Suez Canal III

Lead: Facing almost universal skepticism, the Suez Canal Company under Ferdinand de Lesseps raised the money and dug the Canal.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Prime Minister Palmerston of Britain called him a swindler and a fool. Bankers such as Baron de Rothschild rejected his pleas for capital. Yet, de Lesseps succeeded against all odds. Raising money from small investors and operating with a design approved by the International Commission for the Piercing of the Isthmus of Suez, he broke ground in 1859 near the future Port Said. It took ten years to construct the canal. At any given point 30,000 workers were employed often under harsh, forced conditions. More than a million were so engaged and thousands of laborers died on the project. Progress was often delayed by labor disputes and the outbreak of diseases such as cholera, but in the end the canal was completed primarily due to the importation of giant French-designed steam shovels and dredges.

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.

Intro.: 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.

Crash of the Hindenburg III

Lead: Expanded to huge dimensions and filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas, German airships became an important element of Hitler’s propaganda machine.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 one of the most important champions of the German Airship was Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. The Fuhrer himself was not impressed and refused to set foot in a dirigible, feeling them a creation contrary to nature. Without Goebbel’s enthusiasm the Zeppelin program would probably have died since the construction of a large airship was as costly as that of a heavy battleship.

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Crash of the Hindenburg II

Lead: Used as bombers during World War I, giant German lighter-than-air ships called Zeppelins were turned to commercial uses in the 1920s and 1930s.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: If one wanted to travel between continents in the early 1900s, there was one choice. You had to go by ship. While the dream of flight had been realized first by balloons and then by the Wright Brothers’ airplane, aircraft engines were not strong, efficient, or safe enough to lift cargo and passengers over long distances. For just over two short decades from World War I to the eve of World War II, the dirigible seemed to be the solution to fast intercontinental travel.

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New York City’s First Subway

Lead: New York needed a subway. Alfred Beach was ready to supply it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1870 the need to move people quickly around the City of New York was apparent to all. The streets were clogged with pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles and the steam and smoke put out by locomotives. Alfred Ley Beach, editor of the Scientific American and an inventor in his own right, had been experimenting with pneumatic propul-sion, the use of air pressure to force a cylinder through a tightly sealed tube.

The Big Four of the Central Pacific Railroad I

Lead: Above the hardware store on a cold January night, Theodore Dehone Judah met the four men who would make his dream come true.

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

Content: Judah had a vision. To span the Continental United States with a railroad. After brilliant success as an engineer in New York, Judah had been lured to California to build the first railroad on the West Coast. In doing so, he fell under the spell of the Sierra Nevada Mountains which piled up just east of his work cite in the Sacramento Valley. He soon found himself spending more and more of his free time roaming the Sierras on foot and muleback with his wife, doing preliminary surveys of the best railroad routes across the mountains. By November 1860, he had found what he thought was the best way across, established a company, issued stock, but found he could hardly give the shares away.

 

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Problem with Charles Lindbergh II

Lead: Charles Augustus Lindbergh, the Lone Eagle, inspired the world with his solo Atlantic flight in 1927. In the years leading up to World War II, he became a figure of great controversy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Lindbergh was the son of a U.S. Congressman. He dropped out of college to pursue his love of the airplane. After his stunning flight he was nearly everyone's hero. An intensely shy man, after his marriage to Anne Morrow, he moved his family to rural New Jersey. Their son was kidnapped and murdered in the early 1930s. After the trial and execution of the killer, they tried again to escape the public eye, this time in Europe.

 

 

Problem with Charles Lindbergh I

Lead: After his solo flight in 1927, Charles Augustus Lindbergh was arguably the most famous man in the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Lindbergh spent his youth in Little Falls, Minnesota and in Washington where his father, for five terms, represented the sixth district of Minnesota in Congress. He tried college, but dropped out of Wisconsin after his sophomore year to pursue a growing fascination with aviation. Stunt flying in a World War I Curtiss Jenny through the south and Midwest was followed by army flying school and a service as airmail pilot between St. Louis and Chicago. During this period he convinced a group of St. Louis businessmen to back him in the competition for the $25,000 prize offered by French-American hotel owner Raymond Orteig for the first nonstop New York to Paris flight.