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A Real Life Game of Monopoly

HISTORY

Rich Uncle Pennybags

It’s National Play Monopoly Day!

Monopoly Patent Image

Darrow, Charles B. Board game apparatus. U.S. Patent 2,026,082, filed August 31, 1935, issued December 31, 1935.

Ironically, it was during the American Depression when Monopoly, a game of wealth and finance, became popular. Charles Darrow devised of a buying and selling real estate game with Atlantic City’s street names. He sold each hand-painted oil-cloth game for $4. When it caught on, and he could not keep up with the demand for manufacturing, he wrote Parker Brothers. The company initially rejected the board game citing it as too long and complicated, but eventually, Robert Barton, the president of the company, bought the rights to the game and registered the Monopoly® trademark in 1935. Thus, Darrow became the first inventor of games to become a millionaire.

INFRINGEMENT

Board Game Patent by Lizzie Maggie.

Magie, L. J. Game Board. U.S. Patent 748,626, filed March 23, 1903, issued January 5, 1904

Although Darrow is credited for the game’s invention, history shows that Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie was issued a similar game patent in 1903. The Landlord’s Game,a practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences,” was not widely manufactured and published until 1906 when she and two followers of Henry Goerge, an American political economist, established the Economic Game Company of New York. They wanted the game to demonstrate Henry George’s philosophy that people own value for what they create not for land which belongs to everyone. In 1910, Lizzie submitted her game to Parker Brothers for its consideration but was declined. Yet, word of the game spread. It is widely believed that Charles Darrow infringed upon Lizzie Magie’s patent, and in 1935, Robert Barton held a secret meeting with Darrow reaching a settlement agreement granting Parker Brothers worldwide rights in order to release Darrow from legal costs that he would incur defending the origin of the game.

The Landlord's GameWhat did Ms Magie get out of the deal? In a January 1936 interview with the Washington D.C. Evening Star, when asked how she felt for receiving only $500 for her patent and no royalties ever, she replied that it was okay “if she never made a dime so long as the Henry George single tax idea was spread to the people of the country.”

REFERENCES

1. McCorquodale, Duncan, et al, editors. Inventors and Inventions. London : Black Dog, 2009. p. 75 Engineering Library FOLIO T48 .I58 2009

2. Mag-ie, L.J. Game-board. U.S. Patent 748,626, filed March 23, 1903, issued January 5, 1904.

2. Darrow, Charles B. Board game apparatus. U.S. Patent 2,026,082, filed August 31, 1935, issued December 31, 1935.

3. Monopoly Game History, Landlord’s Game History

4. How Henry George’s Principles Were Corrupted Into the Game Called Monopoly

5. Henry George Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_George

6. George, Henry. Progress and Poverty, New York : Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, c1879, 1955 Main Library HB171 .G27 1955

7. There is nothing new under the sun, Mrs. Elizabeth Magie Phillips, headmistress and proprietor of the Henry George School of Social Science, in Clarendon, Val, is convinced, she said yesterday. The Washington Post [Washington D.C.] 28 Jan 1936: 13 Source: ProQuest News & Newspapers

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How Cool Is This

In honor of Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, celebrated on November 15th, you may want to know how your refrigerator operates.

Early Twentieth Century Refrigerator

The one-millionth Frigidaire refrigerator is proudly displayed as it comes off the assembly line in Dayton, Ohio, in 1929. Photograph: AP

HISTORY

Refrigerators are a modern invention. Until the advent of wide-scale electricity, keeping food cold had been a challenge for civilizations. Even as late as the 1800s, ice continued to be the major method for cooling. However, in 1848, Alexander Twining experimented with vapor-compression refrigeration allowing mechanical cooling to be applied in the meat packing and brewing manufacturing industries from the 1870s through the 1890s. Then in 1895, a German engineer, Carol von Linde, designed a process for the mass-scale production of domestic operating cooling units.1 By 1921, the first Frigidaire came off an assembly line at the Delco Light Plant of General Motors. That same year, 5,000 refrigerators were manufactured for home use.2

Einstein refrigerator patent image

Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard. Refrigeration. U.S. Patent 1,781,541, filed December 16, 1927, issued November 11, 1930 [6]

OPERATION

All refrigerator models work on the same principle: as the gas phase of matter expands, it takes up heat from the environment and converts the thermal energy to other forms of energy. This is called the Carnot cycle.3 In refrigerators, a gas is compressed and under pressure is changed to liquid. A compressor forces the liquid, or coolant, through a series of tubes or coils where it vaporizes, removing heat from the surrounding environment (i.e., from inside the refrigerator). A pump that is run by a motor sucks up the warmed gas, compresses it into liquid again, and sends it to the condenser for another bout of cooling.4 In the early twentieth century, refrigerators used methyl chloride, sulphur dioxide, or ammonia gas, all of which are toxic and caused several injuries and fatalities when leaked into homes.

