Monday, September 19, 2016

History: The Year is 1873

I've uploaded year 1873 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Money Monster and the First Great Depression -- I relate the Panic of 1873 to the movie Money Monster and to Armstrong Custer.

East Bound and Down, Loaded Up and Truckin' -- I talk about Coors, Heineken and the movie "Smokey and the Bandit".

Remington Typewriters and Good Testing -- Remington Firearms takes on typewriters. I talk about how important testing is for producing a good consumer product.

In Other News -- Barbed wire, rivets in Levis and DDT.

The Money Monster and the First Great Depression

The big money guys are making some big money, and this Money Monster is feeding on the mid-range investor who is trying to make the big score... people like Colonel Custer. He is a war hero without a war. The US Army is shrinking so rather than retire, General Custer trades on his political connections and wins a colonel's commission. Why stay in the Army? Well... he needs a steady source of income. He has overcome his drinking problem, but the Wall Street Money Monster has reawakened his gambling habit. Without his wife's knowledge, he has put all their savings and borrowed even more money to buy a silver mine. It seemed like a good idea at the time... too good. By law, silver is trading at a ratio of 16 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold. The actual market value is closer to 32 to 1. In modern times the ratio is more like 77 to 1, but you see the point. With a trade ratio fixed by law rather than by market forces the owner of a silver mine could strike it rich in gold... supposedly. But the world economy is at the breaking point. There is the disaster when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicks the lamp over and causes the Great Chicago Fire, (OK. No one knows how the fire started, but it began in O'Leary's barn.) Then there is Vienna's economic collapse followed by Germany discontinuing the silver thaler (or dollar). Good money pushes out the bad, and in this case, the value of silver is dropping fast and thus becoming the "bad money". It is pushing gold out of the market. That is why Congress, in its wisdom, demonetizes silver this year. Oh dear God! The USA is now on the GOLD STANDARD! Silver is now traded at fair market prices which suddenly makes Custer's silver mine scheme unworkable. Jay Cooke is heavily invested in railroad bonds when the money supply suddenly contracts. Jay Cooke is one of the big boys and he is going down hard. What follows next will be called "the Great Depression"... that is, until the next "Great Depression" comes along. It is a world-wide economic slowdown and it is going to last for years. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've seen the movie "Money Monster" and even though it stars George Clooney, it is still pretty good. Clooney plays a TV financial pundit who recommends buying a certain stock. It's a sure bet! A delivery man dumps all his savings into the investment and loses it all. He uses a bomb and a gun to take over the TV studio and demands the truth. (No spoilers. The movie has a lot of twists and turns. It's not perfect, but it is exciting.) There is corruption in large markets, so only the large investors can be expected to weather the storm. I read an article in a magazine about an investor that made a deal with Chinese manufacturers for DVD players. But when the price of DVD players dropped he could not cover the contract. Then he disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa. Know what I mean? J.P. Morgan survived the Great Depression of 1873. He always kept his word which meant that you had to understand EXACTLY what he was promising because that was all you were going to get. And you always lived up to your word because if you didn't, there was no hole deep enough to hide. Mr. Morgan was quite dependable in that respect too. He objected to letting the small investor into the big leagues because they didn't fully understand the markets. He also thought that government could not guarantee fair dealing other than through contract enforcement in the courts which was always after the fact. Creating more and more complex regulations just confuses the regulators and fools the unwary investor into believing that he is safe when he is nothing of the sort. [7]

East Bound and Down, Loaded Up and Truckin'

