Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The ‘Self-Grown’ Pictures of Dr. F.F. Runge

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge (1795-1867) was a German chemist who spent much of his early career analyzing poisonous substances derived from plants. In addition to identifying the effects of belladonna, "Dr. Poison," as he was called, also identified the active substances in caffeine and quinine. His work with “self-grown” images is considered a precursor of chromatography.

The Beinecke Library at Yale has a rare copy of Das Od als Bildungstrieb der Stoffe : Veranschaulicht in selbststandig gewachsenen Bildern, or “The Driving Force of Formation of Substances,Visualized by Self-Grown Pictures.” It is one of a number of books Runge wrote about the chemistry of color. The exquisite, geode-like stains Runge presents, are the result of a liquid compound being dropped onto filter paper. He found that the capillary force of filter paper will separate a compound into its components, leaving behind a visual record of its makeup. The images in the books are actual samples of stained filter paper pasted onto the page. To prove that the staining from each specific compound was unique to that compound, and repeatable, Runge offered duplicate samples on many pages. (Source)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award …

You can imagine my surprise and delight to find out that ALL MY EYES has received a Stylish Blogger Award! Much thanks to the generous and supportive P. Gaye Tapp of Little Augury, for bestowing this honor upon me. As I’ve mentioned previously, Little Augury is, from my point of view, the absolute last word in style, so there’s no arguing with her on this one.

Let’s see now, if I’m considered stylish, you can be sure that this award has no swimsuit component, and that cat hair has finally been recognized as a legitimate accessory.

As a Stylish Blogger Awardee, my duties are the following:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you

2. Share 7 things about yourself
Here goes:
1. I’ve tried hang gliding.
2. I own an obscene number of vintage bracelets.
3. When I was a kid, I was surprised to learn that “ladle,”
“spatula,” and “tumult” were NOT Yiddish words.
4. I’ve never had a microwave.
5. I’ve never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
6. Once, for two days, my hair was “Winter Wheat” (think Joey
7. Yup, that’s me with Bill.

3. Award 10 other bloggers

4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about the award

And now for my acceptance speech ...

Friday, January 21, 2011

NHL Goalie Mask Design

Hockey masks weren’t always the high-tech airbrushed affairs they are today. In fact there was a time when goaltenders didn’t even wear them.

A LIFE photo gallery of NHL goalie masks includes Gerry Cheevers' famous mask, above. It is covered with drawn-on stitches indicating where he had been smacked in the face by pucks.

Below are a few of the contemporary masks with impressively airbrushed graphics.

Far more interesting, in terms of actual design though, are the iterations of protective wear that resulted in the helmet/cage masks worn today.

The 1966 Life magazine photo, below, commemorates the maskless years of hockey played by Terry Sawchuk. His scars from actual injuries were augmented by a make-up artist for the photo.

Baseball catchers have been wearing cage masks since the late 1800s. With the advent of the curve ball in the mid-1870s, followed by the elimination of the one-bounce rule soon after, masks became the norm. (more here)

Hockey, on the other hand, for many years was played with a puck that generally, believe it or not, stayed on the ice. Who needed a mask? But play became more aggressive, the puck became airborne, and goaltending became a seriously dangerous profession. Even so, the introduction of the mask for actual game play was resisted due to the restrictions on movement and vision they caused. It is now considered the single piece of equipment that has most drastically changed the way the game is played. (more here)

The earliest masks in the Hockey Hall of Fame gallery, date from the late 1920s. The first two recorded instances of face protection on ice were a catcher’s mask, and a fencing mask. Here are a few of the early masks designed specifically for hockey.

1930: The first mask seen in the NHL was worn to protect the injured face of Montreal Maroons goaltender Clint Benedict. Since it restricted his vision, he stopped wearing it as soon as his broken nose and cheekbone healed.

1936: Japanese goaltender Teiji Honma wore a modified cage at the Winter Olympics in Germany to protect his eyeglasses.

1954: A precursor to visors seen in the NHL, was this clear plastic, full-face shield. It was never worn in a game due to problems with fogging, glare and heat.

November 1959: Jacques Plante is stitched up for a severe injury while playing the Rangers in Madison Square Garden. He returns to the ice under one condition--that he be allowed to wear a mask which he had started using during practice. History is made as he becomes the first NHL goalie to wear a mask during an actual game.

The designer of the famous Hannibal-Lecter-meets-Sleeper mask, was Bill Burchmore, a promotional salesman for Fiberglass Canada Ltd. Burchmore, had witnessed a Plante injury in April 1958 which had halted game play for 45 minutes. The next day, while observing a mannequin at the office, Burchmore had his revelation. Fiberglass could offer the facial protection along with the visibility and movement that no other material was capable of providing. He convinced Plante to collaborate in the development, which began with a facial mold by a plastic surgeon.

Much has been written about this, especially since 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of the historic mask debut. This site has the story in extensive (and much appreciated) detail, and also offers newspaper accounts of the event.

