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2016, G. DAVID

Car Collector

Volume IX, Issue 4



Car Collecting Today

High RPMs

Classic Rides
Reports From the Field
Oldsmobile (1897-2004)
Cadillac (1902- )
Allant (1987-1993)

Corvair (1960-1969)

= Clickable Link

High RPMs

Three Degrees of

Pics to Ponder

I Say Tomato,
You Say ...

It does appear as though

winter is beginning to loosen
its grip? That is a good
thing! While a young mans
fancy may turn to love, us ol
duffers give thought to the
upcoming car season. What
a difference a few decades
I just saw a news story
about cars that do not have
ignition keys. It seems some
folk are forgetting to turn
them off after parking. The
story focused on the fact the
fumes from the garaged running car almost killed the
occupants of the home.
Cars with keys had problems too.
had six tumbler positions
and 5 levels for each position. That yields 15,625 possible key combinations.
Considering production
numbers, there are a lot of
cars that use the same key.

Find GDYNets on the web:

site to discuss the newsletter,
the hobby and our cars.


There is a report of a
woman taking her new 1957
Chevy wagon shopping. She
returned home with a car
equipped with a radio. The
car she purchased had no
radio! Police were called
and it was all straightened
out, but her key fit the other
car. Q: Did the key to the
other car fit her car?

April Automotive Milestones

2-1875 - Walter P. Chrysler
born, Wamego, Kansas
3-1885 Daimler patents
water-cooled internal combustion engine
4-1961 Amphicar debuts
4-1964 Plymouth Barracuda
4-1969 Last Corvair built
4-1970 AMC debuts Gremlin
6-1934 Ford intros whitewall tires as $11.25 option
7-1947 Henry Ford dies
17-1964/69 Ford debuts Mustang/Maverick
18-1955 Lincoln becomes
separate division of Ford

18-1964 Sunbeam debuts Tiger

21-1967 GM makes 100th million
25-1901 NY 1st state to require car
license plates
27-2009 GM kills Pontiac
28-1953 Kaiser-Frazer buys Willys
29-2004 Last Oldsmobile made

- Time to uncover the car!

GDYNets on the Web

CCC Forum

April 2016

Car Collector Chronicles

Saved 62 -Our 1962 Olds
convertible, Ransom Eli Olds
and things Oldsmobile related
web site.
The Gray Lady -1955 Cadillac
Coup de Ville web site.

SAVED 62: A website devoted

to our 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. The site

also has a lot of information on
Oldsmobile cars and the company founder, Ransom Eli Olds.

THE GRAY LADY: This website features our 1955 Cadillac

Coup de Ville, lots of Caddy
information and an extensive
repair library.

DAVES DEN: -A site devoted to a myriad of interests.

Foremost is extensive information on the Steel City of Gary,
IN. There are also offerings on
steel making, U.S. Steel-Gary
Works, U.S. Marine Corps, M14
assault rifle, of course Oldsmobile, and the tragic story of the
murder of Gary, IN Police Lt.
George Yaros.

Car Collector Chronicles

Page 2

Three Degrees of Separation

John W.
His is not a
name that
rings a bell or
is instantly
recognized as
an automotive

