Ten Eventful Years, Volume 1

Ten Eventful Years is the name of a series of books covering 1937-1946. I found them while re-arranging two bookshelves of dog-related books. I thought all the books on those shelves were about dogs, but I was wrong. Here were two volumes of Ten Eventful Years: A to Cona, Conc to Ley. The table of contents lists four volumes: Volume 1: Abbreviations to Conant (836 pages); Volume 2 Concentration Camps to Ley (862 pages); Volume 3 Liberalism to Scrap (862 pages); and Volume 4, Sculpture to Zoology (800 pages).

We are missing Volumes 3 and 4. That doesn’t matter, though, because hubby and I don’t know where Volumes 1 and 2 came from. Neither of us claims to own them and the dogs are denying everything. I found no inscriptions, no notes in the margins and no grocery list or autographed Jackie Robinson baseball card as forgotten bookmarks.

Before I donate them, I will take a look to see what the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Walter Yust, and his employees considered remarkable about those years.

I opened Volume 1 to page 50 and found an entry for Air Conditioning. Turns out that air conditioning came into use somewhere around 1912, mostly for industrial applications. Theatres started using “comfort air conditioning” around 1925. “Comfort air conditioning … was extensively applied in a variety of other applications during the decade 1937-46. Commercial establishments using air conditioning extensively included department stores, five-and-ten-cent stores, small stores, restaurants, amusement places having eating facilities, multiroom buildings, theatres, passenger cars, busses, passenger ships and aeroplanes. Residential applications also started during this period.

All I can say is Thank You! to the 1937-1946 decade for implementing air conditioning to the general public.

Moving on. Page 412 has a black and white photograph of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at Puget Sound (Washington state) being ripped apart by a windstorm on November 7, 1940, four months after it was built. At the time, it was the world’s third longest single suspension bridge. Well, there went $6,400,000.

One more entry, then, towards the end of Volume 1. Page 615 has a photo of a man in a yarn factory. The caption is “Experimental yarn made of chicken feathers, a project of the U.S. Rubber Co.” The umbrella category is Chemurgy, which I’m guessing is a cross between chemistry and metallurgy. “[Chemurgy] is a concept which teaches that by extending the understanding and utilization of agricultural materials the base of mankind’s wealth can be greatly broadened.” The Chicken Feathers section explains that there was a problem of preventing the chicken feathers, which were gathered up wet, from deteriorating from the wetness before they could be used. At the end of 1946, “commercial exploitation awaited further improvements in the process.”

Oh. Excuse me while I go check the labels of my knitting yarn skeins. I don’t think I was wearing my glasses when I bought them. And I thought I only had to read food labels.

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