Case finally ends in victory for Henry Ford when the car built to Selden’s patent is a technical failure. The patent is found to be 'valid but not infringed' releasing Americas car manufacturers to sell their products without further interference from Selden.

 

1912

Prominent figure S. F. Edge resigns from the Napier company following a dispute. He agrees to stay out of the motor industry for 7 years in exchange for a £160,000.00 pay-off. Instead he turns to pig farming, cattle breeding and film production, all with considerable success.

 

Delco electric self-starters and electric lighting come as standard on all Cadillac models.

 

The first Chevrolet, the big, powerful and very expensive Classic Six, reaches production but its price places it well out of reach of the mass market which Durant needs to attract to build his new business.

 

Sunbeam causes a sensation by simultaneously entering two team of 3 litre cars in French races running at the same time. They come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Coupe de l'Auto for touring cars at Dieppe and 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the French Grand Prix against cars with engines of vastly greater cubic capacity. As a result, the virtually identical touring models sell very well.

 

Brothers W O and H M Bentley buy the London agency for French DFP cars from their employers and call their new business Bentley and Bentley.

 

1913

Packard achieves a significant step in the development of the differential by introducing the spiral-bevel ring and pinion set. This cuts noise levels dramatically.

 

Henry Ford trials moving conveyor belt techniques for magneto production.

 

Ford’s sales rise to 182,809 vehicles.

 

The Royal Automobile Club awards the Dewar Trophy to Cadillac for a second time, in recognition of the introduction of the electric self-starter and electric lighting.

 

William Morris introduces his I0hp Morris Oxford light car.

 

Congress is lobbied by the Lincoln Highway Association who want a transcontinental highway to be constructed across America.

 

Mechanical direction indicators begin to appear on some models.

 

Fiat builds 3251cars.

 

Renault build 9338 cars.

 

Louis Chevrolet falls out with William Durant, wanting his name to be associated with prestigious cars and resigns. By selling his stock Chevrolet has thrown away the opportunity to become a multi millionaire. Durant continues to grow Chevrolet sales by moving the range downmarket.

  

W O Bentley develops the aluminium-alloy piston for use in automotive engines and achieves a class record at Brooklands in an alloy-pistoned DFP.

 

1914

De Dion-Bouton’s V8 engine is now available in 3.5 litre, 4.6 litre and 7.8 litre capacities.

 

Ford introduces conveyor assembly line techniques to chassis production reducing unit production times from 12½ to 1½ hours.

 

Ford raises the daily pay of its production workers to an industry record of $5.

 

Ettore Bugatti designs and manufactures the world’s first series-produced 16-valve 4 cylinder engine.

 

British buyers can now choose between 200 makes of car.

 

The German Army’s advance on Paris is repulsed by troops ferried to the front line in Renault taxis.

 

W O Bentley is commissioned into the navy to develop aero-engines for the Royal Naval Air Service. The BR1 and BR2 radial engines, built at the Humber factory, prove extremely effective and Bentley passes his knowledge of alloy piston technology on to Ernest Hives who is also developing aero-engines at Rolls-Royce.

 

Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford set up a small sports-car manufacturing business in West London. Bamford’s early departure leaves Martin with the need for a new name. Success achieved at the Aston-Clinton Hill Climb course in the prototype car provides the ideal name. Aston-Martin is born!

 

1915

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Reginald McKenna introduces a ‘temporary’ 33.33 % levy on luxury imports to contribute to the cost of the war. Commercial vehicles are excluded, as they are needed for the war effort. This levy becomes known as the "McKenna Duties".

 

Catillac introduces the first successful V8 engine in the United States.

 

Inspired by Sunbeam aero-engine designs, Packard introduce the Vl2 Twin Six.

 

Banker Nicola Romeo takes over Anonima Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili of Milan to create Alfa Romeo.

 

Ford give a $50.00 refund to every Model T customer in recognition of annual sales exceeding their target.

 

The British Admiralty Landships Committee, charged with development of an armoured fighting vehicle capable of crossing trenches and barbed wire to attack an enemy, appoint a Lincoln agricultural machinery manufacturers William Foster & Co. Ltd, to design and develop it. For the sake of secrecy the factory workers are told to refer to the project as ‘a water carrier for Mesopotamia’. Their nick-name for the project is still with us today - ‘The tank’.

 

1916

Windscreen wipers powered by vacuum from the engine’s inlet manifold begin to replace the manual version originally patented by Mary Anderson in 1903. Because inlet manifold vacuum varies with engine speed so does wiper speed.

 

C F Kettering’s Delco is sold to United Motors Corporation for $9,000,000.00.

 

1917

Herbert Austin receives a knighthood.

 

Having founded Cadillac and stayed at the helm since the 1909 sale to General Motors, Henry Martyn Leland resigns and leaves with his son Wilfred C Leland, to found the Lincoln Motor Company and build Liberty aero-engines for use in WW1 fighter planes.

 

Engineer William Rootes is demobilised from the British Armed to set up a new plant at Maidstone, Kent to repair aeroplane engines instead of scrapping them. The war ends before the plant is fully operational.

 

1918

Emil Jellinek dies.

 

Car registrations in America exceed five million for the first time.

 

The Thomas B Jeffery Company is bought by Charles Nash and renamed Nash Motors.

 

United Motors Corporation is acquired by General Motors. As a result, C F Kettering is invited to organise direct General Motors Research Corporation and insists that its headquarters are established in Dayton.

 

1919

Andre Citroen, having decided the future lies in simple reliable cars for the mass market, begins production of his Model A.

 

Henry Ford pays out $l00 million to buy-out all the other stockholders in the Ford Motor Company.

 

S. F. Edge returns to the British motor industry by taking over AC cars.

 

The first straight eight production engine is introduced by Isotta Fraschini.

 

Walter P. Chrysler resigns his position as vice president of General Motors.

 

New aero influenced post war models introduced by Hispano Suiza, Guy, Enfield Allday.

 

WO Bentley, awarded an £8,000 gratuity for his wartime work on the design of aero-engines, uses it to establish Bentley Motors Ltd and develop his first sports-car.

 

Charles F Kettering’s Dayton Metal Products Co. is absorbed into General Motors, forming the core of GM's new research division.

 

William and Reginal Rootes re-establish the family car sales business, Rootes Ltd. in Maidstone Kent.

 

Enzo Ferrari finishes ninth at the Targa Florio bringing him to the notice of Alfa Romeo.

 

1920

Half of all the motor vehicles in the world are Model T Fords.

 

The American car industry is hit hard by a sudden post-war sales slump - Most companies struggle, many go out of business and some are absorbed into the larger corporate conglomerates.

 

The merger of Sunbeam and Talbot-Darracq creates the STD group. The new organisation will fail to rationalise development programmes and share components, missing out on financial opportunities, building cars which compete with each other for market share.

 

William Durant is ousted from his position at the head of General Motors for a second and final time, when DuPont/Morgan banking interests gain a controlling interest. Alfred P. Sloan is placed in charge of the group's affairs.

 

Duesenberg introduce the first production car with a straight eight engine and four-wheel hydraulic brakes.

 

Work starts on Britain's first bypass roads, The Great West Road from Chiswick, West London and The Purley Way near Croydon.

 

350 French companies manufacture cars.

 

Louis Chevrolet’s Monroe racer wins the Indianapolis 500 with his brother Gaston at the wheel.

 

Gaston Chevrolet is killed in a racing accident on a boardwalk raceway in Beverly Hills, California.

 

C F Kettering, inventor and outstanding engineer and head of General Motors Research Corporation becomes a vice-president and GM board member.

 

Driving a modified Alfa Romeo production car in the Targa Florio, Enzo Ferrari finishes in second place.

 

1921

Ferodo introduces a dry-plate clutch using asbestos friction materials that do not burn out every few hundred miles.

 

The Motor Car Act taxes cars in Britain at £I per RAC horsepower. Because of the RAC formula this favours small-bore, long stroke engines used by British manufacturers. Sales of cheaper American imports which tend to use large-bore, short stroke engines are crippled. A Morris Cowley, rated at 11.9hp costs just £12 to tax, whereas a Model T is rated at 22.5hp and costs £23 per year. One variation is that pre 1914 cars pay only half the horsepower. One oddity is a complete exemption for cars used solely for taking servants to church or voters to the polling station!

 

Bentley Motors Ltd start production of the new Bentley 3 litre sports car at a factory in Cricklewood, London and the three racing Bentleys entered in the Tourist Trophy Race win the team prize.

 

Lincoln introduce theirV8.

 

To counteract a drop in sales Morris cuts prices by up to £I00. The ploy works effectively, with sales increasing from 1932 cars in 1920 to 3077 cars this year.

 

William Durant establishes Durant Motors, having raised $7 million in loans.

 

Tommy Milton drives a straight-eight Frontenac, designed and built by Louis Chevrolet, to victory at Indianapolis. Two different Louis Chevrolet-developed machines have now won at Indianapolis in consecutive years.

 

1922

Ford buys financially troubled Lincoln.

 

In Britain Herbert Austin introduces the Seven.

 

Clyno begin car production in Wolverhampton.

 

Marconi begin experiments with wireless receivers in Daimler cars.

 

Ford produce over one million Model Ts.

 

Inspired by the strength of a ship’s hull in a storm Vincenzo Lancia devises the first car to feature a sheet metal unitary body structure. The Lancia Lambda also featured a V4 engine with twin overhead camshafts, independent front suspension and brakes on all four wheels.

 

Trico (USA) introduce electric windscreen wipers as a more speed-consistent alternative to vacuum-driven wipers.

 

Leslie Hounsfield's Trojan Ltd of Croydon Licence production of his low-cost 2 stroke, four cylinder car to Leyland Motors.

 

Charles F. Kettering, (previously responsible for the electric starter) and his assistant T. H. Midgley develop tetraethyl leaded petrol to improve the quality of fuels available in the USA. This alone encourages the development of more powerful and efficient high-compression engines.

 

21 year old Motor Cycle enthusiast William Lyons meets motorcycle sidecar maker William Walmsley in Blackpool, England. Together they set up the Swallow Sidecar Company.

 

1923

De Dion-Bouton cease production of their V8 engine range.

 

Cecil Kimber builds his first MG, a Morris Cowley with flattened springs, a sports body and a rebuilt engine.

 

Coventry bicycle manufacturer Triumph, builds their first car, the 10/20hp.

 

Over 2,000,000 Model Ts leave Ford’s production lines.

 

Sunbeams came 1st, 2nd and 4th in the French Grand Prix.

 

While racing at the Circuit of Sivocci at Ravenna Enzo Ferrari is approached by Count Enrico and Countess Paolina Baracca, parents of deceased national hero Francesco Baracca. They give Ferrari Francesco’s squadron badge, a prancing horse on a yellow shield.

 

1924

Former General Motors Vice President, Walter P Chrysler, begins production of his own cars.

 

Car production times are cut dramatically when DuPont develop quick-drying enamels.

 

Napier give up the production of cars and concentrate on aero-engines.

 

The "McKenna Duties" on luxury imports are removed.

 

Sunbeam win the Spanish Grand Prix. No other British car will win a Grand Prix in the first half of the 20th century. Twin cam OHV engines become standard on the 3 litre Super Sports models.

 

Malcolm Campbell achieves an official Land Speed Record d 146mph in an 18 litre 12 cyl Sunbeam developing 350hp.

 

A Bentley Sport, driven by Sammy Davis and John Benjafield, wins the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race for the first time.

 

1925

The "McKenna Duties" on luxury imports are reinstated and extended to include commercial vehicles.

 

Morris production of ‘Bullnose’ Oxfords and Cowleys hits 54,131.

 

Vauxhall Motors at Luton becomes a part of General Motors.

 

The 250,000th Ford Model T rolls out of Ford’s British factory and begins a celebratory tour.

 

Rolls Royce introduce the Phantom 1, their first new model since the introduction of the 1906 Silver Ghost.

 

The Triumph 13/30 becomes Britain’s first family car with hydraulic braking on all four wheels.

 

Malcolm Campbell raises the official Land Speed Record to 150mph, again in a Sunbeam car.

 

Sunbeam enters their new 3 litre Super Sports car for the Grand Prix d'Endurance (24 hours) at Le Mans. It is the only British car to finish, winning 2nd place overall and coming first in the 3 litre class. The parent company (The STD Group) takes out a large loan.

 

General Motors Research Corporation and its boss C F Kettering, move to Detroit.

 

1926

Cadillac introduce shatter-resistant glass.

 

Long retired from racing, Louis Chevrolet drives the official pace car for his last laps of Indianapolis Speedway. As a driver he has achieved 10 career Indy car wins and won over 27 major events, making him the most successful of the three racing Chevrolet brothers.

 

Following a trip to America William Morris is convinced that the future of the car revolves around all-steel construction and works with Edward G Budd to set up the Pressed Steel Company.

 

In Germany, Daimler Benz AG is formed by the long-planned (since 1911) merger between Benz and Daimler companies.

 

A 7136cc V12 sleeve valve engine is the main feature of the Coventry Daimler Company’s new Double Six model.

 

In London, the General Strike and resultant marches bring traffic to a halt.

 

London's motorists see electric traffic lights for the first time.

 

Production of 300 cars a week makes Clyno of Wolverhampton Britain’s third largest car manufacturer.

 

Packard further refines the differential by introducing hypoid gears, virtually eliminating rear axle whine.

 

Major Henry Segrave sets a new Land Speed Record of 152mph in a 4 litre 12 cyl Sunbeam.

 

The Swallow Sidecar Company starts to build special bodies for the Austin Seven and changes its name to the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company. Beyond the Austin seven it also offers coach-built bodies on chassis by Morris, Fiat, Standard, Swift and others.

 

William and Reginald Rootes move their business from Kent to offices and showrooms at Devonshire House, Picadilly, in the heart of London's West End. Within a matter of months they have built a network of branches across the UK, in the process, becoming Europe’s largest motor distributing company.

 

1927

Ford’s Model T comes to the end of the road after 19 years and fifteen million vehicles.

 

The first British all-steel body is produced by the Pressed Steel Company for the Morris Isis Six, a medium sized saloon.

 

William Morris acquires the failed Wolseley company.

 

Chevrolet becomes the top selling manufacturer in America as Ford reorganizes its production facilities for the Model A.

 

Chromium plating is pioneered by Studebaker and Oldsmobile.

 

Stanley brings production of its steam cars to an end.

 

Major Henry Segrave, sets a new World Land Speed Record of over 200mph driving a twin-engined 1000 hp Sunbeam.

 

1928

By now Britain’s largest car distributors, William and Reginald Rootes begin to acquire manufacturers, starting with Humber, Hillman and Commer.

 

Dodge is acquired by Chrysler for $I75,000,000.

 

In the face of fierce price competition from William Moris, Clyno introduce a £I00 8hp model and ‘hits the rocks’.

 

Cadillac introduces the synchromesh gearbox.

 

Britain's first front wheel drive production car is introduced by Alvis.

 

A Bentley wins the Le Mans 24 Hours driven by Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin.

 

As a result of slumping sales many UK companies are become vulnerable

 

The Rootes brothers acquire a substantial interest in The Hillman Car Company and then take over Humber Ltd and it’s commercial vehicle brand, Commer.

 

1929

Karl Benz dies, aged 85.

 

David Dunbar Buick dies.

 

US car production reaches 5,337,087, a record that will stand until the I950s.

 

26.5 million cars are now registered in the USA.

 

Clyno ceases trading and its assets liquidated.

 

Armstrong Siddeley offer a Wilson pre-selector gearbox as an option.

 

Sir Dennistoun Burney, the man behind the development of R100 airship, applies his aerodynamic expertise to car design and starts to make his Burney ‘Streamlines’ at his factory in Maidenhead. Each car features teardrop styling, space-frame construction, rear engine, all-round independent suspension and hydraulic brakes.

 

Bentley win the Le Mans 24 Hours for the second year in succession with a Speed Six driven by Woolf Barnato and Henry Birkin.

 

While continuing to work for Alfa Romeo, Enzo Ferrari forms the Scuderia Ferrari, a club/team for gentlemen-racers with the aim of organizing racing for members.

 

1930

Daimler fit fluid flywheels in conjunction with pre-selector gearboxes to produce semi automatic transmission.

 

Cadillac introduces a 7.4 litre VI6.

 

Economic depression causes a fall in car sales.

 

Henry Royce receives a knighthood.

 

In the bar of the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton following the annual ‘London to Brighton Run’, three participants decide to form the Veteran Car Club to help its members preserve the veteran and Edwardian cars which form a record motoring’s early history.

 

The 20mph speed limit, which has been ignored by motorists and police alike for many years, is abolished by the British Parliament.

 

In Britain, third party insurance becomes compulsory.

 

Larger Morris cars come with hydraulic brakes.

 

Walter Wilson introduces the Wilson Preselector gearbox based on a planetary manual transmission system like that used in the Ford Model T.

 

Bentley wins the Le Mans 24 Hours for the fourth year in succession with a Speed Six driven by Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston.

 

1931

The Vauxhall Cadet 2 litre six, is the first car in Europe to feature a synchromesh gearbox.

 

Bentley Motors goes into liquidation. Napier are interested in buying, but are outbid by Rolls Royce who form Bentley Motors (1931) Limited.

 

Daimler acquire Lanchester Britain’s oldest motor manufacturer.

 

The Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company introduces its first cars, the SS1 and SS2. The larger SS1 is based on a modified Standard chassis and Standard six-cylinder engine. The smaller SS2 has a four-cylinder engine.

 

As the first fruit of the Rootes Group acquisition, Hillman introduces the Wizard with a choice of either 2.1 or 2.8 litre engines. It is not a great sales success.

 

1932

After years of struggling to survive De Dion-Bouton goes out of business.

 

Oldsmobile and Packard models feature automatic chokes.

 

Ford of Britain moves it’s plant and machinery from Trafford Park, Manchester to its new factory at Dagenham on the Eastern outskirts of London over one weekend without losing any production.

 

Ford design their first car for the European market, the 8hp model Y, in Dearborn.

 

Ford facelift the Model A and offer it with a mass-produced V8 engine. Sales in the first year exceed 300,000.

 

Hillman introduces the Minx, small family saloon, which proves to be extremely popular.

 

1933

William Lyons Changes the name of the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company to SS Cars Limited, taking on the role of managing director.

 

Ford looses its grip on the American market, dropping to third place behind General Motors and the Chrysler Corporation.

 

1934

REO introduce the Reo Self-Shifter, actually two transmissions connected in series. The first shifts automatically due to the engagement of a multi-disc centrifugal clutch mechanism. The second transmission is shifted manually to engage a lower gear.

 

Under both the Chrysler and DeSoto brands Chrysler introduces the revolutionary ‘Airflow’ ‘streamline’ family saloons with aerodynamic unitary sheet-steel body construction and an automatic overdrive.

 

In Britain a 30mph limit is imposed in built-up areas by Transport Minister Leslie Hore Belisha, pedestrian (Zebra) crossings are introduced, illuminated by a flashing orange (Belisha) beacon and new drivers are required to pass a test.

 

Morris Motors’ first conveyor assembly line is installed at Cowley and Sir William Morris becomes Baron Nuffield.

 

General Motors put the successful racecar designer and financial failure, Louis Chevrolet on their payroll in recognition of their use of his name.

 

Ferdinand Porshe approaches the German Reich government with proposals for a car for the German masses – a Volkswagen. Massive government investment follows.

 

Construction of the German Autobahn system commences, conceived by Adolph Hitler as a productive way of harnessing the unemployed masses.

 

British cars are now available with Metallic finishes.

 

Andre Citroen’s ambition gets the better of him as development of the ‘traction avant’ becomes so expensive that the company is virtually bankrupted. Michelin step in to prop up the business and Citroen looses control.

 

At SS Cars Limited, William Lyons boosts his company’s technical capabilities with the arrival of renowned engine specialist Harry Weslake. Soon after his arrival overhead valve cylinder heads become available.

 

1935

The depression of the 1930s means STD Motors are unable to sustain repayments of the large loan taken out in 1925 and are forced into receivership. The Rootes brothers outbid the smaller SS Cars Limited and the proud Sunbeam and Talbot names are destined to become up-market badge-engineered versions of Hillmans.

 

Ford of Britain introduces a cut price version of the 8hp Model Y saloon to sell at £I00.00.

 

There are now 35 million motor vehicles on the world’s roads according to an international census.

 

Triumph offer a screen wash system.

 

William Heynes joins SS Cars Ltd as chief engineer and the SS Jaguar is announced.

 

1936

Morgan, specialists in economical three-wheelers since 1909 introduce their first four wheeler, thanks to changes in tax and market readiness for ‘a fourth wheel’.

 

Fiat introduce the budget-priced 500A, featuring an aerodynamic shape, a ‘570cc engine and a full length sunroof. Its appearance earns it the nick-name ‘Topolino’ (Mickey Mouse) while a 55mph top speed and 55mpg economy makes it very popular, particularly in its home country.

 

Ferdinand Porsche begins development and construction of prototype ‘Volkswagens’ to demonstrate his concept to Adolf Hitler. The declared intention is that they will sell for £50.00 on a special finance plan.

 

At SS Cars Limited, William Lyons buys out William Walmsley and anounces the SS 100 and SS Jaguar models.

 

There are still 45 British car manufacturers.

 

Fifty-four percent of families in the United States now own a car.

 

1937

The first London Motor Exhibition is held at Earls Court, rather than Olympia, where it has been since 1905.

 

Buick and Oldsmobile introduce the Automatic Safety Transmission, using a conventional clutch for engaging forward or reverse and shifting automatically once underway.

 

800 miles of autobahn have been built in Germany at a cost of £56,000 a mile.

 

Chrysler perfects the fluid coupling, a major advance towards the fully automatic gearbox, but does nothing with it for the moment.

 

1938

The Volkswagen goes into production in Nazi Germany.

 

The British government raises the petrol tax from 8d to 9d per gallon and horsepower tax to £1.25d per hp.

 

The first small British saloon to feature independent front suspension is the Standard Flying Eight.

 

Riley is taken over by The Nuffield Group.

 

Morris launches the Series E 8hp Saloon at £128, the cheapest car in Britain.

 

As another War begins to look inevitable British car manufacturers are requested to set up Shadow Factories next to small-scale specialists who’s products, in much larger quantities, would be crucial to any war effort.

 

GM offer the Hydra-Matic hydraulically operated gearbox.

 

SS Cars Ltd, like many other British manufacturers turns production over to the war effort.

 

1939

Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany on September 3rd.

 

The British Government introduces petrol rationing. Petrol is exchanged for coupons allowing each motorist about 200 miles of motoring per month.

 

There are now two million cars on Britain's roads.

 

The customized Lincoln Continental and the lower priced Mercury are introduced by Ford.

 

Triumph has to cease trading and is put into receivership.

 

See Timeline 1940 - 2008

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/5107286715/

This photo is one of 200 Timelapse photos.

  

The Bahá'í World Centre is the administrative and religious center of the Baha'i Faith, located in northern Israel - Haifa and Acre. The World Centre buildings and their surroundings, especially the Baha'i complex on Mount Carmel and al- Bahg'h complex in Acre, strictness decorated, with an emphasis on beauty, aesthetics and scenic design are considered an important principle of the Baha'i Faith.

The complex is Baha'i pilgrimage around the world, and a tourist destination for tourists and other visitors.

  

Shrine of the Báb is a shrine where there are preserved remains of Ali Muhammad, the founder Bábism known as the Báb (" gate "). Báb is considered the first distributor of the Bahá'í Faith.

Although the temple is regarded by Bahá'ís as the second holiest after al - Bahg'h in Acre, is undoubtedly the most famous Bahai structure in Israel and worldwide, and is associated with the religion of all.

The temple is now one of the two most important pilgrimage sites in the adherents of the Baha'i Faith.

  

Taken in Haifa, Israel.

  

A TImelapse journey through Israel project.

  

המרכז הבהאי העולמי הוא המרכז המנהלי והדתי של הדת הבהאית, השוכן בצפון ישראל - בערים חיפה ועכו ובסביבותיהן. מבני המרכז הבהאי העולמי וסביבותיהם, ובמיוחד המתחם הבהאי על הר הכרמל ומתחם אל-באהג'ה בעכו, מעוצבים בקפידה, תוך שימת דגש על יופי, אסתטיקה ועיצוב נופי הנחשבים לעקרון חשוב בדת הבהאית. הם מהווים מוקד עלייה לרגל לבהאים מרחבי העולם, ויעד תיירותי לתיירים ולמבקרים אחרים.

  

מקדש הבאב הוא המקדש בו שמורים שרידיו של עלי מוחמד, מייסד הבאביזם שנודע בכינוי ה"באב" ("השער"). הבאב נחשב למפיצה הראשון של הדת הבהאית. אף שהמקדש נחשב בעיני הבהאים כמקום השני בקדושתו לאחר אל-באהג'ה בעכו, הוא ללא ספק המבנה הבהאי הידוע ביותר בישראל ובעולם כולו, והוא מזוהה עם הדת יותר מכל. המקדש הוא כיום אחד משני אתרי העלייה לרגל החשובים ביותר למאמיני הדת הבהאית.

 

Buildings - Interesting Architecture on Water Street, Gastown, Vancouver, Canada.