Ah, where to begin? Yes, this article is automobile related. We are going to take a
look at the lives of two individuals whose names may not be household terms. That
said, you are very familiar with their work. Even though the work of the two is related,
and there are threads connecting the two, it is not likely their paths ever crossed.
Each played major roles in the development of features found in the cars of today. I
could use the term accessory, but it just does not seem to fit. That is because these
features are now common, taken for granted and expected to be present in every car.
It is also remarkable that the features in question are also closely related.
So, let us begin our journey on the back roads of automotive triviata.
We shall start with John W. Anderson. His is not a name that
necessarily rings a bell or is instantly recognized as an automotive notable. His story begins in 1883 in Woodland, IL It is
there, at that point in time that he is born. In the 133 years
since his birth the thriving metropolis of Woodland has grown
to a present population of 322; consisting of 91 families living
in 124 separate households and occupying .46 sq. miles of
John was a tinkerer. Evidently he was quite good at it. In
1906, at the age of 23, John received a patent for a bullet casing mold. He thus became, at that point in time, one of the
youngest holders of a U.S. patent. Ultimately, he would go on
to become the holder of over 100 patents. Not bad for a kid
from nowhere. His main source of income was the Ford Motor
Co. Henry chose J. W. to be the supplier to Ford of timing and ignition products for his
Model T.
The invention with which we are concerned came about in 1925. By then John was
two score and two years in age (42). The story, most probably apocryphal, is that
Anderson was on a business trip driving late at night in the rain. The OE wipers on the
car had worn out and made seeing the road more than difficult. Despite efforts, he
could not find replacement arm/blade assemblies. He determined then and there to
resolve this problem. His solution was the wiper blade refill.
Perhaps as equally important as the refill blade itself was
the scheme Anderson devised to market them. Within three
years it was hard to find a service station (remember them)
that did not have a, now iconic, brown and yellow wiper
blade refill display box on the premises. In addition to the
wiper blade refills one found a measuring chart inside the
box. It became a relatively simple matter to match blade
length to determine the proper size refill needed.
Being an inveterate tinkerer, John W. Anderson did not
stop with his invention of the blade refill. He also produced
a gauge which measured how much pressure the wiper arm
applied to the blade resting on the windshield. It was called
a Tel-Tale. Its function was to sell wiper arms and blades.
His inventions were not limited to wipers. He
also patented a car side-view mirror, a lipstick
holder, railway signal, steering wheel, safety
razor handle, putting practice device and windshield defroster.
He founded Anderson Co. (ANCO) in 1918, and ran it until his death in 1967. It provided employment to over 1,300 persons. It is now owned by Federal Mogul. During
WWII Anderson was a co-founder of the Automotive Council for War Production. John
W. Anderson was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1972.

Page 3

Car Collector Chronicles

Three Degrees of SeparationContd.

The next link in the chain is Robert W. Kearns. Kearns was born
in the late 20s (1927) and endured the Great Depression as a toddler. His father kept food on the table by virtue of being a roll grinder
(machinist) at Great Lakes Steel in Detroit. In school Kearns was a
decent athlete, as well as a more than fair-to middling violinist; two
traits which appear to be add odds with one another.
Somehow, even though still a teenager, he answered the call to
duty in WWII and was able to count himself as a member of the Office of Strategic Services. This organization later evolved into what
we know of today as the CIA.
Like many of his generation, after the war he chose to pursue a
college education, presumably on the G.I. Bill. For Robert W.
Kearns a single degree did not quench his thirst for knowledge. He
ending up holding a bachelor's in engineering from the University of Detroit, a master's
from the Wayne State University College of Engineering and a doctorate in engineering
from Case Western Reserve University.
He obviously liked the collegiate environs as he became a professor of engineering at
Wayne State. He was widely respected as such by his students. For a time Kearns
served as Commissioner of Buildings and Safety Engineering for the city of Detroit. He
also functioned as the principal investigator for highway skid resistance at the National
Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, MD.
Kearns was also an inventor. However, unlike John W. Anderson, for him invention was
not a means of livelihood. Rather, it was an avocation; albeit one which in one respect
turned into an obsession that ultimately destroyed him mentally, physically and financially.
One of his early inventions was a comb that dispensed its own hair tonic. (I wonder if he
called it a Brylcomb?) Later, more useful inventions included active highway safety signs
that automatically flash alerts to drivers of reduced traction due to wet roads or freezing
Now that I may have piqued your interest as to Kearns I
wont bore you will all the details of his primary invention. The
facts are readily available on the net , in book form and on
film; (2008) Flash of Genius [Motion Picture]. In the unlikely
event nothing has yet to click, Can you say intermittent
wiper? The fact of the matter is Kearns invented it.
In an effort to sell his idea he eagerly showed it to Ford Motor Co. Ford claimed it had no interest and then proceeded to
steal it, incorporating the wiper on its cars one model year
later. Chrysler Corp., seeing the device, also began using it without compensating
Kearns. Without hesitation Mercedes-Benz soon joined the growing den of thieves.
Kearns battled them all, for well over a decade. Not one to be intimidated by either big
business or judges, he often represented himself in the courts. He must have known what
he was doing as in the end he won and collected $30 Million from Ford and Chrysler.
For Kearns though, it was not just about the money. In fact, he left the money untouched for years. When did collect it, much of it went toward the financing of litigation
against two dozen more automobile manufacturers. He was devastated that the automobile manufacturers were not barred by the courts from continuing to use his wipers. What
Kearns wanted more than royalty rights was to be the sole manufacturer and supplier of
the intermittent wiper to the auto industry.
The awards he did collect were not sufficient to meet his expenses. He had to do a
short stint in jail for a failure to pay alimony to his ex. He also suffered a nervous/mental
breakdown and went on disability, not being able to perform his duties at the National Bureau of Standards. In the later years of his life he had two vehicles he drove, a 1965
Chrysler and a 1978 Ford pickup truck. Neither was equipped with intermittent wipers!

One of his
was a comb
dispensed its
own hair

Car Collector Chronicles

Page 4;;

Three Degrees of SeparationContd.

So here we have two inventors. Other than that, how are they connected? As we shall see, in a number
of ways.
Obviously their lives were entwined with the windshield wiper. That they were is fitting given that both
Anderson and Kearns had a middle initial of W. Their wiper creations appear on virtually every automobile which travels our roads.
Ford Motor Co. played a significant role in the course of the lives of both men. Henry Ford provided
Anderson with steady income in his early years. FOMOCO drove Kearns to desperation and destitution.
John W. Anderson located his windshield wiper company in the Steel City of Gary, Indiana. Robert W.
Kearns was born in the Steel City of Gary, Indiana.
Here is an additional oddity. While Anderson is credited with inventing the wiper blade refill, the inventor
of the windshield wiper itself is another person named Anderson, Mary. She is no relation to John W..
Marys invention was patented on 18 Jun 1903 (US 743,801) .
And while the courts found that Robert W. Kearns invented the intermittent wiper, a patent for the same
was issued in 1923 (US 1,588,399) to a person named, of all things, Anderson, Raymond.
Let me close the loop with these notations. These wiper guys had ties to Gary, Indiana. Your editor
also has ties to the Steel City, being Gary born and bred. It was mentioned previously that Anderson
employed over 1,300 persons at his Gary plant. Two of those employees were my aunt and cousin.
Reference was made to the fact that Robert Kearns father supported his family as a roll grinder
(machinist) at Great Lakes Steel. My father supported our family with his earnings as a roll grinder
(machinist) at U.S. Steel, Gary Works - Gary Sheet & Tin Mill.
With that we close the circle and conclude this article.

Pics to Ponder
The question is why/how?

Page 5;;

Car Collector Chronicles

I Say Tomato, You Say ...

American Term

British Term

semi tractor-trailer
alligator clip
phillips head screw
glove box
shock absorber
stubby screwdriver
Station wagon
wrist pin
convertible top
vise grips
left side
right side
knocking or pinging
vent window
rocker panel
cotter key
lock washer
vacuum advance
oil pan

artic (articulated lorry)
crocodile clip
crosshead screw
cubby box
drop-head coupe
dumpy screwdriver
estate wagon
gudgeon pin
mole wrench
nave plate
near side.
off side
pry (apply force with a lever, pry-bar, crow-bar, screwdriver)
rev counter
'sedan', 2 or 4 door
split pin
spring washer
suction advance
tick over
someone who hacks on their car -- usually clueless

Ok, Ive had my say for the month. Now its your turn! I invite/encourage submission of
your comments, opinions and article contributions. I also ask that you please help spread
the word about our publication. Everything sent shall indeed be reviewed by me. Submissions should be sent to CCC at OldsD88@gmail.com.
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