Our Friends Electric: AEG – Perfekt in Form und Funktion

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The post below was written by Kat Gibbons and published at Appliance City UK’s, acitylife blog on 26 November 2015. Gibbons does an excellent job tracing the outstanding history and contributions of the German electrics firm, AEG. For them, everything had electric potential. The image of the one million volt utility transformer, created in Berlin in 1931, is awesome in its design – as well as super in its photographic aesthetic.


AEG – Perfekt in Form und Funktion

From lightbulbs to heavy machinery to airplanes and breaking land speed records, AEG has touched every facet of the electrical industry for more than a century.

AEG was founded in Berlin, Germany in 1883 by Emil Rathenau.

Emil Rathenau

Herr Rathenau had acquired the rights to Edison’s lightbulb patent that same year. It was the beginning of AEG’s extensive and illustrious history in electronics engineering and manufacturing.

AEG’s original name was Deutsch Edison – Gesellschaft für angewadte Elektricität. In 1887, the company changed it’s name to Allgemeine Elektricitäts – Gesellschaft (AEG) removing Edison from the name of it’s company. By this time, AEG had far surpassed manufacturing lightbulbs and had moved on to bigger electrical milestones.

1891 saw one such milestone completed when AEG completed a massive electrical hurdle at the International Electrotechnical Exhibition in Frankfurt. Two of their key electrical designers powered 1000 lightbulbs over the span of 109 miles from a hydro electric power plant to the exhibition. This feat was the beginning of an bringing widespread electricity to Germany.

International Electrotechnical Exhibition in Frankfurt, 1891

In 1894, AEG purchased a third property to house one of it’s factories, a cattle market. This cattle market had rail access. In order for their factories to have rail access between them AEG had Siemens & Halske construct an underground railway tunnel. This tunnel is still standing today and is now in use by Germany’s public transportation department.

In 1896 AEG was already excelling at home appliances and home comfort products. It’s catalogue boasted a fantastic eighty products for customers and businesses to choose from. These products included everything from coffee machines to hot plates.

At an exhibition in 1889 AEG announced a line of electric personal care items including curling tongs, cigar lighters and tea kettles. Only two years later the hair dressing world would be forever changed with AEG’s invention of the hair dryer. I mean, where would we be without them today!? Poofy haired. That’s where.

In 1902 like other electrical manufacturers of the time, AEG entered into the automotive industry. With the purchase of Külstein in 1902, AEG announced Neue Automobil Gesellschaft and it’s production of cars.

From 1902 – 1908 AEG (Neue Automobil Gesellschaft) produced four separate models of cars but discontinued their production in 1908.

1902 – 1908 AEG (Neue Automobil Gesellschaft)

In 1903, AEG (competing with Siemens & Halske) broke the world speed record for rail vehicles at 131 miles per hour with this electric locomotive.

1903 AEG electric locomotive record breaker

Later that year, AEG’s radio company and Siemens & Halske merged to create Telefunken.

Peter Behrens

In 1907 the illustrious Peter Behrens joined AEG as their artistic advisor. Originally he was brought in to design their buildings but he went on to design the bulk of their original appliance product lines as well. From his work with AEG Peter Behrens has been knows as the creator of the corporate identity and the Father of German Industrial Design. In the AEG factory he designed he made room for turbines to move above machinery on the warehouse floor creating a fully workable, efficient factory.

AEG Turbine Factoy

In 1908, AEG begins production of it’s line of electric fans, adding to its line of home comfort products.

In 1910, AEG makes leaps and bounds into a completely different direction than home comfort products and electricity into the world of aeroplanes. Hennigsdorf was the site of the AEG aeroplane factory built in 1910. Their original aircrafts were modelled after the Kitty Hawk, North Carolina Wright Brothers biplane design.

AEGC4

From 1912 – 1918 AEG was the major manufacturer or World War I bombers. The most popular and widely used was the AEG G IV.

AEG Bomber

In 1917 AEG would be in the record books again. This time with one of it’s own aircraft, setting the world record for a high altitude flight. But with the end of World War I in 1918, AEG ended it’s production of aircraft.

long distance electrical locomotive

On the 14th of April 1913 AEG delivered the first of it’s long distance electrical locomotives. These locomotives would go beyond the distances of the electrical trams systems of the time.

)ne-Million Vote Utility Transformer

The 1920’s was a time of fantastic growth for AEG. They increased their electrical goods line massively including the production of steam turbines, electric motors, transformers, vacuum tubes, fuses and starters. They really were the electrical manufacturing company that you could go to for absolutely any of your electrical needs.

With the beginnings of Hollywood and silent films in North America, AEG was making it’s own advancements in television broadcasting in the mid 1920s. In 1924 AEG (AEG Telefunken) started it’s production of television / television sets and in 1928 they put their first television set on display at the German Radio Exhibition in Berlin.

1934-35 Telefunken SEIII 180 line TV

1929 saw AEG further branch out into home appliances with the introduction of refrigerators driven by compressors and irons that included temperature controls. Whilst AEG continued to expand it’s home comfort line it still worked on greater electrical masterpieces, including the first high performance locomotive in 1938.

the first high performance locomotive in 1938

Following the merger of Siemens & Halske and AEG to create Telefunken in 1903 the partnership was steadfast until AEG bought Siemens out in 1941 becoming a single enterprise.

1950 saw an explosion of advanced home comfort appliances including the start of AEG’s cooling range. In 1950 AEG also launched the first automatic washing machine and by 1953 their Nuremburg factory was producing them for general demand.

Erste Lavamat 1958

1938 saw the production of the first fully automatic washing machine by AEG the “Lavamat” and they changed their tagline to “AEG – aus Erfahning gut” meaning “AEG – Good from Experience”.

1955 AEG Generator

3 January 1963 saw another telecommunications advancement with AEG Telefunken. AEG showcased their first colour television for the European Broadcasting Union.

This advancement would change people’s leisure time forever, bringing colour to their entertainment. By 1970 AEG / Telefunken was the 12th largest electronics manufacturer and employed over 175,000 people.

On the utility side of AEG they also saw many advancements during the 1960s. In 1967 AEG achieved heating an entire city – Essen with its electrical stone heaters. Shortly after in 1972, AEG created the world’s largest diesel generator for use in Berlin’s Ghent Municiple Utilities. At this point, AEG had been building generators for nearly 100 years.

1955 AEG Generator

AEG’s ovens and hobs have come quite a way since they first introduced the fully electronic oven in 1976. AEG brought the first generation of induction hobs and other fantastic features to the kitchen since then.

AEG Oven

Since the 1970’s parts of AEG have changed hands with different companies. The majority of AEG was purchased by Daimler – Benz in 1985 then in 1994 the AEG Hausgerate GmbH Nuremburg was purchased by Electrolux, this was the home comforts and appliances line of AEG. In 2004, AEG was fully incorporated into Electrolux.

For over 125 AEG has been innovating every facet of electrical systems and appliances. Today and for the future to come they will continue to set the standard for what is the best in high end white goods.

via ACityLife

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Imagining Human Space Exploration During the Early Space Age

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There once was a time when it was just assumed that by the early 21st century humans would be well on the way in space exploration. Of course, a trip to the moon was always considered the first stop – or ‘start’.

On 20 July 1969, Americans were glued to their television sets as they watched images of Apollo 11 touch down on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility – the words, The Eagle has landed, went into the history books. Four more manned space flights to the Earth’s only natural satellite would occur between 1969 and 1972 but none were as exciting or interesting to the public as the first.

When people of the Earth saw the barren landscape – and no little green men to welcome the Earthlings – they lost interest in the thought of man on the moon. In the decades that followed there was more interest in conspiracy literature regarding the moon landing as a fraud – with many people believing that it never happened at all. The bulk of this argument focuses on the first expedition to the Moon, and rarely if ever, do the following four missions appear in that regard. The bottom line of the entire Moon missions experience is that nothing much came out of it, except a huge cottage industry of books, films, videos, and conventions all designed around a kind of myth-making.

Needless to say, it’s now the 21st century and humans are no closer to galactic space exploration than they were in 1969. Yes, there are companies working really hard at making this a reality – some day. Still, with this in the works, very few possess the wonder of space exploration that the world did before and during the original Space Age. Perhaps it’s because the entire science fiction genre has turned out so many dark, violent, and foreboding works that there is less wonder and more fear of what is ‘out there’. Or, perhaps the world has become so consumed with the terrors of this world that when it comes to other worlds, ‘we ain’t got time for that.’

Be that as it may, let’s focus just a bit on the wonder and the magic that once was.

Werner Büdeler was one of the earliest writer/journalists in the space-pop tradition. His works helped spread an interest in, and an understanding of, modern scientific principles in everything from the atom, to astronomy, to aerospace – the last two were his specialty.

From among his earliest works one book stands out for its classic imaginative qualities – Flug zum Mond (Flight to the Moon), 1960. Originally published in 1954 with the title, Junge, das ist Tempo (Boy, that’s Speed), it’s a gem for the illustrations alone.

Flug Zum Mond - Cover

Artist Erik Theodor Lössig took the basic conceptual ideas of engineers like Wernher von Braun, H. E. Ross, and R. A. Smith, and created some wonderful works in black and white. They capture the visionary ideas of the early Space Age perfectly.

The idea of getting to the moon involved first building an outer space station which would then be used to build the modules that would launch to the moon – the idea being that launching from space itself decreased the amount of energy which would otherwise be used just to get out of the Earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. This allowed for the conservation of fuel that would be needed for the trek to the moon – and someday beyond.

As you can see from these concepts, the journey to the Moon wasn’t thought to be a step-on-step-off experiment – these imagineers saw the Moon as a new frontier for settlement as a base, and potentially a launching site for further space exploration.

A Staging Concept

A two-stage large-scale rocket designed to transport materials.

A Multi-stage Rocket

A Multi-stage Rocket designed to transport technicians and construction workers.

Another Staging Concept

Separation of the personnel transport top stage.

The Space Pilot

The Space Pilot

Weightless in Zero Gravity

The Central Station – weightless in zero gravity

The Space Station Construction Site

The Space Station Construction Site

The Space Taxi

Mounting the Mirror – The mirror would utilize solar energy and act as a reflective shield, the ‘Space Taxi’ would transport materials and technicians.

The outer station revolves around the Earth.

The outer station revolves around the Earth.

Assembly of the Lunar ships

Assembly of the Lunar ships.

Moon Landing

Moon Landing

The First Step

The First Step

The Moon Base

The Moon Base

As we now know, this wasn’t the way things were done with the Apollo program – the US was in too much of a rush to beat the USSR in the ‘space race’ to take the time for such an intelligent endeavor. Perhaps, someday, these still viable ideas will be considered when human space exploration once again captures the world’s imagination.

A special thanks to Retro-Futurismus for the beautiful scans – they are much better than the images that my well-used copy could have produced.

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF ATOMIC ENERGY

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Special Thanks To: Todd Franklin

Hey kids! Pull up your bobby socks and get ready to duck and cover ’cause we’re visiting the American Museum of Atomic Energy! I’m sure you’ve heard about that little project during WWII called the Manhattan Project, right? You know, atomic bombs and such. The souvenir beanie above is telling the truth when it says, “Oak Ridge, Tennessee is the home of the atomic bomb. This “secret city” sprouted up during the war years and in its factories the atomic bomb was built. After the war, the town shifted to civilian control.

In 1949, Oak Ridge also became the home of the American Museum of Atomic Energy! This was the place to learn about the benefits of the all powerful atom. More importantly, it was the place where you could get a radioactive dime to take home as a souvenir!

In the brochure pictured above, it looks like those teenagers are having fun feeding the machine dimes. Boy, that sure beats getting a wooden nickel for a souvenir!

Unfortunately, the dime didn’t glow like my exaggerated example, but that’s how I like to imagine it when it came out of the machine. In reality, the radiation faded away quickly and the dime was supposedly safe to stick in your pocket. (Click here for more info on irradiated dimes and here for another photo.)

The museum was much more than radioactive dimes according to these excerpts from the brochure.

The Dagwood Splits the Atom exhibit looks like fun! Science is always better when explained by comic characters. Apparently this exhibit made the rounds to various fairs and museums. Click here and here to view the official comic.

Here you get to see a schematic model of plants that helped build the atomic bomb.

The first gas diffusion separation is on display. (You know, I really don’t know what any of this means, but it sure does sound interesting!

The Theatre of the Atom. I think this is where an audience member would get their hair zapped. Click here to see this gal get a new atomic hairdo!

The American Museum of Atomic Energy moved to a new location in 1975 and in 1978 the name was changed to American Museum of Science and Energy. Even though they don’t have a dime irradiator machine the place still looks like a fun family outing.

I leave with you this very cool photo of a vintage bowling shirt from Oak Ridge. I snapped this pic at the Bowling Hall of Fame back when it was located in St. Louis, Missouri.

via Neato Coolville: AMERICAN MUSEUM OF ATOMIC ENERGY

The Classic Sound Of The Cold War – Brought To You By Chrysler

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What you hear at the start of this video is the sound of a Chrysler FirePower Hemi V8 engine start and rev-up. Afterwards comes the old familiar wail of the cold war nuclear attack warning.

Its six horns were each 3 feet (0.9 m) long. The siren could be heard from a distance of 20 to 25 miles (32 to 40 km) away and had an output of 138 dBC (30,000) watts. They were 12 feet (3.7 m) long, built atop a quarter section of a Dodge truck chassis rail, and weighed an estimated 3 short tons (2.7 t).

The main purpose of the [‘Big Red Whistle’] siren was to warn the public in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviets, during the Cold War. The operator’s job was to start the engine and bring it up to operating speed, then to pull and release the transmission handle to start the wailing signal generation. The Chrysler air raid siren produced the loudest sound ever achieved by an air raid siren. – SuzukiBlaze

When the Chrysler Air Raid Sirens were being retired during the 1970’s a number of car enthusiasts sought out the Hemi V8s for use in bracket racing and street rods.

The M65 – Not The Spiral Galaxy, The Atomic Cannon

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Operation Upshot-Knothole – 25 May 1953

The M65 Atomic Cannon, often called Atomic Annie, was a towed artillery piece built by the United States and capable of firing a nuclear device. It was developed in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War, and fielded by 1953 in Europe and Korea.

