Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Prequel: Early Examples of Weird Bushspeak


George W. Bush's losing battle with the English language antedated his election to the presidency. The following samples, arranged in chronological order, predate his inauguration on January 21, 2001. These include some of the choicest examples of his ability to mangle English almost beyond recognition. Most date from the 2000 campaign leading up to his bitterly contested election, thanks to the Supreme Court:

"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods." Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000.

"I also have picked a secretary for Housing and Human Development. Mel Martinez from the state of Florida." Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000.

"Let me put it to you this way, I am not a revengeful person." quoted in an interview with Time magazine that appeared in the Dec. 25, 2000, issue.

"I am mindful of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I assured all four of these leaders that I know the difference, and that difference is they pass the laws and I execute them." Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2000.

"The great thing about America is everybody should vote."
Austin, Texas, Dec. 8, 2000.

"Dick Cheney and I do not want this nation to be in a recession. We want anybody who can find work to be able to find work." 60 Minutes II, Dec. 5, 2000.

"I knew it might put him in an awkward position that we had a discussion before finality has finally happened in this presidential race." Describing a phone call to Sen. John Breaux, Crawford, Texas, Dec. 2, 2000.

"As far as the legal hassling and wrangling and posturing in Florida, I would suggest you talk to our team in Florida led by Jim Baker."
Crawford, Texas, Nov. 30, 2000.

"The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000.

"They misunderestimated me." Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000.

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 2, 2000.

"Think about that. Two hundred and eighty-five new or expanded programs, $2 trillion more in new spending, and not one new bureaucrat to file out the forms or answer the phones?" Minneapolis, Minn., Nov. 1, 2000.

"They said, 'You know, this issue doesn't seem to resignate with the people.' And I said, 'You know something? Whether it resignates or not doesn't matter to me, because I stand for doing what's the right thing, and what the right thing is hearing the voices of people who work.'" Portland, Ore., Oct. 31, 2000.

"Anyway, after we go out and work our hearts out, after you go out and help us turn out the vote, after we've convinced the good Americans to vote, and while they're at it, pull that old George W. lever, if I'm the one, when I put my hand on the Bible, when I put my hand on the Bible, that day when they swear us in, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not--to uphold the laws of the land." Toledo, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2000.

"It's your money. You paid for it." LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000.

"That's a chapter, the last chapter of the 20th, 20th, the 21st century that most of us would rather forget. The last chapter of the 20th century. This is the first chapter of the 21st century. " On the Lewinsky scandal, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000.

"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet." Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000.

"I don't want nations feeling like that they can bully ourselves and our allies. I want to have a ballistic defense system so that we can make the world more peaceful, and at the same time I want to reduce our own nuclear capacities to the level commiserate with keeping the peace." Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 23, 2000.

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." La Crosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000.

"If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency-room care, we're [not] going to have gag orders." / "Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it." / "It's one thing about insurance, that's a Washington term."/" I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun."/ "Mr. Vice President, in all due respect, it is--I'm not sure 80 percent of the people [do not] get the death tax. I know this: 100 percent will [not] get it if I'm the president." / "Quotas are bad for America. It's not the way America is all about." / "If affirmative action means what I just described, what I'm for, then I'm for it." St. Louis, Mo., October 18, 2000.

"I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children." Second presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2000 .

"Our priorities is our faith." / "It's going to require numerous IRA agents." On Gore's tax plan, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000.

"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question." In response to a question about whether he wished he could take back any of his answers in the first debate. Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Oct. 4, 2000.

"I would have my secretary of treasury be in touch with the financial centers, not only here but at home." Boston, Oct. 3, 2000.

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000.

"I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy." Redwood, Calif., Sept. 27, 2000.

"One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected." Los Angeles, Sept. 27, 2000.

"It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas." Beaverton, Ore., Sept. 25, 2000.

"Well, that's going to be up to the pundits and the people to make up their mind. I'll tell you what is a president for him, for example, talking about my record in the state of Texas. I mean, he's willing to say anything in order to convince people that I haven't had a good record in Texas." MSNBC, Sept. 20, 2000.

"I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans." Oprah, Sept. 19, 2000.

"A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness." The Edge With Paula Zahn, Sept. 18, 2000.

"The woman who knew that I had dyslexia--I never interviewed her." Orange, Calif., Sept. 15, 2000.

"The best way to relieve families from time is to let them keep some of their own money." / "They have miscalculated me as a leader." Westminster, Calif., Sept. 13, 2000.

"I don't think we need to be subliminable about the differences between our views on prescription drugs." Orlando, Fla., Sept. 12, 2000.

"This is what I'm good at. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them." Outside Pittsburgh, Sept. 8, 2000.

"That's Washington. That's the place where you find people getting ready to jump out of the foxholes before the first shot is fired." Westland, Mich., Sept. 8, 2000.

"Listen, Al Gore is a very tough opponent. He is the incumbent. He represents the incumbency. And a challenger is somebody who generally comes from the pack and wins, if you're going to win. And that's where I'm coming from." Detroit, Sept. 7, 2000.

"We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers." Houston, Texas, Sept. 6, 2000.

"We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans." Scranton, Pa., Sept. 6, 2000.

"I regret that a private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it through the public airways." Allentown, Pa., Sept. 5, 2000.

"The point is, this is a way to help inoculate me about what has come and is coming."Said about his anti-Gore ad, in an interview with The New York Times, Sept. 2, 2000.

"As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards" / "Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's [un]trustworthiness." CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000.

"I don't know whether I'm going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I'm ready for the job. And, if not, that's just the way it goes." / " This campaign not only hears the voices of the entrepreneurs and the farmers and the entrepreneurs, we hear the voices of those struggling to get ahead." / "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.'' Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 21, 2000.

"I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together." Bartlett, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2000.

"I think he needs to stand up and say if he thought the president were wrong on policy and issues, he ought to say where." Interview with the Associated Press, Aug. 11, 2000.

"I want you to know that farmers are not going to be secondary thoughts to a Bush administration. They will be in the forethought of our thinking."Salinas, Calif., Aug. 10, 2000.

"You might want to comment on that, Honorable." Said to New Jersey's secretary of state, the Hon. DeForest Soaries Jr., as quoted by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, July 15, 2000.

"This case has had full analyzation and has been looked at a lot. I understand the emotionality of death penalty cases." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 23, 2000.

"States should have the right to enact reasonable laws and restrictions particularly to end the inhumane practice of ending a life that otherwise could live." Cleveland, June 29, 2000.

"Unfairly but truthfully, our party has been tagged as being against things. Anti-immigrant, for example. And we're not a party of anti-immigrants. Quite the opposite. We're a party that welcomes people." Cleveland, July 1, 2000.

"The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' I will be, but until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective." Wayne, Mich., as quoted by Katharine Q. Seelye in The New York Times, June 28, 2000

"The only things that I can tell you is that every case I have reviewed I have been comfortable with the innocence or guilt of the person thatI've looked at. I do not believe we've put a guilty...I mean innocent person to death in the state of Texas." All Things Considered, NPR, June 16, 2000.

"There's not going to be enough people in the system to take advantage of people like me." On the coming Social Security crisis, Wilton, Conn.; June 9, 2000.

"I'm gonna talk about the ideal world, Chris. I've read--I understand reality. If you're asking me as the president, would I understand reality, I do." On abortion, Hardball, MSNBC; May 31, 2000.

"I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating [me]." U.S. News & World Report, April 3, 2000.

Bush: "First of all, Cinco de Mayo is not the independence day. That's dieciséis de Septiembre, and...."
Matthews: "What's that in English?"
Bush: "Fifteenth of September." (Dieciséis de Septiembre = Sept.16). "Actually, I--this may sound a little West Texan to you, but I like it. When I'm talking about--when I'm talking about myself, and when he's talking about myself, all of us are talking about me." Hardball, MSNBC, May 31, 2000.