Einstein and Szilard

Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard

INVENTION

For this reason, Albert Einstein had the idea to improve its safety. In 1926, he partnered with Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-American physicist, who had published his dissertation on thermodynamics and had knowledge of patent engineering. Together they set out to improve the mechanical compressors and eliminate the toxic gases. “The Einstein-Szilard fridge used pressurized ammonia, butane and water… and no moving parts — thereby eliminating the possibility of seal failure…One of the components the two physicists designed for their refrigerator was the Einstein-Szilard electromagnetic pump, which had no moving parts, relying instead on generating an electromagnetic field by running alternating current through coils. The field moved a liquid metal, and the metal, in turn, served as a piston and compressed a refrigerant.”5

In 1930, freon was introduced as an economically favored refrigerant gas. However, with environmental concerns over climate change and the impact of freon and other chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer, it maybe time for another reinvention. “Green refrigeration” is being explored. Two groups in the UK, Malcom McCullough of Oxford, is designing a solar-powered fridge as an alternative energy source, and Camfridge Ltd, in Cambridge, is researching gas-free alternatives.Also, a team of Canadian-Bulgarian researchers are looking into magnetic cooling.8

So as you toss out the carton of milk which expired two weeks ago, think how you might improve upon Einstein’s cooling appliance.

REFERENCES

1. McCorquodale, Duncan, et al, editors. Inventors and Inventions. London : Black Dog, 2009. p. 32 Engineering Library FOLIO T48 .I58 2009

2. Langone, John. How Things Work: Everyday technology explained. Washington D.C. : National Georgraphic Society, 2006, pages 18 – 19. Engineering Library T47 .L2923 2006

3. The Carnot Cycle (Source: MIT)

4. Wearing, Judy. Edison’s Concrete Piano: Flying Tanks, Six-Nippled Sheep, Walk-On-Water Shoes and 12 Other Flops from Great Inventors. Toronto : ECW Press, 2009, pages 231 – 232 Engineering Library T47 .W42 2009

5. The Story of Einstein’s Refrigerator by Jennifer Ouellette, December 5, 2010

6. Einstein, Albert and Szilard, Leo. Refrigeration. U.S. Patent 1,781,541, filed December 16, 1927, issued November 11, 1930. (Source: Google Patents)

7. Wearing, Judy. Edison’s Concrete Piano: Flying Tanks, Six-Nippled Sheep, Walk-On-Water Shoes and 12 Other Flops from Great Inventors. Toronto : ECW Press, 2009. pages 239 - 240. Engineering Library T47 .W42 2009

8. Magnetic Cooling Enables Efficient, ‘Green’ Refrigeration, June 19, 2014. (Source: Phys.org)

9. Standard Specification for Reach-in Refrigerators, Freezers, Combination Refrigerator/Freezers, and Thaw Cabinets. ASTM F2520-05 (2012) (Source: ASTM International)

10. Pham, Hung. Lower-GWP Refrigerants in Refrigeration. ASHRAE-D-ANRC12-17. (Source: TechStreet)

11. Energy-Efficient Refrigerator Prototype Test Results [microform]. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Atmospheric and Indoor Air. EPA-430-R-94-011, June 1994. Main Media Collection Microfiche EP 4.2:R 25/3

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Blowing in the Wind

U.S. Patent 5,638,574 Convertible leaf blower and vacuum

Haupt, David J. & Houge, Michael S. Convertible leaf blower and vacuum. U.S. Patent 5,638,574, filed July 21, 1995 and issued June 17, 1997

Autumn is a beautiful season: waning days of warmth, cool nights, and dramatic color. All is blissful until the leaves fall from the trees covering the ground with a thick mass of debris. So begins the raking…or blowing.

The Invention

Although not confirmed, it widely is believed that the leaf blower was invented by Dom Quinto in the late 1950s. It originally was introduced in the United States as an agricultural sprayer, but soon manufacturers saw an opportunity to use the blower as a lawn and garden maintenance tool.

