Charlie Crocker’s $10K Bet (Transatlantic Railroad)

Lead: Charlie Crocker's men lay ten miles of track and won for their boss a $10,000 bet.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: It all started in late October 1868. Thomas C. Durant, of the Union Pacific Railroad, had just witnessed his own men laying 7 3/4 miles of track, a record for a single day's work. He then cabled Charlie Crocker, chief engineer of the Central Pacific working eastward on the first continental rail link. He wagered $10,000 that the Union Pacific's record could not be broken surpassed. Crocker thought he could beat it, accepted the bet, and bragged that his crew could lay ten miles of track in a single day.

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America’s First Railroad

Lead: Far from the industrial North, America's first railroad began at Charleston, South Carolina.

Content: In 1828, Horatio Allen, an American engineer, became fascinated with the new means of transportation known as the railroad. He paid a visit to England to study the few railroads then in existence. He was very impressed. So much so that he bought four locomotives and had them shipped back across the Atlantic.

The Great Eastern

Lead:  In November, 1857, Isambard Kingdom Brunel tried to launch his magnificent creation. Great Eastern, the heaviest object anyone had ever attempted to move, got stuck.

 Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: Brunel was one of the most successful engineers of his day. He constructed what was at that time, the world’s longest tunnel, several unusual railroad bridges, and finally, Great Eastern.  Conceived as the first luxury liner, the ship was designed to carry 4,000 passengers in complete comfort, haul enough coal for a non-stop round-trip from England to Australia, and earn her inventors’ money back in a couple of years.  No such luck.  No profit was ever made with Great Eastern.

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Amelia Earhart II

 

Lead: Her name was famous around the world and not just for her epic flying accomplishments. She was a consummate believer that women had an equal place with men, and then over the Pacific in 1937 Amelia Earhart was lost.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Though she grew up in a more conventional Victorian era, Earhart was in spirit a child of the twentieth century. A strong promoter of women’s rights, from childhood she had participated in those arenas usually reserved for boys and then men. She believed that notions of retiring femininity were outdated and everything she did paved the way for women to follow: athletically, professionally, and personally. Her position on the faculty of Purdue University, advising on aeronautics and women’s career opportunities, allowed her to influence a new generation of women leaders.

Amelia Earhart I

 

Lead: Among pioneer aviators, only Charles Lindbergh exceeded the fame and accomplishments of Amelia Earhart. She was a model and inspiration for millions, including millions of women.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in Victorian-era Kansas in 1897 of a prosperous family, Earhart early on demonstrated an independent spirit, an inclination toward adventure, and robust imagination. She refused to be trapped in the usual roles reserved for girls and then later women, playing a variety of sports and showing a remarkable curiosity about all things mechanical. Yet, Earhart read voraciously and had little difficulty succeeding in the affairs of the mind.

Halifax, Nova Scotia Great Explosion II

Lead: The chance collision of two merchant ships and a subsequent huge explosion in December 1917 nearly destroyed the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canadians and the world helped bring it back.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early morning hours of December 6, 1917, Imro, a Norweigian ship headed to pick up relief supplies for the suffering in Belgium, sliced into the side of the French freighter, Mont Blanc, in the narrow Halifax harbor channel leading to the open sea. Mont Blanc was load with tons of explosives and extremely flammable benzol. The encounter loosed the benzol and sparks, caused by scraping metal, set it ablaze. The ship drifted into the crowded docks of Halifax and at about 9:06 Mont Blanc blew up. The ship simply disintegrated and sent a fireball and mushroom cloud miles into the air.


Halifax, Nova Scotia Great Explosion I

Lead: In December 1917, Halifax, the capital of Canada’s maritime province of Nova Scotia was nearly leveled by the greatest man-made explosion prior to Hiroshima.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Established as a military outpost in 1754, by the turn of the twentieth century Halifax had become one most important commercial centers on Canada’s east coast. During World War I, ships, thousands of them, crowded the city’s harbor and narrow channel, the staging area for east-bound convoys bringing much needed supplies and munitions to the allies fighting in Europe.


Flying Blind (Autopilot)

Lead: If the airplane was ever to become more than an object of sport or tool of war, it had to be flown at night and in bad weather.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The enormous potential for aviation was beginning to be felt in the early 1920s but flying at night and during bad weather was hazardous and unreliable and posed serious limitations on the airplane in carrying cargo and passengers. Planes could compete with the railroads because of their speed but trains were far more reliable and in the case of mishap did not bounce as high. Often aviators would be caught in fog or lose sight of the ground at night, become disoriented, lose control of their aircraft, and crash, more often than not with fatal consequences.

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