"This is a world that is much more uncertain than the past. In the past we were certain, we were certain it was us versus the Russians in the past. We were certain, and therefore we had huge nuclear arsenals aimed at each other to keep the peace. That's what we were certain of .... You see, even though it's an uncertain world, we're certain of some things. We're certain that even though the 'evil empire' may have passed, evil still remains. We're certain there are people that can't stand what America stands for.... We're certain there are madmen in this world, and there's terror, and there's missiles and I'm certain of this, too: I'm certain to maintain the peace, we better have a military of high morale, and I'm certain that under this administration, morale in the military is dangerously low." Albuquerque, N.M., quoted in the Washington Post, May 31, 2000.

"He has certainly earned a reputation as a fantastic mayor, because the results speak for themselves. I mean, New York's a safer place for him to be." Said about Rudy Giuliani, The Edge With Paula Zahn, May 18, 2000.

"The fact that he relies on facts--says things that are not factual--are going to undermine his campaign." The New York Times, March 4, 2000.

"I think we agree, the past is over." On his meeting with Sen. John McCain, in the Dallas Morning News, May 10, 2000.

"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." Reuters, May 5, 2000.

Gov. Bush: Because the picture on the newspaper. It just seems so un-American to me, the picture of the guy storming the house with a scared little boy there. I talked to my little brother, Jeb-I haven't told this to many people. But he's the governor of--I shouldn't call him my little brother--my brother, Jeb, the great governor of Texas.
Jim Lehrer: Florida.
Gov. Bush: Florida. The state of the Florida. The NewsHour With Jim
Lehrer, April 27, 2000.

"I hope we get to the bottom of the answer. It's what I'm interested to know." On what happened in negotiations between the Justice Department and Elián González's Miami relatives, as quoted by the Associated Press, April 26, 2000.

"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis." CNBC, April 15, 2000.

"You subscribe politics to it. I subscribe freedom to it." Responding to a question about whether he and Al Gore were making the Elián González case a political issue. In Palm Beach, Fla., as quoted by the Associated Press, April 6, 2000.

"I was raised in the West. The west of Texas. It's pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California." In Los Angeles as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2000.

"Reading is the basics for all learning." Announcing his "Reading First" initiative in Reston, Va., March 28, 2000.

"We want our teachers to be trained so they can meet the obligations, their obligations as teachers. We want them to know how to teach the science of reading. In order to make sure there's not this kind of federal--federal cufflink." At Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, March 30, 2000.

"I've got a reason for running. I talk about a larger goal, which is to call upon the best of America. It's part of the renewal. It's reformand renewal. Part of the renewal is a set of high standards and to remind people that the greatness of America really does depend on neighbors helping neighbors and children finding mentors. I worry. I'm very worried about, you know, the kid who just wonders whether America is meant for him. I really worry about that. And uh, so, I'm running for a reason. I'm answering this question here and the answer is, you cannot lead America to a positive tomorrow with revenge on one's mind. Revenge is so incredibly negative. And so to answer your question, I'm going to win because people sense my heart, know my sense of optimism and know where I want to lead the country. And I tease people by saying, 'A leader, you can't say, follow me the world is going to be worse.' I'm an optimistic person. I'm an inherently content person. I've got a great sense of where I want to lead and I'm comfortable with why I'm running. And, you know, the call on that speech was, beware. This is going to be a tough campaign." Interview with the Washington Post, March 23, 2000.

"People make suggestions on what to say all the time. I'll give you an example; I don't read what's handed to me. People say, 'Here, here's your speech, or here's an idea for a speech.' They're changed. Trust me." Interview with The New York Times, March 15, 2000.

"It's evolutionary, going from governor to president, and this is a significant step, to be able to vote for yourself on the ballot, and I'll be able to do so next fall, I hope." Interview with the Associated Press, March 8, 2000.

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature.'' Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 2000.

"I don't have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university." Today, Feb. 23, 2000.

"I understand small business growth. I was one." New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000.

"The senator has got to understand if he's going to have--he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road." Said to reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000.

"Really proud of it. A great campaign. And I'm really pleased with the organization and the thousands of South Carolinians that worked on my behalf. And I'm very gracious and humbled." Said to Cokie Roberts, This Week, Feb. 20, 2000.

"I don't want to win? If that were the case why the heck am I on the bus 16 hours a day, shaking thousands of hands, giving hundreds of speeches, getting pillared in the press and cartoons and still staying on message to win?" / "I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists." Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000.

"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign." Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000.

"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?" Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000.

"We ought to make the pie higher." South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000.

"I do not agree with this notion that somehow if I go to try to attract votes and to lead people toward a better tomorrow somehow I get subscribed to some--some doctrine gets subscribed to me." / "I've changed my style somewhat, as you know. I'm less--I pontificate less, although it may be hard to tell it from this show. And I'm more interacting with people." Meet the Press, Feb. 13, 2000.

"I think we need not only to eliminate the tollbooth to the middle class, I think we should knock down the tollbooth." Nashua, N.H., quoted by Gail Collins in The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2000.

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case." Pella, Iowa, quoted in the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000.

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?" Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000.

"This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve." Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H., and quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000.

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000.

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position.'' Quoted by Molly Ivins, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000.

"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were," he said. "It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there." Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Jan 21, 2000.

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house." Des Moines Register debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000.

"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential losses." / "We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself." At a South Carolina oyster roast, as quoted in the Financial Times, Jan. 14, 2000.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" / "Gov. Bush will not stand for the subsidation of failure." Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000.

"There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country." Larry King Live, Dec. 16, 1999.

"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike.... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society.... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked." Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999.

"It is incredibly presumptive for somebody who has not yet earned his party's nomination to start speculating about vice presidents." Keene, N.H., Oct. 22, 1999, quoted in The New Republic, Nov. 15, 1999.

"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?" Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire, in The New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999.

"I don't remember debates. I don't think we spent a lot of time debating it. Maybe we did, but I don't remember." On discussions of the Vietnam War when he was an undergraduate at Yale, in the Washington Post, July 27, 1999.

"The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas." To a Slovak journalist as quoted by Knight Ridder News Service, June 22, 1999. Unfortunately, the meeting Mr. Bush referred to was with Janez Drnovsek, the prime minister of Slovenia.

"If the East Timorians decide to revolt, I'm sure I'll have a statement." Quoted by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times, June 16, 1999.

"Keep good relations with the Grecians." Quoted in The Economist, June 12, 1999.

"Kosovians can move back in." CNN Inside Politics, April 9, 1999.

"It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then." In a 1994 interview, quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Weird World of Bushspeak


Although it should be better known, the name Johnson O'Connor isn't a household word. O'Connor, "the father of aptitude testing," made a monumental discovery in the 1930s. His Human Engineering Laboratory at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., tested hundreds of thousands of individuals. The results showed that a powerful vocabulary is directly linked to success in the worlds of business, academia or politics.

One interesting sidelight from O'Connor's findings was that success came equally to the self-taught and to the formally schooled. In short, it is one's vocabulary that is important, not how it was acquired. O'Connor concluded that "words are the tools of thought." Statistically, the larger the vocabulary of an individual, the higher that person's scores will be on tests (SAT, GRE, ACT, IQ, etc.) and the higher will be that person's income and stature in society.

George W. Bush attended prestigious Phillips Academy, at Andover, Mass., Yale University and the Harvard School of Business, and later became Governor of Texas and was twice elected President of the United States. The latter represents a pinnacle of success few have achieved. Yet, his widely recorded vocabulary failings would not have predicted this.

Johnson O'Connor died in 1973 at the age of 72. Had he lived, it is interesting to speculate what he would have made of George W. Bush's assaults on the English language, his mindless mangling of vocabulary, flagrant abuse of grammar and syntax, and sometimes hilarious malapropisms during the six years he has been in office, some of which are recorded here:

"One has a stronger hand when there's more people playing your same cards." Said about holding six-party talks with North Korea, Washington, D.C., Oct. 11, 2006.

