On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
A VINTAGE AD on Sirius XM’s “Radio Classics” reminds us of things not missed: The ad advised making sure we had enough flash bulbs for vacation.
Flash Bulbs. What’s a flash bulb, Grandpa?
Well, my dears, imagine having to fit a little bulb, good for only a single flash of bright light, before taking a photo in less than ideal lighting.
This is when the kids look at their smart phones and wonder why I’m making this stuff up.
Plus, what did we do with all those flash bulbs, both before and after their one-shot use?
Party Lines for Telephones. These days, when a family of four may well possess six or more different phone numbers, it seems odd that there was a time, within living memory of many of us, when party telephone lines were shared with strangers.
Indeed, party line users didn’t remain strangers for long: You’d pick up your phone to make a call and you’d be listening to the lady with the whiny voice complaining about her husband’s drinking again.
“I’m using the line,” she’d tell you impatiently. You’d hang up and try again later. “And then I told him…,” she’d be saying.
Automotive Grease Jobs. Back in the good old days, cars may have been simple, but they weren’t particularly durable. Just about everything moving in a car called for periodic greasing.
Lentinello cited components requiring a grease job: steering U-joints, stub axles, front and rear wheel hubs, axle tubes, water pumps, castor rods, tie rods, ball joints, universal joints, prop shafts, spring shackles, pedal shafts, clutch release forks, distributor shafts, steering boxes, and brake cables.
Some of these components are gone: What’s a “spring shackle,” Grandpa? But plenty of others remain.
The periodicity of grease jobs tended to be mileage-based, every thousand miles for a good many components. Over the years, improved materials and enhanced engineering lengthened intervals between grease jobs. Even cars from the 1960s, though, had their grease job charts.
On modern cars, just about any component profiting from lubrication is permanently sealed with it. Even engine oil change intervals have been vastly extended through synthetic lubricants. Maybe door hinges and the like profit from an occasional hit.
A Car’s Curb Feelers. These aftermarket springy wires, perhaps five inches long, clipped to fenders at appropriate height to announce the nearness of the curb during parking maneuvers.
Curb feelers saved many a whitewall tire from scuffing. However, they cost money (albeit, not a lot) and looked tacky. What’s more, curb feelers displayed your lack of confidence to one and all. Sort of like training wheels on a grownup’s bicycle.
Today, a goodly number of cars feature automated parallel parking. Is this to be celebrated? Or is its use suggesting one’s lack of skill in another way?
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019