The ingenious Doble brothers:
I think there's two Doble cars left. Jay Leno has one of them. What made them significant was this:
Back in the day there were competing motive forces at work in the automobile industry; electric, kerosene, gasoline, coal. You name it, if it burned, someone was trying to replace a horse with it. Steam power was a viable alternative, because it was familiar to almost everyone, but the main drawback was that it took a long time to get the "kettle" to boil. As you might imagine, it wasn't the most convienient option, but at the time, the internal combustion engine was using naptha and an open carburator. Fine as long as you don't have a flammable garage.
Anyway, John Doble, one of four brothers devised a way to flash heat the steam with kerosene and a spark plug, or a glow plug so that the conveyance in question could be used in about the same amount of time as it would take to warm up a conventional modern car. He attempted to sell the idea to the Stanley brothers who were building very well regarded, though expensive, steam powered cars. They declined with the usual gilded age dismissal so the Doble boys started building thier own cars and also failed. Though if you find one, you might want to hang on to it as they're reportedly worth a bit. This is all from memory, but for the real deal, you can't beat this.
In other news, today's quote 8:00 a.m.:
Them: "Doctor Lee, you smell like liquor."
Me: "Oh, that's because I've been drinking."
That sounds bad, but the back story is that I was unsupervised last night because Mrs. Doclee and her numerous and belligerent siblings were standing vigil over the very nearly sainted Mrs. Doclee's Mom (formerly known as Mrs. Bumblestump until I got tired of getting complaints from the usual suspects about that name. It is now officially Gramma Mary).
I've been keeping lots of alcohol on hand to help them deal with their grief and also to unhinge their inhibitions so I can watch them fight. There was a good one the other night, but it would be crass of me to mention it.
Well, they didn't get home until late, so Mr. Greenjeans (Mrs. Docleee's baby brother and my colleague) and Mr. Fluffy (WAY older brother, air castle builder and sometime occupant) and I didn't get to start until an unreasonable hour. Late start, late finish. No fights though. Probably because three of the sisters were staying at the Hospice House.
For the record, Mrs. doclee and I live upstairs and my clean, modern clinical facility is on the ground floor. I don't have office hours on Tuesday, so if you show up then, you get what you get. Hang on, I'll be right back.
BTW, our old buddy Iowahawk got a mention in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Attaboy, Dave. If you don't read the Wall Street Journal, you're probably a Communist or a hippie and you should be ashamed of yourself.
I'll be back tomorrow if I can think of anything blogworthy.