"If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon, they could proliferate." Washington, March 21, 2006.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005.

"Secondly, the tactics of our--as you know, we don't have relationships with Iran. I mean, that's--ever since the late 70s, we have no contacts with them, and we've totally sanctioned them. In other words, there's no sanctions--you can't--we're out of sanctions." Annandale, Va., Aug. 9, 2004.

"And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and our guest read it." Speaking together with Prime Minister Tony Blair about the Baker-Hamilton Report, Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2006.

"Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die." Speaking with reporters on facing the challenges of war, Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2006.

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." Interview with CBS News, Washington D.C., Sept. 6, 2006.

"I strongly believe what we're doing is the right thing. If I didn't believe it--I'm going to repeat what I said before--I'd pull the troops out, nor if I believed we could win, I would pull the troops out." Charlotte, N.C., April 6, 2006.

"No question that the enemy has tried to spread sectarian violence. They use violence as a tool to do that." Washington, March 22, 2006.

"After the bombing, most Iraqis saw what the perpetuators of this attack were trying to do." Washington, March 13, 2006, referring to the February bombing of the al-Askari shrine in Samarra.

"And I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company." In defense of a plan to allow a company from the United Arab Emirates to manage ports in the United States, said aboard Air Force One, Feb. 21, 2006.

"He was a state sponsor of terror. In other words, the government had declared, 'You are a state sponsor of terror.'" Said about Saddam Hussein, Manhattan, Kans., Jan. 23, 2006.

"If you found somebody that had information about an attack on America, you'd want to know as best as we can to find out what the facts are." Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 2005.

"I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome." Speaking about Iraqi attitudes toward American occupying forces, Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 2005.

“Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims quote, ‘what is good for them and what is not.’” Washington, Oct. 6, 2005,

"You see, not only did the attackers accelerate a recession, the attacks reminded us that we are at war." Washington, June 8, 2005.

"Well, we made the decision to defeat the terrorists abroad so we don't have to face them here at home. And when you engage the terrorists abroad, it causes activity and action. Washington, April 28, 2005.

"It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way. Washington, April 28, 2005.

"But Iraq has--have got people there that are willing to kill, and they're hard-nosed killers. And we will work with Iraqis to secure their future." Washington, April 28, 2005.

"I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein." Washington, May 25, 2004.

"It's a time of sorrow and sadness when you lose a loss of life." Washington, Dec. 21, 2004.

"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." Washington, Sept. 17, 2004.

"That's why I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental--supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts and ammunition and fuel." Erie, Pa., Sept. 4, 2004.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Washington, Aug. 5, 2004.

"I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they're well paid, well-trained, well-equipped." Washington, Dec. 15, 2003.

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the--the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." Washington, Oct. 27, 2003.

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003.

"The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein and his willingness to terrorize himself." Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan 29, 2003.

"When Iraq is liberated, you [Saddam Hussein] will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal." Washington, Jan. 22, 2003.

"I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will." Washington, Oct. 5, 2002.

"You're one of the outstanding leaders in a very important part of the world. I want to thank you for strategizing our discussions." Meeting with the prime minister of Malaysia, New York, Sept. 18, 2006.

"One thing is clear, is relations between America and Russia are good, and they're important that they be good." Visiting Strelna, Russia, July 15, 2006.

"I've reminded the prime minister--the American people, Mr. Prime Minister, over the past months that it was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship." Speaking about Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, Washington, June 29, 2006.

"We shouldn't fear a world that is more interacted." Washington, June 27, 2006.

"The point now is how do we work together to achieve important goals. And one such goal is a democracy in Germany." Washington, May 5, 2006.

"I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today." Irvine, Calif., April 24, 2006.

"I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep on the soil of a friend." Commenting on the possibility of a visit by him to Denmark, Washington, June 29, 2005.

"I was going to say that he's 'a piece of work,' but that might not translate well. Is it all right if I call you 'a piece of work'?" Said to the prime minister of Luxembourg, Washington, June 20, 2005.

"As a matter of fact, I know relations between our government is good." On the relationship between the U.S. and South Korea, Washington, Nov. 8, 2003.

"I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian Authority, was very impressed by his grasp of finances." Washington, May 29, 2003.

"I've got good relations with President Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdullah and the King of Jordan--Gulf Coast countries." Washington, May 29, 2003.

"You saw the president [Russian President Vladimir Putin] yesterday. I thought he was very forward-leaning, as they say in diplomatic nuanced circles." Rome, Italy, July 23, 2001.

"We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease." Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001.

"Anyway, I'm so thankful, and so gracious--I'm gracious that my brother Jeb is concerned about the hemisphere as well." Miami, June 4, 2001.

"Ann and I will carry out this equivocal message to the world: 'Markets must be open.'" At swearing in of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Washington, March 2, 2001.

"Finally, the desk, where we'll have our picture taken in front of--is nine other Presidents used it. This was given to us by Queen Victoria in the 1870s, I think it was. President Roosevelt put the door in so people would not know he was in a wheelchair. John Kennedy put his head out the door." / "That's called, 'A Charge To Keep,' based upon a religious hymn. The hymn talks about serving God. The president's job is never to promote a religion." / "That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three--three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?" Said while showing German newspaper reporter Kai Diekmann the Oval Office, Washington, May 5, 2006.

"In this job you've got a lot on your plate on a regular basis. You don't have much time to sit around and wander, lonely, in the Oval Office, kind of asking different portraits, 'How do you think my standing will be?'" Washington, March 16, 2005.

"See, one of the interesting things in the Oval Office--I love to bring people into the Oval Office--right around the corner from here--and say, 'This is where I office. but I want you to know the office is always bigger than the person." Washington, Jan. 29, 2004.

"I think it's really important for this great state of baseball to reach out to people of all walks of life to make sure that the sport is inclusive. The best way to do it is to convince little kids how to--the beauty of playing baseball." Washington, Feb. 13, 2006.

"Let me be clear about this: Steroids ought to be banned from baseball." Washington, Oct. 4, 2005.

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005.

"We've got people working all their life at hard work, contributing by payroll taxes into a Social Security system." Washington, May 13, 2005.

"I think younger workers--first of all, younger workers have been promised benefits the government--promises that have been promised, benefits that we can't keep. That's just the way it is." Washington, May 4, 2005.

"It means your own money would grow better than that which the government can make it grow. And that's very important." Falls Church, Va., April 29, 2005.

"If they predecease or die early, there's an asset base to be able to pass on to a loved one." Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 30, 2005.

"In terms of timetables, as quickly as possible--whatever that means." Washington, March 16, 2005.

"If you're a young person, you ought to be asking members of Congress and the United States Senate and the President what you intend to do about it. If you see a train wreck coming, you ought to be saying, 'What are you going to do about it, Mr. Congressman or Madam Congressman?'" Detroit, Feb. 8, 2005.

"Because the--all of which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate [sic], for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those--changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be--or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled." Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005.

"Look, there's a series of things that cause the--like for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate--the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if it were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those--if that growth is affected, it will help on the red." Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005.

"We're spending money on clean coal technology. Do you realize we've got 250 million years of coal?" [The number is closer to 250 years.] Washington, June 8, 2005.

"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002.

"It's a heck of a place to visit." Said about New Orleans, New Orleans, La., Jan. 12. 2006.

"And I suspect that what you'll see, Toby, is there will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered. Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses." Speaking with reporters on the anniversary of Huricane Katrina, Gulfport, Miss., Aug. 28, 2006.

"We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do the job." Gulfport, Miss., Sept. 20, 2005.

"Listen, I want to thank leaders of the--in the faith-based and community-based community for being here." Washington, Sept. 6, 2005.

"So please give cash money to organizations that are directly involved in saving lives--save the life who has been affected by Hurricane Katrina." Washington, September 5, 2005.

"I can't wait to join you in the joy of welcoming neighbors into neighborhoods, and small businesses up and running and cutting those ribbons that somebody is creating new jobs." Poplarville, Miss., September 5, 2005.

"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house--he's lost his entire house--there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005.

"And Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Said to FEMA director Michael Brown, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005. Ten days later, Mr. Brown was pressed to resign.

"Because of your work, children who once wanted to die are now preparing to live." Speaking at the White House summit on malaria, Dec. 14, 2006. "

And so I'm for medical liability at the federal level." Washington, March 10, 2006.

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country." Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004.

"We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House--make no mistake about it." Washington, Feb. 7, 2001.

"Today I heard from some opinions that matter a lot to me, and these are the opinions of those who wear the uniform." Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2006.

"You took an oath to defend our flag and our freedom. And you kept that oath underseas and under fire." Said to war veterans, Jan. 10, 2006.

"As you can see, I have an injury myself--not here in the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch." Addressing wounded veterans, Amputee Care Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 1, 2006.

"And the question is, are we going to be facile enough to change with--will we be nimble enough; will we be able to deal with the circumstances on the ground? And the answer is, yes, we will." Washington, July 25, 2006.

"I think--tide turning-see, as I remember-I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of--it's easy to see a tide turn--did I say those words?" Washington, June 14, 2006.

"I tell people, let's don't fear the future, let's shape it." Omaha, Neb., June 7, 2006.

"I aim to be a competitive nation." San Jose, Calif., April 21, 2006.

"We got the best work force in America--in the world." Washington, Dec. 2, 2005.

"There may be some tough times here in America. But this country has gone through tough times before, and we're going to do it again." Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002.

"The goals of this country is to enhance prosperity and peace." Said at the White House Conference on Global Literacy, New York, Sept. 6, 2006.

"We expect the states to show us whether or not we're achieving simple objectives--like literacy, literacy in math, the ability to read and write." Washington, April 28, 2005.

"I want to thank you for the importance you've shown for education and literacy." Washington, April 13, 2005.

"The illiteracy level of our children are appalling." Washington, Jan. 23, 2004.

"The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. After all, this is where children from all over America learn to be responsible citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic opportunistic society." Santa Clara, Calif., May 1, 2002.

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test." Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001.

"Rarely is the question asked: 'Is our children learning?'" Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000.

"Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005.

"We look forward to analyzing and working with legislation that will make it--it would hope--put a free press's mind at ease that you're not being denied information you shouldn't see." Washington, April 14, 2005.

". . . as you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say." Press conference, Washington, Oct. 28, 2003.

"I mean, I read the newspaper. I mean, I can tell you what the headlines are. I must confess if I think the story is like, not a fair appraisal, I'll move on. But I know what the story is about." Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 2005.

"It's a myth to think I don't know what's going on. It's a myth to think that I'm not aware that there's opinions that don't agree with mine, because I'm fully aware of that." Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 2005.

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves." Washington, Sept. 21, 2003.

"I was not pleased that Hamas has refused to announce its desire to destroy Israel." Washington, May 4, 2006.

"I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense." Washington, D.C., April 18, 2006.

"I mean there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam, 'You're a threat.' And the 9/11 attacks extenuated that threat, as far as I--concerned." Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 2005.

"And so, in my State of the--my State of the Union--or state--my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation--I asked Americans to give 4,000 years--4,000 hours over the next--the rest of your life--of service to America. That's what I asked--4,000 hours." Bridgeport, Conn., April 9, 2002.

"I'm the master of low expectations." Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003.

"There was no malfeance [sic], no attempt to hide anything." Washington, July 8, 2002.

"I want to thank the dozens of welfare-to-work stories, the actual examples of people who made the firm and solemn commitment to work hard to embetter [sic] themselves." Washington, April 18, 2002.

"Our nation must come together to unite." Tampa, Fla., June 4, 2001.

"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three nonfatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. And we're going to do something about it." Philadelphia, May 14, 2001.

"It's very important for folks to understand that when there's more trade, there's more commerce." Quebec, Canada, April 21, 2001.

"I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well." Washington, Jan. 29, 2001.

"I think it's important to bring somebody from outside the system, the judicial system, somebody that hasn't been on the bench and, therefore, there's not a lot of opinions for people to look at." On the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, Washington, October 4, 2005.

"No doubt in my mind, with your help, Dave Lamberti will be the next United States congressman." Speaking at a campaign rally for Jeff Lamberti, Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 26, 2006.

"This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th." Referring to the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. [There is no Feb, 30, of course.] Washington, Oct. 11, 2006.

President Bush: Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
Peter Wallsten of The Los Angeles Times: I can take them off.
Bush: I'm interested in the shade look, seriously.
Wallsten: All right, I'll keep it, then.
Bush: For the viewers, there's no sun.
Wallsten: I guess it depends on your perspective.
Bush: Touché.
Exchange with legally blind reporter Peter Wallsten. Bush later apologized to him, Washington, June 14, 2006.

"You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one." Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 26, 2006.

"You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you're gone." Washington, May 5, 2006.

"If people want to get to know me better, they've got to know my parents and the values my parents instilled in me, and the fact that I was raised in West Texas, in the middle of the desert, a long way away from anywhere, hardly. There's a certain set of values you learn in that experience." Washington, May 5, 2006.

"I like my buddies from West Texas. I liked them when I was young, I liked them then I was middle-age, I liked them before I was president, and I like them during president, and I like them after president." Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2006.

"I'll be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven't seen the movie. I've heard about it. I hope you go-you know-I hope you go back to the ranch and the farm is what I'm about to say." Explaining that he hasn't yet seen the film "Brokeback Mountain," Manhattan, Kan., Jan. 23, 2006.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Count Peter Schilovsky: Forgotten Genius of the Gyrocar


This ingenious two-wheeled gyroscopically balanced motorcar was invented almost a century ago by Count Peter Schilovsky (in bowler hat), shown taking it for a trial run. After it was built and ran successfully, it was buried. Then, many years later, it was disinterred. Even without the distinction of an entombment and a subsequent resurrection, the car would have attracted attention anywhere. And so would its inventor, Count Peter Schilovsky, a tall, aristocratic Russian. Early in 1912, Schilovsky appeared at the offices of the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company on Victoria Street in London with an unusual proposal. He would pay the Wolseley Company to build a gyroscopically balanced two-wheeled car of his design. Wolseley was then the largest automobile maker in Britain. Its plant at Addersley Park in Birmingham covered several acres and produced some 50 cars a week. Part of the giant Vickers empire, the Wolseley company had more than 1,400 machine tools in its factory. It was ideally equipped to handle the job the Russian inventor proposed.

Early Attempts
Ever since mankind got itself into mechanically propelled motion in the three-and four-wheeled vehicles that were early motorcars, inventors have dreamed of conquering the problems of balance to produce a two-wheeled motorcar. In 1908, a 20-year-old Detroit artist and self-taught engineer, James Scripps Booth, constructed such a car. Powered by a V-8 engine of his own design and charmingly named the "Bi-Autogo," the car was little more than a motorcycle--a two-wheeled car with a pair of small "training wheels" at the rear. The venture was eventually abandoned. Scripps Booth turned his energies to the production of more conventional four-wheeled automobiles.

One rotating device, however, had the potential to make a two-wheeled vehicle balance itself even when stationary: the gyroscope. Friedrich von Bohnenberger constructed the first of these in Germany in 1810. For years it remained little more than an interesting demonstration in physics classrooms. Steelmaker Henry Bessemer was the pioneer who first applied the gyroscope to a form of transportation. Bessemer had made a fortune from his ingenious process for producing steel in which air was introduced into molten pig iron, burning out carbon and other impurities. His process not only made him rich but also later earned him a knighthood. Prone to seasickness, Bessemer installed a gyroscope mounted on bearings beneath the public cabin of his Channel steamer, the S.S. Bessemer, to keep it upright in rough seas.

The experiment ended in a costly disaster. On its maiden voyage in 1875, Bessemer's ship sailed from Dover and crossed the Channel. In a calm sea in broad daylight, the out-of-control ship demolished a dock at the French port of Calais. After repairs, another attempt was made. Despite being in the hands of an experienced captain, Bessemer's ship again did not respond to the helm and smashed into the Calais dock. Bessemer wisely decided to abandon his plan for a fleet of gyroscopically balanced ships.

The first proposal to apply gyroscopic stabilization to a land vehicle was made in 1903 by Louis Brennan in his application for a British patent. Brennan had already made a fortune from his invention of the Brennan torpedo directed by wires from the shore and widely used for harbor defense. By 1907, he displayed a large working model of a monorail at a meeting of the Royal Society. In November of the following year, Brennan exhibited at his Brennan Torpedo Works a 22-ton, 40-foot-long gyroscopic car that successfully traveled on a specially built monorail line. This car could carry 40 standing passengers.

By coincidence, a German, Richard Scherl, was simultaneously demonstrating a smaller gyroscopic rail car capable of carrying six persons. Both monorails were supported by a single traditional rail and ballasted roadbed, as contrasted with suspended monorails that depend solely on gravity to keep them in balance.

Schilovsky's Gyrocar
Count Schilovsky explained to Wolseley's engineers that his one passion in life was an all-consuming interest in the gyroscope. Although he was a lawyer, he was no stranger to mechanics or mathematics, being the product of the system of higher education of Czarist Russia. Estimable in quality, it was a far cry from universal public education, being highly selective and limited to the wealthy and the ruling class. Schilovsky already held several British patents and a U.S. patent for monorail vehicles balanced by a gyroscopic device. It was inevitable that he should turn his attention to producing a rubber-tired two-wheel vehicle that could travel over roads.

Far from being regarded as a curious if impractical toy, such a car was already exciting interest in various war ministries. Road conditions in wartime could make the passage of four-wheeled, two-tracked vehicles difficult, if not impossible. His 1912 U.S. patent application had listed Schilovsky's address simply as "Kostroma, Russia." He was, in fact, the governor of the entire province of Kostroma, an area of some 32,500 square miles northeast of Moscow on the Volga River. Previously, he had been vice-governor of Simbirsk province, east of Moscow.

The principle behind Schilovsky's Gyrocar was the same as that of the toy gyroscope so familiar to children. It took advantage of the tendency of a rapidly spinning massive rotor to maintain its orientation in space when the position of the outside framework changed. Common examples of gyroscopic motion and stability are found in spinning tops, the wheels of bicycles and motorcycles and even the spinning of the Earth in space. In Schilovsky's two-wheeled car, the slightest tilting motion to either side would tip one of two pendulums and call into play a heavy, rotating gyroscopic flywheel to immediately check the tipping and return the car to an upright position.

Wonderfully Simple
Wolseley engineers admitted that Schilovsky's idea was wonderfully simple. Work on the "GY Car," as it was called in Wolseley Company reports, began almost immediately under the supervision of A.W. Dring, chief experimental engineer. His October 9, 1912, report show that springs to be installed on the car were being tested. On October 21, the modified four-cylinder Wolseley C5 engine, with a bore of 90mm and stroke of 121mm, was tested. This was basically the same gasoline engine installed in Wolseley cars of the period. It also turned a generator to power the electric motor that rotated the gyrostat.

The gyrostat--a 780-pound flywheel, the heart of the gyroscope--was tested for acceleration and deceleration in early November. In December the generator and electric motor were tested in the presence of Schilovsky, by then a frequent visitor to the plant. By July of 1913, the chassis of the GY car was completed to specifications and the electrical equipment had been tested installed. That the Gyrocar was no mere overgrown motorcycle is shown by the fact that the chassis alone tipped the scales at more than 5,300 pounds, and the body without trim or fittings weighed an additional 500 pounds.

Not only was Schilovsky's vehicle heavy, it was huge, with a wheelbase of 158-3/4 inches. This made it more than three feet longer than the 124-inch wheelbase of the 2007 Lincoln Town Car. The Schilovsky car's wire wheels were made by Rudge-Whitworth, and its tires (of a size identified as 915 x 100) were supplied by Dunlop. The finished car was ready in November of 1913. After a test run, the front fork mount was changed to a more nearly horizontal position. Additional testing early in 1914 resulted in minor modifications to the controls and the speeding up of the gyroscope wheel. Failure of the gyroscope in January put the car in the shop again for additional work. An automatic device was added to lower the side supports, or "sprags," whenever the gyroscope got into trouble.

Testing Completed
By April the Gyrocar was deemed ready for a public demonstration in London with reporters and cameramen present. One of the invited passengers was Louis Brennan, inventor of the Brennan torpedo and monorail enthusiast. Wolseley engineer Dring recorded the event in his notes:

"After this the car was stopped and the sprags let down, whilst I showed the press men and His Excellency's friends the Gyrostat and explained the working of same, demonstrating how by pressing the ball controls the car was balanced and ready for running again. Then His Excellency, the driver and myself took the car into Regent's Park where rides were given to His Excellency's most intimate friends. These runs were made at very low speeds in order to demonstrate that the gyrostat had perfect control of the car. We then started back to Portman Square, His Excellency being loudly cheered and highly congratulated."

Following the demonstration, fellow inventor Louis Brennan remarked to the press "one has to ride in such a vehicle in order to fully appreciate the luxury of travel in the absence of lateral displacements of ordinary motor cars." He also noted that a saving in the cost of tires would be achieved, not only because of their reduced number but because it was easy for the driver of a Gyrocar to choose the best path to steer--an important factor in undeveloped countries having poor roads. In 1929, Brennan, by then in his 70s, touted the advantages of a two-wheeled gyro car for use in warfare, a purpose for which the Shilovsky car had been promoted. Brennan's model car was demonstrated at Farnborough airport for British carmakers Austin, Morris and Rover, who decided that they had their hands full manufacturing conventional automobiles.

The Auto-Motor Journal, which called itself somewhat presumptuously "The Times of Automobilism," reported that another Schilovsky car would be constructed with sliding gears instead of the pendulums used to control the gyroscope. The new design was expected to be a much lighter car. Schilovsky was pleased with the Wolseley Company's work on the car. He may have intended to pick up his car or to have it shipped to Russia, but the First World War intervened. The car spent the war years in the Wolseley plant. Schilovsky's name and references to either his Gyrocar or monorail disappeared completely from newspapers and from engineering literature.

Postwar Activities
Despite the wrenching upheaval of the Bolshevik revolution, Schilovsky survived and was back in London in 1922. He was invited to lecture to the November 24th meeting of the Physical Society at the Imperial College of Science. Schilovsky was listed as "Chairman of the Gyroscopic Society of Petrograd." His presentation was entitled "A Demonstration of Some Applications of the Gyroscope." The "big guns" of British physical science attended.

He revealed that 50 engineers and scientists were working on a monorail system to connect Petrograd and Tzarskoe Selo (later called Pushkin), a suburb some 15 miles distant. The Bolshevik government, faced with a huge and undeveloped country and having only limited financial means, decided to explore the advantages of an overhead monorail line. Schilovsky assembled a group of Russian experts: mathematicians, mechanical engineers, economists and track designers. German monorail experts were brought in to design the passenger cars and electrical system.

Following Schilovsky's lecture, Sir George Greenhill, 75-year-old former professor of mathematics at the Artillery College at Woolwich and author of an exhaustive 277-page volume entitled Report on Gyroscopic Theory, thanked Schilovsky for his presentation. Physicist Sir Charles Vernon Boys, later vice-president of the Royal Automobile Club, expressed his pleasure at seeing the Russian scientist alive and well, and hoped that Schilovsky would take back a message of good will and sympathy to his confreres in Petrograd--its name had not yet been changed to Leningrad. Professor Buys had been an enthusiastic passenger in Schilovsky's Gyrocar in its 1914 London demonstration.

