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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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 propulsion, the use of air pressure to force a cylinder through a tightly sealed tube.

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Shanghai

Lead: During the nineteenth century, if a ship captain found himself short of sailors, he might have to make up his crew by shanghaiing.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the important irritants that led to the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States was impressment. A British Captain, short of sailors, would stop an American merchant ship, sometimes at gunpoint, land a party of toughs, and drag off a few unwilling Yankee sailors to fill up his own crew. Despite the part this practice played in bringing on the war, at the time of the peace negotiations, very little was said about it. Britain, an island nation, had to maintain a superior Navy. Long tradition and ancient laws permitted the Royal Navy to force sailors into service by any means possible. After the war, impressment faded as an issue, but the practice continued, by mid-century acquiring a more colorful name, shanghai

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Petersburg Harbor and Port

It is the falls that made the town. The cataracts of the Appomattox, similar to those at Richmond, Raleigh, and Columbia, prevented westward waterborne transportation. It was logical that first a fort and then a thriving commercial town should spring up at the location where deep-draft shipping could no longer pass. Petersburg became one of the most important trading centers in the South.
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Model T II

Lead: Despite its reputation and popularity Henry Ford's Model T was obsolete almost before it went into mass production.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Without a doubt, the Model T Ford was a triumph of industrial engineering and commercial marketing. Through extensive use of light alloy steel and mass production, Ford brought the automobile within the reach of middle class American homes and farms. From its introduction in the fall of 1908 it was an immediate hit. It was designed for American conditions. Easy to repair and drive, it was tall enough to negotiate the horrible roads of the American countryside. Because of its large-bore, short stroke engine, it had enough power to wrench itself out of most mud holes, take the family to town on Saturday in relative style and still serve as a work vehicle around the farm.

 

 

Model T I

Lead: In 1908 Henry Ford introduced his people's car. The Model T made the automobile part of everyday life for millions.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: "I believe that I have solved the problem of cheap as well as simple automobile construction." So boasted Henry Ford to reporters as he revealed his new car. It was the Ford Model N, predecessor to one of the most amazing consumer goods ever to made available to the mass market. The Model N was the breakthrough toward which Henry Ford had been working for a decade. Thereto fore, low-priced automobiles had been little more horse buggies with a single cylinder engine slung under the seat or hung onto the back. Multi-cylinder cars were out of the question, far beyond the price range of the middle class family. Ford believed that if he could build a car that was serviceable, long-lasting and cost less than a thousand dollars he could transform the automobile from an amusement available only to the rich into a practical part of American family life.

 

 

The California Docks in San Francisco

Lead: On February 28, 1849, the postal steam packet Californian docked in San Francisco Bay. It was just the beginning of the flood.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In early 1848, near Sacramento, California, on the property of John Sutter, gold was discovered. From all over the world did people began to converge on California in often frenzied pursuit of the golden treasure. They got there in different ways. Travelers could brave the great American desert and scale the treacherous Sierra Nevada mountains, they could sail for six months around the Horn of South America, or they could go to Panama, cross the Isthmus and catch a mail packet, a light, fast vessel designed specifically for the coastal journey to San Francisco.

 

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Court Martial of Billy Mitchell II

Lead: In the 1920s, the U.S. military was hampered by severe budget cutbacks and a debate on the future of the airplane. One persistent, prophetic, but on more than one occasion obnoxious voice in the debate was General William “Billy” Mitchell.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Billy Mitchell’s father and grandfather were congressmen. He thus grew up in the circles of power and expected people to listen when he spoke, but his habit of going public with his ideas and tendency to browbeat his opponents, diminished his influence with the Army. Mitchell’s experience as head of Army air combat forces in Europe during World War I led him to conclude that the warplane was the key to victory in future conflicts and he went on a crusade to prove it. He was particularly adept at using the press to further his ideas. He arranged a series of highly-publicized tests in which his bombers spectacularly sank several surplus battleships thus proving their vulnerability and increasing obsolescence.

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