Gastown was Vancouver's first downtown core and is named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area's first saloon. The town soon prospered as the site of Hastings Mill sawmill, seaport, and quickly became a general centre of trade and commerce on Burrard Inlet as well as a rough-and-rowdy resort for off-work loggers and fishermen as well as the crews and captains of the many sailing ships which came to Gastown or Moodyville, on the north side of the inlet (which was a dry town) to load logs and timber. The Canadian Pacific Railway terminated on piles on the shore parallel to Water Street in 1886. From this the area became a hive of warehouses. Part of Gastown, that of Carroll Street was particularly swampy owing to it being low ground between False Creek and Burrard Inlet. Bridges overcame this obstacle and the low ground and beach was slowly filled in with refuse. In 1886, the town was incorporated as the City of Vancouver. It fell victim to the "Great Vancouver Fire" that same year, losing all but two of its buildings. The area was completely rebuilt and continued to thrive. As said Hastings and Main was the traditional centre of town, and the foreshore became an important staging area with the North and West Vancouver Ferries, and Union Steamships all having docks there. Evans, Coleman, Evans a longtime merchandiser had a warehouse; also, Fleck Brothers, and Koret distributors had buildings. Department stores such as Spencer's, Hudson's Bay Company warehouse, Woodward's, Fairbanks Morse, Army and Navy stores, and food retailers Malkins and Kelly Douglas traded and were based there.

Gastown found new life as the centre of the city's wholesale produce distribution until the Great Depression in the 1930s. It also was centre of the city's drinking life (there were 300 licensed establishments the twelve-block area of the former Granville, B.I.) After the Depression Gastown was a largely forgotten neighbourhood of the larger city and fell into decline and disrepair until the 1960s. It was a continuation of the Skid Road area with cheap beer parlours, flophouse hotels, and loggers hiring halls.

In the 1960s, citizens became concerned with preserving Gastown's distinctive and historic architecture, which like the nearby Chinatown and Strathcona were scheduled to be demolished to build a major freeway into the city's downtown. A campaign led by businessmen and property owners as well as the counterculture and associated political protestors, pressured the provincial government to declare the area a historical site in 1971, protecting its heritage buildings to this day. A riot between the hippies and the police in 1971 over marijuana has gone into legend, the incident now made public on the Woodwards building, a throw-back to the more serious Post office riot of 1938.

The Gastown was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2009.

Source Wikipedia.

Why many of our customers see m43 is doomed 1:

 

The thing that would concern me if I was in management in Canon, or Nikon, or indeed Pentax, Olympus or Fuji is brand recognition among younger generations and in developing markets.

 

Of course to us (middle aged enthusiasts) Canon, Nikon, etc. means something positive. We recognize them as 'photo' brands And although we may be Nikon users (or Canon, Fuji, Olympus or Pentax users) we recognize and accept the others as photo brands because we know that historically they have earned their place in the market. They are familiar to us.

But a child born today is much more likely to be exposed to brands more relevant to him or her. Like the brands that manufacture phones, or tablets, or Apps, or even sportswear.

Similar is true of emerging markets. Some years back Yashica(I do not know what Yashica is, so he must be much older than me) used to be No. 1 in India. Why? Presumably because the Yashica importer / distributor did a better job at the time in establishing that brand in a market that was starting from a very low base and had few if any historical brand preconceptions.

So should, say, Nike suddenly decide to start marketing cameras aimed at younger people they might have a lot more brand recognition in a relatively short time than say the market leader, i.e. Canon. After all what does Canon do that really appeals to a teenager? Cameras? Granddad products. Copiers? Office Valium, and of course, medical equipment such as CT scan and X-Ray machine, but people even know that they make such variety of things? And the same also applies to the other 'established' photo companies maybe except Sony, whose one of main businesses is PlayStation.

 

Of course there are many technological hurdles that a new brand would have to overcome to compete, let alone dominate in the photo market but those are certainly not insurmountable, should of course anyone think it is actually worth doing, and if it is too difficult they can just buy the techs needed to enter into this market.

Remember this.... Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Samsung did not move to Mirrorless because they wanted to. They moved because they were forced to. They really had no other choice.

All four companies failed in the DSLR market, and had to try something else. They could not compete with Canon, Nikon and to a large extent Pentax in the DSLR market, and had to either retreat to fixed lens cameras, or try something else. So they tried so-called Mirrorless system camera with mixed success. It didn't end well for Samsung, but the other three seem to be doing fairly well, especially for Fuji.

At least they are doing better than when they were selling EVolt DSLRs (Olympus), Lumix DSLRs(Paasonic), re-branded Nikon DSLRs (Fujifilm), or re-branded Pentax DSLRs (Samsung).

And we all know it was a good thing for them even for a very temporal time that they did actually try something different, because the bottom fell out of the P&S market.

Without an ILC to sell when the market is moving to higher ground for survival, you end up becoming Casio, that said though, oddly enough , Casio is actually outdoing the 3 that tried something new. But the real question is why they did not do well in DSLR market?

I think because,like our old customers said it above, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax and Fuji had no brand recognition and not enough number of fanatic supporters, at the time. At least not enough number to compete Canon, Nikon and Sony in DSLR business.

Sony is another story, and a more actually much more complicated one. They seem to compete in every market, hoping that something sticks. And right now Sony E/FE seems to have pretty good traction, and Sony A Mount is believed to be on the way out. However, Sony denies it firmly at CP Plus and NBA.

At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the 'the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging.

Sony says, it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that incredible things to come into the A mount. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement for the A mount FF body became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? Sony is really odd, they seem to be really obsessed with shocking the public with every camera announcement kind of idea.

But is A mount really doomed ? I 'd say no. Many people think it is really long await, but hey see the reality, the A99 was announced in November 2012, the Canon EOS5DMK3 was announced in Feb,2012 and still not updated, so no need irrational panic just yet.

The D800/E was updated because it was a flawed camera from the start and Nikon could not hide the many many technical design flaws and many usability issues of that camera. The D800 did not do well in the camera market despite of the common forum myth that the D800 killed the 5DMK3 and the A99 in terms of sells,etc.

I think this clearly shows us what sells and no, following the idea proposed by the camera fanatics at many fora does not work. The D800 is a big mistake for Nikon, not many people wanted it, not many people obsessed with the tiny bit better DR at the very base ISO. By comparison, the Sony A7R was a huge success for Sony because it was a more logical choice for many of us who really wanted the tiny bit better DR of the D800 sensor since that tiny Sony took all our existing Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica M, Minolta Sony A, etc, without any issue. And for ultimate IQ work, we do not need the flappy mirror and the associated mirror shock.

I think, despite of the common forum myth that m43 is selling very well and no 1 in Japan,etc, it is the most doomed future-less system out there.

All the current ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X2 when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, or FF, or an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people anyway.

Then why not just go all way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon or Sony A mount but m43?

Nikon Fand Sony Alpha mount have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based hybrid-minded gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

After all, to most of NORMAL people, Panasonic is really nothing but a microwave company as my Thai friend, who has been an assistant prof at Bangkok university.

He hated Panasonic cameras although he loved GH4 when I had him try my GH4 without Panasonic name, I covered the name with blacktape. And sadly enough, Panasonic understands it, so they tend to put Leica name on their lenses, but did not have the guts to change the brand name on their camera.

  

UPDATE 1: Looks like both Fuji and Sony have actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

UPDATE2: I was told the A7M3 would finally be announced in November and A9 might be announced in September.

But I think the A9 is a mythical camera and will not be announced soon. It might really be in work, but not announced before this Photokina. If it is really coming, I am sure it will be announced in Sept a week or a couple of weeks before the actual event in Germany.

But personally, I am not really interested in the mythical A9, but I want to get a A7M3 to replace all my cameras. The A9 would have to be much bigger than the A7M2 with much more powerful processor for faster shooting rate, probably really well sealed and much better AF but I do not need any of these features. I just want a refined A7M2 with a higher resolution sensor with better dust buster, and of course 4k with at least the same A6300 IQ. And I am quite sure this time we will finally see the long awaited A99Mk2 just before or after Photokina.

  

A banana is an edible fruit, botanically a berry, produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. (In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called plantains.) The fruit is variable in size, color and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic (seedless) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name Musa sapientum is no longer used.

 

Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and banana beer and as ornamental plants.

 

Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between "bananas" and "plantains". Especially in the Americas and Europe, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called "plantains". In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many more kinds of banana are grown and eaten, so the simple two-fold distinction is not useful and is not made in local languages.

 

The term "banana" is also used as the common name for the plants which produce the fruit. This can extend to other members of the genus Musa like the scarlet banana (Musa coccinea), pink banana (Musa velutina) and the Fe'i bananas. It can also refer to members of the genus Ensete, like the snow banana (Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana (Ensete ventricosum). Both genera are classified under the banana family, Musaceae.

 

DESCRIPTION

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a "corm". Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a "false stem" or pseudostem. Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a "stalk" (petiole) and a blade (lamina). The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath; the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, which is all that supports the plant. The edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart. Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around 3 m to 'Gros Michel' at 7 m or more. Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres long and 60 cm wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

 

When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is perennial. In the plantation system of cultivation, only one of the offshoots will be allowed to develop in order to maintain spacing. The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

 

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called "hands"), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh 30–50 kilograms. Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or "finger") average 125 grams, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter.

 

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety can be split lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels by manually deforming the unopened fruit. In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.

 

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. The banana equivalent dose of radiation is sometimes used in nuclear communication to compare radiation levels and exposures.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The word banana is thought to be of West African origin, possibly from the Wolof word banaana, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.

 

TAXONOMY

The genus Musa was created by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name may be derived from Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus, or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, mauz. Musa is in the family Musaceae. The APG III system assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales, part of the commelinid clade of the monocotyledonous flowering plants. Some 70 species of Musa were recognized by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of January 2013; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

 

The classification of cultivated bananas has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists. Linnaeus originally placed bananas into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantains. Subsequently further species names were added. However, this approach proved inadequate to address the sheer number of cultivars existing in the primary center of diversity of the genus, Southeast Asia. Many of these cultivars were given names which proved to be synonyms.

 

In a series of papers published in 1947 onwards, Ernest Cheesman showed that Linnaeus's Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca were actually cultivars and descendants of two wild seed-producing species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla. He recommended the abolition of Linnaeus's species in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct groups of cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics that are the combination of the two. Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed a genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the earlier classification of bananas based on assigning scientific names to cultivated varieties. Despite this, the original names are still recognized by some authorities today, leading to confusion.

 

The currently accepted scientific names for most groups of cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla for the ancestral species, and Musa × paradisiaca L. for the hybrid M. acuminata × M. balbisiana.

 

Synonyms of M. × paradisica include:

A large number of subspecific and varietial names of M. × paradisiaca, including M. p. subsp. sapientum (L.) Kuntze

Musa × dacca Horan.

Musa × sapidisiaca K.C.Jacob, nom. superfl.

Musa × sapientum L., and a large number of its varietal names, including M. × sapientum var. paradisiaca (L.) Baker, nom. illeg.

 

Generally, modern classifications of banana cultivars follow Simmonds and Shepherd's system. Cultivars are placed in groups based on the number of chromosomes they have and which species they are derived from. Thus the Latundan banana is placed in the AAB Group, showing that it is a triploid derived from both M. acuminata (A) and M. balbisiana (B). For a list of the cultivars classified under this system see List of banana cultivars.

 

In 2012, a team of scientists announced they had achieved a draft sequence of the genome of Musa acuminata.

 

BANANAS & PLANTAINS

In regions such as North America and Europe, Musa fruits offered for sale can be divided into "bananas" and "plantains", based on their intended use as food. Thus the banana producer and distributor Chiquita produces publicity material for the American market which says that "a plantain is not a banana". The stated differences are that plantains are more starchy and less sweet; they are eaten cooked rather than raw; they have thicker skin, which may be green, yellow or black; and they can be used at any stage of ripeness. Linnaeus made the same distinction between plantains and bananas when first naming two "species" of Musa. Members of the "plantain subgroup" of banana cultivars, most important as food in West Africa and Latin America, correspond to the Chiquita description, having long pointed fruit. They are described by Ploetz et al. as "true" plantains, distinct from other cooking bananas. The cooking bananas of East Africa belong to a different group, the East African Highland bananas, so would not qualify as "true" plantains on this definition.

 

An alternative approach divides bananas into dessert bananas and cooking bananas, with plantains being one of the subgroups of cooking bananas. Triploid cultivars derived solely from M. acuminata are examples of "dessert bananas", whereas triploid cultivars derived from the hybrid between M. acuminata and M. balbinosa (in particular the plantain subgroup of the AAB Group) are "plantains". Small farmers in Colombia grow a much wider range of cultivars than large commercial plantations. A study of these cultivars showed that they could be placed into at least three groups based on their characteristics: dessert bananas, non-plantain cooking bananas, and plantains, although there were overlaps between dessert and cooking bananas.

 

In Southeast Asia – the center of diversity for bananas, both wild and cultivated – the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" does not work, according to Valmayor et al. Many bananas are used both raw and cooked. There are starchy cooking bananas which are smaller than those eaten raw. The range of colors, sizes and shapes is far wider than in those grown or sold in Africa, Europe or the Americas.[35] Southeast Asian languages do not make the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" that is made in English (and Spanish). Thus both Cavendish cultivars, the classic yellow dessert bananas, and Saba cultivars, used mainly for cooking, are called pisang in Malaysia and Indonesia, kluai in Thailand and chuoi in Vietnam. Fe'i bananas, grown and eaten in the islands of the Pacific, are derived from entirely different wild species than traditional bananas and plantains. Most Fe'i bananas are cooked, but Karat bananas, which are short and squat with bright red skins, very different from the usual yellow dessert bananas, are eaten raw.

 

In summary, in commerce in Europe and the Americas (although not in small-scale cultivation), it is possible to distinguish between "bananas", which are eaten raw, and "plantains", which are cooked. In other regions of the world, particularly India, Southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific, there are many more kinds of banana and the two-fold distinction is not useful and not made in local languages. Plantains are one of many kinds of cooking bananas, which are not always distinct from dessert bananas.

 

HISTORICAL CULTIVATION

Farmers in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.

 

Phytolith discoveries in Cameroon dating to the first millennium BCE triggered an as yet unresolved debate about the date of first cultivation in Africa. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in Madagascar around that time. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than late 6th century CE. It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.

 

The banana may also have been present in isolated locations elsewhere in the Middle East on the eve of Islam. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into North Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world. In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting.

 

Bananas were certainly grown in the Christian Kingdom of Cyprus by the late medieval period. Writing in 1458, the Italian traveller and writer Gabriele Capodilista wrote favourably of the extensive farm produce of the estates at Episkopi, near modern day Limassol, including the region's banana plantations.

 

Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century.

 

Many wild banana species as well as cultivars exist in extraordinary diversity in New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines.

 

There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries. The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means 'You can smell it from the next mountain.' The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long.

—Mike Peed, The New Yorker

 

In 1999 archaeologists in London discovered what they believed to be the oldest banana in the UK, in a Tudor rubbish tip.

 

PLANTATION CULTIVATION IN THE CARIBBEAN,

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale at very high prices shortly after the Civil War, though it was only in the 1880s that it became more widespread. As late as the Victorian Era, bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available. Jules Verne introduces bananas to his readers with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

 

The earliest modern plantations originated in Jamaica and the related Western Caribbean Zone, including most of Central America. It involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed bananas to have more time between harvesting and ripening. North America shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company started this process in the 1870s, but railroad builders like Minor C Keith also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today's Chiquita Brands International and Dole. These companies were monopolistic, vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies (economies that were internally self-sufficient, virtually tax exempt, and export oriented that contribute very little to the host economy). Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term Banana republic for states like Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics or playing the international interests of the United States, especially during the Cold War, to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.

 

PEASANT CULTIVATION FOR EXPORT IN THE CARIBBEAN

The vast majority of the world's bananas today are cultivated for family consumption or for sale on local markets. India is the world leader in this sort of production, but many other Asian and African countries where climate and soil conditions allow cultivation also host large populations of banana growers who sell at least some of their crop.

 

There are peasant sector banana growers who produce for the world market in the Caribbean, however. The Windward Islands are notable for the growing, largely of Cavendish bananas, for an international market, generally in Europe but also in North America. In the Caribbean, and especially in Dominica where this sort of cultivation is widespread, holdings are in the 1–2 acre range. In many cases the farmer earns additional money from other crops, from engaging in labor outside the farm, and from a share of the earnings of relatives living overseas. This style of cultivation often was popular in the islands as bananas required little labor input and brought welcome extra income. Banana crops are vulnerable to destruction by high winds, such as tropical storms or cyclones.

 

After the signing of the NAFTA agreements in the 1990s, however, the tide turned against peasant producers. Their costs of production were relatively high and the ending of favorable tariff and other supports, especially in the European Economic Community, made it difficult for peasant producers to compete with the bananas grown on large plantations by the well capitalized firms like Chiquita and Dole. Not only did the large companies have access to cheap labor in the areas they worked, but they were better able to afford modern agronomic advances such as fertilization. The "dollar banana" produced by these concerns made the profit margins for peasant bananas unsustainable.

 

Caribbean countries have sought to redress this problem by providing government supported agronomic services and helping to organize producers' cooperatives. They have also been supporters of the Fair Trade movement which seeks to balance the inequities in the world trade in commodities.

 

EAST AFRICA

Most farms supply local consumption. Cooking bananas represent a major food source and a major income source for smallhold farmers. In east Africa, highland bananas are of greatest importance as a staple food crop. In countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda per capita consumption has been estimated at 45 kilograms per year, the highest in the world.

 

MODERN CULTIVATION

All widely cultivated bananas today descend from the two wild bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. While the original wild bananas contained large seeds, diploid or polyploid cultivars (some being hybrids) with tiny seeds are preferred for human raw fruit consumption. These are propagated asexually from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce two shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months. The life of a banana plantation is 25 years or longer, during which time the individual stools or planting sites may move slightly from their original positions as lateral rhizome formation dictates.

 

Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic, i.e. the flesh of the fruit swells and ripens without its seeds being fertilized and developing. Lacking viable seeds, propagation typically involves farmers removing and transplanting part of the underground stem (called a corm). Usually this is done by carefully removing a sucker (a vertical shoot that develops from the base of the banana pseudostem) with some roots intact. However, small sympodial corms, representing not yet elongated suckers, are easier to transplant and can be left out of the ground for up to two weeks; they require minimal care and can be shipped in bulk.It is not necessary to include the corm or root structure to propagate bananas; severed suckers without root material can be propagated in damp sand, although this takes somewhat longer.In some countries, commercial propagation occurs by means of tissue culture. This method is preferred since it ensures disease-free planting material. When using vegetative parts such as suckers for propagation, there is a risk of transmitting diseases (especially the devastating Panama disease).As a non-seasonal crop, bananas are available fresh year-round.

 

CAVENDISH

In global commerce in 2009, by far the most important cultivars belonged to the triploid AAA group of Musa acuminata, commonly referred to as Cavendish group bananas. They accounted for the majority of banana exports, despite only coming into existence in 1836. The cultivars Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain (Chiquita Banana) gained popularity in the 1950s after the previous mass-produced cultivar, Gros Michel (also an AAA group cultivar), became commercially unviable due to Panama disease, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum which attacks the roots of the banana plant. Cavendish cultivars are resistant to the Panama Disease but in 2013 there were fears that the Black Sigatoka fungus would in turn make Cavendish bananas unviable.

 

Ease of transport and shelf life rather than superior taste make the Dwarf Cavendish the main export banana.

 

Even though it is no longer viable for large scale cultivation, Gros Michel is not extinct and is still grown in areas where Panama disease is not found. Likewise, Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain are in no danger of extinction, but they may leave supermarket shelves if disease makes it impossible to supply the global market. It is unclear if any existing cultivar can replace Cavendish bananas, so various hybridisation and genetic engineering programs are attempting to create a disease-resistant, mass-market banana.

 

RIPENING

Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color consumers normally associate with supermarket bananas is, in fact, caused by the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 13.5 and 15 °C during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and the bananas turn gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.

 

"Tree-ripened" Cavendish bananas have a greenish-yellow appearance which changes to a brownish-yellow as they ripen further. Although both flavor and texture of tree-ripened bananas is generally regarded as superior to any type of green-picked fruit, this reduces shelf life to only 7–10 days.Bananas can be ordered by the retailer "ungassed" (i.e. not treated with ethylene), and may show up at the supermarket fully green. Guineos verdes (green bananas) that have not been gassed will never fully ripen before becoming rotten. Instead of fresh eating, these bananas are best suited to cooking, as seen in Mexican culinary dishes.A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light. This property is attributed to the degradation of chlorophyll leading to the accumulation of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit. The chlorophyll breakdown product is stabilized by a propionate ester group. Banana-plant leaves also fluoresce in the same way. Green bananas do not fluoresce. The study suggested that this allows animals which can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum (tetrachromats and pentachromats) to more easily detect ripened bananas.

 

STORAGE & TRANSPORT

Bananas must be transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets. To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at 13 °C. On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process.

 

Carbon dioxide (which bananas produce) and ethylene absorbents extend fruit life even at high temperatures. This effect can be exploited by packing banana in a polyethylene bag and including an ethylene absorbent, e.g., potassium permanganate, on an inert carrier. The bag is then sealed with a band or string. This treatment has been shown to more than double lifespans up to 3–4 weeks without the need for refrigeration.

 

FRUIT

Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both the skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. The primary component of the aroma of fresh bananas is isoamyl acetate (also known as banana oil), which, along with several other compounds such as butyl acetate and isobutyl acetate, is a significant contributor to banana flavor.

 

During the ripening process, bananas produce the gas ethylene, which acts as a plant hormone and indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a "starchier" taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens.

 

Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail for those places in Asia that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas feature prominently in Philippine cuisine, being part of traditional dishes and desserts like maruya, turrón, and halo-halo or saba con yelo. Most of these dishes use the Saba or Cardaba banana cultivar. Bananas are also commonly used in cuisine in the South-Indian state of Kerala, where they are steamed (puzhungiyathu), made into curries, fried into chips (upperi) or fried in batter (pazhampori). Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya or Kerala pazhampori, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A similar dish is known in the United Kingdom and United States as banana fritters.

 

Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes, such as the Pazham Pachadi prepared in Kerala.

 

Seeded bananas (Musa balbisiana), one of the forerunners of the common domesticated banana, are sold in markets in Indonesia.

 

FLOWER

Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods. The flavor resembles that of artichoke. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.

 

LEAVES

Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesian cuisine, banana leaf is employed in cooking method called pepes and botok; the banana leaf packages containing food ingredients and spices are cooked on steam, in boiled water or grilled on charcoal. In the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in every occasion the food must be served in a banana leaf and as a part of the food a banana is served. Steamed with dishes they impart a subtle sweet flavor. They often serve as a wrapping for grilling food. The leaves contain the juices, protect food from burning and add a subtle flavor. In Tamil Nadu (India) leaves are fully dried and used as packing material for food stuffs and also making cups to hold liquid foods. In Central American countries, banana leaves are often used as wrappers for tamales.

 

TRUNK

The tender core of the banana plant's trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, and notably in the Burmese dish mohinga.

 

FIBER

TEXTILES

The banana plant has long been a source of fiber for high quality textiles. In Japan, banana cultivation for clothing and household use dates back to at least the 13th century. In the Japanese system, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. Harvested shoots are first boiled in lye to prepare fibers for yarn-making. These banana shoots produce fibers of varying degrees of softness, yielding yarns and textiles with differing qualities for specific uses. For example, the outermost fibers of the shoots are the coarsest, and are suitable for tablecloths, while the softest innermost fibers are desirable for kimono and kamishimo. This traditional Japanese cloth-making process requires many steps, all performed by hand.

 

In a Nepalese system the trunk is harvested instead, and small pieces are subjected to a softening process, mechanical fiber extraction, bleaching and drying. After that, the fibers are sent to the Kathmandu Valley for use in rugs with a silk-like texture. These banana fiber rugs are woven by traditional Nepalese hand-knotting methods, and are sold RugMark certified.

 

In South Indian state of Tamil Nadu after harvesting for fruit the trunk (outer layer of the shoot) is made into fine thread used in making of flower garlands instead of thread.

 

PAPER

Banana fiber is used in the production of banana paper. Banana paper is made from two different parts: the bark of the banana plant, mainly used for artistic purposes, or from the fibers of the stem and non-usable fruits. The paper is either hand-made or by industrial process.

  

April 07, 2014

The Extremist Origins of Education and Sharing Day

Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?

by ALISON WEIR

 

If things proceed normally, President Barak Obama will soon proclaim April 11, 2014 “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” Despite the innocuous name, this day honors the memory of a religious leader whose lesser-known teachings help fuel some of the most violent attacks against Palestinians by extremist Israeli settlers and soldiers.

 

The leader being honored on this day is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, charismatic head of a mystical/fundamentalist version of Judaism. Every year since 1978, a Presidential Proclamation, often accompanied by a Congressional Resolution (the 1990 one had 219 sponsors), has declared Schneerson’s birthday an official national day of observance.

 

Congress first passed a Resolution honoring Schneerson in 1975. Three years later a Joint Congressional Resolution called on President Jimmy Carter to proclaim “Education Day, U.S.A.” on the anniversary of Schneerson’s birth. The idea was to set aside a day to honor both education and the alleged educational work of Schneerson and the religious sect he headed up.

 

Carter, like Congress, dutifully obeyed the Schneerson-initiated resolution, as has every president since. And some individual states are now enacting their own observances of Schneerson’s birthday, with Minnesota and Alabama leading the way.

 

Schneerson and his movement are an extremely mixed bag.

 

Schneerson has been praised widely for a public persona and organization that emphasized “deep compassion and insight,” worked to bring many secular Jews “back” into the fold, created numerous schools around the world, and had offered, in the words of the Jewish Virtual Library, “social-service programs and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of religious affiliation or background.”

 

However, there is also a less attractive underside often at odds with such public perceptions. And some of the more extreme parts of Schneerson’s teachings – such as that Jews are a completely different species than non-Jews, and that non-Jews exist only to serve Jews – have been largely hidden, it appears, even from many who consider themselves his followers.

 

As we will see, such views profoundly impact the lives of Palestinians living – and dying – under Israeli occupation and military invasions.

 

Who was Rabbi Schneerson?

 

Schneerson lived from 1902 to 1994 and oversaw the growth of what is now the largest Jewish organization in the world. The religious movement he led is known as “Chabad-Lubavitch,” (sometimes just called “Lubavitch” or “Chabad,” the name of its organizational arm). Schneerson was the seventh and final Lubavitcher “Rebbe” (sacred leader). He is often simply called “the Rebbe.”

 

Founded in the late 1700s and originally based in the Polish-Russian town of Lubavitch, it is the largest of about a dozen forms of “Hasidism,” a version of Orthodox Judaism connected to mysticism, characterized by devotion to a dynastic leader, and whose adherents often wear distinctive clothing. (Spellings of these terms can vary; Hasid is also written as Hassid, Chasid, etc.)

 

There is an extreme cult of personality focused on Schneerson himself. Some followers consider him the Messiah, and Schneerson himself reportedly sometimes implied this was true. Some Lubavitch educators consider him divine, making such claims as, “the Rebbe is actually ‘the essence and being [of God] … he is without limits, capable of effecting anything, all-knowing and a proper object of worshipful prostration.”

 

While many secular Jews and Jews from other denominations disagree with its actions and theology, Chabad-Lubavitch is generally acknowledged to be a powerful force in Jewish life today. According to a 1994 New York Times report, it is “one of the most influential and controversial forces in world Jewry.”

 

There are approximately 3,600 Chabad institutions in over 1,000 cities in 70 countries, and 200,000 adherents. Up to a million people attend Chabad services at least once a year. Numerous campuses have such centers and the Chabad website states that hundreds of thousands of children attend Chabad summer camps.

 

According to the Times, Schneerson “presided over a religious empire that reached from the back streets of Brooklyn to the main streets of Israel and by 1990 was taking in an estimated $100 million a year in contributions.

 

In the U.S., the Times reports, Schneerson’s “‘mitzvah tanks’ – converted campers that are rolling recruiting stations whose purpose is to draw Jews to the Lubavitch way – roamed streets from midtown Manhattan to Crown Heights. And the Lubavitchers’ Brooklyn-based publishing house claimed to be the world’s largest distributor of Jewish books.”

 

Non-Jewish souls ‘satanic’

 

While Chabad sometimes openly teaches that “the soul of the Jew is different than the soul of the non-Jew,” Schneerson’s specific teachings on this subject are largely unknown.

 

Quite likely very few Americans, both Jews and non-Jews, are aware of Schneerson’s teachings about the alleged deep differences between them – and about how these teachings are applied in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

Let us look at Schneerson’s words, as quoted by two respected Jewish professors, Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in their book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (text available online here. This book, praised by Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and many others is essential reading for anyone who truly wishes to understand modern day Israel-Palestine. (Brackets in the quotes below are in the translations by Shahak and Mezvinsky.)

 

Some of Schneerson’s rarely reported teachings:

 

“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: “Let us differentiate.” Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of “let us differentiate” between totally different species.”

 

“This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world … The difference in the inner quality between Jews and non-Jews is “so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species.”

 

“An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”

 

“As has been explained, an embryo is called a human being, because it has both body and soul. Thus, the difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish embryo can be understood.”

 

“…the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created

 

as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.”

 

“The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”

 

“The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews.”

 

Most people don’t know about this aspect of Schneerson’s teaching because, according to Shahak and Mezvinsky, such teachings are intentionally minimized, mistranslated, or

alison weir bookhidden entirely.

 

For example, the quotes above were translated by the authors from a book of Schneerson’s recorded messages to followers that was published in Israel in 1965. Despite Schneerson’s global importance and the fact that his world headquarters is in the U.S., there has never been an English translation of this volume.

 

Shahak, an Israeli professor who was a survivor of the Nazi holocaust, writes that this lack of translation of an important work is not unusual, explaining that much critical information about Israel and some forms of Judaism is available only in Hebrew.

 

He and co-author Mezvinsky, who was a Connecticut Distinguished University Professor who taught at Central Connecticut State University, write, “The great majority of the books on Judaism and Israel, published in English especially, falsify their subject matter.”

 

According to Shahak and Mezvinsky, “Almost every moderately sophisticated Israeli Jew knows the facts about Israeli Jewish society that are described in this book. These facts, however, are unknown to most interested Jews and non-Jews outside Israel who do not know Hebrew and thus cannot read most of what Israeli Jews write about themselves in Hebrew.”

 

In Shahak’s earlier book, Jewish Religion, Jewish History, he provides a number of examples. In one, he describes a 1962 book published in Israel in a bilingual edition. The Hebrew text was on one page, with the English translation on the facing page.

 

Shahak describes one set of facing pages in which the Hebrew text of a major Jewish code of laws contained a command to exterminate Jewish infidels: “It is a duty to exterminate them with one’s own hands.” The English version on the facing page softened it to “It is a duty to take active measures to destroy them.’”

 

The Hebrew page then went on to name which “infidels” must be exterminated, adding “may the name of the wicked rot.” Among them was Jesus of Nazareth. The facing page with the English translation failed to tell any of this.

 

“Even more significant,” Shahak reports, “in spite of the wide circulation of this book among scholars in the English-speaking countries, not one of them has, as far as I know, protested against this glaring deception.”

 

Praised by Said, Chomsky, etc., Shahak is almost unknown today

 

This pattern of selective omission, it seems, applies to Shahak himself, whose work is largely unknown to Palestine activists today, even though he was considered a major figure in the struggle against Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and his work was praised by diverse writers.

 

While Shahak was alive, Noam Chomsky called him “an outstanding scholar,” and said he had “remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.”

 

Edward Said wrote, “Shahak is a very brave man who should be honored for his services to humanity … One of the most remarkable individuals in the contemporary Middle East.” Said wrote a forward for Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion.

 

Catholic New Times said: ‘This is a remarkable book …[It] deserves a wide readership, not only among Jews, but among Christians who seek a fuller understanding both of historical Judaism and of modern-day Israel.”

 

Jewish Socialist stated: “Anyone who wants to change the Jewish community so that it stops siding with the forces of reaction should read this book.”

 

The London Review of Books called Shahak’s book “remarkable, powerful, and provocative.”

 

Yet, very few Americans today know of Shahak’s work and the information it contains.

 

American tax money & Jewish Extremism in Palestine

 

If they did, it’s hard to believe that Americans would allow $8.5 million per day of their tax money to be given to Israel, where such teachings underlie a powerful minority that is disproportionately influential in governmental actions.

 

Nor is it likely that a fully informed American public would allow donations to religious institutions in Israel that teach supremacist, sometimes violent doctrines to be tax-deductible in the U.S.

 

One organization raised over $10 million tax-deductible dollars in the U.S. in 2011 alone – removing money from the U.S. economy and enabling illegal, aggressive Israeli settlements in Palestine. And some of this money went to benefit individuals convicted of murder – including the murderer of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

 

The New York Times obituary on Schneerson reported that Schneerson was “a major political force in Israel, both in the Knesset and among the electorate,” but failed to describe the nature of his impact.

 

One of a sprinkling of writers willing to publicly discuss Shahak and Mezvinsky’s findings is Allan Brownfeld, who is less reticent. Brownfeld is editor of the American Council for Judaism’s periodical Issues and contributor to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

 

In a review of Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Brownfeld describes Schneerson’s views on Israel:

 

“Rabbi Schneerson always supported Israeli wars and opposed any retreat. In 1974 he strongly opposed the Israeli withdrawal from the Suez area. He promised Israel divine favors if it persisted in occupying the land.”

 

Brownfeld reports that after Schneerson’s death, “[T]housands of his Israeli followers played an important role in the election victory of Binyamin Netanyahu. Among the religious settlers in the occupied territories, the Chabad Hassids constitute one of the most extreme groups. Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer of Palestinians, was one of them.”

 

Another such Chabad Hassid is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg (also sometimes written as “Ginzburg” and “Ginsburgh”), who studied under Schneerson in Crown Heights and who heads up a major Chabad institution in the West Bank.

 

Ginsburg praised Goldstein, the murderer of 29 Palestinians while they were praying, and considers all non-Jews subhuman.

 

According to author Motti Inbari, Ginsburg “gives prominence to Halachic and Kabbalistic approaches that emphasize the distinction between Jew and non-Jew (Gentile), imposing a clear separation and hierarchy in this respect.”

 

In his book Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount: Who Will Build the Third Temple? Inbari states, “[Ginsburg] claims that while the Jews are the Chosen People and were created in God’s image, the Gentiles do not have this status and are effectively considered subhuman.”

 

Professor Inbari, an Israeli academic who now teaches in the U.S., writes that Ginsburg’s theological approach continues “certain perceptions that were popular in medieval times.”

 

“For example,” Inbari writes, “the commandment ‘You shall not murder’ does not apply to the killing of a Gentile, since ‘you shall not murder’ relates to the murder of a human, while for him the Gentiles do not constitute humans.”

 

Inbari reports, “Similarly, Ginzburg stated that, on the theoretical level, if a Jew requires a liver transplant to survive, it would be permissible to seize a Gentile and take their liver forcefully.”

 

While the mainstream American press almost never reports this kind of information, an April 26, 1996 article in Jewish Week by Lawrence Cohler reported on Ginsburg’s teachings, including their problematic roots in Jewish texts.

 

Cohler reported that a professor of Bible at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, “called for radically revising Jewish thinking about some Jewish texts on the grounds that scholars such as Rabbi Ginsburgh are far from aberrant in their use of them.”

 

Cohler quoted Greenberg’s concerns: “‘There’ll be a statement in Talmud… made in circumstances where it’s purely theoretical, because Jews then never had the power to do it,’ he explained. And now, he said, ‘It’s carried over into circumstances where Jews have a state and are empowered.’”

 

A rabbi associated with Ginsburg coauthored a notorious Israeli book, The King’s Torah, which claims that Jewish law at times permits the killing of non-Jewish infants. American donations to the Chabad school Ginsburg heads up, and that published the above book, are tax-deductible in the U.S. Ginsburg, who endorses the book, teaches classes throughout Israel, the U.S. and France.

 

Such extremism is opposed by the majority of Israelis, and major Jewish religious authorities condemn it, a Chief Rabbi, for example, stating: “’According to the Torah, every man is created in God’s image.”

 

Yet, such extremist views continue to exert a powerful influence.

 

Israeli military manuals echo extremist teachings: “kill even good civilians”

 

Israeli military manuals sometimes replicate extremist teachings. For example, a booklet authored by a Chief Chaplain stated, “In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians…” Such teachings by the IDF rabbinate were prominent during Israel’s 2008-9 attack on Gaza that killed 1,400 Gazans, approximately half of them civilians. (The Palestinian resistance killed nine Israelis during this “war.”)

 

Chicago writer Stephen Lendman has described these teachings, giving a number of examples.

 

Lendman writes, “In 2007, Israel’s former chief rabbi, Mordechai Elyahu, called for the Israeli army to mass-murder Palestinians:

 

“If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1000. And if they don’t stop after 1000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000. Even a million.”

 

Lendman reports that some extremist Israeli rabbis teach that “the ten commandments don’t apply to non-Jews. So killing them in defending the homeland is acceptable, and according to the chairman of the Jewish Rabbinic Council:

 

“‘There is no such thing as enemy civilians in war time. The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them…. A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.’”

 

Lendman writes, “Rabbi David Batsri called Arabs ‘a blight, a devil, a disaster…. donkeys, and we have to ask ourselves why God didn’t create them to walk on all fours. Well, the answer is that they are needed to build and clean.’”

 

Another such rabbi is Manis Friedman, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi inspired by Schneerson who served as the simultaneous translator for a series of Schneerson’s talks. (Friedman is currently dean of a Jewish Studies institute in Minnesota.)

 

A 2009 article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports, “Like the best Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis, Manis Friedman has won the hearts of many unaffiliated Jews with his charismatic talks about love and God; it was Friedman who helped lead Bob Dylan into a relationship with Chabad.

 

“But Friedman, who today travels the country as a Chabad speaker, showed a less warm and cuddly side when he was asked how he thinks Jews should treat their Arab neighbors.”

 

In Moment magazine’s article, “Ask the Rabbis // How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” Friedman answered:

 

“I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.

 

“The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).”

 

Lendman reports, “Views like these aren’t exceptions. Though a minority, they proliferate throughout Israeli society…”

 

They also, Lendman notes, work to prevent peace in Israel-Palestine.

 

Shahak and Mezvinsky note that when the book containing Schneerson’s statements quoted above about Jews and non-Jews was published in Israel, he was allied to the Labor Party and his movement had been provided “many important benefits” from the Israeli government.

 

In the mid-1970s Schneerson decided that the Labor Party was too moderate and shifted his support to the more right-wing parties in power today. The authors report, “Ariel Sharon was the Rebbe’s favorite Israeli senior politician. Sharon in turn praised the Rebbe publicly and delivered a moving speech about him in the Knesset after the Rebbe’s death.”

 

Roots in Some Early Texts

 

Brownfeld decries the fact that few Americans are properly informed about the fundamentalist movement in Israel “and the theology upon which it is based.”

 

He notes that Jewish Americans, in particular, are often unaware of the “narrow ethnocentrism which is promoted by the movement’s leading rabbis, or of the traditional Jewish sources they are able to call upon in drawing clear distinctions between the moral obligations owed to Jews and non-Jews.”

 

Teachings that Jews are superior and gentiles inferior were contained in some of the earliest Hassidic texts, including its classic text, “Tanya,” still taught today.

 

Brownfeld quotes statements by “the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism,” Rabbi Kook the Elder, and states that these were derived from earlier texts. [Kook, incidentally, was also an early Zionist, who helped push for the Balfour Declaration in England before moving to Palestine. He was the uncle of Hillel Kook, an agent who went by the name “Peter Bergson” and created front groups in the U.S. for a violent Zionist guerilla group that operated in 1930s and '40s Palestine.]

 

Brownfeld quotes Kook: “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

 

Brownfeld explains that Kook’s teaching, which he says is followed by leaders of the settler movement in the occupied West Bank, “is based upon the Lurianic Cabbala, the school of Jewish mysticism that dominated Judaism from the late 16th to the early 19th century.”

 

Shahak and Mezvinsky state, “One of the basic tenets of the Lurianic Cabbala is the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. According to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews; the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary.”

 

Again, Shahak and Mezvinsky report that this aspect is often covered up in English-language discussions. Scholarly authors of books about Jewish mysticism and the Lurianic Cabbala, they write, have frequently “willfully omitted reference to such ideas.”

 

Shahak and Mezvinsky write that it is essential to understand these beliefs in order to understand the current situation in the West Bank, where many of the most militant West Bank settlers are motivated by religious ideologies in which every non-Jew is seen as “the earthly embodiment” of Satan, and according to the Halacha (Jewish law), the term ‘human beings’ refers solely to Jews.”

 

Israeli author and former chief of Israeli military intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi touches on this in his 1988 book Israel’s Fateful Hour.

 

Harkabi writes that while such extremist beliefs are not “widely dominant,” the reality is that “nationalistic religious extremists are by no means a lunatic fringe; many are respected men whose words are widely heeded.”

 

He reports that the campus rabbi of a major Israeli university published an article in the student newspaper entitled “The Commandment of Genocide in the Torah,” in which he implied that those who have a quarrel with Jews “ought to be destroyed, children and all.” Harkabi writes that a book by another rabbi “explained that the killing of a non-Jew is not considered murder.”

 

Brownfeld writes, “Although messianic fundamentalists constitute a relatively small portion of the Israeli population [most Israeli settlers are motivated by the subsidized lifestyle US tax money to Israel provides], their political influence has been growing. If they have contempt for non-Jews, their hatred for Jews who oppose their views is even greater.”

 

Brownfeld cites the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had started to make peace with the Palestinians, writing that it was just one “in a long line of murders of Jews who followed a path different from that ordained by rabbinic authorities.” Brownfeld reports that Shahak and Mezvinsky “cite case after case, from the Middle Ages until the 19th century.”

 

The authors report, “It was usual in some Hasidic circles until the last quarter of the nineteenth century to attack and often to murder Jews who had reform religious tendencies…”

 

They quote a long article by Israeli writer Rami Rosen, “History of a Denial,” published by Ha’aretz Magazine in 1996. This article, which cannot be found online, at least in English, is also cited in the book Brother Against Brother: Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics from Altalena to the Rabin Assassination, by Israeli professor Ehud Sprinzak.

 

In his Ha’aretz article Rosen reported: “A check of main facts of the [Jewish] historiography of the last 1500 years shows that the picture is different from the one previously shown to us. It includes massacres of Christians; mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus that usually took place on Purim; cruel murders within the family; liquidation of informers, often done for religious reasons by secret rabbinical courts, which issued a sentence of ‘pursuer’ and appointed secret executioners; assassinations of adulterous women in synagogues and/or the cutting of their noses by command of the rabbis.”

 

While Rosen’s article may seem shocking, in reality, it simply shows that members of the Jewish population, like members of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and diverse other populations, have at times committed atrocities, sometimes allegedly in the name of their religion. The difference, as Shahak and Mezvinsky point out, is that such information is largely covered up in the U.S. Such cover-ups, however, don’t make facts go away. They merely bury them, where they smolder and at times eventually lead to exaggerated perceptions.

 

U.S. media rarely report that some extremist Israeli settlers are intensely hostile to Christians, and in one instance threatened peace activists who came to the West Bank to participate in nonviolent demonstrations, “We killed Jesus and we’ll kill you, too.” There is also a record of official hostility. For example, a few years ago an Israeli mayor ordered all New Testaments to be rounded up and burned.

 

Schneerson’s “schools”

 

While Schneerson is honored on national “Education” days, the reality is that the elementary schools he created often failed to teach children “basic reading, writing, spelling, math, science and history,” according to a graduate.

 

In his article “National Education Day and the Education I Never Had,” Chaim Levin reports on his experience at the Chabad school “Oholei Torah” (Educational Institute Oholei Menachem) in Crown Heights, New York – the site of Chabad’s world headquarters:

 

“I have profound respect for the late Rebbe and his legacy. However, I remember very clearly those talks that [Schneerson] gave – the ones we studied every year in elementary school about the unimportance of ‘secular’ (non-religious, formal) education, and the great importance of only studying limmudei kodesh (holy studies). As a result of this attitude, thousands of students were not taught anything other than the Bible throughout our years attending Chabad institutions.”

 

The goal of such schools, Levin writes, was to produce “schluchim,” missionaries who would promote Chabad all over the world.

 

Meanwhile, he notes, “Failure to provide basic formal education cripples children within Chabad communities. We cannot ignore the harm done…” Levin writes, “Until this day, Oholei Torah and many other Chabad schools — particularly schools for boys and a few for girls in Crown Heights and in some other places — do not provide basic formal education.”

 

Education and Sharing Day 2014

 

In his 2000 article, Brownfeld writes that Shahak and Mezvinsky’s book should be “a wake-up call “to Americans, particularly Jewish supporters of Israel.”

 

Fourteen years later, however, very few people are aware of these books and their powerful information, and U.S. tax money continues to flow to Israel. The main author, Israel Shahak, is now dead, as is Edward Said; Noam Chomsky rarely, if ever, mentions him; and Shahak’s co-author, Norton Mezvinsky (uncle of Chelsea Clinton’s husband), is a member of a Lubavitch congregation in New York.

 

In many ways, little seems to have changed since 1994, when Congressmen Charles Schumer, Newt Gingrich, and others introduced legislation to bestow on Schneerson the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed both Houses by unanimous consent, honoring Schneerson for his “outstanding and lasting contributions toward improvements in world education, morality, and acts of charity.”

 

And in two weeks, Americans will be officially called on to observe a day that honors Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and the Lubavitcher movement.

 

That is, unless masses of people contact their Congressional representatives to demand a whole new direction: a “National Education and Sharing Day” that honors an individual who values education, and who believes that all people – in the words of the Declaration of Independence – are created equal.

 

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest. Her book, Against Our Better Judgment: How the U.S. was used to create Israel, contains additional information on Rabbi Kook’s family connection to American front groups for Israeli terrorists. (Kook was unusual in his support for political Zionism; most Jewish religious leaders at the time considered the movement heretical).

Wotancraft's Traveler's Notebook and City Explorer Camera Bag Review - Part 2

 

I've been using Wotancraft's Ranger bag for 25 days and it is only now suitable to give you this review from my personal experience. My Ranger was with me all the time during my business trip to Taipei and Shanghai, as well as daily uses after I came back to Hong Kong, in rainy days, hiking and beach side BBQ, etc.

 

The soul behind Wotancraft is James, whom started researching about 5 years ago to create a camera bag he would use. I had a great time visiting James and chatted about his creation for about an hour. The name and logo of the company bears a resemblance of the Warcraft role-playing game logo, but James never knew about it when he named the company. Wotancraft means in every sense a desire to achieve perfection in craftsmanship. "Wotan" the old high German form of "Odin", is a major god in Norse mythology who is associated with battle, victory, wisdom and magic. James would like his company to be a powerful one almost achieving a mythical status through highest possible quality standard. He believes careful craftsmanship is better than mass production. Let's see how much details are being put in this US$449 all purpose bag.

 

Ranger's distressed and nomadic look is not only defined by its unique navy grey canvas and dark brown leather mix, but also the carefully aging processes done to the material. For example, to achieve the effect, the canvas was washed, wrinkled, brushed and stained before a final wax coating was put on it. Although this aging thing sounds a bit superficial, but the minute you start to use it, you literally skip the honeymoon period trying to use the bag carefully, it feels like you've been using it for a while and it is part of you. I mean it, not to worry a bit about scratches on leather, nor to spend time intentionally distressing it heavily in order to feel a personal ownership.

 

The look is just one of the many carefully planned features of a Ranger. A lot of the satchels you see in the market have those two straps coming down from the top over the flap, they are there mostly for decorative purpose and not designed to function. Ranger's straps are there because James wanted to solve one problem, to carry a jacket when you don't have an extra hand. I'm sure many of you have the same problem, the places we go to take photos can have huge temperature differences, nobody wants to carry a larger volume bag just to take care of the jacket. These straps became very handy because they are extra long yet adjustable, I could tie my scarf or slide my leather jacket beneath them with zero efforts during business trips. On rainy days, I also carry a retractable umbrella like that for quick access.

 

Two additional straps fixed to the bottom of Ranger can also be used to carry your jacket or tripod.

 

Let's talk about external pockets. There are two side pockets for small stuffs, I wish they were big enough to put my iPhone though. The two front pockets are large enough for small cameras like my Natura Classica or Olympus EP-3 with pancake lens. One problem with these front pockets is that there is no flap to secure the contents inside, I might have to stitch a leather flap with snaps by myself someday so that I can feel safer to put camera or keychains in them. This is obviously a point for improvement.

 

Behind the front pockets is a zip pocket large enough to put your iPad, this became my quick access pocket to important things like my Traveler's Notebook. Now these three pockets are behind the bag's leather flap, but you don't need to unfasten the snaps to access them, just quickly pull over the flap to reveal and retrieve, very handy and speedy!

 

Gear protection. Heavily inspired by WWII aesthetics, Wotancraft highlights Ranger with aluminum buckles and brass snaps on the outside, but gets serious with gear protection on the inside. The removable MK.I pouch, using the same material as military hovercraft's air cushion on the surface, sealed by YKK water-repellent zipper, is almost 100% waterproof. According to James, he is planning a MK.II version which is completely seamless with even better waterproof features. Well, waterproofing is not what I'm looking for, but you can see how dedicated he is to the details.

 

On both the MK.I pouch and the external bag, there are hidden velcros. They are there to make sure your MK.I pouch is fixed firmly inside the bag, but when they are not needed, the velcros are hidden to prevent scratching on your equipments. The inside of MK.I pouch is made from high density foam covered with very smooth micro fiber cloth, making camera retrieval a low friction effort in addition to the heavy duty protection. Four dividers are provided so that you can create your own suitable compartments. I can put 3 cameras inside: Canon F1 with 85mm f1.2 lens, Voigtlander R4A with Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens, Olympus EP-3 with 12mm f2.0 lens.

 

So literally you have 3 layers of protections. Waterproof anti-shock MK.I, external waxed canvas bag with zipper and the leather flap. For my daily use, I actually don't need the MK.I pouch, I usually put a slimmer Artisan & Artist inner pouch to carry 1 camera, the Ranger immediately shrinks into a transit friendly casual bag.

 

Here's some more smart features of the Ranger. For a large bag like this, it takes time to unzip all the way and resistance at the two corners is inevitable. If you are not a zipper person like me, you can leave the canvas cover half zipped half opened, this can be achieved by folding the cover in half, it snaps in place by itself because of the built in magnets, it makes cameras accessible yet secure inside, very smart design. If you are an insecure person and always want to zip up everything, speedy access is still possible because there is a small leather tab you can leave dangling outside, with just one quick pull of the tab, both zipper heads fly open in split seconds! James nailed it, satisfying men's desire to access their tools with speed, imagine this design on a pair of jeans :)

 

A final note on features. There is a laptop compartment inside the canvas bag, suitable for my 13" Macbook Air or 15" models. There are small pockets for pen and accessories sitting behind the laptop compartment as well, although I don't use them that much.

 

I have to mention the weight, which is important to photographers. My Saddleback briefcase medium size is a heavy 2.95 kg monster, I love the bag but I just can't use it to carry cameras, it is killing my shoulders and spine. Wotancraft's Ranger is 1.72 kg without the MK.I pouch (which is 0.52 kg by itself). The reason why it is slightly heavier than a typical canvas bag is that wax was not only coated but actually soaked thoroughly into the canvas, you can see I had no hesitation to leave my Ranger on a wet football field in one of the photos. The softness of cushioned canvas also makes it more comfortable to body than hard thick leather used on the Saddleback briefcase (well I know, Saddleback's was never designed for photographers anyway).

 

The shoulder strap. Beautiful piece of craftsmanship, it feels very comfortable hanging down the shoulder or diagonally crossing the body. Even though its length is adjustable, I still found it a bit too long coz I like to carry weight close to my center of gravity (I'm 5'8" last time I checked 20 years ago). So I did a little modification to suit my need. There are two small built in D-rings near each end of the shoulder pad, I stitched safety hooks on them with scrap leather, giving me an option to shorten or quick releasing the strap in 5 possible lengths. Now I can carry my Ranger comfortably as a messenger bag or as a clutch bag.

 

If you are new to Wontancraft's Ranger, I must remind you to use sand paper to blunt the buckle pins coz they are very sharp. I also found that some of the leather edge finishing paint may fall off, I have no problem with that because it helps to give the distressed look I like about Ranger. In any case, Wotancraft is serious about quality, according to Wotancraft and both distributors I know (one from Hong Kong (Annie Barton), one from Netherlands (Vintage 217)), they are fully committed to give Wotancraft users complete satisfaction, just shoot them an email if you need support, they are all decent and nice people as far as I know. Again, Wotancraft is not a corporation but just a few artisans behind doing what they enjoy most, you can expect friendly services and dedication to details. I would give Ranger a 9.5 out of 10 score as a cool stylish and function rich camera/casual bag.

 

During my discussion with James in their Taipei showroom, he told me that he is designing a future add-on to the Ranger bag, a strap to convert Ranger into a backpack! I need that James! Especially in a long day I need it to be a backpack, then it is perfect!

 

A week ago, Steve Huff reviewed Wotancraft's City Explorer Paratrooper camera bag, check out his video below.

 

More on Scription blog: scription.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/wotancrafts-travelers-...

Wotancraft's Traveler's Notebook and City Explorer Camera Bag Review - Part 2

 

I've been using Wotancraft's Ranger bag for 25 days and it is only now suitable to give you this review from my personal experience. My Ranger was with me all the time during my business trip to Taipei and Shanghai, as well as daily uses after I came back to Hong Kong, in rainy days, hiking and beach side BBQ, etc.

 

The soul behind Wotancraft is James, whom started researching about 5 years ago to create a camera bag he would use. I had a great time visiting James and chatted about his creation for about an hour. The name and logo of the company bears a resemblance of the Warcraft role-playing game logo, but James never knew about it when he named the company. Wotancraft means in every sense a desire to achieve perfection in craftsmanship. "Wotan" the old high German form of "Odin", is a major god in Norse mythology who is associated with battle, victory, wisdom and magic. James would like his company to be a powerful one almost achieving a mythical status through highest possible quality standard. He believes careful craftsmanship is better than mass production. Let's see how much details are being put in this US$449 all purpose bag.

 

Ranger's distressed and nomadic look is not only defined by its unique navy grey canvas and dark brown leather mix, but also the carefully aging processes done to the material. For example, to achieve the effect, the canvas was washed, wrinkled, brushed and stained before a final wax coating was put on it. Although this aging thing sounds a bit superficial, but the minute you start to use it, you literally skip the honeymoon period trying to use the bag carefully, it feels like you've been using it for a while and it is part of you. I mean it, not to worry a bit about scratches on leather, nor to spend time intentionally distressing it heavily in order to feel a personal ownership.

 

The look is just one of the many carefully planned features of a Ranger. A lot of the satchels you see in the market have those two straps coming down from the top over the flap, they are there mostly for decorative purpose and not designed to function. Ranger's straps are there because James wanted to solve one problem, to carry a jacket when you don't have an extra hand. I'm sure many of you have the same problem, the places we go to take photos can have huge temperature differences, nobody wants to carry a larger volume bag just to take care of the jacket. These straps became very handy because they are extra long yet adjustable, I could tie my scarf or slide my leather jacket beneath them with zero efforts during business trips. On rainy days, I also carry a retractable umbrella like that for quick access.

 

Two additional straps fixed to the bottom of Ranger can also be used to carry your jacket or tripod.

 

Let's talk about external pockets. There are two side pockets for small stuffs, I wish they were big enough to put my iPhone though. The two front pockets are large enough for small cameras like my Natura Classica or Olympus EP-3 with pancake lens. One problem with these front pockets is that there is no flap to secure the contents inside, I might have to stitch a leather flap with snaps by myself someday so that I can feel safer to put camera or keychains in them. This is obviously a point for improvement.

 

Behind the front pockets is a zip pocket large enough to put your iPad, this became my quick access pocket to important things like my Traveler's Notebook. Now these three pockets are behind the bag's leather flap, but you don't need to unfasten the snaps to access them, just quickly pull over the flap to reveal and retrieve, very handy and speedy!

 

Gear protection. Heavily inspired by WWII aesthetics, Wotancraft highlights Ranger with aluminum buckles and brass snaps on the outside, but gets serious with gear protection on the inside. The removable MK.I pouch, using the same material as military hovercraft's air cushion on the surface, sealed by YKK water-repellent zipper, is almost 100% waterproof. According to James, he is planning a MK.II version which is completely seamless with even better waterproof features. Well, waterproofing is not what I'm looking for, but you can see how dedicated he is to the details.

 

On both the MK.I pouch and the external bag, there are hidden velcros. They are there to make sure your MK.I pouch is fixed firmly inside the bag, but when they are not needed, the velcros are hidden to prevent scratching on your equipments. The inside of MK.I pouch is made from high density foam covered with very smooth micro fiber cloth, making camera retrieval a low friction effort in addition to the heavy duty protection. Four dividers are provided so that you can create your own suitable compartments. I can put 3 cameras inside: Canon F1 with 85mm f1.2 lens, Voigtlander R4A with Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens, Olympus EP-3 with 12mm f2.0 lens.

 

So literally you have 3 layers of protections. Waterproof anti-shock MK.I, external waxed canvas bag with zipper and the leather flap. For my daily use, I actually don't need the MK.I pouch, I usually put a slimmer Artisan & Artist inner pouch to carry 1 camera, the Ranger immediately shrinks into a transit friendly casual bag.

 

Here's some more smart features of the Ranger. For a large bag like this, it takes time to unzip all the way and resistance at the two corners is inevitable. If you are not a zipper person like me, you can leave the canvas cover half zipped half opened, this can be achieved by folding the cover in half, it snaps in place by itself because of the built in magnets, it makes cameras accessible yet secure inside, very smart design. If you are an insecure person and always want to zip up everything, speedy access is still possible because there is a small leather tab you can leave dangling outside, with just one quick pull of the tab, both zipper heads fly open in split seconds! James nailed it, satisfying men's desire to access their tools with speed, imagine this design on a pair of jeans :)

 

A final note on features. There is a laptop compartment inside the canvas bag, suitable for my 13" Macbook Air or 15" models. There are small pockets for pen and accessories sitting behind the laptop compartment as well, although I don't use them that much.

 

I have to mention the weight, which is important to photographers. My Saddleback briefcase medium size is a heavy 2.95 kg monster, I love the bag but I just can't use it to carry cameras, it is killing my shoulders and spine. Wotancraft's Ranger is 1.72 kg without the MK.I pouch (which is 0.52 kg by itself). The reason why it is slightly heavier than a typical canvas bag is that wax was not only coated but actually soaked thoroughly into the canvas, you can see I had no hesitation to leave my Ranger on a wet football field in one of the photos. The softness of cushioned canvas also makes it more comfortable to body than hard thick leather used on the Saddleback briefcase (well I know, Saddleback's was never designed for photographers anyway).

 

The shoulder strap. Beautiful piece of craftsmanship, it feels very comfortable hanging down the shoulder or diagonally crossing the body. Even though its length is adjustable, I still found it a bit too long coz I like to carry weight close to my center of gravity (I'm 5'8" last time I checked 20 years ago). So I did a little modification to suit my need. There are two small built in D-rings near each end of the shoulder pad, I stitched safety hooks on them with scrap leather, giving me an option to shorten or quick releasing the strap in 5 possible lengths. Now I can carry my Ranger comfortably as a messenger bag or as a clutch bag.

 

If you are new to Wontancraft's Ranger, I must remind you to use sand paper to blunt the buckle pins coz they are very sharp. I also found that some of the leather edge finishing paint may fall off, I have no problem with that because it helps to give the distressed look I like about Ranger. In any case, Wotancraft is serious about quality, according to Wotancraft and both distributors I know (one from Hong Kong (Annie Barton), one from Netherlands (Vintage 217)), they are fully committed to give Wotancraft users complete satisfaction, just shoot them an email if you need support, they are all decent and nice people as far as I know. Again, Wotancraft is not a corporation but just a few artisans behind doing what they enjoy most, you can expect friendly services and dedication to details. I would give Ranger a 9.5 out of 10 score as a cool stylish and function rich camera/casual bag.

 

During my discussion with James in their Taipei showroom, he told me that he is designing a future add-on to the Ranger bag, a strap to convert Ranger into a backpack! I need that James! Especially in a long day I need it to be a backpack, then it is perfect!

 

A week ago, Steve Huff reviewed Wotancraft's City Explorer Paratrooper camera bag, check out his video below.

 

More on Scription blog: scription.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/wotancrafts-travelers-...

Wotancraft's Traveler's Notebook and City Explorer Camera Bag Review - Part 2

 

I've been using Wotancraft's Ranger bag for 25 days and it is only now suitable to give you this review from my personal experience. My Ranger was with me all the time during my business trip to Taipei and Shanghai, as well as daily uses after I came back to Hong Kong, in rainy days, hiking and beach side BBQ, etc.

 

The soul behind Wotancraft is James, whom started researching about 5 years ago to create a camera bag he would use. I had a great time visiting James and chatted about his creation for about an hour. The name and logo of the company bears a resemblance of the Warcraft role-playing game logo, but James never knew about it when he named the company. Wotancraft means in every sense a desire to achieve perfection in craftsmanship. "Wotan" the old high German form of "Odin", is a major god in Norse mythology who is associated with battle, victory, wisdom and magic. James would like his company to be a powerful one almost achieving a mythical status through highest possible quality standard. He believes careful craftsmanship is better than mass production. Let's see how much details are being put in this US$449 all purpose bag.

 

Ranger's distressed and nomadic look is not only defined by its unique navy grey canvas and dark brown leather mix, but also the carefully aging processes done to the material. For example, to achieve the effect, the canvas was washed, wrinkled, brushed and stained before a final wax coating was put on it. Although this aging thing sounds a bit superficial, but the minute you start to use it, you literally skip the honeymoon period trying to use the bag carefully, it feels like you've been using it for a while and it is part of you. I mean it, not to worry a bit about scratches on leather, nor to spend time intentionally distressing it heavily in order to feel a personal ownership.

 

The look is just one of the many carefully planned features of a Ranger. A lot of the satchels you see in the market have those two straps coming down from the top over the flap, they are there mostly for decorative purpose and not designed to function. Ranger's straps are there because James wanted to solve one problem, to carry a jacket when you don't have an extra hand. I'm sure many of you have the same problem, the places we go to take photos can have huge temperature differences, nobody wants to carry a larger volume bag just to take care of the jacket. These straps became very handy because they are extra long yet adjustable, I could tie my scarf or slide my leather jacket beneath them with zero efforts during business trips. On rainy days, I also carry a retractable umbrella like that for quick access.

 

Two additional straps fixed to the bottom of Ranger can also be used to carry your jacket or tripod.

 

Let's talk about external pockets. There are two side pockets for small stuffs, I wish they were big enough to put my iPhone though. The two front pockets are large enough for small cameras like my Natura Classica or Olympus EP-3 with pancake lens. One problem with these front pockets is that there is no flap to secure the contents inside, I might have to stitch a leather flap with snaps by myself someday so that I can feel safer to put camera or keychains in them. This is obviously a point for improvement.

 

Behind the front pockets is a zip pocket large enough to put your iPad, this became my quick access pocket to important things like my Traveler's Notebook. Now these three pockets are behind the bag's leather flap, but you don't need to unfasten the snaps to access them, just quickly pull over the flap to reveal and retrieve, very handy and speedy!

 

Gear protection. Heavily inspired by WWII aesthetics, Wotancraft highlights Ranger with aluminum buckles and brass snaps on the outside, but gets serious with gear protection on the inside. The removable MK.I pouch, using the same material as military hovercraft's air cushion on the surface, sealed by YKK water-repellent zipper, is almost 100% waterproof. According to James, he is planning a MK.II version which is completely seamless with even better waterproof features. Well, waterproofing is not what I'm looking for, but you can see how dedicated he is to the details.

 

On both the MK.I pouch and the external bag, there are hidden velcros. They are there to make sure your MK.I pouch is fixed firmly inside the bag, but when they are not needed, the velcros are hidden to prevent scratching on your equipments. The inside of MK.I pouch is made from high density foam covered with very smooth micro fiber cloth, making camera retrieval a low friction effort in addition to the heavy duty protection. Four dividers are provided so that you can create your own suitable compartments. I can put 3 cameras inside: Canon F1 with 85mm f1.2 lens, Voigtlander R4A with Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens, Olympus EP-3 with 12mm f2.0 lens.

 

So literally you have 3 layers of protections. Waterproof anti-shock MK.I, external waxed canvas bag with zipper and the leather flap. For my daily use, I actually don't need the MK.I pouch, I usually put a slimmer Artisan & Artist inner pouch to carry 1 camera, the Ranger immediately shrinks into a transit friendly casual bag.

 

Here's some more smart features of the Ranger. For a large bag like this, it takes time to unzip all the way and resistance at the two corners is inevitable. If you are not a zipper person like me, you can leave the canvas cover half zipped half opened, this can be achieved by folding the cover in half, it snaps in place by itself because of the built in magnets, it makes cameras accessible yet secure inside, very smart design. If you are an insecure person and always want to zip up everything, speedy access is still possible because there is a small leather tab you can leave dangling outside, with just one quick pull of the tab, both zipper heads fly open in split seconds! James nailed it, satisfying men's desire to access their tools with speed, imagine this design on a pair of jeans :)

 

A final note on features. There is a laptop compartment inside the canvas bag, suitable for my 13" Macbook Air or 15" models. There are small pockets for pen and accessories sitting behind the laptop compartment as well, although I don't use them that much.

 

I have to mention the weight, which is important to photographers. My Saddleback briefcase medium size is a heavy 2.95 kg monster, I love the bag but I just can't use it to carry cameras, it is killing my shoulders and spine. Wotancraft's Ranger is 1.72 kg without the MK.I pouch (which is 0.52 kg by itself). The reason why it is slightly heavier than a typical canvas bag is that wax was not only coated but actually soaked thoroughly into the canvas, you can see I had no hesitation to leave my Ranger on a wet football field in one of the photos. The softness of cushioned canvas also makes it more comfortable to body than hard thick leather used on the Saddleback briefcase (well I know, Saddleback's was never designed for photographers anyway).

 

The shoulder strap. Beautiful piece of craftsmanship, it feels very comfortable hanging down the shoulder or diagonally crossing the body. Even though its length is adjustable, I still found it a bit too long coz I like to carry weight close to my center of gravity (I'm 5'8" last time I checked 20 years ago). So I did a little modification to suit my need. There are two small built in D-rings near each end of the shoulder pad, I stitched safety hooks on them with scrap leather, giving me an option to shorten or quick releasing the strap in 5 possible lengths. Now I can carry my Ranger comfortably as a messenger bag or as a clutch bag.

 

If you are new to Wontancraft's Ranger, I must remind you to use sand paper to blunt the buckle pins coz they are very sharp. I also found that some of the leather edge finishing paint may fall off, I have no problem with that because it helps to give the distressed look I like about Ranger. In any case, Wotancraft is serious about quality, according to Wotancraft and both distributors I know (one from Hong Kong (Annie Barton), one from Netherlands (Vintage 217)), they are fully committed to give Wotancraft users complete satisfaction, just shoot them an email if you need support, they are all decent and nice people as far as I know. Again, Wotancraft is not a corporation but just a few artisans behind doing what they enjoy most, you can expect friendly services and dedication to details. I would give Ranger a 9.5 out of 10 score as a cool stylish and function rich camera/casual bag.

 

During my discussion with James in their Taipei showroom, he told me that he is designing a future add-on to the Ranger bag, a strap to convert Ranger into a backpack! I need that James! Especially in a long day I need it to be a backpack, then it is perfect!

 

A week ago, Steve Huff reviewed Wotancraft's City Explorer Paratrooper camera bag, check out his video below.

 

More on Scription blog: scription.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/wotancrafts-travelers-...

German postcard by Krüger, nr. 902/190. Photo: Bernard of Hollywood. Publicity still for Die Dreigroschenoper/The Three Penny Opera (1962).

 

British actress June Ritchie (1938) is perhaps best known for starring opposite Alan Bates in A Kind of Loving (1962).

 

June R. Ritchie was born in Manchester, England, in 1938. Ritchie trained at the RADA and later became an Associate Member of RADA. She started off her acting career with the Stretford Childrens Theatre in Manchester before landing her first major film role in the kitchen sink drama A Kind of Loving (1962, John Schlesinger). A Kind Of Loving was filmed in late 1961 and released in 1962 after being given an X certificate by the British Board of Film Censors. According to Eleanor Mannikka on All Movie Guide it is a “well-wrought romance” situated in the industrial area of Lancashire, where a draftsman wants only a physical relationship with the woman of his choice, a typist who wants true love. She becomes pregnant, which tests the mettle of their relationship more than anything else they could have imagined. June Ritchie’s next film role was Polly Peachum in a French/German adaptation of the Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht piece Die Dreigroschenoper/The Three Penny Opera (1962, Wolfgang Staudte). The reactions on the film were mixed although the critics were positive about the central performances of Curd Jurgens as robber captain MacHeath and his romantic interest Polly Peachum, the daughter of beggar king J. J. Peachum (Gert Frobe). For the film's American release, distributor Joseph E. Levine hired Sammy Davis Jr. to play the Ballad Singer, who narrates the story, introduces the scenes, and sings the opera's most famous song Moritat (The Ballad of Mack the Knife).

 

That same year June Ritchie also appeared in the comedy-drama Live Now Pay Later (1962, Jay Lewis) about an unscrupulous salesman, Albert (Ian Hendry), who is beset by a whole series of problems, all of his own making. She then appeared in the dour drama The World Ten Times Over about the misfortunes of two aging single women, Sylvia Sims and Ritchie, who live together in an apartment, and each works as a hostess at a night club. Ritchie also appeared in the comedy The Mouse on the Moon (1963, Richard Lester) a less-successful sequel to the The Mouse that Roared.Then when her film career was just kicking off June Ritchie married Marcus Goodrich and semi-retired. When she felt like it she played roles in films, tv-series of stage productions. In the cinema she was seen in films like the African adventure The Syndicate (1968, Frederic Goodis). On stage she made her London debut in Too True to Be Good (1965) at the Strand Theatre and she played Scarlett O'Hara in a musical version of Gone With the Wind (1972) at the Drury Lane Theatre opposite Harve Presnell as Rhett Butler. She appeared in many British television dramas including series like Pere Goriot (1971) an adaptation of Honore de Balzac's tragic novel, The Persuaders with Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, the drama series You're On Your Own (1975) and Tales of the Unexpected. She turns up in British radio plays quite regularly. June Ritchie is still happily married to Marcus Goodrich.

 

Sources: Eleanor Mannikka (All Movie Guide), Hal Erickson (All Movie Guide), Wikipedia, Britmovie, and IMDb.

The above photo is of a Deitz 28-80mm ƒ3.5-4.5 Macro Lens.

"Lens Made in Japan" by... (well..., you'll have to read the article).

 

When in "normal" (aka "non-macro") mode, this lens is incompatible with focus peaking. It's almost as if the lens doesn't even change focus in "normal" mode. Turning the focus ring seems to do absolutely nothing, although it takes well focused images when set to infinity. In macro mode, it works very nicely with focus peaking.

 

***You won't find the following story anywhere else on the internet, unless someone copies it from me.***

 

A Brief History of Deitz Lenses

by Mike Welfl, December 24, 2012

(updated December 25, 2012).

All rights reserved.

(Please ask for permission to repost).

 

According to Dean Jenson, a former employee of the legendary Brooks Camera in San Francisco, the Deitz lens brand was the "creation" of Julius Bloch, the longtime owner and co-founder of Brooks Camera.

 

A bit of background: According to Mr. Bloch's obituary, he co-founded Brooks Camera in 1940 and soon became its sole owner. It eventually became an internationally famous store. … "Twice, it was named the top photo store in the country." Mr. Bloch sold it in 1971 but "continued to work as a broker of photographic equipment -- until he was 90."

 

Dean Jenson, a native of western Nebraska, moved to San Francisco in 1969 and worked at Brooks Camera from 1969 to 1976. From 1976 to 1984 he worked for Julius Bloch's "JB Company" in South San Francisco. At the same time, he worked at Photo Sales International (PSI), which was closely associated with JB Company. In fact, JB Company was was located in PSI's warehouse.

 

I've known Dean since the late 1990s. Yesterday (12-23-12), I emailed him regarding the original caption that went with the above photo, since it is he who gave me the lens. He volunteered the following information:

 

-----

 

"Julius Bloch owned Brooks Camera when I started working there. He sold it while I was there.

 

"When I started working at PSI, Mr. Bloch had a lot of money invested in it. He had an office in the back of the warehouse where he had this 'little hobby' [JB Company]. He asked me if I would keep his books."

 

"JB Company was basically a one-person operation, [although] I worked on his books, and there was an accountant. He used the PSI warehouse personnel to pack and ship his orders that were not drop-shipped."

 

"…Mr. Bloch knew absolutely everybody. Someone would call him and say they had a large number of a certain item. He would [then] get on the phone and find someone who wanted to buy them. The seller usually shipped the merchandise directly to the buyer. Mr. Bloch usually never saw the items. I invoiced between $150,000 and $600,000 A MONTH for JB Company. His accounts receivable usually ran at least $500,000 at any one time. Some 'little hobby,' huh???"

 

[I asked Dean how he ended up leaving Brooks and going to work at PSI.]

 

"The owner of PSI was Al Gamson. Al sold a lot of the stuff to my department (accessory dept.) [at] Brooks. To bribe me so I didn't order from his competition, once a week he would take me out to breakfast. Then, when Brooks replaced me with 2 high school kids, Mr. Bloch told Al to call me."

 

Deitz Lenses

Dean continues, "Mr. Bloch also imported some lenses directly from Japan. He was the creator, owner and distributor for Deitz. They were sold under his company name, JB Company.

 

"EVERY Deitz lens went through his office. The 'warehouse' was one wall of shelves with curtains in front. Although he did sell to camera stores, he basically sold to his buddies, so not a lot of stores sold them. I'd say his customer list was less than 100 stores, probably less than 50 that he sold to regularly. It's been too long, but if I had to guess, I'd say most of the Deitz lenses went to Brooks in SF, Sandy's (a chain of camera stores in Oregon), one in LA, and one in NY, but can't remember those names. Would have been major camera stores. Would have sold small numbers to other dealers. […]

 

"How did he come up with name Deitz? I have no idea. He was German; wonder if it meant something in German? Maybe to make people think it was a German lens???? […] The name Deitz was unique."

 

[I (Mike Welfl) wildly speculate that maybe Deitz was Mr. Bloch's wife's or mother's maiden name. I do agree, though, that Mr. Bloch may have chosen a German name in order to make people think Deitz lenses are German.]

 

Dean continues, "The factories that made the lenses would put whatever name [on them] that was requested, so there were identical lenses with other brand names on them." [See the end of this article for other brand names on some of the same lenses.]

 

[I asked Dean if he could remember the manufacturer(s) who made Deitz lenses, but he could not.]

 

[UPDATE December 25, 2012: After further research this morning, I have discovered that the manufacturer of my particular Deitz 28-80mm ƒ3.5-4.5 Macro Zoom lens was Makina Optical Co., Ltd., of Tokyo, Japan (see here and here). The company went out of business around 1985. All of Makina Optical's lenses -- including their own Makinon lenses -- have nearly identical physical characteristics: i.e. the same design style, the same fonts (including color, style and placement). Links to several Makina Optical lenses are included at the end of this article. No other manufacturer's lenses look quite like those that were made by Makina Optical.]

 

Concluding Notes

Dean continues, "While I was still [at PSI], Argraph from New Jersey bought it, about 1982.

 

[I asked him if he had any stationery or invoices from Brooks, JB Company and/or PSI.]

 

"Not a thing. I wish I had a catalog I made from nothing [for PSI]. I did the photography, wrote the descriptions, pasted up the artwork for the pages, made the metal sheet for the printing press, ran the printing press, collated the pages and shipped the finished catalog."

 

Post Script

In 1984 Dean moved to Oregon and became a well known creator of precision-crafted miniatures. His company was known as Rainbow Design. I first got to know him in about 1998 through his sister, Carole, who still lives here in western Nebraska. I have had fun providing him with answers to his occasional Mac questions ever since, and we both share our YouTube music "discoveries" with one another. In 2011, he thanked me yet again for my help by giving me three vintage Pentax-compatible lenses. One of these lenses is the above Deitz 28-80mm. Being naturally curious, I tried to find information about it on the internet, but there was absolutely none -- UNTIL NOW. Until two days ago, I had no idea that Dean not only knew the history of the Deitz lens that he had given me, but that he was personally involved in that history.

 

-----

 

Makinon Lenses: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here. Click here for a "complete lenses list with links" of Makinon lenses.

 

UPDATE (March 6, 2013): Here is a set of photos of two Deitz Lenses by Andrew Bidochko (also see his comments below. Thanks, Andrew!

 

Here are some other third-party lenses that were obviously (to my eyes) manufactured by Makina Optical:

 

Seikanon 28-80mm ƒ/3.5 Macro

Toyo Optics 28-80mm ƒ/3.5 Macro

J.C. Penney 28-80mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 Macro.

The Tsukiji Market (築地市場 ), supervised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market (東京都中央卸売市場 ) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind.

  

The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo, between the Sumida River and the upmarket Ginza shopping district. While the inner wholesale market has restricted access to visitors, the outer retail market, restaurants and associated restaurant supply stores remain a major tourist attraction for both domestic and overseas visitors.

Ryder Truck Sprinter Metro Van HTS-20S Hand Truck Sentry System FedEx Ground parcel delivery. The HTS-20S Ultra-Rack installs quickly and easily, it bolts directly to the existing holes in the van body. No drilling or special modifications required. The HTS Swing Mount Ultra-Rack swings outward to 90° with or without the hand truck in just 4 seconds to open and access the left-side rear door. Our HTS-20S sub-assembly is engineered and manufactured by Surco Products of Los Angeles, CA. over thirty years of vehicle accessory innovations.

 

Surco Products www.surcoinc.com is located in Los Angeles, CA

Ryder Truck www.ryder.com is located in Miami FL.

 

In the commercial van market for companies that deliver parcels, documents, paper and janitorial products, food vending and medical supplies there are no ideal methods to safely transport a hand truck, without tossing it into the vehicle. Current methods take-up valuable cargo space and decrease payload storage, damage product and require greater physical effort to stow the hand truck. Parcel drivers constantly handle and shuffle their hand trucks within the van to gain access and to reach their cargo shelves and packages. A standard aluminum commercial hand truck transported inside the delivery van will use up approximately 12' -15' cubic feet of valuable cargo space. When a hand truck is transported inside a delivery van 5 days a week it translates to a payload loss of 240-300 cubic feet per month. Most parcel drivers move their hand truck out of their way continuously, actually handling it more than they use it for customer deliveries! It is dangerous and a DOT safety violation to transport a loose hand truck within the cab or cargo area, all equipment must be secured. The HTS Ultra-Rack is the most advanced hand truck securement system for commercial delivery vehicles in transit. The HTS-20S Swing Mount unit is designed for the rear of most delivery vans. The HTS-20S Swing Mount can solve nearly every issue associated with smaller delivery vans that transport hand trucks, saving our customers time, fuel, cargo space and profits! Maximize your cargo capacity and route productivity, reduce freight damage and prevent floor corrosion.

 

The HTS Ultra-Rack saves a route driver a minute or more per delivery stop, that's about 2.5 hours per week! For example; save a minute per stop X 30 stops per day = 600 mins. per month or 120 hours per year X $10 per hour = $1,200 dollars in annual savings! For one delivery vehicle over a 4 year time period = $4,800 dollars in labor + $400 in fuel savings + $300 in hand truck replacements = $5,500 dollars! Include additional payload cargo area, less freight claims damage, less driver injuries, reduced DOT fines, reduced liability and insurance costs = $2,000 every 4 years! Add it up, $5,500 dollars + $2,000 = $7,500 dollars per delivery vehicle over a 4 year time period! Save approximately $1,875 dollars every year, per delivery vehicle! Prevent a workmen's compensation injury claim or an expensive liability lawsuit and well... you get the point! Any driver who rushes back (off-route) in a hurry to retrieve their forgotten hand truck is no longer a safe driver, they instantly become a liability!

 

What other investment could you possibly make in your company and truck fleet that will give you that large of a return and that type of protection? The HTS is a hand truck safety rack that's safer, faster, easier, a one-handed method; a patented solution that pays for itself over and over again! The ancient hand truck carrier racks of the past eventually fail and it usually occurs when the delivery truck is traveling. Often these types of failures result in catastrophic highway accidents, severe injuries and costly lawsuits and legal settlements.

Identifier: sanfranciscobayc1916sanf

Title: San Francisco and Bay cities Jewish blue book, 1916 : containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the leading Jewish families of San Francisco and the Bay Cities, embracing also lists of members of Jewish organizations, together with lists of congregations, clubs and societies, and a list of their officers

Year: 1916 (1910s)

Authors:

Subjects: Jews Jews

Publisher: San Francisco : San Francisco and Bay Cities Jewish Blue Book Co.

Contributing Library: San Francisco Public Library

Digitizing Sponsor: San Francisco Public Library

  

View Book Page: Book Viewer

About This Book: Catalog Entry

View All Images: All Images From Book

 

Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book.

  

Text Appearing Before Image:

02 SAN CARLOS DAIRY 62 SEWELL, THE. PRINTS SHOP.... 30 SHERMAN, CLAY & CO 198 SHORTRIDGE, SAM M 146 SHREVE & CO 194 SISTERHOOD OF TEMPLE SINAI. OAKLAND 246 SKAVENAAS CONSERVATOIRE STUDIO 54 SMITH. MRS. B. T 132 SOMMER & KAUFMANN 204 SOUTHERN COTTON OIL TRAD-ING CO 36 ST. FRANCIS HOTEL 196 ST. FRANCIS TECHNICAL SCHOOL 24 ST. JOSEPHS ACADEMY 134 ST. ROSE ACADEMY 134 STEINBERG & CO 88 STOCKTON LODGE I. O. B. B 257 SUTTER HOTEL S3 TEMPLE SINAI, OAKLAND 241 TORMEY, THE CO 30 UNION TRUST CO 202 VEGETARIAN CAFETERIA 258 WEBER, C. S. & CO 56 WEHE. FRANK R 146 WEILL, MISS IRMA 132 WEISENBERGER & LYMAN 68 WESTS, MISS, SCHOOL 132 WHITE, EDWARD G 145 WHITE.. S. A 85 WHITE & PROST 145 WHITE HOUSE, THE WICHMAN. LUTGEN & CO 52 WIDEMANN GOAT MILK CO. ... 42 WILKINS. MRS. KATE M 126 WILLING WORKERS. BUSH ST. TEMPLE 90 WILSON. WM. F. CO 2 WORDEN, WILLARD E 146 YOUNG MENS CHRISTIAN ASSO-CIATION 54 YOUNG MENS HEBREW ASSO-CIATION 103 YOUNG WOMENS HEBREW AS-SOCIATION 102 264

 

Text Appearing After Image:

Owen Magnetic The men who made the first gas cars knew that change-speed gears belonged in themachine shop—not on the road. Then J. B. Entz, inventor of the self-starter and other electricequipment, grasped the idea that the attractive force of magnetismis easily varied and controlled. Thus came the magnetic transmission which does away with the2)ower jerks of mechanical gears, substituting power pull—attain-ing true elasticity and unbelievable ease of operation. To introduce this revolutionary improvement to the motoringworld, the R. M. Owen Company, the Baker R. & L. Companyand the General Electric Company (associated in the productionof the Owen Magnetic) have waited until the advent of 8-cylinderand 12-cylinder cars proved that people are anxious to get smooth,elastic power with easier and safer driving. Demonstrations Invited MAGNETIC MOTOR COMPANY Distributors—San Francisco Temporarily at 1675 PacificAvenue—Phone Franklin 1624 OAKIiAND, 2969 Broadway. Phone Oakland 3

  

Note About Images

Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability - coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

Why many of our customers see m43 is doomed 1:

 

The thing that would concern me if I was in management in Canon, or Nikon, or indeed Pentax, Olympus or Fuji is brand recognition among younger generations and in developing markets.

 

Of course to us (middle aged enthusiasts) Canon, Nikon, etc. means something positive. We recognize them as 'photo' brands And although we may be Nikon users (or Canon, Fuji, Olympus or Pentax users) we recognize and accept the others as photo brands because we know that historically they have earned their place in the market. They are familiar to us.

But a child born today is much more likely to be exposed to brands more relevant to him or her. Like the brands that manufacture phones, or tablets, or Apps, or even sportswear.

Similar is true of emerging markets. Some years back Yashica(I do not know what Yashica is, so he must be much older than me) used to be No. 1 in India. Why? Presumably because the Yashica importer / distributor did a better job at the time in establishing that brand in a market that was starting from a very low base and had few if any historical brand preconceptions.

So should, say, Nike suddenly decide to start marketing cameras aimed at younger people they might have a lot more brand recognition in a relatively short time than say the market leader, i.e. Canon. After all what does Canon do that really appeals to a teenager? Cameras? Granddad products. Copiers? Office Valium, and of course, medical equipment such as CT scan and X-Ray machine, but people even know that they make such variety of things? And the same also applies to the other 'established' photo companies maybe except Sony, whose one of main businesses is PlayStation.

 

Of course there are many technological hurdles that a new brand would have to overcome to compete, let alone dominate in the photo market but those are certainly not insurmountable, should of course anyone think it is actually worth doing, and if it is too difficult they can just buy the techs needed to enter into this market.

Remember this.... Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Samsung did not move to Mirrorless because they wanted to. They moved because they were forced to. They really had no other choice.

All four companies failed in the DSLR market, and had to try something else. They could not compete with Canon, Nikon and to a large extent Pentax in the DSLR market, and had to either retreat to fixed lens cameras, or try something else. So they tried so-called Mirrorless system camera with mixed success. It didn't end well for Samsung, but the other three seem to be doing fairly well, especially for Fuji.

At least they are doing better than when they were selling EVolt DSLRs (Olympus), Lumix DSLRs(Paasonic), re-branded Nikon DSLRs (Fujifilm), or re-branded Pentax DSLRs (Samsung).

And we all know it was a good thing for them even for a very temporal time that they did actually try something different, because the bottom fell out of the P&S market.

Without an ILC to sell when the market is moving to higher ground for survival, you end up becoming Casio, that said though, oddly enough , Casio is actually outdoing the 3 that tried something new. But the real question is why they did not do well in DSLR market?

I think because,like our old customers said it above, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax and Fuji had no brand recognition and not enough number of fanatic supporters, at the time. At least not enough number to compete Canon, Nikon and Sony in DSLR business.

Sony is another story, and a more actually much more complicated one. They seem to compete in every market, hoping that something sticks. And right now Sony E/FE seems to have pretty good traction, and Sony A Mount is believed to be on the way out. However, Sony denies it firmly at CP Plus and NBA.

At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the 'the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging.

Sony says, it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that incredible things to come into the A mount. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement for the A mount FF body became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? Sony is really odd, they seem to be really obsessed with shocking the public with every camera announcement kind of idea.

But is A mount really doomed ? I 'd say no. Many people think it is really long await, but hey see the reality, the A99 was announced in November 2012, the Canon EOS5DMK3 was announced in Feb,2012 and still not updated, so no need irrational panic just yet.

The D800/E was updated because it was a flawed camera from the start and Nikon could not hide the many many technical design flaws and many usability issues of that camera. The D800 did not do well in the camera market despite of the common forum myth that the D800 killed the 5DMK3 and the A99 in terms of sells,etc.

I think this clearly shows us what sells and no, following the idea proposed by the camera fanatics at many fora does not work. The D800 is a big mistake for Nikon, not many people wanted it, not many people obsessed with the tiny bit better DR at the very base ISO. By comparison, the Sony A7R was a huge success for Sony because it was a more logical choice for many of us who really wanted the tiny bit better DR of the D800 sensor since that tiny Sony took all our existing Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica M, Minolta Sony A, etc, without any issue. And for ultimate IQ work, we do not need the flappy mirror and the associated mirror shock.

I think, despite of the common forum myth that m43 is selling very well and no 1 in Japan,etc, it is the most doomed future-less system out there.

All the current ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X2 when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, or FF, or an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people anyway.

Then why not just go all way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon or Sony A mount but m43?

Nikon Fand Sony Alpha mount have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based hybrid-minded gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

After all, to most of NORMAL people, Panasonic is really nothing but a microwave company as my Thai friend, who has been an assistant prof at Bangkok university.

He hated Panasonic cameras although he loved GH4 when I had him try my GH4 without Panasonic name, I covered the name with blacktape. And sadly enough, Panasonic understands it, so they tend to put Leica name on their lenses, but did not have the guts to change the brand name on their camera.

  

UPDATE 1: Looks like both Fuji and Sony have actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

UPDATE2: now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future but not really mature enough to be practical for many apps, and they are both still immensely overpriced.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and mechanical VF system. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now, I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car.

I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of them could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, there is a even more serious speed issue with all Sony Alpha E mount cameras that is the general operation speed, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from sleep mode, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I say this many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries, it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Architect Adrian Wilson designed the Streamline Moderne style radio station for the Don Lee Broadcasting System in 1941. Donald Musgrave Lee (1880-1934) was the exclusive west coast distributor of Cadillac automobiles in the early 20th century. In 1919 he purchased the Earl Automobile Works of Hollywood, California. Harley Earl, the son of the company's owner, was kept on as manager. Renamed Don Lee Coach and Body Works, the company produced many custom designed Cadillacs for the rich and famous. Harley Earl left the company to become the head of General Motors styling department in 1927. Don Lee died in Los Angeles in 1934 of a sudden heart attack, leaving control of his auto and broadcasting empire to his son, Thomas S. "Tommy" Lee (1906–1950).

 

Having amassed a fortune selling automobiles, Lee branched out in broadcasting in 1926 when he purchased KFRC in San Francisco and relocated the station to the top floor of his Cadillac dealership at 1000 Van Ness Blvd. In 1927 he purchased KHJ in Los Angeles. From 1929 to 1936, the 12-station Don Lee Network was affiliated with Columbia Broadcasting System. This venture was known as the Don Lee-Columbia Network. However, in 1936, CBS purchased KNX, along with some other West Coast stations. It also forged some new West Coast network alliances. This led to the Don Lee Network, now run by son Tommy Lee, to end its affiliation with CBS. Instead, on December 30, 1936, it became an affiliate of the Mutual Network. The two networks were known in newspaper ads as Don Lee-Mutual. The Don Lee Network was sold to ABC Radio in 1959.

 

Over the years the radio station changed hands several times. KHJRadio owned the facility in 1981; it underwent an expansion designed by architect Max R. Garcia. By 1984, it was owned by KRTH-FM radio, and underwent another expansion, this time designed by Gensler & Associates. Today (2016), the facility is back in the hands of CBS Radio and its affiliates, KROQ-FM, focusing on alternative rock music; KCBS-FM which airs adult hits and KMPC-AM which airs Korean-language programming.

 

Adrian Wilson had a four-decade long career during which he was the architect of record for the Schoenberg Center at USC, the Los Angeles County Courthouse (1958) and the Pueblo del Rio Public Housing Project. With Paul R. Willams and others, he was involved in designing the Hall of Adminstration Building, as well as the Anaheim, Las Vegas and Honolulu convention centers. He passed away in February 1988

 

The Don Lee Broadcasting System building is located at 5901 Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Please do not use this image in any media without my permission. :copyright: All rights reserved.

  

Wotancraft's Traveler's Notebook and City Explorer Camera Bag Review - Part 2

 

I've been using Wotancraft's Ranger bag for 25 days and it is only now suitable to give you this review from my personal experience. My Ranger was with me all the time during my business trip to Taipei and Shanghai, as well as daily uses after I came back to Hong Kong, in rainy days, hiking and beach side BBQ, etc.

 

The soul behind Wotancraft is James, whom started researching about 5 years ago to create a camera bag he would use. I had a great time visiting James and chatted about his creation for about an hour. The name and logo of the company bears a resemblance of the Warcraft role-playing game logo, but James never knew about it when he named the company. Wotancraft means in every sense a desire to achieve perfection in craftsmanship. "Wotan" the old high German form of "Odin", is a major god in Norse mythology who is associated with battle, victory, wisdom and magic. James would like his company to be a powerful one almost achieving a mythical status through highest possible quality standard. He believes careful craftsmanship is better than mass production. Let's see how much details are being put in this US$449 all purpose bag.

 

Ranger's distressed and nomadic look is not only defined by its unique navy grey canvas and dark brown leather mix, but also the carefully aging processes done to the material. For example, to achieve the effect, the canvas was washed, wrinkled, brushed and stained before a final wax coating was put on it. Although this aging thing sounds a bit superficial, but the minute you start to use it, you literally skip the honeymoon period trying to use the bag carefully, it feels like you've been using it for a while and it is part of you. I mean it, not to worry a bit about scratches on leather, nor to spend time intentionally distressing it heavily in order to feel a personal ownership.

 

The look is just one of the many carefully planned features of a Ranger. A lot of the satchels you see in the market have those two straps coming down from the top over the flap, they are there mostly for decorative purpose and not designed to function. Ranger's straps are there because James wanted to solve one problem, to carry a jacket when you don't have an extra hand. I'm sure many of you have the same problem, the places we go to take photos can have huge temperature differences, nobody wants to carry a larger volume bag just to take care of the jacket. These straps became very handy because they are extra long yet adjustable, I could tie my scarf or slide my leather jacket beneath them with zero efforts during business trips. On rainy days, I also carry a retractable umbrella like that for quick access.

 

Two additional straps fixed to the bottom of Ranger can also be used to carry your jacket or tripod.

 

Let's talk about external pockets. There are two side pockets for small stuffs, I wish they were big enough to put my iPhone though. The two front pockets are large enough for small cameras like my Natura Classica or Olympus EP-3 with pancake lens. One problem with these front pockets is that there is no flap to secure the contents inside, I might have to stitch a leather flap with snaps by myself someday so that I can feel safer to put camera or keychains in them. This is obviously a point for improvement.

 

Behind the front pockets is a zip pocket large enough to put your iPad, this became my quick access pocket to important things like my Traveler's Notebook. Now these three pockets are behind the bag's leather flap, but you don't need to unfasten the snaps to access them, just quickly pull over the flap to reveal and retrieve, very handy and speedy!

 

Gear protection. Heavily inspired by WWII aesthetics, Wotancraft highlights Ranger with aluminum buckles and brass snaps on the outside, but gets serious with gear protection on the inside. The removable MK.I pouch, using the same material as military hovercraft's air cushion on the surface, sealed by YKK water-repellent zipper, is almost 100% waterproof. According to James, he is planning a MK.II version which is completely seamless with even better waterproof features. Well, waterproofing is not what I'm looking for, but you can see how dedicated he is to the details.

 

On both the MK.I pouch and the external bag, there are hidden velcros. They are there to make sure your MK.I pouch is fixed firmly inside the bag, but when they are not needed, the velcros are hidden to prevent scratching on your equipments. The inside of MK.I pouch is made from high density foam covered with very smooth micro fiber cloth, making camera retrieval a low friction effort in addition to the heavy duty protection. Four dividers are provided so that you can create your own suitable compartments. I can put 3 cameras inside: Canon F1 with 85mm f1.2 lens, Voigtlander R4A with Nokton 35mm f1.2 lens, Olympus EP-3 with 12mm f2.0 lens.

 

So literally you have 3 layers of protections. Waterproof anti-shock MK.I, external waxed canvas bag with zipper and the leather flap. For my daily use, I actually don't need the MK.I pouch, I usually put a slimmer Artisan & Artist inner pouch to carry 1 camera, the Ranger immediately shrinks into a transit friendly casual bag.

 

Here's some more smart features of the Ranger. For a large bag like this, it takes time to unzip all the way and resistance at the two corners is inevitable. If you are not a zipper person like me, you can leave the canvas cover half zipped half opened, this can be achieved by folding the cover in half, it snaps in place by itself because of the built in magnets, it makes cameras accessible yet secure inside, very smart design. If you are an insecure person and always want to zip up everything, speedy access is still possible because there is a small leather tab you can leave dangling outside, with just one quick pull of the tab, both zipper heads fly open in split seconds! James nailed it, satisfying men's desire to access their tools with speed, imagine this design on a pair of jeans :)

 

A final note on features. There is a laptop compartment inside the canvas bag, suitable for my 13" Macbook Air or 15" models. There are small pockets for pen and accessories sitting behind the laptop compartment as well, although I don't use them that much.

 

I have to mention the weight, which is important to photographers. My Saddleback briefcase medium size is a heavy 2.95 kg monster, I love the bag but I just can't use it to carry cameras, it is killing my shoulders and spine. Wotancraft's Ranger is 1.72 kg without the MK.I pouch (which is 0.52 kg by itself). The reason why it is slightly heavier than a typical canvas bag is that wax was not only coated but actually soaked thoroughly into the canvas, you can see I had no hesitation to leave my Ranger on a wet football field in one of the photos. The softness of cushioned canvas also makes it more comfortable to body than hard thick leather used on the Saddleback briefcase (well I know, Saddleback's was never designed for photographers anyway).

 

The shoulder strap. Beautiful piece of craftsmanship, it feels very comfortable hanging down the shoulder or diagonally crossing the body. Even though its length is adjustable, I still found it a bit too long coz I like to carry weight close to my center of gravity (I'm 5'8" last time I checked 20 years ago). So I did a little modification to suit my need. There are two small built in D-rings near each end of the shoulder pad, I stitched safety hooks on them with scrap leather, giving me an option to shorten or quick releasing the strap in 5 possible lengths. Now I can carry my Ranger comfortably as a messenger bag or as a clutch bag.

 

If you are new to Wontancraft's Ranger, I must remind you to use sand paper to blunt the buckle pins coz they are very sharp. I also found that some of the leather edge finishing paint may fall off, I have no problem with that because it helps to give the distressed look I like about Ranger. In any case, Wotancraft is serious about quality, according to Wotancraft and both distributors I know (one from Hong Kong (Annie Barton), one from Netherlands (Vintage 217)), they are fully committed to give Wotancraft users complete satisfaction, just shoot them an email if you need support, they are all decent and nice people as far as I know. Again, Wotancraft is not a corporation but just a few artisans behind doing what they enjoy most, you can expect friendly services and dedication to details. I would give Ranger a 9.5 out of 10 score as a cool stylish and function rich camera/casual bag.

 

During my discussion with James in their Taipei showroom, he told me that he is designing a future add-on to the Ranger bag, a strap to convert Ranger into a backpack! I need that James! Especially in a long day I need it to be a backpack, then it is perfect!

 

A week ago, Steve Huff reviewed Wotancraft's City Explorer Paratrooper camera bag, check out his video below.

 

More on Scription blog: scription.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/wotancrafts-travelers-...

This wonderful man was a client of mine when I did sales promotion work for a paper distributor in Columbus, Ohio from 1972 - 1977. Amos was an illustrator / designer with a really great graphic design studio, Salvato & Coe Associates. Amos was a terrific visual artist. Many examples of his design and illustration work are in this photo.

 

I kept in touch with Amos for many years after departing Columbus. About two years ago I failed to reach him and contacted Salvato & Coe only to discover that they, too, had lost track of him. He was not just a client, but a mentor, guide and great friend. I am making an educated guess at to exact when I shot this photo. It was taken with a little Minox 35 that I had purchased, not long after it came on the market in 1974. This shot was either late '74 or very early '75.

 

IMPORTANT NEWS / March 5, 2011: I just spoke with Amos by phone this afternoon. I have tears of joy in my eyes. He's in his mid-late 80s, is still making art and even has a website. We had a great conversation, trying to catch up on a lot of years. I am so happy to have reconnected with this truly precious human being.

Valpo Petroleum Corporation, Diamond Oils

Valparaiso, Indiana

 

Date: Circa 1930s

Source Type: Photograph

Publisher, Printer, Photographer: Unknown

Postmark: Not Apoplicable

Collection: Steven R. Shook

Remark: Valpo Petroleum Corporation was a distributor of fuel and oil products located at the corner of Calumet Avenue and Harrison Street and across the street from the old Porter County Fairgrounds.

 

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This image and associated text may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Steven R. Shook.

There’s a lot of drama associated with this old theater.

 

This Beaux-Arts style building at the corner of W. 7th and Hill St. in downtown Los Angeles opened as the Pantages Theatre in August 1920.

 

Designed by Seattle-based architect B. Marcus Priteca, it served as the flagship of Alexander Pantage’s theater circuit which had vaudeville and movie houses throughout the western US and Canada. In February 1929, RKO theater magnate Joseph P. Kennedy attempted to acquire the theater chain but was rebuffed by Pantages.

 

Kennedy then decided to destroy his competition. He used his influence among Hollywood movie distributors to keep Pantages from being able to show profitable first-run feature films. Some histories also allege that Kennedy tried to frame Alexander Pantages. In August 1929, a young dancer and aspiring actress named Eunice Pringle claimed that Pantages had sexually molested her in his office on the mezzanine-level of the theater. Pantages was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 50 years in prison. In an even more sensational series of appeals, Pantages was acquitted. It’s been argued that Pringle later confessed that Kennedy had conspired with her and her agent/lover, Nicolas Dunaev, to concoct the accusation of rape and to lie in court.

 

Whatever the actual truth may have been, the scandal did indeed ruin Pantages theater business and he was forced to sell his chain to Kennedy’s RKO for a paltry $3.5M, much lower than the true value of the company's real estate holdings.

 

Although Kennedy wanted the chain of theaters, he did not need this particular property. RKO already owned several downtown LA theatres and quickly sold the Pantages Theatre to Warner Brothers. They removed the original signage and reopened it as the Warner Bros. Downtown Theatre.

 

WB sold the theater in the mid-1960s to Metropolitan Theatres which renamed it the Warrens Theatre. Its role as a movie house ended in 1975 when it was again sold and briefly operated as a church. In the late 1970s, it was converted into the retail jewelry outlet that you see here.

 

Also see my image which shows some architectural details and the remaining Warner Bros signage .

   

A banana is an edible fruit, botanically a berry, produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. (In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called plantains.) The fruit is variable in size, color and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic (seedless) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name Musa sapientum is no longer used.

 

Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and banana beer and as ornamental plants.

 

Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between "bananas" and "plantains". Especially in the Americas and Europe, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called "plantains". In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many more kinds of banana are grown and eaten, so the simple two-fold distinction is not useful and is not made in local languages.

 

The term "banana" is also used as the common name for the plants which produce the fruit. This can extend to other members of the genus Musa like the scarlet banana (Musa coccinea), pink banana (Musa velutina) and the Fe'i bananas. It can also refer to members of the genus Ensete, like the snow banana (Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana (Ensete ventricosum). Both genera are classified under the banana family, Musaceae.

 

DESCRIPTION

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a "corm". Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a "false stem" or pseudostem. Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a "stalk" (petiole) and a blade (lamina). The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath; the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, which is all that supports the plant. The edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart. Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around 3 m to 'Gros Michel' at 7 m or more. Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres long and 60 cm wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

 

When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is perennial. In the plantation system of cultivation, only one of the offshoots will be allowed to develop in order to maintain spacing. The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

 

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called "hands"), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh 30–50 kilograms. Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or "finger") average 125 grams, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter.

 

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety can be split lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels by manually deforming the unopened fruit. In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.

 

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. The banana equivalent dose of radiation is sometimes used in nuclear communication to compare radiation levels and exposures.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The word banana is thought to be of West African origin, possibly from the Wolof word banaana, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.

 

TAXONOMY

The genus Musa was created by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name may be derived from Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus, or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, mauz. Musa is in the family Musaceae. The APG III system assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales, part of the commelinid clade of the monocotyledonous flowering plants. Some 70 species of Musa were recognized by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of January 2013; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

 

The classification of cultivated bananas has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists. Linnaeus originally placed bananas into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantains. Subsequently further species names were added. However, this approach proved inadequate to address the sheer number of cultivars existing in the primary center of diversity of the genus, Southeast Asia. Many of these cultivars were given names which proved to be synonyms.

 

In a series of papers published in 1947 onwards, Ernest Cheesman showed that Linnaeus's Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca were actually cultivars and descendants of two wild seed-producing species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla. He recommended the abolition of Linnaeus's species in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct groups of cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics that are the combination of the two. Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed a genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the earlier classification of bananas based on assigning scientific names to cultivated varieties. Despite this, the original names are still recognized by some authorities today, leading to confusion.

 

The currently accepted scientific names for most groups of cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla for the ancestral species, and Musa × paradisiaca L. for the hybrid M. acuminata × M. balbisiana.

 

Synonyms of M. × paradisica include:

A large number of subspecific and varietial names of M. × paradisiaca, including M. p. subsp. sapientum (L.) Kuntze

Musa × dacca Horan.

Musa × sapidisiaca K.C.Jacob, nom. superfl.

Musa × sapientum L., and a large number of its varietal names, including M. × sapientum var. paradisiaca (L.) Baker, nom. illeg.

 

Generally, modern classifications of banana cultivars follow Simmonds and Shepherd's system. Cultivars are placed in groups based on the number of chromosomes they have and which species they are derived from. Thus the Latundan banana is placed in the AAB Group, showing that it is a triploid derived from both M. acuminata (A) and M. balbisiana (B). For a list of the cultivars classified under this system see List of banana cultivars.

 

In 2012, a team of scientists announced they had achieved a draft sequence of the genome of Musa acuminata.

 

BANANAS & PLANTAINS

In regions such as North America and Europe, Musa fruits offered for sale can be divided into "bananas" and "plantains", based on their intended use as food. Thus the banana producer and distributor Chiquita produces publicity material for the American market which says that "a plantain is not a banana". The stated differences are that plantains are more starchy and less sweet; they are eaten cooked rather than raw; they have thicker skin, which may be green, yellow or black; and they can be used at any stage of ripeness. Linnaeus made the same distinction between plantains and bananas when first naming two "species" of Musa. Members of the "plantain subgroup" of banana cultivars, most important as food in West Africa and Latin America, correspond to the Chiquita description, having long pointed fruit. They are described by Ploetz et al. as "true" plantains, distinct from other cooking bananas. The cooking bananas of East Africa belong to a different group, the East African Highland bananas, so would not qualify as "true" plantains on this definition.

 

An alternative approach divides bananas into dessert bananas and cooking bananas, with plantains being one of the subgroups of cooking bananas. Triploid cultivars derived solely from M. acuminata are examples of "dessert bananas", whereas triploid cultivars derived from the hybrid between M. acuminata and M. balbinosa (in particular the plantain subgroup of the AAB Group) are "plantains". Small farmers in Colombia grow a much wider range of cultivars than large commercial plantations. A study of these cultivars showed that they could be placed into at least three groups based on their characteristics: dessert bananas, non-plantain cooking bananas, and plantains, although there were overlaps between dessert and cooking bananas.

 

In Southeast Asia – the center of diversity for bananas, both wild and cultivated – the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" does not work, according to Valmayor et al. Many bananas are used both raw and cooked. There are starchy cooking bananas which are smaller than those eaten raw. The range of colors, sizes and shapes is far wider than in those grown or sold in Africa, Europe or the Americas.[35] Southeast Asian languages do not make the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" that is made in English (and Spanish). Thus both Cavendish cultivars, the classic yellow dessert bananas, and Saba cultivars, used mainly for cooking, are called pisang in Malaysia and Indonesia, kluai in Thailand and chuoi in Vietnam. Fe'i bananas, grown and eaten in the islands of the Pacific, are derived from entirely different wild species than traditional bananas and plantains. Most Fe'i bananas are cooked, but Karat bananas, which are short and squat with bright red skins, very different from the usual yellow dessert bananas, are eaten raw.

 

In summary, in commerce in Europe and the Americas (although not in small-scale cultivation), it is possible to distinguish between "bananas", which are eaten raw, and "plantains", which are cooked. In other regions of the world, particularly India, Southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific, there are many more kinds of banana and the two-fold distinction is not useful and not made in local languages. Plantains are one of many kinds of cooking bananas, which are not always distinct from dessert bananas.

 

HISTORICAL CULTIVATION

Farmers in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.

 

Phytolith discoveries in Cameroon dating to the first millennium BCE triggered an as yet unresolved debate about the date of first cultivation in Africa. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in Madagascar around that time. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than late 6th century CE. It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.

 

The banana may also have been present in isolated locations elsewhere in the Middle East on the eve of Islam. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into North Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world. In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting.

 

Bananas were certainly grown in the Christian Kingdom of Cyprus by the late medieval period. Writing in 1458, the Italian traveller and writer Gabriele Capodilista wrote favourably of the extensive farm produce of the estates at Episkopi, near modern day Limassol, including the region's banana plantations.

 

Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century.

 

Many wild banana species as well as cultivars exist in extraordinary diversity in New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines.

 

There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries. The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means 'You can smell it from the next mountain.' The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long.

—Mike Peed, The New Yorker

 

In 1999 archaeologists in London discovered what they believed to be the oldest banana in the UK, in a Tudor rubbish tip.

 

PLANTATION CULTIVATION IN THE CARIBBEAN,

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale at very high prices shortly after the Civil War, though it was only in the 1880s that it became more widespread. As late as the Victorian Era, bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available. Jules Verne introduces bananas to his readers with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

 

The earliest modern plantations originated in Jamaica and the related Western Caribbean Zone, including most of Central America. It involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed bananas to have more time between harvesting and ripening. North America shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company started this process in the 1870s, but railroad builders like Minor C Keith also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today's Chiquita Brands International and Dole. These companies were monopolistic, vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies (economies that were internally self-sufficient, virtually tax exempt, and export oriented that contribute very little to the host economy). Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term Banana republic for states like Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics or playing the international interests of the United States, especially during the Cold War, to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.

 

PEASANT CULTIVATION FOR EXPORT IN THE CARIBBEAN

The vast majority of the world's bananas today are cultivated for family consumption or for sale on local markets. India is the world leader in this sort of production, but many other Asian and African countries where climate and soil conditions allow cultivation also host large populations of banana growers who sell at least some of their crop.

 

There are peasant sector banana growers who produce for the world market in the Caribbean, however. The Windward Islands are notable for the growing, largely of Cavendish bananas, for an international market, generally in Europe but also in North America. In the Caribbean, and especially in Dominica where this sort of cultivation is widespread, holdings are in the 1–2 acre range. In many cases the farmer earns additional money from other crops, from engaging in labor outside the farm, and from a share of the earnings of relatives living overseas. This style of cultivation often was popular in the islands as bananas required little labor input and brought welcome extra income. Banana crops are vulnerable to destruction by high winds, such as tropical storms or cyclones.

 

After the signing of the NAFTA agreements in the 1990s, however, the tide turned against peasant producers. Their costs of production were relatively high and the ending of favorable tariff and other supports, especially in the European Economic Community, made it difficult for peasant producers to compete with the bananas grown on large plantations by the well capitalized firms like Chiquita and Dole. Not only did the large companies have access to cheap labor in the areas they worked, but they were better able to afford modern agronomic advances such as fertilization. The "dollar banana" produced by these concerns made the profit margins for peasant bananas unsustainable.

 

Caribbean countries have sought to redress this problem by providing government supported agronomic services and helping to organize producers' cooperatives. They have also been supporters of the Fair Trade movement which seeks to balance the inequities in the world trade in commodities.

 

EAST AFRICA

Most farms supply local consumption. Cooking bananas represent a major food source and a major income source for smallhold farmers. In east Africa, highland bananas are of greatest importance as a staple food crop. In countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda per capita consumption has been estimated at 45 kilograms per year, the highest in the world.

 

MODERN CULTIVATION

All widely cultivated bananas today descend from the two wild bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. While the original wild bananas contained large seeds, diploid or polyploid cultivars (some being hybrids) with tiny seeds are preferred for human raw fruit consumption. These are propagated asexually from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce two shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months. The life of a banana plantation is 25 years or longer, during which time the individual stools or planting sites may move slightly from their original positions as lateral rhizome formation dictates.

 

Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic, i.e. the flesh of the fruit swells and ripens without its seeds being fertilized and developing. Lacking viable seeds, propagation typically involves farmers removing and transplanting part of the underground stem (called a corm). Usually this is done by carefully removing a sucker (a vertical shoot that develops from the base of the banana pseudostem) with some roots intact. However, small sympodial corms, representing not yet elongated suckers, are easier to transplant and can be left out of the ground for up to two weeks; they require minimal care and can be shipped in bulk.It is not necessary to include the corm or root structure to propagate bananas; severed suckers without root material can be propagated in damp sand, although this takes somewhat longer.In some countries, commercial propagation occurs by means of tissue culture. This method is preferred since it ensures disease-free planting material. When using vegetative parts such as suckers for propagation, there is a risk of transmitting diseases (especially the devastating Panama disease).As a non-seasonal crop, bananas are available fresh year-round.

 

CAVENDISH

In global commerce in 2009, by far the most important cultivars belonged to the triploid AAA group of Musa acuminata, commonly referred to as Cavendish group bananas. They accounted for the majority of banana exports, despite only coming into existence in 1836. The cultivars Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain (Chiquita Banana) gained popularity in the 1950s after the previous mass-produced cultivar, Gros Michel (also an AAA group cultivar), became commercially unviable due to Panama disease, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum which attacks the roots of the banana plant. Cavendish cultivars are resistant to the Panama Disease but in 2013 there were fears that the Black Sigatoka fungus would in turn make Cavendish bananas unviable.

 

Ease of transport and shelf life rather than superior taste make the Dwarf Cavendish the main export banana.

 

Even though it is no longer viable for large scale cultivation, Gros Michel is not extinct and is still grown in areas where Panama disease is not found. Likewise, Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain are in no danger of extinction, but they may leave supermarket shelves if disease makes it impossible to supply the global market. It is unclear if any existing cultivar can replace Cavendish bananas, so various hybridisation and genetic engineering programs are attempting to create a disease-resistant, mass-market banana.

 

RIPENING

Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color consumers normally associate with supermarket bananas is, in fact, caused by the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 13.5 and 15 °C during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and the bananas turn gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.

 

"Tree-ripened" Cavendish bananas have a greenish-yellow appearance which changes to a brownish-yellow as they ripen further. Although both flavor and texture of tree-ripened bananas is generally regarded as superior to any type of green-picked fruit, this reduces shelf life to only 7–10 days.Bananas can be ordered by the retailer "ungassed" (i.e. not treated with ethylene), and may show up at the supermarket fully green. Guineos verdes (green bananas) that have not been gassed will never fully ripen before becoming rotten. Instead of fresh eating, these bananas are best suited to cooking, as seen in Mexican culinary dishes.A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light. This property is attributed to the degradation of chlorophyll leading to the accumulation of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit. The chlorophyll breakdown product is stabilized by a propionate ester group. Banana-plant leaves also fluoresce in the same way. Green bananas do not fluoresce. The study suggested that this allows animals which can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum (tetrachromats and pentachromats) to more easily detect ripened bananas.

 

STORAGE & TRANSPORT

Bananas must be transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets. To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at 13 °C. On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process.

 

Carbon dioxide (which bananas produce) and ethylene absorbents extend fruit life even at high temperatures. This effect can be exploited by packing banana in a polyethylene bag and including an ethylene absorbent, e.g., potassium permanganate, on an inert carrier. The bag is then sealed with a band or string. This treatment has been shown to more than double lifespans up to 3–4 weeks without the need for refrigeration.

 

FRUIT

Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both the skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. The primary component of the aroma of fresh bananas is isoamyl acetate (also known as banana oil), which, along with several other compounds such as butyl acetate and isobutyl acetate, is a significant contributor to banana flavor.

 

During the ripening process, bananas produce the gas ethylene, which acts as a plant hormone and indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a "starchier" taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens.

 

Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail for those places in Asia that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas feature prominently in Philippine cuisine, being part of traditional dishes and desserts like maruya, turrón, and halo-halo or saba con yelo. Most of these dishes use the Saba or Cardaba banana cultivar. Bananas are also commonly used in cuisine in the South-Indian state of Kerala, where they are steamed (puzhungiyathu), made into curries, fried into chips (upperi) or fried in batter (pazhampori). Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya or Kerala pazhampori, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A similar dish is known in the United Kingdom and United States as banana fritters.

 

Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes, such as the Pazham Pachadi prepared in Kerala.

 

Seeded bananas (Musa balbisiana), one of the forerunners of the common domesticated banana, are sold in markets in Indonesia.

 

FLOWER

Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods. The flavor resembles that of artichoke. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.

 

LEAVES

Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesian cuisine, banana leaf is employed in cooking method called pepes and botok; the banana leaf packages containing food ingredients and spices are cooked on steam, in boiled water or grilled on charcoal. In the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in every occasion the food must be served in a banana leaf and as a part of the food a banana is served. Steamed with dishes they impart a subtle sweet flavor. They often serve as a wrapping for grilling food. The leaves contain the juices, protect food from burning and add a subtle flavor. In Tamil Nadu (India) leaves are fully dried and used as packing material for food stuffs and also making cups to hold liquid foods. In Central American countries, banana leaves are often used as wrappers for tamales.

 

TRUNK

The tender core of the banana plant's trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, and notably in the Burmese dish mohinga.

 

FIBER

TEXTILES

The banana plant has long been a source of fiber for high quality textiles. In Japan, banana cultivation for clothing and household use dates back to at least the 13th century. In the Japanese system, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. Harvested shoots are first boiled in lye to prepare fibers for yarn-making. These banana shoots produce fibers of varying degrees of softness, yielding yarns and textiles with differing qualities for specific uses. For example, the outermost fibers of the shoots are the coarsest, and are suitable for tablecloths, while the softest innermost fibers are desirable for kimono and kamishimo. This traditional Japanese cloth-making process requires many steps, all performed by hand.

 

In a Nepalese system the trunk is harvested instead, and small pieces are subjected to a softening process, mechanical fiber extraction, bleaching and drying. After that, the fibers are sent to the Kathmandu Valley for use in rugs with a silk-like texture. These banana fiber rugs are woven by traditional Nepalese hand-knotting methods, and are sold RugMark certified.

 

In South Indian state of Tamil Nadu after harvesting for fruit the trunk (outer layer of the shoot) is made into fine thread used in making of flower garlands instead of thread.

 

PAPER

Banana fiber is used in the production of banana paper. Banana paper is made from two different parts: the bark of the banana plant, mainly used for artistic purposes, or from the fibers of the stem and non-usable fruits. The paper is either hand-made or by industrial process.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

 

Summary

 

Built in 1896-97 to the French Renaissance Revival style design of architect Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz, the Society House of the American Society of Civil Engineers was the headquarters of the organization founded in 1852. As the engineering profession grew rapidly in the 19th century and its membership increased, ASCE needed a new building, said to be the first such project for a professional American engineering society. After a site was selected on West 57th Street, the wide cross-town thoroughfare with a distinguished history associated with the arts and various organizations for over a century, a limited design competition was held in 1896 and Eidlitz was selected. The Society House is clad in white glazed brick, with intricately-carved Indiana limestone ornament.

 

The facade, dominated by an enframed elliptical ogee arch on the second story that is surmounted by a tripartite window group, is further embellished by smaller second-story ogee-arched lintels, quoins, and a modillioned cornice topped by a parapet. As its attendance increased, ASCE found it necessary to construct an annex in 1905-06; the design by Eidlitz & [Andrew C.] McKenzie continued that of the original portion. Eidlitz, often linked with commissions from the telephone industry, also produced a wide and distinguished variety of designs for public, institutional, and commercial structures. After ASCE moved in 1917 to new quarters, it retained ownership of its former Society House until 1966.

 

Due to its close proximity to the “Automobile Row” section of Broadway, the building was leased in 1918-27 as offices and showrooms of the Ajax Rubber Co., one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of pneumatic tires, and in 1927-28 as a showroom for luxury Stearns-Knight automobiles. The 1918 ground-story alteration, by architect Arnold W. Brunner, included re-cladding and creation of wide storefront bays. From 1928 to 1973, this was the location of one of the Schrafft’s chain of restaurants, especially popular in its earlier years as a center for women’s dinners and functions. In 1975, the ground story was leased by Lee’s Art Shop, known for its traditional art supplies and operated by Gilbert and Ruth Steinberg, who purchased the building in 1994.

 

DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

 

West 57th Street: a Cultural Center of New York

 

West 57th Street, particularly the blocks between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, is part of the wide cross-town thoroughfare that has sometimes evoked comparison to the elegant Rue de la Paix in Paris, and has been associated with the arts for over a century. In the early 1870s, town houses and mansions for New York’s elite began to be constructed along Fifth Avenue and the adjacent blocks on West 57th Street. Other structures began to pave the way for the neighborhood’s reputation as an artistic center. The Sherwood Studios (1880, attributed to John

 

H. Sherwood; demolished), 58 West 57th Street, built by financier-art collector Sherwood; and the Rembrandt (1881, Hubert & Pirsson; demolished), 152 West 57th Street, organized by painter/minister Jared Flagg, were early apartment houses that provided large studio space for artists. The Osborne Apartments (1883-85, James E. Ware; 1889; 1906), 205 West 57th Street, was one of the largest and grandest apartment houses of its era and attracted numerous musicians over the years. Carnegie Hall (1889-95, William B. Tuthill), at the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue, became one of the nation’s most legendary concert halls; residential studios were added to the building in 1896-97 (Henry J. Hardenbergh).

 

The American Fine Arts Society Building (1891-92, Hardenbergh), 215 West 57th Street, has been home to the Architectural League, Art Students League, and Society of American Artists, providing exhibition, classroom, and studio facilities; it was the site of “virtually every important exhibition of art and architecture held in the city” for many years. Later buildings that provided residential and working space for artists include the 130 and 140 West 57th Street Studio Buildings (1907-08, Pollard & Steinam) and the Rodin Studios (1916-17, Cass Gilbert), 200 West 57th Street. Additionally, there were the Society House of the American Society of Civil Engineers (1896-97, Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz), 220 West 57th Street; Lotos Club (1907, Donn Barber), 110 West 57th Street, a literary club founded in 1870; and the Louis H. Chalif Normal School of Dancing (1916, G.A. & H. Boehm), 163-165 West 57th Street, one of the earliest American schools to instruct teachers in dance. The Real Estate Record & Builders Guide commented in 1916 that the neighborhood “abounds in structures devoted to the cultivation of the arts.”

 

As indicated in the Federal Writers’ Project’s New York City Guide in 1939, “the completion of Carnegie Hall in 1891 established the district as the foremost musical center of the country. Manufacturers of musical instruments, especially pianos, opened impressive showrooms along Fifty-Seventh Street.” These included Chickering Hall (1924, Cross & Cross), 29 West 57th Street, headquarters of the American Piano Co. which “manufactured its own line of pianos and held a controlling interest in the companies Knabe, Chickering, and Mason & Hamlin;” and Steinway Hall (1924-25, Warren & Wetmore), 109-113 West 57th Street.

 

American Society of Civil Engineers

 

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) was open to membership by civil, geological, mining and mechanical engineers in good standing with ten years of professional experience, as well as to architects and other professionals who were “interested in the advancement of science.” The organization’s constitution stipulated that New York City was to be its place of business. Early meetings were held at the Croton Aqueduct Dept. in a building located in what is now City Hall Park, but ASCE fell largely inactive after 1855, until its reorganization in 1867. Later meetings were held in the Chamber of Commerce Building, 63 William Street (1867-75); and at 4 East 23rd Street (1875-77); 104 East 20th Street (1877-81); and 127 East 23rd Street (1881-97), the latter location having a lecture hall, civil engineering library, and apartments. After the Civil War, the engineering profession grew rapidly with the vast expansion of the United States and its infrastructure. As a result, by 1897 ASCE had some 2,100 members. At its convention in June 1895, a decision was reached to obtain new headquarters, and ASCE’s Board of Direction was given the authority to proceed, under Charles Warren Hunt, who served as secretary from 1895 to 1920.

 

Society House of the American Society of Civil Engineers

 

By October 1895, a site for a new building was chosen on West 57th Street near Broadway, the location being considered especially favorable, as the street was quite wide; the character of the neighborhood was well-established, with quality buildings; many transit lines were nearby; and the eastern side of the property would allow for windows, as the Central Presbyterian Church next door was set back from the street. At a November 1895 meeting, ASCE voted “that the construction and architecture of the new Society House be entrusted to Members of the American Society of Civil Engineers and to none others.”

 

The two chosen lots were purchased by ASCE from Amos R. Eno and the Estate of Samuel Inslee in January 1896 for a total of $80,000. A Committee on New Society House was appointed that same month, its duties being to choose an architect, submit plans, and recommend contracts, all subject to approval by the Board of Direction, as well as to approve payments to the architect, supervise the work, and report on the building’s satisfactory completion. George A. Just was the committee chairman, and the other members were Charles W. Hunt, Thomas C. Clarke, Charles Sooysmith, William R. Hutton, George H. Browne, Joseph M. Knap, and Bernard R. Green. ASCE members and friends were solicited for voluntary subscriptions to pay for the new building. Joseph M. Wilson, a vice president of ASCE, prepared plans for a $90,000, three-story structure to have ground-story reception and meeting rooms, second-story offices, and third-story reading room and library.

 

At the 1896 ASCE annual meeting, however, it was resolved to hold a limited design competition for the new house instead, in which “all architects connected with the Society may participate,” as well as specially-invited architects not affiliated with ASCE. Twelve designs (eight from members, four from invited architects) were received by May 1896, and Cyrus

 

L.W. Eidlitz, an invitee, was selected and retained as architect by the Board of Direction. Excavation on the site was begun in July 1896 by Herbert Stewart, but was halted, due in part to financial considerations. A later ASCE report indicated that “during the spring and summer the plans and specifications were perfected, but owing to the impossibility of securing a loan on favorable terms, proposals for the erection of the building were not asked for until after the Presidential election.”

 

The New York Times announced in August that “the building is to be of brick and granite, with terra cotta decorative work.” In November 1896, funding on favorable terms was secured from the Mutual Life Insurance Co. Eidlitz filed plans and construction began at the end of December 1896; the four-story, fifty-foot-wide structure, with steel girder and timber framing, had an estimated cost of $100,000.

 

After competitive bidding, ASCE in December selected Charles T. Wills as the builder, for $86,775. Wills headed one of the city’s most prominent firms of the day, responsible for the construction of many notable structures, such as the Montauk Club (1889-91, Francis H. Kimball), 8th Avenue and Lincoln Place, Brooklyn; Judson Memorial Church (1888-93, McKim, Mead & White), 51 Washington Square South; Presbyterian Building (1894-95, Rowe & Baker), 156 Fifth Avenue; American Surety Co. Building (1894-96, Bruce Price), 100 Broadway; and University Club (1896-1900, McKim, Mead & White), 1 West 54th Street. Construction work on ASCE’s Society House proceeded rapidly during the first several months, but was slowed down by the city’s striking steamfitters and plasterers.