Sir James Henderson, former professor of applied mechanics at the Royal Naval College and later advisor on gyroscopic equipment to the Admiralty, asked for details of the Russian monorail project. Schilovsky replied that the impression the Soviet government had actually completed the railway was unfortunately not true. About ten kilometers (6.2 miles) of track had been laid, but lack of funds and resources had kept it from being completed.

Schilovsky's presence at the London meeting is interesting, for it shows that the revolutionary government considered him a scientific asset and did not bar him from traveling outside the country. A year later, however, Schilovsky, his wife and their three daughters became permanent residents of England, making their home in a London suburb. In March of that year he attended a scientific meeting at the technical institute at Loughborough that discussed gyroscopes.

During the summer of 1923 he worked on the manuscript of a book, assisted by a young physicist, J.F.S. Ross, author of An Introduction to the Principles of Mechanics, whom he had met at the Loughborough meeting. It may have been a case of intellectual cross-pollination; later, Ross's 1931 Ph.D. thesis was entitled The Gyroscopic Stabilization of Land Vehicles.

Published by the respected London firm of E. and F.N. Spon, Schilovsky's book, The Gyroscope: Its Practical Construction and Application, appeared in 1924. It was considered sufficiently authoritative to merit republication by Spon in 1938 with no changes to the text. In his book, Schilovsky described his Gyrocar and offered as frank an appraisal as any inventor ever gave of the shortcomings of a brainchild: "But as the eccentricity of the gyroscope was only sufficient for a smooth curve in the direction of spin of the gyroscope, no rounding of sharp curves was possible to the left." Schilovsky added that he had already drawn up the necessary patent specifications to rectify this difficulty. Money being in short supply, however, an improved Gyrocar was never built.

Aircraft Instruments
Despite the "white elephant" outcome of his Gyrocar project, Schilovsky maintained an interest in gyroscopes. His book led to a meeting with Frederick Handley Page, famous British builder of giant aircraft, later knighted by King George in 1942. For Handley Page, Schilovsky designed the first of his Orthoscopes, the original turn and bank indicator for aircraft.

Turn and bank indicators are essentially two separate instruments. The turn indicator shows rotation about the vertical axis. It incorporates a small gyroscope that develops a torque when the aircraft turns. This torque controls a pointer that shows the pilot the turning rate in degrees per unit of time. The bank indicator shows rotation about the longitudinal axis and is the much simpler instrument of the two. It consists of a U-shaped glass tube filled with a damping liquid in which a small steel ball rolls. When the plane is horizontal, the ball is at the bottom. As the plane banks, gravity keeps the ball at the lowest point as the tube rotates from side to side.

G. H. Cooke, whose improvements included a simplification of the wiring and the addition of a small light bulb behind two movable screens, one red, and the other green, later introduced modifications into the Schilovsky Orthoscope. In the static position, these screens blocked passage of light. Banking the aircraft to the left exposed the red screen, while banking to the right exposed the green screen.

Schilovsky later worked with Vickers-Armstrongs, Ltd., where he developed navigational gyroscopes for torpedoes at the Royal Navy's base at Devonport. He also assisted in the design and construction of the Sperry gyroscopic stabilizers installed in 1932 in the Italian Line's Conte di Savoia. The sleek and lovely vessel, the first gyro-stabilized vessel to cross the Atlantic, displaced 45,502 gross tons, was 815 feet long and had a beam of 96 feet. As one of the first large vessels to be equipped with gyrostabilizers, the roll of this ship in heavy seas was claimed to be limited to 3 degrees. Passengers reported that they still got seasick. Her maiden voyage to New York began on November 30, 1932. Regrettably, she had a too-short life. After brief wartime service as a troop transport, she was sunk by Allied bombing planes in the Adriatic near Venice. After the burned-out hulk was raised in 1945, plans fell through for refurbishing the ship to carry Italian emigrants to South America. She was broken up for scrap in 1950.

Following the ship project, Schilovsky returned to designing improved turn-and-bank indicators. His new instrument was small, lightweight and quick starting--the gyroscope was powered by the aircraft's slipstream--and had a constant speed. In 1937, he was working on a project to develop a directional gyrocompass for armored vehicles. The Vickers Group magazine Vickers News published an amusing cartoon in the May 1937 issue. It showed Schilovsky in a black hat and fur-collared coat conducting a test of one of his gyroscopic instruments. He left Vickers in 1940 and moved to Surbiton, a London suburb, where he continued his research in his own workshop.

In their declining years, Dr. and Mrs. Schilovsky lived in Holmer Park in Hereford, with Lady Wood, a friend. He would jokingly tell friends, "In Russia I used to devote half my time to governing the state and half my time to science; now I devote all my time to science." The Schilovskys had lost almost everything in the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath, managing to salvage only a Stradivarius violin and a set of gold tableware. Yet, friends recalled that they never complained about their lot.

Over the years, Dr. Schilovsky's Gyrocar had been sitting in a corner of the Wolseley factory, the subject of occasional curiosity about its origin and the fate of its creator. The two-wheeled car managed to survive the spectacular 1926 bankruptcy that put the Wolseley Company into the hands of William Morris's car company, perhaps best known for its MG sports car.

Consigned to the Grave
As for the Gyrocar, in 1930 Wolseley decided to dispose of the unwieldy Schilovsky 1912 vehicle. Instead of turning it over to a scrap metal dealer, a huge hole was dug and the car was unceremoniously dumped in and buried. This should have been the end of the story. The factory freight yard was gradually extended, with railroad tracks and puffing locomotives covering the grave of the two-wheeled oddity.

In 1938, in one of those curious flip-flops of corporate policy that dot the history of technology, the decision was made to dig up the Gyrocar. Rail traffic was halted and tracks were moved. The monster carcass was located, uncovered and hauled up by a crane. Chassis and running gear--in a remarkable state of preservation despite their eight-year burial--were restored, and the car was accorded a place of honor in the company's museum.

According to a Wolseley factory legend, Schilovsky, now an old man, visited the factory museum one day to gaze once more at his invention. All the familiar faces he had known at the plant were gone. Even its output was different, for it was engaged in war production, and the plant's buildings had been camouflaged to resemble a housing development. The old man stood looking at the car for a long time, his tall figure stooped by age. Then he left, this time never to return.

The Gyrocar miraculously survived the destruction of the war. For a time it was hidden when a German invasion was feared after the fall of France. Having been saved from repeated wartime scrap drives that swallowed British fences, railings, lampposts and other objects of iron or steel, the now-venerable relic emerged unscathed from the heavy German air raids that badly damaged the factory.

Ironically, in 1948--in another unpredictable and totally indefensible turnabout in corporate thinking--someone in the Wolseley organization gave the stupid order to destroy the Gyrocar. The unusual vehicle, which had literally come back from the grave, was broken up and sold as scrap metal. The reason offered to justify its destruction was ludicrous: "It was hard to store. It always had to lean against something."

Fortunately, Schilovsky lived long enough to witness the ultimate technological triumph of the gyroscope. The German vengeance weapons--V-1 and V-2 rockets that rained down on England in 1943 and 1944--were gyroscopically guided. Gyroscopes are also at the heart of the inertial guidance systems of today's spacecraft. Dr. Peter Schilovsky died in 1955, still single-mindedly believing in gyroscopes and monorails, still hoping to convince the British Admiralty to adopt his gyroscopic ship stabilizer. It would be nice to think he passed away without ever learning of the ignominious fate of his Gyrocar.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Two Journeys of Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, made two railroad journeys between his home in Illinois and Washington, D.C. One in 1861 as the President-elect and the other, in the opposite direction, as the victim of the bullet of assassin John Wilkes Booth. The second trip has been extensively covered; details of the first trip are less well known.

Lincoln was elected in November of 1860 after a bruising presidential campaign involving four candidates. He won, but with less than 40 percent of the vote he was hardly the people's choice. Of a total of some 4.7 million votes, the three candidates opposing Lincoln rolled up nearly a million more votes than he did. Until the 20th Amendment took effect in 1936 and changed the inauguration date to January 20, every four years there was a long delay between the election in November and the inauguration in March. With slavery a bitter issue, the four-month interval after the 1860 election changed history. While Lincoln waited to take office, Southern states made good on their threat to secede. The country began to fall apart.

