Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jay B. Rhodes Oil Spout

Jay B. Rhodes received more then 200 patents for his ideas. His inventions aided in the construction of the Panama Canal and anticipated computerized navigators into automobiles. Yet, he is relatively unknown today.

Automotive enthusiasts know that Rhodes built and drove the first self- propelled vehicle in Kalamazoo. He later confessed that he feared the steam-powered wagon might explode because he used a gas burner to power the steam engine.

He was only 26 years old when he demonstrated his contraption on Rose Street in 1891. His youthful recklessness overcame sober consideration of the risks he was taking. Rhodes never perfected this vehicle that he hoped would carry passengers between Kalamazoo and Gull Lake. He later sold it for $150 even though he had invested more than $3,500 in its development.

After this initial setback, Rhodes moved to Chicago and took a job with the Austin Manufacturing Co. as a mechanical engineer. While working for Austin, he developed perhaps his most important invention—a pneumatic dumping device for railroad cars carrying gravel, dirt, and other bulk material.

Cars equipped with the device greatly simplified the building of the Panama Canal and were also widely used on the frontlines during World War I. Rhodes also developed a machine for building roads in the 1910s, a decade that saw growing political pressure for better streets. Rhodes returned to Kalamazoo in 1903 but remained on Austin’s payroll until 1920. He also began working on his own projects. He started the Kalamazoo Fishing Tackle Co., for which he invented a mechanical swimming frog and a wooden minnow. He sold the enterprise to William Shakespeare Jr. in 1905.

In 1921, he created his most profitable invention, inspired by an old fruit canning jar. Tinkering in a workshop behind his home on Douglas Avenue, Rhodes fitted a cap with a vented spout onto a canning jar and marketed it as a device for dispensing oil into a car engine. With automobile sales booming in the 1920s, Rhodes sold the oil bottles by the carload throughout the United States and around the world. As the profits rolled in, Rhodes became wealthy. He sold the rights to the oil bottle and with the income was able to devote all his time to inventing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

Do you remember when your grandparents' cast iron cookware and that slick black patina coating it had? By re-seasoning rusted cookware the pores will absorb oil and create a non-stick finish.

This old cast iron bacon press measures 6 5/8" x 4" and stands 3 1/2" high to the top of the wooden handle. It is decorated with a pig and leaves and shows some signs of use as you can see in the picture. It is great for evenly cooking bacon, hamburger, or other meats especially in a cast iron pan and keeps your bacon from curling. It was produced in Taiwan and is identical to the 1978 TAYLOR&NG Bacon Press.

General Care of Cast Iron Cookware
1. Wash with hot water, and a sponge or a stiff brush. Do not use synthetic detergents (non-fatty oil based soaps) or a dishwasher on a newly seasoned pan. Dry on the stove at low heat and then thinly coat with solid vegetable shortening or PAM. Wipe with a paper towel and store. The first few times you use your cast iron cookware avoid cooking acidic foods such as tomatoes and beans, or foods with a lot of water content. Uncover hot food after cooking because steam may remove the protective coating.
2. If you detect rust or a metallic taste to your foods, wash your cast iron cookware thoroughly with soap and water and re-season. Should rust appear on your cast iron, scour with steel wool and soap and then follow the seasoning instructions. Heavy rust may be removed with a steel brush.
3. Cast iron cookware heats evenly, therefore it is not necessary to use extremely high cooking temperatures. Best results are obtained with medium to medium-high temperature settings; always allow the utensil to heat as the burner does.
4. Always store cast iron utensils with the lids off or upside down in a warm, dry place. That slick black finish that great chefs covet will develop over time, creating a new heirloom for your children and grandchildren.

Seasoning your Cast Iron Cookware
1. Lightly sand rusted surfaces and apply Coca-Cola for at least ten minutes.
2. Thoroughly wash with mild soapy water your skillet, Dutch oven, fryer or griddle, and then rinse and dry over low heat to remove all moisture from the porous metal.
3. With a paper towel LIGHTLY coat the ENTIRE surface of the heated pan or pot with Crisco or lard. (Do not use butter or margarine). Coat the inside, outside, the lids, and corners.
4. Bake the cookware upside down at 400 degrees for 90 minutes without pre-heating. Put some aluminum foil under the cookware to catch the drips. Allow the pan to completely cool in the oven.
5. Remove from oven and wipe clean.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy Father’s Day June 15th

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day.

This 10 fluid ounce Mountain Dew Bottle has never been opened and was produced around 1954 according to the label and by the adding of the color red to spruce them up a little. There is some brazing around the edges and some minor scratches in the glass. The glass at the top of the bottle shows great clarity yet and the screen printed label is near perfect with Barney Dew and Ally pictured and the famous "It’ll tickle yore innards!"

This is just one of the perfect gifts for Dad that we carry in our store. We will be offering 15% off all merchandise ordered from June 1st to June 14th in recognition of our Dad, so stop in a take a look at: