Weekend 215.0 (Inventors Edition)

Brompton Rear Tyre(1) The Nucleus of the Digital Age: In pursuit of hydrogen bombs, a math genius and a brilliant tinkerer in Princeton developed the modern computer (WSJ)

(2) A related quote from Breaking Ground by Daniel Libeskind

“Nobody has captured that awakening as exquisitely as Marcel Proust in Time Regained, when the narrator trips against ‘the uneven paving-stones in front of the coach house.’ Until that fateful moment, for almost 3,500 pages, the narrator of Remembrance of Things Past has grown increasingly full of despair, and is convinced that he cannot, and should not, write. Then, suddenly, ‘when, recovering my balance, I put my foot on a stone which was slightly lower than its neighbor, all my discouragement vanished.’ And in that instant of intense sensory memory, ‘as if by magic,’ he recalls the sensation of standing on two uneven stones in the baptistery of St. Mark’s in Venice. He realizes that he is experiencing the same particular sensation he experienced years before, when the taste of a madeleine brought back memories of his childhood. This moment, in which Proust realizes he is going to write his book, is for me profoundly architectural. A whole world of sensations, ‘all of which had been waiting in their places,’ was waiting for the inherent meaning and structure—or architecture—to be revealed. The shaping of space is important because it engages the body and the mind, emotion and intellect, memory and imagination.”

(3) A quote from Brompton Bicycle by David Henshaw

“Using his considerable influence, Moulton persuaded Dunlop to develop improved high pressure bicycle tyres, and although he might not have realized it at the time, by choosing the existing 16″ x 13/8″ (ISO 37-349mm tyre, Moulton had set the pattern for the futre of development of the folding bike…Dr. Moulton went on to develop an even better 17-inch (ETRTO 369mm) tyre in cooperation with Dunlap, based on a pre-existing tubular racing tyre, but this size remained something of a oddity, used only on Moulton bikes. It is for his work in proving and developing the 37-349mm tyre that Dr. Moulton will be remembered in the folding bicycle world.”

(3a) More quotes from Brompton Bicycle by David Henshaw

“Quite when the Brompton name evolved is unclear, but Ritchie chose it because his flat was situated in the Brompton district of West London, with an eagle’s eyrie view up and down the Cromwell Road and across the Brompton Oratory. A mile or two east or west and the machine could have become the Kensington, the Belgravia or even the Pimlico. Brompton – bu pure chance – was an inspired choice. It had a timeless British ring to it, but without the implied snobbery of other West London addresses. It was smart, yet workaday. Ideal for a folding bike that was designed to appeal to everyday users.”

“‘My heart sank in 1979 after the ICFC failure.’, said Ritchie, ‘but it was one of the best things that could have happened to Brompton. If I had gotten an institutional investor behind me and proceeded with an ill-though through product, it would have sunk without trace.’ In the event, those few crucial extra months of design work had made all the difference. Barring a few design changes, the Brompton was now equipped with all the innovations that would make it such a unique, practical, and long-lived commercial success.”

“And so it was, quite by chance, that Elliott Automation not only gave Andrew Ritchie a grounding in computers, but some essential ‘hands on’ mechanical skills. He could never have guessed it at the time, but these apparently unconnected multi-layered skills – engineering design, computer design, and practical metal bashing – were to serve him well in later years.”

(4) Made Better in Japan (Wall Street Journal Magazine)

(5) Akatsuki Katoh: Moulton & Brompton

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