Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One Track Mind*

This early patent application for Ye Devill-Driven Mechanismus for Providing Trans-Porte across Quags and Sloughs and Bad Typographie by Laying itselfe a Belt-without-End as a Track has recently come to light. It is dated to 1678, a time when the English system for processing patents was already well-structured: for an application to be recognised, the applicant would record the motile elements of the design (along with an account of the features distinguishing it from existing machinery) upon fine Welsh vellum, in triplicate, written in woad or else purple ink patriotically sourced from North Sea dog-whelks, and deliver it to Samuel Pepys Esq. of Ye Admiralty Office at a time when he was not engaged in swiving his chambermaid. Thus it is a mystery how the document found its way inside a boxed jigsaw (Milford Sound in the Rain, only 3 pieces missing) acquired at a car-boot sale in Feilding.

The provenance of the document is an issue because it challenges the normal account of the development of tracked vehicles, in which the Holt Company purchased Hornsby's patent in 1913, allowing it to compete with the Best Company who had licensed Lombard's 1901 patent. The rival companies later merged into one, which ascended to its present pre-eminence as a colossus standing astride the globe under the name of Caterpillar (to provide a better logo for licensing for use on baseball caps and sturdy footware**).

It certainly appears from this patent as if the innovations behind the Holt company's success were in fact merely copies of prior art. I am personally of the opinion that a combination of drive sprockets and road wheels would have powered Ye Mechanismus for Providing Trans-Porte across Quags and Sloughs more effectively than an indentured scythe-wielding demon, but this is peripheral to the key mechanical insight of the articulated track.

Not covered by warranty.
I am sure that the discovery has nothing to do with Another Kiwi's recent expedition in the Riddled time machine, nor with the fact that half the tea-room is currently cluttered up with shoes, baseball caps and other merchandise emblazoned with the distinctive Riddled logo.

* Predictable.
** Cat Shoes are crafted by Michigan-based Wolverine World Wide, who also manufacture Hush Puppies -- which are totally hard-core footware and practical and NOTHING WOOFTERISH ABOUT THEM.

14 comments:

merc said...

It's all gud 'til the Bassett hound de-cartoonises and eats the babee.
Otherwise a rather well rounded post except for attempting to condense the font for the purposes of spacing, Mr Jan Tschichold would not be well pleased.

imbaphis, I want to say U2 for some reason?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

A.K. you are on the track to destruction! You have no chance to survive make your time.

Ha Ha Ha.
~

mikey said...

Hush Puppies and tracked vehicles? Has Smut gone all ARMOR on our poor souls?

Substance McGravitas said...

That top one is all ЗОРБ and nothing but ЗОРБ. Beware of time-traveling Russians with odd tattoos.

Smut Clyde said...

Rest assured, mikey, that my mother's side were all infantry and my father's side were all draft-dodgers, so NO ARMOUR.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

LOL! That Devill must have been drinking. It's supposed to be crop circles! Daemonic Geometry FAIL!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I'd say that woodcut is perhaps the first rendition of divvers circkles in ye croppes.

No doubt ye orbes of divers hews were seen in conjunction with these phenomena.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Uh, maybe I should have read D-KW's comment. I'll just sulk now in my cryspace.

merc said...

Neva admit defeat on the interdoink this simple act disturbs the space time continuum, apparently.

mixtria, unnaturally mated forest.

Smut Clyde said...

the first rendition of divvers circkles in ye croppes.

Not alone in that surmise.

I think SMcG should animate it.

Substance McGravitas said...

I think Smut Clyde should animate it. Circles require math'n'shit.

tigris said...

You don't like pi?

Smut Clyde said...

Travelling tomorrow. Laptop not set up with the Gimp. No animations for a month.
Not many art galleries or brewpubs either.
I have a sad.

merc said...

Be a Kiwi, refuse gate rape.