Below are items from an auction of Burchmore’s archive, including a face mold, patent, and the “pretzel” mask.

The mask below, adopted in the early 1960s by the much-scarred Terry Sawchuk, was custom made by Detroit Red Wings assistant trainer Lefty Wilson. (source)

Just a few more images from the NHL site where you can see many, many more.

It wasn’t until almost a century after the first baseball catcher’s mask debuted, in 1877, that ice hockey fully embraced face protection. In 1974, Andy Brown, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was the last maskless goaltender to appear in an NHL game.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inaugural Hats

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to post the beige pillbox Jackie wore at JFK’s Inaugural fifty years ago today.

It may not be as famous as the pink pillbox she wore in Dallas, but this one has such an appealing sculptural simplicity. The nobility and purity it conveys exemplifies how expertly Jackie created not just a style, but an iconography with her clothing. According to Oleg Cassini, who famously dressed her while she was first lady, Jackie's signature pillbox, sitting back atop her bouffant hair, was inspired by images of Nefertiti. This one, I think, is more “white chess queen.” The top hat Jack wore that day completed the coronation/wedding couple "look." What a perfect symbol for our love affair with America’s royal family.

See other items from the Met's 2001 exhibit Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years.
Visit the JFK Library and Museum for the Inaugural Exhibit online.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Stamps

Stamps honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. have been issued worldwide over the years. More stamps have been issued in Dr. King's honor than of any other African American. The King stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service are really nothing to write home about (sorry), but here are some from elsewhere, that are.

I found many of these stamps, including this one from Tuva, on the website of The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER). Its mission is to promote "the collecting of African Americans on stamps and the collecting of stamps by African Americans.” There you can view the close to 200 stamps on which King has appeared.

The Republic of Tuva is located in the Tannu Mountains on the Siberian border in northwestern Mongolia. It is famous for its throat singing tradition and its exotic stamps (can't wait to see these, and I promise to share if they are as great this set).

Dr. King often appears on one stamp in a series of notables, and sometimes with others on the same stamp. Then there are countries that have issued MLK stamps in various denominations. I’ve posted a small selection.

Ras Al Khaima, an emirate of the UAE was the first
to honor Dr. King with a stamp on May 25, 1968.

Sources: Aside from ESPER, these stamps are from eBay and various stamp-collecting sites.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Days to Remember: Anniversaries of 2011

As we mark the sesquicentennial of each southern state’s secession, it might seem like the year ahead is shaping up to be wall-to-wall Civil War. But there’s so much more in the way of ‘Anniversary Journalism’ for us to rehash over the next twelve months. Here’s a look ahead at what we’ll be looking back on, in 2011.

Events are arranged by month, regardless of year, to reflect the order of expected media onslaught.

Above is a Civil War recruiting poster from 1862. I couldn’t hold it for next year—by then we’ll be on to the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

January 17, 1961
I know. You’ve heard the phrase “military industrial complex”
enough this year, to last you a lifetime. But if you haven’t watched
the actual clip, you MUST.

January 20, 1961
John F. Kennedy inauguration.

January 28, 1986
It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since
the Challenger exploded.

February 4, 1911
Centennial of Ronald Reagan’s birth.

March 1, 1961
The Peace Corps is established.
Poster, above
(date unknown), Help Peace the World Together.

March 25, 1911
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire is depicted in this d
etail of
History of the Needlecraft Industry, 1938, by Ernest Fiene.

March 26, 1911
Numerous festivals and events are planned for the centennial
of the birth of Tennessee Williams. Above, covers designed by
Alvin Lustig, for two of Williams’s plays .

April 17, 1961
The Museum of Playa Giron at Matanzas, Cuba, commemorates
the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba by exiles and the CIA 50 years ago.

April 26, 1986
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

May 11, 1811
Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker are born in Siam.

May 14, 1961
The Freedom Riders bus is firebombed.

May 23, 1911
The first Indy 500 was held at the Speedway on Memorial Day.

May 24, 1941
Bob Dylan, here on a “poster dress” from 1967, turns 70.

July 2, 1961
Hemingway’s death, by self-inflicted gunshot wound,
rated a front-page New York Times obit.

July 3, 1971
Jim Morrison dies in Paris at the age of 27. At the time of his death there were reportedly as many as 20 paternity actions pending against him. (Wikipedia)

August 4, 1961
President Obama might not have much else to celebrate
this year, but he does have a big birthday coming up.

September 11, 2001

October 5, 1961
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is released.

October 7, 2001
The U.S., launching Operation Enduring Freedom,
invades Afghanistan.

October 18, 1961
West Side Story is released.

December 2 , 2001
Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. For a detailed
account of Paul Rand’s “crooked E,” read Michael Bierut’s
The Smartest Logo in the Room on Design Observer.

December 11, 1961
The Vietnam War officially begins, as the first American
helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 U.S. personnel.

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