On May 25, 1953 at 8:30am, the Atomic Cannon was tested at Nevada Test Site (specifically Frenchman Flat) as part of the Upshot-Knothole series of nuclear tests. The test — codenamed Grable — was attended by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Arthur W. Radford and Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson; it resulted in the successful detonation of a 15 kt shell (W9 warhead) at a range of 7 miles. This was the first and only nuclear shell to be fired from a cannon.

The Grable mushroom cloud with the Atomic Cannon in the foreground.

The Grable mushroom cloud with the Atomic Cannon in the foreground. (Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Field Office)

After the successful test, there were at least 20 of the cannons manufactured at Watervliet and Watertown Arsenals, at a cost of $800,000 each. They were deployed overseas to Europe and Korea, often continuously shifted around to avoid being detected and targeted by opposing forces. Due to the size of the apparatus, their limited range, the development of nuclear shells compatible with existing artillery pieces (the W48 for the 155mm and the W33 for the 203mm), and the development of rocket and missile based nuclear artillery, the M65 was effectively obsolete soon after it was deployed. However, it remained a prestige weapon and was not retired until 1963.

Of the twenty M65s produced, at least eight survive on display.

The Health Rage Of The Early 20th Century – Radium!

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THO-RADIA:  The radio-active creme

THO-RADIA: The radio-active creme (1933)

THO-RADIA cream, sold according to the formula of Dr. Alfred Curie (not related to the pair of researchers), was prepared with thorium and radium, two elements supposed to erase wrinkles. ‘Science has created THO-RADIA to beautify women. For them to enjoy it. Who wants to remain ugly!‘ Says the slogan of an advertisement extolling the benefits of the product.

The Tho-Radia powder

THO-RADIA Powder

Dr. Curie does not stop there he also launched THO-RADIA Powder, which contains titanium in addition to radium and thorium. ‘A choice of insulating material, titanium in particular, salts the bottom of the THO-RADIA Powder with a real covering tissue impervious to weather, to devastating radiation, and advantageously replaces the veil of Circassians‘ says Medical Dictionary and Practical Beauty Care published by Tho-Radia.

Tho-Radia: soap and toothpaste

THO-RADIA: soap and toothpaste

‘Logically’ THO-RADIA applies the principle to all kinds of products. Appearing as well as soap, recommended for removing makeup and grooming babies (sic) or THO-RADIA toothpaste. These products were supposed to meet pharmaceutical standards of the time. The mutagenic effects of radiation, in particular the risk of cancer, were discovered in 1927 by Hermann Joseph Muller (1890-1967).

Press Clippings

Press Clippings

The pharmaceutical industry is not far behind. There was a plethora of drugs to treat various ailments: Tubéradine (against tuberculosis), Digéraldine (stomach problems), Vigoradine (fight against fatigue), among many other names. Evidenced by the advertisements that appeared in the press of the time.

Radioactive Water

Radioactive Water

Radioactive water at home was also a success. There were many companies in the sector to rush into this new market. Some homes were even kitted out with radium coffee pots and fountains. It was a simple operation: a capsule of radium salts is housed inside the coffee pots and fountains. On contact with water, the salt released the radioactive fumes.

Revigator

Revigator

In the same vein, Revigator was a popular brand from 1920 to 1930. Produced by the company Revigator Radium Ore (San Francisco), it was sold to hundreds of thousands of customers in American homes.

Radio Activity For Animals

Radioactivity For Animals

The animals were also entitled to their radium treatment. Offered for sale in this advertisement is a radioactive food supplement for cattle, cows, horses, pigs and sheep. The farmer could also buy fertilizer…radioactive of course.

Radium Clothing

Radium Clothing

Wool Oradium was recommended for baby clothes because of ‘the extraordinary effect of organic cell stimulation‘ produced by the radium. In another taste, Iradia proposed underwear, apparently recommended for skiing, as shown in the above advert.

Radium In Chocolate

Radium In Chocolate

Burk & Braun asserted that adding radium bromide to chocolate has a ‘rejuvenating effect.’

Radium Fights Grey Hair

Radium Fights Grey Hair

Frederick Godfrey, British hair specialist, boasted the merits of a tonic and radioactive treatment for hair. According to this advertisement, Caradium allowed the recovery of the original hair color, while ‘making you look 10 to 20 years younger.’

Radium Is Health - This book published in 1929 extolls the charms of radioactive treatments.

Radium Is Health – This book published in 1929 extolls the charms of radioactive treatments.

Extract: ‘the miracles produced by radium in the treatment of cancerous tumors have led many scholars to experiment with the action of low doses of radium for the treatment of various skin conditions.’

Original Article Source: Premiere France