Environmental Impact

Emissions from gasoline-powered leaf blowers, noise, carbon monoxide as well as airborne particulates are common complaints of the leaf blower. To minimize some of these side-effects, the leaf blower is governed by the U.S. E.P.A. emission standards for small engines, and to counteract the noise, several American cities have ordinances restricting lawn blower usage or mandating decibel levels. In fact, Caremel-by-the-Sea and Beverly Hills banned the implement in the 1970s citing it a noise nuisance.

So don’t throw out the rake just yet.

European Patent Application Backpack Leaf Blower

Thackery, Clinton C. and Long, Charles Keith. Backpack leaf blower. EP268444, filed May 20, 2013 and issued January 15, 2014.

References

Determination Particulate Emission Rates from Leaf Blowers. Report written by Dennis Fitz, David Pankratz, Sally Pederson, and James Bristow, College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology, University of California, Riverside, CA and Gary Arcemont, San Joaquin Unified Air Pollution Control District, Fresno, CA.

Glasner, Joanna. “The Silence of the Leaf Blowers.” September 23, 2005.

Haupt, David J. & Houge, Michael S. Convertible leaf blower and vacuum. U.S. Patent 5,638,574, filed July 21, 1995 and issued June 17, 1997

Lawn and Garden (Small Gasoline) Equipment, United States Environmental Protection Agency web page

“Leaf-blower regulations nationwide,” ConsumerReports.org, September 2010

Leaf Blower Report by the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board

Outdoor Power Equipment Internal Combustion Engine-Powered Handheld and Backpack Blowers and Blower-Vacuums Safety Requirements and Performance Testing Procedures ANSI/OPEI B175.2-2012 (with A1-2013) (Source: TechStreet)

Thackery, Clinton C. and Long, Charles Keith. Backpack leaf blower. EP268444, filed May 20, 2013 and issued January 15, 2014

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Happy Birthday, Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel (October 21, 1833 - December 10, 1896)

Alfred Nobel (October 21, 1833 – December 10, 1896)

ALFRED NOBEL

October 21st is the birthday of the late Alfred Bernhard Nobel who lived from 1833 to 1896. He was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator and manufacturer.

U.S. Patent 78317, November 26, 1868

U.S. Patent 78317, November 26, 1868

In 1862, he started experimenting with nitroglycerin as an explosive material for oil mining. By the next year, at age 30, he obtained his first patent. A year later, he also developed and patented a detonator, or blasting cap, for triggering the explosive device. By age 40, Nobel had armament and explosives manufacturing companies around the world.

 

Diagram of dynamite. A. Sawdust (or any other type of absorbent material) soaked in nitroglycerin. B. Protective coating surrounding the explosive material. C. Blasting cap. D. Metal strips to hold the dynamite in place.

Diagram of dynamite. A. Sawdust (or any other type of absorbent material) soaked in nitroglycerin. B. Protective coating surrounding the explosive material. C. Blasting cap. D. Metal strips to hold the dynamite in place.

Ironically, in 1866, one of Nobel’s German manufacturing factories exploded. Resolved to improve the products’ safety, Nobel discovered that adding diatomaceous earth, a form of hardened algae as fine as powder, stabilizes the explosive material.

Although Nobel held over 350 different patents, his dynamite patent was his most notable invention. “Dynamite revolutionized the transportation industry by greatly facilitating the construction of roads and railways, tunnels and canals. It also played a crucial role in the modern mining industry.”¹

Alfred Nobel's third and last Will & Testament, November 25, 1895

Alfred Nobel’s third and last Will & Testament, November 25, 1895

 

 

 

THE NOBEL PRIZE

Nobel’s wealth was derived from his manufacturing companies and from his investment in his two brothers’ oilfields along the Caspian Sea. Upon his death, Nobel left the majority of his wealth, $186 million, in a trust from which his fortune is posthumously awarded “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”²

Nobel Medal

Nobel Medal

In 1900, The Nobel Foundation was established as a private organization to administer the trust, and, in accordance with Nobel’s wishes, “The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiology or medical works by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”² Up to three people may receive the award in any given field. For example, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner jointly received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”³

REFERENCES

A Most Damnable Invention by Stephen R. Bown

A Most Damnable Invention by Stephen R. Bown

1. The Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/krummel/

2. The Official Web Site of Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/

3. The Official Web Site of Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2014/

4. Bown, Stephen R. A most damnable invention : dynamite, nitrates, and the making of the modern world. New York : T. Dunne Books, 2005. Engineering Library Q175.35 .B69 2005

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