 

The house was completed in October 1897, at a cost of $91,275 ($206,284 including the land and interior decoration), and was formally opened to the public on November 24, 1897, at a ceremony attended by some 550 people. In his address, ASCE president Benjamin M. Harrod reiterated that this was not a clubhouse, but a professional association house:

 

Our intention in erecting this commodious building has not been limited to serving the close uses of a club, or even to providing a professional resort for our own members. We have been moved by larger aims, and have builded with the hope that we might greatly aid in promoting those objects of a National Society, and in supplying those wants of our profession which have been made prominent and important by the extent and direction of its evolution during the present generation.

 

Facilities within the new building (not subject to this designation) included: janitor’s apartment and storage and publication rooms in the basement and sub-basement (as well as heating and electrical equipment in the sidewalk vault space); secretary’s offices, and reception, coat, serving, and lounging rooms on the ground story; reading room and auditorium (seating over 400) on the second story; clerical offices and model room/ museum on the third story; and a fourth-story library stack room (with a capacity of over 100,000 volumes). A 1903 ASCE booklet on the Society House stated that “the project for a building to be prepared and erected solely for the use of a professional engineering society [was] the first project of this kind in America.”

 

Eidlitz’s design for the Society House received favorable comment. The Times noted that “its architecture is in the French Renaissance, the material used being Indiana limestone richly carved.” The Real Estate Record & Builders Guide considered that Eidlitz wisely deferred to the Francois I style of the American Fine Arts Society Building across the street, though

 

the front makes the impression of a Gothic building [and] is dignified, balanced and harmonious, and in detail it is highly interesting... the design of the ornament is so artistic as to invite and to repay study. Upon the whole it is one of the most successful of our recent buildings, and is especially exemplary for the example it sets of conformity and appropriateness in a quarter in which such an example was especially needful and is likely to be especially useful ... the basement... is in Indiana limestone, which material is used also in the wrought work of the superstructure against a field of nearly white brick. The combination is effective, and has the advantage of giving effective relief and detachment to the carved ornament.

 

The Iron Age, echoing the Times, called it “a beautiful example of French Renaissance in Indiana limestone richly carved, and is a notable addition to the ever increasing list of New York’s handsome buildings.” Photographs of the building were featured in Architectural Record and American Architect & Building News in 1898.

 

The Society House is clad in white glazed brick, with intricately-carved Indiana limestone ornament. The facade, dominated by an enframed elliptical ogee arch on the second story that is surmounted by a tripartite window group, is further embellished by smaller second-story ogee-arched lintels, quoins, and a modillioned cornice topped by a parapet. Originally, the ground story had a central entrance, approached by a low stoop, flanked by bipartite windows.

 

Architect: Cyrus Lazelle Warner Eidlitz/ Eidlitz & McKenzie

 

Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz (1853-1921) was born in New York City into a family of eminent architects, engineers, and builders. He was the son of the distinguished architect Leopold Eidlitz (1823-1908), born in Prague of Austrian Jewish heritage, who was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects (1857) and was particularly noted for his involvement in the design of the Produce Exchange, Tweed Courthouse, and Temple Emanu-El in New York City, and New York State Capitol, Albany. Cyrus was named for his grandfather, Cyrus Lazelle Warner, also an architect, who is best known for the design of the Beth Elohim Synagogue (1840-41), Charleston, S.C. His uncle, Marc Eidlitz, was the head of one of the most prominent building concerns in New York, while two other uncles, Samuel A. and Benjamin W. Warner, were architects specializing in commercial work. His brother, Leopold, and a cousin, Charles S. Warner, were engineers.

 

Cyrus Eidlitz studied at a preparatory school in Geneva, Switzerland, then at the Royal Polytechnic Institute, Stuttgart, Germany, in 1871-72. He entered his father’s office as draftsman, and in 1876 established his own practice; an early commission in 1878-79 was the rebuilding of the fire-damaged St. Peter’s Church, 2500 Westchester Avenue, the Bronx, built to his father’s design in 1853-55. Leopold Eidlitz was responsible for assisting his son in obtaining work (the two shared an office, also with brother Leopold).

 

As his career progressed into the 1880s, Cyrus Eidlitz worked largely in the Richardsonian Romanesque stylistic vein. Among his notable buildings were Michigan Central Railroad Stations (1882-83, demolished; and 1887), Detroit and Kalamazoo, Michigan; Dearborn Street Station (1883-85), Chicago; Buffalo [New York] Public Library (1884-87, demolished); and San Antonio [Texas] National Bank (1886).

 

In New York City, Eidlitz designed the city’s earliest consolidated telephone exchange structures for the Metropolitan Telephone & Telegraph Co., including Cortlandt Street (1886-87, demolished), 140 Spring Street (1889-90), West 38th Street (c. 1890, demolished), and Broad Street (1890, demolished). Institutional and commercial commissions included the Racquet & Tennis Club (1890-91, demolished), 27 West 43rd Street; Bank for Savings (1893-94, facades extant), 280 Park Avenue South; Fidelity and Casualty Building (1893-94, demolished), 99 Cedar Street; Association of the Bar of the City of New York Clubhouse (1895), 42 West 44th Street; Townsend Building (1896-97), 1121 Broadway; and Washington Life Insurance Co. Building (1897-98, demolished), Broadway and Liberty Street. An association with the Western Electric Co. led to the design of its buildings at 125-131 Greenwich Street (1888-89); and 455465 West Street and 734-742 Washington Street (1896-99 and 1899-1900; later Bell Telephone Laboratories/ Westbeth). Eidlitz designed Shingle style summer residences in East Hampton for himself and his sister, Harriet Quackenbush (1896-97 and 1899).

 

Around 1904, the firm of Eidlitz & McKenzie was established, primarily to handle commissions associated with the telephone business, such as the exchanges at 126-130 Orchard Street (1902) and 380-386 Convent Avenue (1906). Andrew Campbell McKenzie (1861-1926), born in Dunkirk, N.Y., had entered Eidlitz’s office c. 1900. The firm’s most famous commission was the New York Times Building (1903-05; re-clad 1966), at twenty-five stories then the city’s tallest structure. Cyrus Eidlitz retired in 1910, after which the firm continued as McKenzie, [Stephen F.] Voorhees & [Paul] Gmelin (1910-26), and Voorhees, Gmelin & [Ralph] Walker (1926-38), both of which continued the association with the design of telephone structures, including the Barclay-Vesey Building (1923-26), 140 West Street.

 

Annex of the Society House of 1905-06

 

In 1903, Andrew Carnegie announced a donation of one million dollars towards construction of a national engineers clubhouse, proposed as a combined facility for the Engineers’ Club of New York, ASCE, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Electrical Engineering, and American Institute of Mining Engineers. ASCE, however, declined to join this scheme following a referendum of its membership. Instead, the Board of Direction embarked on an expansion of its Society House, due to, as it was later reported, “the fact that the Entrance Hallway, Auditorium and Lounging Room were unequal to providing comfortably for the increasing attendance at Annual Meetings.”

 

In April 1904, ASCE’s secretary announced a contract for the purchase of the adjacent lot to the west, which was acquired for $100,000 in June from the United States Realty & Construction Co. A committee was appointed December 1904 to “confer with the Architect [then Eidlitz & McKenzie] and to report plans for the enlargement of the Society House.” In May 1905, the contract for construction of the annex and alteration of the existing house was awarded to the low bidder, William L. Crow, for $52,497. The William L. Crow Construction Co., incorporated in 1906 and headed by William Langstaff Crow ( -1909), was the successor to the building concern established in 1840 by his father, Langstaff N. Crow (c. 1821-1892).

 

One of the city’s leading builders, the firm was responsible for the construction of such varied structures as the De Vinne Press Building (1885-86, Babb, Cook & Willard), 393-399 Lafayette Street; and Vanderbilt Hotel (1910-13, Warren & Wetmore), 4 Park Avenue, and specialized in clubhouse construction, including the Engineers Club (1905-06, Whitfield & King), 32 West 40th Street, and Princeton, Alpha Delta Phi, Edward Clark, and Chemists Clubs. The two-bay, twenty-fivefoot-wide ASCE annex was constructed between June 1905 and January 1906, at a cost of $61,430; the new space on the second story allowed for expansion of the library and auditorium. The design continued that of the original portion; the ground story originally had two windows.

 

By 1914, the Engineering Societies Building (1907, James Gamble Rogers), 33 West 39th Street, constructed with Andrew Carnegie’s gift, was clear of debt and ASCE was offered the status of a “founding society” if it finally joined the other member organizations. This time, ASCE accepted the offer, and two stories were added to the structure for ASCE’s use. In December 1917, ASCE moved to the Engineering Societies Building. ASCE retained ownership of its former Society House until 1966, and it was later reported that it “became a highly profitable investment” as a leased property. The church next door was demolished in 1916 for a three-story office building for the Consolidated Gas Co. (Warren & Wetmore, architect).

 

ASCE’s Society House was leased immediately (December 1917), with the New York Times announcing that “the Federal Food Board moves today into the old building of the American Society of Civil Engineers... The State Food Commission and the City Food Administrator are now merged in the Federal Food Board.” The board’s wartime mandate included food conservation, elimination of waste and unnecessary distribution costs, and price regulation, as well as maintaining a Bureau of Complaints. The National Agricultural Prize Commission, which reviewed city garden food production, was also located here in 1917-18.

 

Broadway: Automobile Row

 

The American automobile, or “horseless carriage,” was initially manufactured in the 1890s as a luxury item. In 1902, there were a dozen “significant producers” of automobiles in the United States. Three dozen new automobile manufacturers, including a number of former carriage and bicycle companies, had joined the marketplace by 1907, but several firms had failed. Henry Ford, among others, worked on the mass production of automobiles, thus enabling costs to be lowered around 1910. By the 1920s, there were forty-four American automobile manufacturers.

 

Rider’s New York City guidebook in 1923 observed that Broadway, from the high West 40s “to approximately 66th St. is the section popularly known as ‘Automobile Row,’ comprising the New York sales rooms of the leading automobile manufacturers, tire makers and dealers in special automobile parts or accessories.” This was actually a northern continuation along Broadway of the horse, carriage, and harness businesses that had been located around Longacre (later Times) Square since the late-19th century. By 1910, there were dozens of automobile-related businesses, including many small automobile or body manufacturers, lining Broadway particularly between West 48th Street and Columbus Circle. In 1917, The Hub, an American automobile manufacturers’ journal, identified New York as a center of auto manufacture... one of the chief, if not the foremost of markets, for the sale and distribution of automobiles... [but also] a locality where the assembling, manufacturing, and service branches of the industry have developed to a remarkable extent. As a sales center, New York is actually the center of the country, practically every motor car manufacturer in the country maintaining a branch office in this city.

 

Ajax Rubber Company and Stearns-Knight Automobiles

 

In July 1918, the Ajax Rubber Co. (Horace DeLisser, founder and president), one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of pneumatic tires and tubes, leased the former Society House for its offices and showrooms. The ground story of the building was altered for Ajax’s showrooms by architect Arnold W. Brunner and completed in January 1919. This alteration included re-cladding capped by a molded and corbeled cornice, and creation of wide storefront bays. Brunner (1857-1925), a nationally respected architect, city planner, and proponent of the City Beautiful Movement, was formerly a partner in the firm of Brunner & [Thomas] Tryon from 1885 to 1897. He participated in the design of such notable neo-Classical style buildings as the Shearith Israel Synagogue (1896-97), 99 Central Park West; Free Public Baths of the City of New York, East 11th Street Bath (1904-05), 538 East 11th Street; and Public Baths, Asser Levy Place (1904-06, with William M. Aiken).

 

The Ajax Rubber Co. was founded in New York in 1905, supported by automobile manufacturers attempting to prevent a monopoly of tire manufacturing. In 1906, Ajax merged with the Grieb Rubber Co., having its factories in Trenton, N.J., making automobile and truck tires and inner tubes. Ajax maintained administrative offices in New York City. The success of the firm led to the purchase of another Trenton rubber operation in 1915, then acquisition of the Racine [Wis.] Rubber Co. By 1919, Trenton and Racine were co-equal manufacturing centers for Ajax, but a recession in 1919-21 severely affected profits. After recovery through a 1922 refinancing, Ajax expanded, with new plants in Nashville, Texas, and Fresno.

 

In July 1927, the ground-story showroom space of the former Society House was sub-leased by the Ajax Rubber Co., with the Times announcing that a new sales and showroom for Stearns-Knight automobiles was opened July 1 at 21[8]-222 West Fifty-seventh Street. Operating as an entirely independent unit to the main Willys-Overland salesroom at Broadway and Fiftieth Street... models of both Stearns-Knight and Willys-Knight cars will be shown in the new quarters.

 

A January 1926 announcement had stated that control of the F.B. Stearns Company, oldest American Manufacturers of Knight Motored Cars, has been acquired by interests closely associated with John N. Willys. ... Stearns Knight Cars were the first Knight Cars built in America. They have upheld the European Knight tradition of “Luxury First – price last”.

 

Frank Ballou Stearns built his first car in 1896, and produced the luxury Stearns-Knight automobile, “America’s Most Luxurious Motor Car,” using the then-superior engines of Charles Yale Knight, in Cleveland from 1911 until he retired and sold his interests in 1918. The Stearns firm was purchased in 1925 by John North Willys, whose Willys-Overland Co. of Toledo also used Knight engines; it continued manufacture of Stearns-Knight automobiles until December 1929. Stearns-Knight vacated the ground story of this building in August 1928.

 

Schrafft’s

 

A leasing deal to “occupy the major portion” of the former ASCE Society House was announced in March 1928 by the Frank G. Shattuck Co., operators of the Schrafft’s restaurant chain. The store did not open until March 1929, with dining rooms that could accommodate some 500 people. It was later reported that the rental, one of the “outstanding deals” brokered by Samuel J. Tankoos, was “in excess of $2,500,000.” Schrafft’s was started in 1898 by Frank Garrett Shattuck, after he convinced a Boston confectioner, the Viennese-born William F. Schraft (later Schrafft), to allow him to market the latter’s boxed chocolates outside of the New England market. Shattuck first opened a small retail store in New York that year under the Schrafft name. He eventually expanded with a chain of restaurants that served lunch and ice cream, catering to a largely upper-middle class female clientele. The first Schrafft’s store with meals opened in 1906 in Syracuse. By 1915, there were nine stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the first large New York restaurant opened at 48 Broad Street in 1919, and by 1934, there were 42 Schrafft’s locations. As a popular restaurant chain, it was in competition in New York with such restaurant/cafeteria businesses as Horn & Hardart, Chock Full O’Nuts, Nedick’s, Longchamps, Childs, Stewart’s, and Bickford’s.

 

The Schrafft’s on West 57th Street was conveniently close to Carnegie Hall, the theater district, and shopping. Open from 8:00 a.m. until after midnight, it served breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and after-theater meals, while facilities allowed for rental special functions. A 1930 ad, indicating gender segregation existed in at least some of the spaces, stated that “the spacious Men’s grill, on the second floor, is specially equipped to care for business men. Here, luncheon is served in strictly masculine surroundings.” Like other New York restaurants of the period, Schrafft’s also operated under a policy of racial segregation. While most New York restaurant workers and clientele had previously been male, once women joined restaurant workforces female customers followed. Schrafft’s is considered one of the earliest chains to exploit this fact. This was demonstrated by a May 1932 announcement regarding this location: new and larger headquarters of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs will be opened on the fourth floor of 220 West Fifty-seventh Street with a housewarming and tea... Mrs. Oliver Harriman will be the hostess... The new clubrooms have been contributed by the Frank G. Shattuck Company as a centre for the clubwomen of New York.

 

This was undoubtedly a shrewd business move, as this Schrafft’s served as a center for many women’s dinners and functions, a brief sampling of which included those of the National Council of Women (1932); Irene Club/ New York League of Girls Clubs’ 50th anniversary celebrations (1934 and 1935); Women’s Overseas Service League annual dinner (1936); and Washington Headquarters of the D.A.R. tea (1937), to raise funds for the restoration of the Morris-Jumel Mansion.

 

Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Schrafft’s opened the Columbus Room here in 1936, advertised as “New York’s newest smart bar and cocktail rendezvous... Luncheon – Cocktail Hour – Dinner – Supper.” Interior modifications were performed by architects Bloch & Hesse, who in 1940 modernized Schrafft’s ground story and marquee, within Arnold W. Brunner’s 1918 ground-story alteration. By 1939, the upper two stories of the building were converted into apartments. The restaurant continued to serve as a center for a variety of functions, such as a Schrafft’s employees’ breakfast (1942), with the former Postmaster General James A. Farley, rallying support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and a talk by silent film star Harold Lloyd (1957). Other tenants in the building included a travel service (c. 1940-70), and [Alfred] Fromm & [Franz W.] Sichel, early promoters of the California wine industry and sole distributors of Christian Brothers wines and brandies and Paul Masson champagnes (1946-56).

 

ASCE moved in 1961 to the United Engineering Center, 345 East 47th Street, and finally sold its 57th Street property in May 1966 to the 218 West 57 Corp. (George M. Horn & Assocs.) for $850,000. In turn, it was purchased for around a million dollars in August 1968 by the Arlen Operating Co. (Arthur G. Cohen and Arthur N. Levien, partners). That same month, it was announced that a new 45-story office tower (888 Seventh Avenue) would rise to the east, constructed by Arlen Realty & Development Corp. (founded in 1959 by Cohen and Levien), and that a small park (on the site of the former Consolidated Gas Co. building) would be created between the tower and the former ASCE Society House, which would remain extant and from which a “zoning credit” was received to allow a higher building height. By 1972, the fortunes of Schrafft’s had diminished and the firm began to sell some of its properties; Schrafft’s accounting division moved into this building. In December 1973, the Times listed a sublease agreement by Xenia Clubs International, owner of a sports club at 119 West 57th Street, for its executive offices.

 

Later History of the Former ASCE Society House

 

In June 1975, the ground story and basement of the former Society House were leased by Lee’s Art Shop, operated by Gilbert and Ruth Steinberg. “Known for its traditional art supplies, as well as for all sorts of unusual crafts objects,” the business had long been located in the Osborne Apartments building on the north side of 57th Street. By 1979, Arlen Realty & Development Corp., called by the New York Times “the nation’s largest publicly owned real-estate company,” was reporting total losses over six years of $368 million, and a series of restructuring measures were contemplated. This property remained under a number of corporate entities associated with Arlen until 1994, when it was transferred to the 220 W. 57th Limited Partnership (Gilbert and Ruth Steinberg). Tenants listed in a 1980 city directory included the Restaurant League of New York, New York State Dept. of Mental Hygiene, and typewriter/business machines, public relations, general contracting, and mobile geriatric unit firms. Lee’s Art Shop underwent a 2002 interior renovation which expanded its retail space on all four stories, including framing, lighting and furniture divisions; the ground-story shopfront infill was replaced, while 1970s signage was retained.

 

Description

 

The Society House of the American Society of Civil Engineers was constructed in two phases: the eastern three bays in 1896-97, and the western two-bay annex in 1905-06, which continued the design of the original portion. The building is clad in white glazed brick, with intricately-carved Indiana limestone ornament.

 

Ground Story Originally, the limestone-clad ground story of the original section had a central entrance, approached by a low stoop, flanked by bipartite windows with transoms, while the annex originally had two windows; the areaway was bordered with a stone balustrade. A 1918 alteration included stone re-cladding (now painted), with a granite bulkhead, capped by a molded and corbeled cornice, and creation of wide storefront bays. The current metal and glass shopfront infill (within the above 1918 alteration) dates from 2002, and includes a shop entrance and metal service doors at both ends; 1970s signage was retained above the shop entrance.

 

Second and Third Stories The facade of the original portion is dominated by an carved and enframed elliptical ogee arch (within which is a tripartite window group with transoms and a carved spandrel panel) on the second story that is surmounted by a tripartite window group with decorative transom panels and carved surround. The original portion and annex are edged with quoins. Second-story windows have ogee-arched lintels above transoms and carved panels, and quoins; and third-story windows have label lintels and quoins. Windows were originally one-over-one double-hung wood sash (and wood-framed transoms), and are currently (post-1979) single-pane metal.

 

Fourth Story The third story was originally terminated by a continuous molded stone bandcourse, and the fourth story had small single-pane windows with quoins. The window openings were enlarged (c. 1939) with one-over-one double-hung wood sash, interrupting the bandcourse. Current windows (post-1979) are single-pane metal. The original portion has four decorative panels. The building is terminated by a molded and modillioned stone cornice topped by a paneled parapet with balusters and the date of completion in Roman numerals.

 

East and Rear Walls Due to the small open plaza space to the east, the east wall and portions of the rear walls of the former Society House are visible. The brick walls are unarticulated and mostly painted above the parged first story, with a few windows (filled with brick); there are rooftop bulkheads. Painted signs occur at the north end of the east wall.

 

- From the 2008 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

1619 Broadway, Theater District, Manhattan

 

Since its construction in 1930-31, the 11-story Brill Building has been synonymous with American music – from the last days of Tin Pan Alley to the emergence of rock and roll. Occupying the northwest corner of Broadway and West 49th Street, it was commissioned by real estate developer Abraham Lefcourt who briefly planned to erect the world’s tallest structure on the site, which was leased from the Brill Brothers, owners of a men’s clothing store. When Lefcourt failed to meet the terms of their agreement, the Brills foreclosed on the property and the name of the nearly-complete structure was changed from the Alan E. Lefcourt Building to the, arguably more melodious sounding, Brill Building. Designed in the Art Deco style by architect Victor A. Bark, Jr., the white brick elevations feature handsome terra-cotta reliefs, as well as two niches that prominently display stone and brass portrait busts that most likely portray the developer’s son, Alan, who died as the building was being planned. A remarkable number of tenants have been music publishers, but the building is also notable for attracting an evolving roster of songwriters, booking agents, vocal coaches, publicity agents, talent agents, and performers. As the popularity of big band music and jazz increased, many performers leased offices in the building, including Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and Nat King Cole. By the early 1960s, more than 160 tenants were involved in the music industry. While not every artist associated with the so-called “Brill Building sound” actually worked at 1619 Broadway, these creative men and women produced some of early rock and roll’s most beautifully-crafted and memorable songs. Also contributing to the building’s reputation have been various commercial tenants, including such fashionable restaurants as Jack Dempsey’s and the Turf, and a succession of vast second floor nightclubs, including the Hurricane, Club Zanzibar and Bop City, where jazz briefly gained a prominent midtown venue and a wider audience in the 1940s.

 

DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

 

Few office buildings in New York City are as closely associated with a single profession as the Brill Building. Built on speculation at the start of the Great Depression, during 1930-31, for the next half-century this 11-story Art Deco-style structure was synonymous with popular music and entertainment. A succession of tenants, including music publishers, talent agents, songwriters, and nightclubs, have contributed to the building’s legendary status. Not only were more than 160 music-related businesses based here by the early 1960s but music historian Ian Inglis has written that these talented artists brought “a new professionalism and maturity to rock and roll,” leading to the increased presence of women as performers and producers, as well as the development of the “singer-songwriter” – artists who compose and record their own material.

 

And Ken Emerson, author of Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, observed: “The music publishers and songwriters who worked there routinized the creation and production of rock ‘n’ roll. They smoothed the rough edges . . . Reigning in the unruliness of rock ‘n’ roll made it safe for teenage America and profitable in the mass marketplace.”3 During this period, the Brill Building became the unofficial center of pop music in the United States. While not all of the artists and companies associated with the so-called “Brill Building sound” actually leased space here, such myths demonstrate the structure’s longstanding importance, from its early ties to Tin Pan Alley and the Big Band era to the present day.

 

The Site

 

The Brill Building occupies the northwest corner of Broadway and West 49th Street. It was named for the Brill Brothers – Samuel, Max and Maurice – who operated a Manhattan chain of men’s clothing stores for more than five decades. Founded by Samuel and Maurice Brill in late 1886, their first store was located in lower Manhattan at 45 Cortlandt Street, near Church Street. The Brills began leasing the Broadway site in 1909 and a branch opened here in October 1910. The New York Times reported:

 

The steady growth of Times Square and the adjoining streets as the business centre of Manhattan is proved this morning by the opening of a new clothing store . . . it covers half the block on the Broadway side and 75 feet in Forty-ninth Street.

 

The site was originally owned by Archibald D. and Albertina Russell, who conveyed it to the financiers Moses Taylor and Percy R. Pyne (1857-1929) in 1919. The Ruspyn Corporation was established following Pyne’s death and the lease with the Brill Brothers was extended 85 years. This set the stage for a sublease to the 1619 Realty Corporation, which agreed to erect a building of at least six stories, valued at more than $400,000. In addition, the contract stipulated that any plans be approved by the Brills.

 

Plan and Construction

 

On October 3, 1929, three weeks before the stock market crash, Lefcourt announced plans to build the world’s tallest structure at the northwest corner of Broadway and 49th Street. Representing an investment of $30 million, the Chicago Tribune reported:

 

An arrangement already settled between the builder and his client, said to be one of

the largest business institutions in the country, is that the building shall not be less

than the height announced.

 

Not only would the 1,050-foot tower be much taller than the 538-foot Lefcourt-Colonial Building – the firm’s tallest project to date – but it would also have surpassed two of the city’s loftiest structures: the 1,046-foot Chrysler Building (completed May 1930, a designated New York City Landmark) and the 927-foot Manhattan Company Building (a designated New York City Landmark). In the weeks that followed, Lefcourt may have become uneasy about such ambitious plans. Though he remained publicly optimistic about the real estate market, a December 1929 article made no mention of the Brill Building’s height.16 This suggests that he had difficulty financing the tower or that the original height was being reconsidered, and subsequently, reduced.