An Affectionate Farewell
The journey that would take him to Washington began on February 11, 1861, at Springfield, Illinois. A somber crowd gathered in a cold drizzle to see Abraham Lincoln off to Washington. He told them, prophetically, "I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return." He concluded with, "I bid you an affectionate farewell." For the next twelve days the presidential train moved from city to city across the country in an itinerary designed to showcase the President-elect and his family. He met the governors and legislators of five states; he delivered more that 20 speeches in key cities and shook the hands of thousands. The grueling journey had a larger purpose: to encourage support for the Union and strengthen the loyalty of the people of the northern states.

Lincoln's route covered 1,904 miles over eighteen different railroads. His train of three, sometimes four, cars went from Springfield to Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. After a detour to Pittsburgh, it headed for Cleveland and then Albany, N.Y. In the town of Westfield, south of Buffalo, Lincoln told the crowd, "I have a correspondent in this place, and if she is present I would like to see her. Her name is Grace Bedell." A young girl was brought to the platform. Lincoln explained, "She wrote me that she thought I would be better looking if I wore whiskers." Lincoln, who had been letting his beard grow for a month, said to the little girl, "You see, I let these whiskers grow for you, Grace." Then he kissed her. The crowd loved it, and The New York Tribune story was headlined, "Old Abe Kissed by Pretty Girl." He would continue to wear a beard, with only the upper lip shaved, for the few years remaining to him.

South Carolina had left the Union the day before Christmas in 1860. Six other "cotton states" of the Deep South followed. After stops at Rochester, Syracuse and Utica, as the Presidential train neared Albany on February 18, ominous news came over the wires to Lincoln: Jefferson Davis had taken the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.

In Albany, the carriages carrying the Lincoln party to the Capitol passed a theater where 22-year-old tragedian John Wilkes Booth and a stock company were acting in a play, "The Apostate." The paths of Lincoln and Booth would cross again four fateful years later. From the steps of the old Capitol building, for the first time since he had begun the trip, Lincoln admitted he was weary. He ended his brief speech with, "I have neither the voice nor the strength to address you at any greater length."

A Stop at Peekskill
With Joseph Hudson of Peekskill serving as conductor, Lincoln's train traveled down the Hudson Valley on February 19, making scheduled stops at large cities. Peekskill was only a small village, but it was home to an old friend, attorney William Nelson, for whom the city's Nelson Avenue is named. The two had met in Washington in 1847 as freshman congressmen in the 30th Congress. A veteran member of that Congress was a florid-faced little man with delicate sideburns, 80-year-old John Quincy Adams, from 1825 to 1829 the nation's President. After he left the White House, his Massachusetts district repeatedly elected him to the House of Representatives.

When first elected to Congress in 1846, William Nelson, 62, was already a well-seasoned political veteran; Lincoln was a 34-year-old neophyte. Whig party politics kept Lincoln from running again, and his replacement was defeated in 1848. Locally popular, Nelson was re-elected to a second term. At Peekskill, the President-elect mounted a baggage wagon from which to speak and was joined by William Nelson. Cadets from the Peekskill Military Academy formed a hollow square around the impromptu platform. The Highland Democrat, a local newspaper that had not supported Lincoln, estimated the crowd at about 1,500.

On the bluff above the station, the Jefferson Guards had placed a cannon and fired a Presidential salute of 21 guns. Nelson's welcoming speech closed with, "You have our hopes and prayers that your administration will prove as prosperous and happy to our beloved country, and as honorable to yourself as the difficulties and dangers which now threaten you are great." The tall bearded man in a black suit thanked the citizens of Peekskill for their warm reception. His response was extemporaneous and short--only 137 words in all:

"Ladies and gentlemen: I have but a moment to stand before you, to listen and return your kind greeting. I thank you for this reception and for the pleasant manner in which it is tendered to me by our mutual friend [William Nelson]. I will say in a single sentence, in regard to the difficulties which lie before me and our beloved country, that if I can only be as generously and unanimously sustained as the demonstrations I have witnessed indicate I shall be, I shall not fail; but without your sustaining hands I am sure that neither I, nor any other man, can hope to surmount these difficulties. I trust that in the course I shall pursue I shall be sustained not only by the party that elected me, but by the patriotic people of the whole country."

The village of Peekskill and the town of Cortlandt responded generously throughout the protracted years of the war that followed; 690 of their citizens served in the Union forces. Among those who watched the Lincoln train fade into the distance were two Yale graduates, newly minted lawyers James W. Husted (Class of 1854) and Chauncey M. Depew (Class of 1856). Both would become active in Republican politics, Depew as a United States senator and Husted as a longtime speaker of the N.Y. State Assembly.

A Cool Reception in New York City
Lincoln's train reached New York and the Hudson River Railroad's depot at 30th Street and Tenth Avenue at three p.m. His waiting carriage--an open barouche that had transported the visiting Prince of Wales only a few months before--was escorted to the Astor House, opposite City Hall Park, by a mounted platoon of the newly formed Metropolitan Police.

New Yorkers, largely Democratic in their sentiments, had cast 62 percent of their votes for candidates other than Lincoln, but streets and buildings were crowded with spectators. Across from the Astor House, Barnum's Museum, at the corner of Chatham Street (now called Park Row) and Broadway, was decked out in bright welcoming banners and flags. Atop a horse-drawn Broadway omnibus mired in gridlocked traffic, 41-year-old Walt Whitman, freelance journalist and former editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, watched as Lincoln alighted from the coach and looked out over a crowd of some 40,000.

Whitman was struck by the "sulky, unbroken silence," he remembered. "I had, I say, a capital view of it all, and especially of Mr. Lincoln, his look and gait--his perfect composure and coolness--his unusual and uncouth height, his dress of complete black, stovepipe hat push'd back on his head, dark-brown complexion, seam'd and wrinkled yet canny-looking face, black, bushy head of hair, disproportionately long neck, and his hands held behind him as he stood observing the people. He look'd with curiosity upon that immense sea of faces, and the sea of faces return'd the look with similar curiosity."

At eight the next morning, Lincoln was driven to a Fifth Avenue mansion for breakfast with a hundred supporters, the city's most prosperous merchants. One guest remarked to Lincoln about the number of millionaires present. "Oh, indeed, is that so?" Lincoln responded. "Well, that's quite right. I'm a millionaire myself. I got a minority of a million in the votes last November."

During the rest of the day, Lincoln met at City Hall with Mayor Fernando Wood, a Democrat, who gave him a chilly reception. Fearing the interruption of the lucrative trade in dry goods that would come with a conflict, the Mayor had already suggested that New York become a free city, separate from the Union and able to trade with every section of the country. Mrs. Lincoln visited Barnum's Museum and received ladies at the nearby Astor House.

That night Lincoln attended a reception, followed by an elaborate dinner and a performance of "Un Ballo in Maschera" ("A Masked Ball"). Giuseppe Verdi's new opera of love, murder and betrayal in high society was performed at the Academy of Music on 14th Street. Lincoln wore black kid gloves--instead of the white gloves then in style for wear at the opera. Newspapers the next day poked fun at the only pair of black gloves in a packed auditorium filled with white gloves.

The following day he traveled to New Jersey by ferry to catch a train for Washington. In Philadelphia, he was warned by Allan Pinkerton, a railroad detective who would later create and head up Lincoln's Secret Service, "Beyond the shadow of a doubt there exists a plot to assassinate you." Like New York, Baltimore was a largely unfriendly city, and much of Maryland was sympathetic to the South. From Harrisburg, Lincoln was spirited back to Philadelphia and on to Washington in a berth in a sleeping car.