Adolf Coors and Company have bought the formula for a Pilsner beer. It is a relatively new process that provides a lighter color and more consistent taste. Mr. Coors establishes his first brewery near the springs of Golden, Colorado. No preservatives. It is shipped cold. Eventually he will buy out his partners and it will become a family business. I'd like to say that the fame of his brew soon spread from sea to shining sea, but it will remain a favorite of the west until a popular movie starring Burt Reynolds, and his then girlfriend, Sally Field will bring the brand name to national attention... along with the Pontiac Trans-Am. In the movie "Smokey and the Bandit," Reynolds takes a bet that he can deliver a truckload of Coors Beer from Texarkana to Atlanta, Georgia in 28 hours. "That's bootleggin' son!" In the 1970s when the movie is made, Coors Beer cannot be sold east of the Mississippi River. ITS THE LAW! As far as I can tell, it is a law left over from the Prohibition era. In any case, Reynolds and his stunt drivers will go through 4 Trans-Ams and push the last car to the finish. The theme music for the film is "East Bound and Down" and is sung by Jerry Reed who also drives the truck in the movie. (It's a Kenworth W900A.) "Smokey and the Bandit" is a classic CB movie. (That is a movie where citizen band radio is used as a theme.) Several sequels will be filmed but none better than the original. It's not Shakespeare. It's just fun. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
1873 was the same year that a Dutch concern opened its second brewery in Rotterdam and renamed itself Heineken. In the same year they hired Dr. Elion who was a student of Louis Pasteur. He eventually developed a new type of yeast for brewing. One assumes it added a distinctive taste to the beer. I wouldn't know. I don't drink beer. It is actually funny that I am writing about beer at all. I hate beer and I believe I've said why before but it bears repeating. One day, as a child, my father decided that he would free me from any desire to drink or smoke, so he gave me a cigarette and a beer. I was delighted until I took a big swig and a puff. I just about puked. And it worked. I never again desired a beer or cigarettes. Instead I grew up to drink whiskey and smoke cigars! I can't do either any more. I used up all my tickets on that ride. Just about killed me. It was exciting, though. [12] [13]

Remington Typewriters and Good Testing

Remington makes firearms, sewing machines and farm equipment, but after they are approached by two inventors with a new-fangled thing they call a typewriter, Remington agrees to buy the patent. They pay $12,000 to one of the patent holders, but to the other they pay a royalty. In the long run the one who gets the royalty collects over a million dollars. ($12,000 is something like a quarter of a million in today's money.) This typewriter has gone through extensive testing by a rather critical stenographer who reviews the machine with the eye to actually using it over and over again. He doesn't hold back... at all... and breaks machine after machine. They would like to strangle him, but they realize that it is best to discover all the defects and fix them BEFORE they become a problem for customers. In addressing the problems with their typewriter, a machinist recommends Remington for manufacturing the completed machine. The deal is done and the first commercially viable typewriter is on the market. Remington will eventually sell off the typewriter business, and the spinoff company will retain the Remington Typewriter name. [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I used to be a computer BIOS programmer. I was always friendly to the testing department even though testing is essentially trying to break my work. When they break something it is a GOOD thing because the customer won't have to deal with it later. I tested my own stuff as well. One day, after we released a product we were called in. Something had gone wrong, so naturally we had a meeting. These things always went poorly since I don't like meetings. Yes. I'm THAT guy. Our new machine wasn't working and it was a major failure. My co-worker said, "We'll test it some more, I guess." Everyone started to get up but I said, "Hold it! I don't want to do this." The machine was good. I knew that. I had tested it. I said, "Let's all get into a time machine. It is now one week later and we haven't seen a darn thing in testing. What do we do now?" Eventually we found that a technician had jury-rigged a crude Ethernet hub out of pieces of copper wire and had hidden it under the workbench... BECAUSE HE KNEW IT WAS WRONG! It was amazing that it worked at all. We replaced it with a real hub. We were saved. Years later, I walked into an electronics store looking for an Ethernet hub. The counter guy said, "Oh. I just tell everyone to use one of these Y-connectors. It works!" I just about strangled the little... uh... guy.

In Other News

  • Barbed wire for corralling your cattle. Mr. Joseph Glidden is going to be filthy rich. [17]
  • Copper rivets for corralling your Levis. Levi Strauss patents the copper rivet for his blue jeans. [18]
  • DDT for corralling nothing at all. It is only a curiosity. It's lethality to insects will be noticed by Dr. Paul Müller in 1939. He will win a Nobel Prize for saving million and millions. Rachel Carson will have DDT banned thus casting away the lives of millions and millions. [19]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1873, Wikipedia.

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