 

Despite a tough economic climate, the project eased forward. Lefcourt and the 1619 Realty Company finalized the purchase of the lease from the Brill Brothers in January 1930 and in March 1930 plans (NB 46-1930) for a much lower structure were submitted to the Department of Buildings. The New York Times commented: “No definite statement could be obtained yesterday regarding the reason for changing the plans.”17 Bark was identified as the architect and the owner was the Ruspyn Corporation, with Percy P. Pyne as president. It was described as ten stories tall, with a penthouse, stores, bank and offices. The estimated cost was modest, $1 million. Initially called the Alan E. Lefcourt Building, construction began in May 1930 and the exterior work was completed in late November 1930.

 

Design

 

The Brill Building is a handsome example of the Art Deco style.

 

Especially popular with New York City real estate developers from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, it grew out of Beaux Arts classicism and included decorative elements associated with structures erected at the Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs & Industriels of 1925, as well as other European styles. Prior to this period, American architects tended to find inspiration in historical forms, borrowing ideas not only from classical sources, but also from medieval and Byzantine models, as illustrated in such designated New York City Landmarks as: the New York Times Building (various architects, begun 1912) on West 43rd Street, the American Radiator Building (Raymond Hood, 1923-24) on West 41st Street, and the Bowery Savings Bank (York & Sawyer, begun 1921-23) on East 42nd Street. In contrast to subsequent architectural trends, particularly following the Second World War, Art Deco buildings are frequently distinguished by low decorative reliefs, vivid colors, and unusual materials.

 

Times Square has relatively few buildings of this style. This can be explained by the fact that most theaters were completed before 1925 when variants of neo-Classicism were at the height of popularity. With few sites open to development, only a small group of neighborhood structures would reflect the new fashion; surviving examples include: the Manufacturer’s Trust Bank (Dennison & Hirons, 1927-28, now a theater and stores) at the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street; the Film Center Building (Ely Jacques Kahn, 1928-29, a designated Landmark Interior) at 630 Ninth Avenue; the Edison Hotel (Herbert J. Krapp, 1930-31) on West 47th Street; and the McGraw-Hill Building (Raymond Hood, 1930-31, a designated New York City Landmark), at 330 West 42nd Street.

 

In designing the Brill Building, Bark divided the Broadway and 49th Street facades into three distinct sections: a three-story base, a seven-story shaft, and penthouse. These elevations are faced with mainly white brick but the base, the central window bays, and the top story incorporate light-colored terra-cotta reliefs. This cast material was favored by early 20th-century architects as a less costly but attractive substitute for carved ornament. While some architects used it extensively, covering entire facades, as in the Woolworth Building (Cass Gilbert, 1910­13, a designated New York City Landmark), in most instances it was used selectively to enhance specific architectural features and to enrich setbacks on the upper floors. Though the source of this building’s terra cotta has yet to be identified, it may have been produced by the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company (active 1907-43), which supplied similar decorative reliefs to several contemporary buildings in Times Square.

 

This Brill Building has mostly conventional, one-over-one fenestration, but the three-story base is almost entirely glazed with a distinctive combination of gridded and fixed window panes.

 

The main entrance was positioned at the center of the Broadway facade, opening to a small foyer and a deep hallway that leads to an elevator lobby along the west side of the building. Though the width of the entrance is relatively narrow, Bark used eye-catching materials to highlight it. Three gleaming brass-finished doors are flanked by polished black granite piers, topped with brass cruciform details that extend up and slightly cover the base of the second-story windows. The elaborate door surround features a grid of windows that resembles a ziggurat. These windows illuminate the foyer and provide visual support for the niche that contains a bust. Set on a pedestal, flanked by elaborate scrollwork and ascending panels incorporating slim vertical reliefs, the brass sculpture sits in an elaborate faceted niche, crowned by a keystone. The John Hartell Company is likely to have been responsible for executing these dazzling features since it recently had collaborated with Bark on the Lefcourt-Colonial Building.

 

At the corner of each facade, above the storefronts, the outermost window bays are flanked by double-height pilasters. These flat, brown pilasters are crowned by square reliefs that suggest capitals, a device frequently used by contemporary architects. Between the second and third floors is a continuous band of polychrome (bluish gray and pink) terra-cotta reliefs. Aligned with each set of metal-framed windows, these panels are divided into three sections. The distinctive treatment of these floors suggests that the interior spaces were designed for a specific purpose. Not only would these decorative elements attract attention to the lower floors but the continuous fenestration permitted generous views south toward the heart of Times Square.

 

To gently lead the eye up both elevations, Bark used recessed terra-cotta panels above the three center window bays. These white panels contain foliate reliefs, crowned by a wave-like horizontal band that functions as a window sill. To cap the uppermost windows, a narrower panel was used. Less tall than the rest, it has clipped corners that when viewed together with the brick pilasters suggest curtains being pulled open. At this level, the architect also added six raised terra-cotta circles above the three side window bays. The 11th floor penthouse, recessed from 49th Street and disguised by a stepped gable, incorporates a large masonry or terra-cotta bust set into a niche, flanked by round arched windows. This massing is decorative – not only does it hide the penthouse but this feature recalls the developer’s original intent to construct a much taller structure since taller buildings were generally required to have setbacks.

 

Roof-top signs also contribute to the Brill Building’s character and its historic role in Times Square. Since as early as 1934, it has served as a platform for a steel framework that supports colorful illuminated signs. Long-term advertisers have included Camel cigarettes (1934) and Budweiser beer (c. 1958). Set atop the penthouse, at an angle to Broadway, these multi-story billboards face south and enjoy great visibility.

 

The Portrait Busts

 

Above the Broadway entrance, incorporated into the brass window surround, is a small niche displaying a bust. This sculpture, as well as the slightly larger masonry (possibly terra cotta) bust installed at the penthouse level, has frequently been interpreted as a portrait of Alan E. Lefcourt, for whom the building was originally named and who died two months before the architect filed plans with the Department of Buildings. In both busts, the subject is portrayed as dressed in a three-piece suit and tie. Whereas the head in the 11th-floor niche faces directly forward, the brass bust is turned slightly to the left.

 

Figurative sculptures, set into niches and roundels, were an important part of the ecclesiastical tradition in Europe, used on church facades to represent saints and occasionally religious patrons. In the late 19th century, terra-cotta sculptures of historical figures were sometimes used to decorate the exteriors of institutional structures, such as the six large portrait heads on the Brooklyn Historical Society (1878-81, part of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District) by Olin Levi Warner, and a series of portrait busts portraying figures from antiquity and physicians on the Deutsches (German) Dispensary (1883-84, a designated New York City Landmark), 137 Second Avenue, Manhattan.

 

In terms of commercial structures, the print dealer Frederick Keppel embellished the facade of 4 East 39th Street (George B. Post, 1904) with the “first permanent memorial” to the painter James McNeil Whistler,19 as well as a portrait of Rembrandt van Rijn, and above the entrance to the Gainsborough Studios (1907-8, a designated New York City Landmark), 222 Central Park South, is a bust of the 18th-century English portrait and landscape painter. In Times Square, at least two buildings display portraits connected to the performing arts: the elaborate north entrance to the Lyric Theater (Victor Hugo Koehler, 1903, now the Hilton Theater), 214 West 43rd Street, includes portraits of the light opera composer Reginald De Koven, for whom it was built, as well as Gilbert & Sullivan, and the south facade of the I. Miller Shoe Store (1926, a designated New York City Landmark) contains three full-length portraits, set into gilt niches.

 

Chosen by popular vote, these sculptures represent leading actresses in their most famous theatrical roles.

 

The busts on the Brill Building are especially unusual because of their personal nature. When former New York governor Samuel Tilden built his house on Gramercy Park (Vaux & Radford, 1881-84, a designated New York City Landmark), he decorated the lower facade with small brownstone portraits of his favorite authors. While caricatures of individuals are sometimes incorporated as building details, such as the architect, owner, and engineer flanking the elevators in the Woolworth Building, the central and conspicuous placement of the two busts on the Brill Building is notable. Born in 1912, Alan E. Lefcourt gained some notoriety at the age of twelve when his father, Abraham, gave him ownership of a $10 million office building, to be erected at the southwest corner of Madison Avenue and 34th Street. Abraham reportedly said that he wished to “inculcate in his son . . . a sense of thrift and responsibility.”

 

Alan, however, was unable to enjoy the financial returns anticipated by his father – a victim of anemia, he died in February 1930.

 

The only known contemporary account that mentions the brass bust appeared in November 1932, as part of Abraham Lefcourt’s New York Times obituary: “Alan died, he put up an eight-story building with his son’s bust over the entrance.”21 In 1990, David Dunlap speculated that the penthouse niche displays the “bust of the developer, Abraham E. Lefcourt.” More recently, in 1999, New York Times reporter Daniel B. Schneider wrote: “The subject of the two busts is uncertain . . . Evidence suggests that the one on the 11th floor is Abraham E. Lefcourt, the building’s developer, and that the other, is his son.”22 Such interpretations may be based on the fact that both died early, well before average age. While it seems likely that the brass portrait is, in fact, a memorial bust, the other bust was installed by September 1930 – more than two years before Abraham’s untimely death, suggesting that it, too, represents the son, or, perhaps, an idealized male tenant.

 

Music Tenants

 

A rental office opened in September 1930. With “new automatic-stop, high-speed elevators” and plans for a ground floor shopping lobby, early leases were reportedly signed with “public utility companies, law firms, certified public accountants and other professional interests.”23 Despite confident accounts in the press, a great many units remained vacant. Contemporary telephone directories list relatively few tenants and a 1934 photograph shows a two-story-high banner advertising “OFFICES” across windows along the east edge of the 49th Street facade. Furthermore, many windows were without shades or blinds, suggesting that considerable space remained available.24

 

The Brill Building was planned as “executive office space” with floors that could be subdivided.25 When this initial strategy failed, smaller spaces were created and leased – the kinds of offices that appeal to wide variety of businesses. It was under these circumstances that the popular music industry found a new base in New York City, from the last years of Tin Pan Alley to the dawn of rock and roll. Phone directories indicate there were approximately 100 entertainment-related tenants in 1940, and as many as 165 by 1962. These included an evolving roster of songwriters, music publishers, booking agents, vocal coaches, publicity agents, talent managers, and performers.

 

Early tenants tended to be music publishers, some with ties to Tin Pan Alley. They included the T. B. Harms Company,26 one of the earliest American firms to profit from the sale of sheet music to musical stage shows; Mills Music Inc.,27 headed by Jack and Irving Mills (aka Joe Primrose), a major independent publisher of sheet music and jazz recordings; Famous Music, established in 1928 by Famous-Lasky Pictures (later Paramount Pictures) to produce and publish songs from film musicals; Southern Music Company, founded by music scout and engineer Ralph S. Peer in 1928; Crawford Music Corporation (B. G. De Sylva, Lew Brown & Ray Henderson); and lyricist/composer Irving Caesar, one of the building’s longest tenants, who wrote more than 700 songs and continued to lease space until the 1970s.

 

According to the Times Square Alliance, of more than 1200 songs performed on the popular radio and television program Your Hit Parade (1935-58), 404 songs, about a third, originated with Brill Building tenants.29 Other 1930s tenants included numerous attorneys; Hyman Caplan, a boxing promoter; theater producer George Choos; as well as the management offices of the Ben Bernie, Earl J. Carpenter, and George Olsen orchestras.30

 

As the popularity of jazz and big bands grew in the late 1930s, many popular groups, some with ties to music publishers in the building, leased offices in the Brill Building, including Cab Calloway, Tommy Dorsey (aka the Embassy Music Corporation, 11th story penthouse), and Duke Ellington. Ben Barton, a former vaudevillian, founded the Barton Music Corporation in 1943. A close friend of Frank Sinatra, who performed with Dorsey’s orchestra in the early 1940s, Barton’s firm published and controlled much of the singer’s best-known compositions, as did a related tenant, Sinatra Songs, until the mid-1960s.31 Vocalists Nat King Cole and Louis Prima had offices here in the 1950s, as did the influential radio disk jockey Alan Freed, Roost (later Roulette) Records, the music publishing companies Charles K. Harris and Harry von Tilzer, and the celebrated songwriting team of (Johnny) Burke & (Jimmy) Van Heusen.

 

The heyday of the Brill Building was during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Not only were there more music-related tenants here than at any other time, but these tenants helped make rock and roll music part of the American mainstream. Music historian Ian Inglis wrote: “it is one of the few buildings whose name many readily evoke a particular period or circumstance – along with, for example, the Cavern, Graceland, Studio 54, and Harlem’s Apollo Theater” (1913-14, a designated New York City Landmark and Interior). Though not every artist, songwriter, and producer associated with the building, particularly Aldon Music, actually leased offices here, a remarkable number did. In his 2003 essay on the building’s legacy, Inglis summarized:

 

Stylistically, its innovations can be credited with much of the responsibility for the increased presence of women as performers and producers of popular music, and for the development of the singer-songwriter. Industrially, its working practices and policies informed many of the changing emphases – and responses to them – characterizing the organization and implementation of the commercial operations of popular music. Creatively, it has been seen as a major source of inspiration for performers and musicians within a variety of popular music genres.34

 

One of the most significant tenants during this period was Hill & Range Songs, founded by Jean and Julien Aberbach in 1948. Located in the 11th-story penthouse, this publishing company had numerous subsidiaries, including Big Top, Rumbalero and Gladys Music. Among the talented songwriters on their staff were (Jerry) Leiber & (Mike) Stoller, who wrote numerous hit songs for Elvis Presley and other artists, as well as the songwriting team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman – all members of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame.35 Red Bird Records, specializing in “girl groups,” was founded by Leiber & Stoller and was based on the ninth floor during the mid-1960s. Other memorable songwriting tenants included the team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who were associated with Red Bird and other recording labels.

 

Composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David met at Famous Music in 1957 and together would write more than one hundred songs for films and Broadway productions, as well as the singers Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, and Tom Jones. David recalled:

 

The preponderance of songwriters were in the Brill Building, the energy was in the Brill Building, the publishers were there, and if you had to be someplace else, you always wound up back at the Brill sometime during the day.

 

[he and Bacharach] started out in New York and met almost every day in the Brill building for about 17 years . . . It was still filled with music publishers when we were there. We wrote in the same little room with an upright piano. Eventually, we moved back and forth between New York and Los Angeles.39

 

Starting the late 1960s and 1970s, the number of tenants in the entertainment industry began to decline – many moved to Los Angeles – with only a fraction remaining today.40 They include: Charing Cross Music, Paul Simon Music; Sound One, an audio post-production facility; KMA Music, a recording studio; Saint Nicholas Music, founded by songwriter Johnny Marks in 1949 and specializing in popular holiday songs; and Broadway Video, an entertainment company and film distributor founded in 1979 by television/film producer Lorne Michaels.

 

Commercial Tenants

 

The base was planned for retail use, with street level shops and related tenants on the second and third floors. One of the first businesses to sign a lease was Joseph Hilton & Sons, a chain of men’s clothing stores. To be located at the corner of 49th Street, the New York Times reported: “This lease, one of the largest that has been closed for many months in the Times Square district” was valued at almost $1 million.41

 

Hilton & Sons, however, never moved into the building and this space became part of a much larger store operated by Brill Brothers, the property’s lessee. Their clothing store opened in August 1932, with ample display windows, shaded by retractable awnings, extending along both Broadway and 49th Street. On opening day, an advertisement boasted that it was:

 

Distinctively a “man’s store” . . . a shopping place all his own . . . in all New York there are few men’s stores so fine . . . so modern . . . so satisfying. Men who know you, and know what you want will make you feel “at home” as soon as you enter. May we have the pleasure of showing you around? 42

 

During the 1930s, the company had as many as four branches, with stores at 49 Cortlandt Street, Seventh Avenue and 35th Street, and 41st Street, near Madison Avenue. Max D. Brill (1866­1938) retired in 1930 and Samuel Brill (b. 1859) died in 1931, leaving Maurice Brill (1869­1951) as head of the business. Brill Brothers closed in spring 1940 and the corner space was leased to the Turf Restaurant.43

 

Because of the proximity to Times Square and the second location of Madison Square Garden (Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, demolished), many of the new tenants were involved in the entertainment industry. Though the ground floor was planned for stores, the earliest tenant to open was actually a pair of movie theaters operated by the Trans-Lux Movies Corporation. Located to the right of the Broadway entrance, the New York Times said it was:

 

Constructed in modern style, with a silver and black design, the two houses have

turnstiles instead of doormen, daylight projection, and other innovations.

 

The Trans-Lux opened in May 1931, with one screen devoted to short features and the other to sound newsreels. To celebrate the opening, U.S. President Herbert Hoover wired Courtland Smith, the sponsor:

I extend congratulations on the opening of your New York theatres. The showing of new pictures throughout the country cannot but be educational and instructive. The bringing of world events into the lives of great numbers of our people will serve to promote better understanding and closer world relations.45

 

In late 1937 the theaters closed and the space was leased to Jack Dempsey.46 It was one of several businesses owned by the famed prize fighter, who held the world’s heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926. With a streamlined storefront and interior, napkins described the “Broadway Bar and Cocktail Lounge” as “The Meeting Place of the World.”47 Dempsey remained a prominent celebrity and the restaurant attracted both fans and musicians. It stayed at this location until 1974, when it closed following a dispute with the building’s new owner. At this time, the New York Times described it as “one of the last survivors of the Damon Runyon era of Broadway.”48

 

In 1940, the large corner space became the Turf Restaurant, operated by Jack Joseph Amiel and Arnold Ruben. One location in a small chain, it gained particular notoriety in 1951 when Amiel’s horse, Count Turf, won the Kentucky Derby. The restaurant specialized in lobster and steak (often called Surf and Turf), as well as cheesecake. Amiel, who later became a part owner of Jack Dempsey’s, sold his interest in 1957 and the Turf closed in 1963. Popular with songwriters and musicians, Duke Ellington was a frequent customer at the Turf and aspiring actor Sidney Poitier worked as a dishwasher – his first job in New York City – during 1943.

 

Since about 1974 the corner storefront has been leased to Colony Records, also known as the Colony Record Center. Founded by Harold S. (Nappy) Grossbardt and Sidney Turk by 1948, the store was formerly located at Broadway and 52nd Street, where it developed a reputation as a gathering place for musicians. In recent decades, Colony has specialized in vintage records, sheet music, karaoke software, and souvenirs devoted to the theater district.

 

Nightclubs

 

The vast second floor was initially leased to the Paradise, a popular cabaret. Reached by stairs, located directly left of the Broadway entrance, it covered approximately 15,000 square feet and held as many as a thousand people. Planned by the celebrated architect and interior designer Joseph Urban, the cost of construction was estimated at $500,000.49 Large signs, obscuring the second-floor windows and projecting at an angle over the corner, claimed it was “America’s foremost restaurant” with the “world’s most beautiful girls.” Floorshows, sometimes called “Paradise Parades,” were accompanied by such well-known performers as the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and Glenn Miller.50

 

During the 1940s, this space housed a succession of clubs associated with the growing popularity of jazz. Some Harlem nightspots opened midtown locations, offering big band music and later bebop. The Paradise closed in late 1939 or 1940 and became the Hurricane, with “palm trees, tropical flora and fauna” evoking the Pacific Ocean island of Tahiti.51 Operated briefly by lawyer David J. Wolper, who reportedly received ownership as part of a 1942 financial settlement with a gangster, it had a troubled existence, marred by suspicious fires and “stench bombs.”52 Duke Ellington headlined at the Hurricane during 1943 and 1944 and some of these performances were aired nationally on the Mutual and Columbia Broadcasting Systems.

 

Club (Café) Zanzibar occupied the second floor from approximately 1944 to 1948. Ellington frequently performed here, as well, as did the Nat King Cole Trio, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, the Ink Spots, and Louis Jordan.53 In 1949 it became Bop City, managed by Ralph Watkins, formerly of the Royal Roost, a legendary jazz venue. He told the United Press that his staff would dress in “bop fashion,” wearing berets and polka-dot ties and that “some will sport goatees, which are popular among bop players.”54 It debuted with Artie Shaw and Ella Fitzgerald on April 14, 1949; subsequent headliners included Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, and Sarah Vaughan. The club also maintained an enlightened policy of hiring “mixed waiters,” meaning waiters of different races.55 Despite presenting celebrated performers, Bop City struggled to find a consistent audience and closed in 1950 or 1951. In subsequent years, it functioned as the Avalon Ballroom, closing around 1966.

 

Later History

 

The Ruspyn Corporation sold the building to the Inch Corporation, later known as Breecom, in 1966.56 Allan Rose’s AVR Realty Company sold it to Murray Hill Properties and Westbrook Partners in 2007, who sold the property to Stonehenge Partners, Inc. (with INVESCO Real Estate of Dallas, Texas) in November 2007.

 

The Brill Building has been featured in a handful of feature films, including The House on 92nd Street (1945) and the Sweet Smell of Success (1957), in which the gilt lobby appears, as well as in several Woody Allen productions: Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Hollywood Ending (2002), and Anything Else (2003).57

 

Description

 

The 11-story Brill Building, 1619 Broadway, is located at the northwest corner of Broadway and West 49th Street. On Broadway, the facade is divided into three sections: a three-story base, a seven-story shaft, and a single-story penthouse. The main entrance is located at the center of the ground story. Flanked by polished black granite piers, capped with elaborate brass metal work, the entrance features three brass doors with glass panels and handles on the left, surmounted by a sign for the building in capital letters set against a black background, gridded glass windows configured like a ziggurat, and a richly-decorated niche for the bust of the developer’s son set on a pedestal. The stores, located on either side of the Broadway entrance, have non-historic display windows and non-historic illuminated signage. The south storefront has a corner entrance, opening onto both Broadway and 49th Street. Established by 1964, this angled configuration incorporates cast-concrete piers.

 

The second and third stories have large windows flanked by pairs of masonry piers at either end. Each pier, as well as the simple cornice that extends above the third-story windows is tinted brown, suggesting the use of a non-historic coating. The second floor windows are slightly taller than the third story. Between the floors are pink, yellow, and blue terra-cotta reliefs. Each window bay is divided into three sections. The wide center section contains a single fixed panel above a multi-pane sash. The vertical side windows are arranged in six-over-six or nine-over­nine grids. The northernmost window on the second floor has been replaced by a non-historic, tripartite ventilation grille, with horizontal metal louvers. On the third floor, the third window bay from the corner of 49th Street has been altered by the replacement of the center fixed-panel and-sash with horizontal metal louvers.

 

The fourth through the eleventh floors are faced with white brick. There are nine pairs of one-over-one windows across each floor, flanked by continuous piers. The three pairs of windows at the center of the facade are crowned by white foliate terra-cotta reliefs that incorporate a sill on top. Above the tenth floor, these terra-cotta reliefs have no sill and feature concave corners. In contrast, the three pairs of side windows display no ornamentation other than small circular reliefs above the tenth story. The top of the stepped penthouse level is trimmed with thin bands of terra-cotta relief. At center is an elaborate faceted niche, trimmed with terra cotta, that displays a possibly limestone bust on a projecting pedestal. To either side are small arched windows, with stone or terra-cotta sills.

 

The West 49th Street facade faces south. The base and upper floors are similar to the Broadway facade, with identical white brick and terra-cotta embellishments. The west end of the ground story, which incorporates a secondary entrance and loading area, is non-historic. Above the tenth story are small circular reliefs, as well as a raised parapet at center. Near or at the west end of the 2nd, 5th, and 8th floors, the windows have been replaced with metal ventilation grilles.

 

The south end of the west (rear) facade is visible from 49th Street. Here, due to the curved east corner of the tan brick Ambassador Theater (1919-21), two rows of windows can be seen, as well as a blank brick wall that steps up toward the center of the building, and a single metal pipe on the roof. Two windows on the eighth floor contain ventilation grilles.

 

The north facade is simply treated and partly visible from Broadway and 50th Street, where the upper floors can be seen above the adjoining building, as well as part of the west (rear) facade, including an engaged structure with a single window, possibly containing stairs. To the south, at the rear of the 11th story penthouse, are two additional floors. The east and north-facing facades contain simple windows with industrial sash. The rest of the north facade (fifth to tenth floor) incorporates four sets of windows; the outer sets are grouped in pairs, the inner two sets, in groups of three. At the center of this facade is a projecting rectangular chimney shaft. Between the west pair of windows, a single metal pipe extends the full height of the façade. Most are three-over-three industrial sash, except where projecting metal ventilation ducts have been installed. On the lower floors, beside the roof of the adjoining building, the windows have vertical security bars.

 

Air conditioning units have been installed in a small number of windows, as well as some horizontal ventilation grilles. Two electric lights are attached to the center of the facade, below the seventh floor, directed down onto the adjoining roof. On the roof, set at a slight angle to Broadway, is a metal framework that displays two illuminated non-historic signs facing north and south.

 

- From the 2010 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

This vivid portrait of Africa’s most acclaimed living artist was filmed over two years in Italy, Nigeria, and USA. Anatsui’s huge sumptuous wall hangings, made of recycled bottle tops transformed by thousands of hours of labor, created a sensation at the Venice Biennale. Director Susan Vogel, a noted authority on African art, shows the public artist celebrated in Venice; getting supplies in his home town, Nsukka; inside his studio composing artowrk with the help of a dozen young assistants. Finally, in his private home, Anatsui talks about a youthful discovery that clouded his life.

TITLE: Fold Crumple Crush: the Art of El Anatsui

DIRECTOR: Susan Vogel

PRODUCER: Prince Street Pictures, New York

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Kpelle Isaac, Accra

DISTRIBUTOR: TBD

RELEASE: Early 2011

TRT: 53:40

  

Watch this video on Vimeo. Video created by Susan Vogel.