Science Matters- Concorde

Lead:  For twenty-seven years after 1976, the sleek, elegant Concorde, history’s fastest commercial airliner, carried transatlantic passengers in comfort and luxury seeking a market that never materialized.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early 1960s aircraft manufacturers in Great Britain and France, encouraged by their governments, began developing a supersonic passenger plane. Based on mid-century technology, the graceful Concorde, with its delta wing shape and unique movable nose, made its maiden transatlantic voyage in 1969 and entered regular commercial service in 1976 as a part of British Airways and Air France. Flights between London and Paris, New York and Washington became the most common of Concorde’s routes although the bird was taken on occasional flights to South America and East Asia. Fourteen Concorde airliners were built and flown between 1976 and 2003.

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Samuel Johnson- Transport Revolution

Lead:  While Samuel Johnson was writing and living in London he enjoyed traveling to and through his beloved city which, like all of England, was experiencing a revolution in transport.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Like many Londoners, Johnson would often walk to destinations in the city, but with the rapid growth of trade and population in the 1700s, London’s roads were jammed with pedestrians, elegant carriages, horses, carts, wagons, and animals on their way to the slaughterhouse.

Many Londoners considered the roads leading in and out of London a national disgrace, and in response, Parliament began to pass acts establishing “turnpike trusts” responsible for the maintenance and management of roads using funds from tolls.

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The Blue Riband – Part III

Lead: Having lost the competition to build the fastest ships on the transatlantic route, the United States regained the lead only to witness the end of the regular ocean passenger service.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the mid-1800s the major maritime powers, Britain and the United States, were locked in a fierce competition to provide regular and fast shipping service on the Atlantic routes for passengers, mail, and cargo. As the contest intensified the swiftest ship could claim the Blue Riband, the mythic reward for the fast Atlantic crossing. British shippers led by Samuel Cunard's sail and steam side-wheelers took the lead from the Americans because of generous subsidies from Parliament and because they were quicker to take advantage of innovations in ocean transport. Soon the Brits were launching all steam ships with iron hulls, swamping their American rivals. By the 1860s, distracted by a decade of Civil War and recovery and reluctant to spend tax-payers money subsidizing the Atlantic Ferry, the United States largely dropped out of the transatlantic routes and the race for the Blue Riband. The prize was mostly traded back and forth by several British lines.

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The Blue Riband – Part II

Lead: One of the most interesting developments in the history of transport was the role of government in subsidizing the pursuit of the Blue Riband.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the coming of the global economy in the 1900s speed in ocean transport became one of the vital goals of shippers. No prize was more valued than the Blue Riband, the mythic reward for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. At first American ships dominated the route between New York and Liverpool, England, but in the 1840s British ships, especially the Cunard steam and sail side-wheelers began to take the lead from the all-sail American packets. The foundation of Cunard's initial success was the mail subsidy. Parliament voted a large cash payment for regular transatlantic service to carry the mail. Ships could then carry cargo and passengers for a lesser fee than if they had to charge actual cost of transport. Speed and regular service were the key to obtaining the government subsidy. The faster the better.

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The Blue Riband – Part I

Lead:  The dream of transatlantic shipping companies was to build a ship able to capture the Blue Riband.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the coming of the global economy in the nineteenth century, the element of speed of transport began to acquire more and more importance. The success of a manufacturing plant in Manchester, England depended on how quickly it could get its products to customers in Sacramento, California or Buenos Aires. Because it had no fighting navy to protect its worldwide shipping, and because it was nearly always being caught between one or another of the warring nations of Europe, the United States soon after independence began to take the lead in building very fast light ships that could run blockades and elude captors.

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The Missing Day – Part II

Lead:  Returning in 1522 from the first round-the-world voyage, Antonio Pigafetta, companion of the late Ferdinand Magellan, was puzzled to find that his daily journal was a day off.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Both Pigafetta's record and log of his ship, the Victoria, the only remaining of the five ships Magellan took with him, read September 6th on the day of their arrival, but calendars in the southern Spanish port of San Lucar de Barrameda read September 7th. Word of the ship's arrival after its three year voyage and the difference in dates spread around Europe. At first, scholars were as confused as Pigafetta. In the end, the world was changed.

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The Missing Day – Part I

Lead:  Something was wrong. Could it be that after three years and thousands of miles, Antonio Pigafetta had miscalculated? Where was the missing day?

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On Sunday, September 7, 1522 the Victoria, the last ship remaining of the tiny armada that set sail under Ferdinand Magellan slightly less than three years before, limped into the harbor of San Lucar de Barrameda, near Seville, Spain. Its crew was emaciated, barefoot, in rags and exhausted from weeks of pumping their ship to keep it afloat, but they were home at last.
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St. Lawrence Seaway

Lead:  In 1749 Father Pere Francois Picquet, a Sulpician missionary, recommended to French King Louis XV that the St. Lawrence River be made navigable for seagoing ships. King Louis was strapped for cash. 210 years later they finished the job.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The St. Lawrence Seaway was one of the most expensive public works projects ever attempted. In the 760 miles from Lake Ontario to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Canada's eastern coast are numerous locks, specially dredged channels, and hydroelectric dams providing cheap power for the region. Most of all, the seaway provides ready access for ships between the heart of North America and the Atlantic Ocean.

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