Monday, August 19, 2019

A minor Cold War drama

Mathias Rust landing at Red Square in 1987 (click to enlarge)
In the spring of 1987, in a rather odd stunt to promote world peace, a young German named Mathias Rust flew a circuitous route from Hamburg to Moscow via Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. When he arrived in Moscow he landed near Red Square. From the Rare Historical Pictures post Mathias Rust, the teenager who flew illegally to Red Square, 1987 (which has more details of Rust's flight):
Around 7:00 p.m. Rust appeared above downtown Moscow. He had initially intended to land in the Kremlin, but changed his mind: he reasoned that landing inside, hidden by the Kremlin walls, would have allowed the KGB to simply arrest him and deny the incident. Therefore, he changed his landing spot to Red Square. Heavy pedestrian traffic did not allow him to land there either, so after circling about the square one more time, he was able to land on a bridge by St. Basil’s Cathedral. After taxiing past the cathedral he stopped about 100 metres (330 ft) from the square, where he was greeted by curious passersby and was asked for autographs. When asked where he was from, he replied “Germany” making the bystanders think he was from East Germany; but when he said West Germany, they were surprised.

Rust was arrested two hours later. He was charged with several violations, the most serious being that he had illegally entered Soviet airspace. Rust argued that he was merely trying to promote world peace. He carried with him copies of a plan he had developed for a worldwide democracy, which he referred to as “Iagonia”. Rust’s trial began in Moscow on 2 September 1987. He was sentenced to four years in a general-regime labor camp for hooliganism, for disregard of aviation laws, and for breaching the Soviet border.
Rust was released early and went on to live an eccentric life. In 1989 he fell in love with a West German nurse, only to land in jail again when he stabbed her when she rejected his advances. He was released after 15 months, converted to Hinduism and was engaged to the daughter of an Indian tea merchant. He got in trouble with the law again in 2001 and 2005. Currently he claims he is an advisor for an Swiss investment bank and is still a peace activist of sorts.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

An old shingle mill in action

Prior to asphalt and other modern materials, wood shingles were widely used on roofs. The above video show an old shingle mill in action as it cuts the old-timey wedge shaped wooden shingles from a log.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Rosie the Riveter, WWI style

Click any image to nelarge
WWII leading to a lot of women in the workforce, personified by Rosie the Riveter, is well known. Less well known is that in WWI a lot of women were also employed in industries. These pictures, and those after the jump, show some of those women on the job.

They are taken from The Public Domain Review's article Women at Work during World War I where there are more.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Showing off

Finnish cavalry stunt from the 1930s
(click to enlarge, from Hippodrome Almaty)
If there hadn't been women we'd still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girlfriends. - Orson Welles

Monday, August 12, 2019

Restoring a broken 1880 Martini-Henry target pistol

The above video is from Andre Will Do It, a YouTuber who shows the steps he takes to restore old guns and equipment. There are more of his videos at the link.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Wilson House, a mid-20th Century time capsule

Click any image to enlarge
In 1959 Ralph Wilson, owner of Wilsonart a laminate company, designed and built his home. It was his residence as well as a test-bed and model home for his company's products. I imagine modern hipsters drool over it since it is a well preserved example of 1960's interior design. It is quite striking and stylish.

From the Wilsonart webpage:
The Ralph Sr. and Sunny Wilson House represents a hybrid of ranch and modern-style home architecture. The open interiors and U-shaped plan reflect the influence of the California Case Study House - a series of architectural experiments from the early 1940s and 1950s that were offered as better solutions for residential living.

The interiors of the Wilson House feature extensive use of decorative laminates in innovative applications, most of which had never before been seen in the home. The kitchen countertops reveal some of the earliest work in post-forming, a process where laminate is bent and wrapped to form continuous curves from the top to the side edge of the counter. Other applications include laminate clad built-in cabinetry in the kitchen, laundry, and bathrooms—even in the shower! The house also boasts some of the earliest undermount sinks in laminate tops – considered an innovation even today. While these types of installations are commonplace now, they were virtually unheard of in the late 1950s.

The Wilson House was featured in Ralph Wilson Plastics Company advertisements, as well as in the editorial pages of the nation's top trade magazines. It represented an ideal of design for affordable and fashionable residential housing and had a profound influence on future uses of laminate. Today, the house stands as one of the best residential examples of the mid-century modern style in the state of Texas.
There are more images after the jump, as well as more information and pictures at: Wilsonart's The Wilson House,  Mid-centuria's The Wilson House: A Laminate Laboratory and Roadside Wonders' The Wilson Laminate House.