California

Driving South on Interstate 5

I grew up traveling South on 5 with my parents. Our quest? Disneyland. The eight hour journey down I5 was filled with adventure. Car sickness, bathroom stops, too many cars and not enough chips. There were trials, but there were also champions. A truck driver blasting his horn at my command, generous drive-thru workers and…

Mutual Hook and Ladder No. 1.

Sacramento, California is home to the first volunteer fire department in the western United States.  In the late 1840’s Sacramento consisted of many wooden buildings which were built quickly and placed close together. A series of fires during the Gold Rush era promoted people in Sacramento to form a volunteer fire department called Mutual Hook and Ladder…

Charles Ginsberg and the Practical Videotape Recorder

Charles Paulson Ginsburg was a native of San Francisco, graduated from San José State University and went on to become and engineer at KCBS.  In 1951 he joined a US based electronics company called Ampex. Ampex was famous for its development of the reel-to-reel audio tape recorder, which some sources say was designed at the request…

The Oak Manufacturing Company, Inc.

In the mid 1940’s west coast vending machine operators were in need of a vending machine that was flexible enough to allow operators to stock them with different types of charms. Around this time a man named, Harold T. Probasco, had developed a die-cast aluminum vending machine, that was precision built and featured interchangeable parts allowing…

Sequoia National Park’s Ash Mountain Sign

The Ash Mountain sign located near the entrance to Sequoia National Park was designed by Harold G. Fowler and sculpted by George W. Munro in 1935.  The sign is made from a single piece of sequoia that fell in the Giant Forest area of the park. It remained unpainted until the 1950’s and was moved to its current location…

Frederick Gardner Cottrell and the Electrostatic Precipitator

Frederick Gardner Cottrell was a native of Oakland, California and a chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In the early 1900’s, probably around 1907, he applied for a patent on a device that would help control air pollution through electrostatic attraction. Cottrell’s first implementation of this device was to help reduce the amount of sulphuric…