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Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Three Banholzerian Stooges


A short while back, I discovered that there was a Banholzer aboard the Hindenburg. Not only that, but also, he was a mechanic! Now I’m thinking this can’t be good news for the Banholzer legacy; especially since discovering that at Banholzer’s North Mississippi Beer brewery a worker drown in a vat of beer, almost bankrupting the company.



Those two tales reminded me of dubious Banholzer #III, who had a hankering for telephone inventions and what they might do to improve life for humankind:



Perhaps the goofiest invention appeared in 1916. Paul P. Banholzer received a patent for a gadget for which the claim was made that “this instrument will further introduce the dot and dash system of telegraphy, which can be understood by any wire operator. Furthermore, the sound it produces is unmistakable and carries much father than the voice.” This device was merely a telegraph key clamped to the upright stem of a candlestick phone. By mechanical action the dots and dashes could be heard over the phone.



No possible application of the thing sounds reasonable, except that it might be used by student operators to practice with each other over the phone.”


1 comment:

JBanholzer said...

According to Ancestry.com: A Banholzer is a South German: topographic name for someone who lives in a Banholz ‘protection wood’, i.e. a forest grown for protection against avalanches.


I find this striking because several times I have written about how the pine-beetle problem plaguing Idaho could make the Galena Summit area more avalanche prone, thus making it more necessary to have a cell tower installed in that controversial spot, where young sports enthusiasts have already succumbed to avalanche disasters, sometimes suffering needless communication delays for emergency help.