As a good reporter, I brought to you the National Weather Service Freeze Watch for Tuesday morning. However, I had been using qualifiers such as “perhaps” and such regarding freezing conditions and was much more forceful about Wednesday morning. I think I even said “certainly on Wednesday.” Well, let’s see if I can claim any bit of victory or not because it’s not so certain. First off, most people can probably forget the freeze on Tuesday morning…too many clouds….though some may get close. Now, the clouds do erode on Tuesday as the long wave trof lifts out. As it does, the high to the south drifts somewhat and we get into an strong upper return flow. Now, we should be generally clear and cold at the surface. But, aloft, warmer air will be racing in…with strong winds. And that is the problem. The above map is from the NAM at 925 mb which is about 2500 feet….about twice the height of the Sears Tower…and the winds are howling at 30 kts. The air acts like water and the wind running along the ground has friction which slows it down, much like the water in a river runs slower along the bottom and along the banks than it does in the middle of the channel. So, the winds at the surface will probably be about 10-15 mph. Now, what else happens in the river with water flow? You get whirlpools and also turbulent water. Same thing happens with the air. The wind aloft goes faster than the wind at the surface…the air aloft then tumbles downward…in this case it will be mixing down the warmer air aloft and you don’t get the radiation release that would normally occur on a clear cold night. So, that’s a long way of saying that a freeze on Wednesday morning is not necessarily imminent. If the winds do like the computers claim they will, and there is indications that a sufficient pressure gradient will exist to do so, then it will be unlikely. We’ll see. Nonetheless…the National Weather Service now has their Freeze Watch for Wednesday morning. For the record, I’ve gone all through the glossary of the National Weather Service and have yet to find out exactly what a “Freeze Watch” is. There is a “Freeze Warning” listed but not watch. I assume that it means that freezing conditions are possible but not imminent.
On This Date in History:
Back in the day, there were no zippers. Pants were fastened in the front with buttons. For some reason, some jean manufacturers have gone retro with buttons. But, zippers are everywhere. Quite handy, they are. There have been some attempts to improvement with the space age velcro but the original zipper just keeps zipping along. It has been described as one of industrial America’s “most successful products.” It’s one of those little items that, if you think about it, would make you a fortune if you owned the patent. But, the genesis of the device did not exactly slide along…there were hitches.
In 1891, Whitcomb Judson applied for a patent for “Clasp Locker or Un-Locker for Shoes.” The patent office had never heard of such a thing, he got the go ahead. He teamed up with the only person who saw any promise in the apparatus, Col. Lewis Walker. Walker set up the Universal Fastener Company in 1894 as a manufacturing source. Trouble was, they couldn’t develop a machine to make the contraption until 1905. Walker scheduled a demonstration, ordered a keg of beer and I guess everyone got drunk because the machine didn’t work. Back to the proverbial drawing board they went and Judson came up with a simpler version of the fastener. The called it the C-Curity fastener. They advertised with the slogan, “A pull and it’s done! No more open skirts…ask the girl!” Well, they should have asked the girl first because the fasteners tended to pop open at most unintended times. The whole campaign and the product became a joke and Judson quit in humiliation.
Walker continued on working through meager personal financial times and came up with the prototype for the modern zipper in 1913. However, saying Walker was “working” on it is a bit of a misnomer. See, he was a entrepreneur and lawyer, not a tinkerer. Judson was the one who did all of the work. Walker’s company, the Universal Fastener Company, had hired Swedish
engineer Gideon Sundback (aka Gideon Sundbach) who is the one who perfected the zipper and it worked wonderfully. But, memories were long and people remembered the garment opening experience with the C-Curity fastener. On This date in 1914, the first true zipper, the Hookless No. 2 was sold. But the sales mainly were for actors costumes and novelty items. The public relied on the trusty button…that is until 1917. That is when a tailor made money belts for sailors with zippers. The moniker “zipper” was attached by BF Goodrich…the tire guy. They made galoshes and put the fasteners on them, though I can’t imagine how practical that was since galoshes generally get wet and I bet the original zippers were made of steel that rusted. Anyway, BF Goodrich promoted the product by exclaiming “Zip’er Up, Zip’er down!” Zippers became the trademark for the galoshes. Even though the overshoes went out of style, the zipper carried on….and carried Colonel Lewis Walker all the way to the bank. He owned the company and got the money while Gideon, who was given the patent, got credit….hopefully that credit was not backed by sub-prime mortgages.
Unlike other stories in which the guy who does the work gets the shaft, Gideon Sundback also invented a good machine to mass produce the zippers. Zippers were mainly used in Tobacco pouches and boots until the 1930′s when the zipper came into widespread use in clothes. Sundback ran his own company, the Lightning Fastener Company…so everyone did well with the zipper…except for Judson whose fate reminds me of what my old Junior High Football Coach, Granville Hambright, used to say. “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”