Through superhuman effort, for four years Lincoln managed to pilot the states loyal to the union to a hard-fought victory. But he made bitter enemies in the process. Following his second inauguration on March 4, 1865, Lincoln would serve only one month and eleven days of his next term. With the bloody Civil War behind him, he and his wife had decided to attend the theater on April 14, five days after Lee's surrender. The play, "Our American Cousin," a comedy on tour after its successful New York run, starred actress Laura Keene. In the middle of the performance, Lincoln was struck by a .44 caliber lead bullet from the single-shot derringer of disgruntled actor and Southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Fate intervened, however. When Booth attempted to leap to the stage from the Presidential box, he caught one of his spurs in the decorative bunting and broke his leg in the fall, hobbling him.

Black-bordered newspapers all over the country the next day carried the word that Lincoln had been shot the night before at Ford's Theater on 14th Street in Washington and had died in Petersen's boarding house across the street. The first doctor to attend Lincoln in the theater was young-looking 23-year-old Charles A. Leale, of New York, assistant surgeon, U.S. Volunteers, who had been in the audience. Graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical College only two months before, Dr. Leale was the surgeon in charge of the commissioned officers' ward of the Army General Hospital in Washington. He quickly recognized that Lincoln's wound was mortal and did everything to make the dying President comfortable in his final hours. A nearly forgotten player in the Lincoln drama, Dr. Leale later practiced medicine in New York City, not retiring until he was 86. He died in 1932 at the age of 90 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers, N.Y.

Another Journey Through a Valley in Mourning
More widely documented is Lincoln's second passage through the Hudson Valley. Exactly four years, two months and six days after his Peekskill speech, the special funeral train bearing the body of the murdered President paused at Peekskill.

The outpouring of grief by the nation was of monumental proportions. On Friday, April 21, Lincoln's embalmed body left Washington in a nine-coach funeral train. Also on board for the trip back to Illinois was the exhumed casket of his son Willie, dead in the White House of typhoid fever only three years before at the age of eleven. Except for the omission of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and the addition of Chicago, the journey would duplicate in reverse Lincoln's trip east in 1861. A ferry brought the funeral party from New Jersey to Manhattan, passing ships in the harbor draped in black muslin. The ferry docked at Desbrosses Street, and Lincoln's casket was placed in a glass-sided hearse drawn by six gunmetal-gray horses.

Brooklynite Walt Whitman, changed by his three-year stint as a volunteer worker in Washington military hospitals, had crossed the East River by ferry to Manhattan. Walking up Broadway past shuttered stores draped in black, he recorded the mood of Gotham. It began to rain toward noon, he recalled. "Black clouds driving overhead. Lincoln's death--black, black, black--as you look toward the sky--long broad black like great serpents."

At the head of the procession was General John Adams Dix (for whom Fort Dix in New Jersey was later named) and troops of the Seventh Regiment. A German choral society marched, singing a funeral ode. The line of march was across Canal Street and down Broadway to City Hall, where the body lay in state. City businesses closed for the day; the courts adjourned. At the 19th Street Synagogue, the Rev. J.J. Lyons led the Jewish prayer for the dead, the first time such a ceremony was held in the United States for a non-Jew. On the following day, Tuesday, April 25, a 16-horse funeral car followed 18 bands as they marched slowly up Broadway from City Hall to 14th Street and Union Square, then up Fifth Avenue to 30th Street and across to the Hudson River Railroad depot.

Arrangements for the funeral were blemished by the decision of the Democrat-controlled Common Council to exclude blacks from the march. Despite the snub, the city's blacks held their own tribute at the Cooper Institute featuring Frederick Douglass. The Republican Union League Club protested the exclusion of black mourners to Secretary of War Stanton. A small token contingent of "freedmen," some in blue Union uniforms, was finally allowed to march at the rear of the procession.

More widely documented was Lincoln's second passage through the Hudson Valley. The official timetable for the Lincoln funeral train shows only three stops in the Hudson Valley: Peekskill (3 minutes), Poughkeepsie (15 minutes) and Hudson (3 minutes)--although other stops may have been made to take on water or fuel. A "pilot engine" ran ten minutes ahead of the funeral train, which consisted of a locomotive named "Union" and seven coaches. The train left at 4 p.m. and headed for Albany at a slow speed. As the train passed, bells and cannon and guns sounded. From the windows of the train, the funeral party could see an endless tapestry of bonfires and flickering torches held by clustered mourners.Exactly four years, two months and six days after his Peekskill speech, the special funeral train bearing the body of the murdered President paused briefly at Peekskill.

Towns and villages in the Hudson Valley outdid themselves in paying tribute to the fallen President. "Yonkers mourns with the Nation" read a banner decorated with crepe, women nearby waved their handkerchiefs while tears streamed down their cheeks. Seven thousand persons assembled at the station in Irvington with its draped inscriptions, "The Honored Dead" and "We Mourn the Nation's Loss." At Tarrytown, American flags arched over the railroad tracks. Under a flowered dome of black velvet stood two dozen young women in white gowns.

The Lincoln funeral train with its coffin passed under Sing Sing's impressively tall memorial arch of draped flags spanning the tracks of the Hudson River Railroad. Thirty-six stars ranged across the arch marked the states of the Union. Amid dark-clothed ranks of mourners stood a woman impersonating the white-robed Goddess of Liberty, with a garland of evergreens around her neck. According to the Sing Sing Republican, dated April 27, 1865, "Detective James Jackson, connected with the Sing Sing Prison, was allowed to get on the funeral train and see the body of Lincoln when the train stopped for water."

Exactly four years, two months and six days after his Peekskill speech, the special funeral train bearing the body of the murdered President paused briefly at Peekskill. The village displayed a large portrait of Lincoln encircled with roses, and red, white and blue tassels. Firemen and a company of Highland Grays with drooped flags paraded before a large crowd. Almost 87 years later, Mrs. Alida Hutchinson, the last survivor of those who heard Abraham Lincoln speak and who saw the funeral train, died in Peekskill January 26, 1952. She was in her 96th year.

The entire student body and professors of the United States Military Academy at West Point crossed the river and assembled at Garrison's Landing on the opposite shore. A thousand gray-caped cadets stood at present arms with guns reversed, their muzzles pointing down. At Cold Spring a young woman stood, her face black-veiled; at her right, a kneeling boy soldier; at her left, a kneeling sailor boy. Fishkill decorated the motto "In God We Trust" with evergreen boughss. Also crowding both sides of the track were delegations from Newburgh, New Paltz, and other parts of the apple country across the river. At Poughkeepsie the throng stretched far from the depot and railroad tracks. Thousands stood, the men with uncovered heads, hundreds of women and children with miniature mourning flags, and a cornet band from the National Business College. Minute guns fired at each of the fifteen minutes during which the train had stopped. A committee of women was granted permission to enter the funeral car and lay a wreath of roses on the coffin.

As the funeral train chugged northward through the darkness, another drama was being played out in rural Virginia. Federal troops were closing in on John Wilkes Booth, hampered in his flight by the telltale broken leg he sustained at Ford's Theater. Near the village of Bowling Green, he was cornered in a burning tobacco shed and shot through the neck by Union Sgt. Boston Corbett. Dragged from the shed before the flames reached him, he asked for a glass of water. "Tell my mother I died for my country," he begged. He was carried to a nearby house and placed on the porch, where he muttered, "I thought I did for the best." Booth asked his captors to raise his hands so he could look at them. Staring at his hands, he spoke his last words, "Useless! Useless!" and expired.

At other stations north to Albany were crowds and mourning displays: at Staatsburgh, an ingenious circle of light; at Rhinebeck and Barrytown, torch formations; at Tivoli, lighted lamps; across the river at Catskill, huge bonfires and naval vessels on the river with flags at half-mast; at Hudson, booming guns at one-minute intervals and two hotels with all windows illuminated and draped in black. The train arrived at East Albany at 10:55 p.m. It was a journey the Hudson Valley would long remember.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?