Sunday, November 20, 2011

and on this day...88 years ago!

On this day in 1923, the U.S. Patent Office grants Patent No. 1,475,074 to 46-year-old inventor and newspaperman Garrett Morgan for his three-position traffic signal. Though Morgan's was not the first traffic signal (that one had been installed in London in 1868), it was an important innovation nonetheless: By having a third position besides just "Stop" and "Go," it regulated crossing vehicles more safely than earlier signals had.
Morgan, the child of two former slaves, was born in Kentucky in 1877. When he was just 14 years old, he moved north to Ohio to look for a job. First he worked as a handyman in Cincinnati; next he moved to Cleveland, where he worked as a sewing-machine repairman. In 1907, he opened his own repair shop, and in 1909 he added a garment shop to his operation. The business was an enormous success, and by 1920 Morgan had made enough money to start a newspaper, the Cleveland Call, which became one of the most important black newspapers in the nation.
Morgan was prosperous enough to have a car at a time when the streets were crowded with all manner of vehicles: Bicycles, horse-drawn delivery wagons, streetcars and pedestrians all shared downtown Cleveland's narrow streets and clogged its intersections. There were manually operated traffic signals where major streets crossed one another, but they were not all that effective: Because they switched back and forth between Stop and Go with no interval in between, drivers had no time to react when the command changed. This led to many collisions between vehicles that both had the right of way when they entered the intersection. As the story goes, when Morgan witnessed an especially spectacular accident at an ostensibly regulated corner, he had an idea: If he designed an automated signal with an interim "warning" position—the ancestor of today's yellow light—drivers would have time to clear the intersection before crossing traffic entered it.

The signal Morgan patented was a T-shaped pole with three settings. At night, when traffic was light, it could be set at half-mast (like a blinking yellow light today), warning drivers to proceed carefully through the intersection. He sold the rights to his invention to General Electric for $40,000.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Here Come the Holidays!!

Vintage images can be so much fun for the holidays! Their nostalgic presence can conjure up visions of sugar plum fairies and chestnuts roasting on an open fire (even though I never tried a chestnut...hum). And, of course, they call to mind those traditions we share and get gushy about around this time of year. While looking back can be fun, we here at Frankly Speaking like to bring bits of the past into the modern age and add a bit of playful quirkiness to the mix! And, we admit it, poke a little fun at some of the goings-on of the festive season!

You do know what a bundt is, don't you? She's authentically vintage with
her cake pan and feather hat. We added the festive New York skyline
and created a collage for an image you won't find anywhere else!
When we found these old photos of women with ridiculous hats, well, they just seemed to lend themselves to some fun with that time-honored, traditional, love-hate relationship with....fruitcake! We actually love fruitcake around here. Of course, nutty ones are the best!

Isn't she festive with her wonderful, fruit-laden hat? Seriously!
Some of our collected photos needed serious work in the restoration category. But we thought it was worth our time to give little jewels like the one below a new life. We were so lucky to obtain it!

Now there's an authentic easy-bake oven, freshly unwrapped,
complete with thoughts from dad!
Seems that no matter what holiday you may celebrate, don't we all do it with food? Perhaps a little over-do-it with food?! Seriously now, couldn't you just plotz sometimes? Oh well, live and learn.

Somewhat weary, perhaps she is, but elegantly spunky none-the-less!
This card made it onto the cover of the Holiday Guide section of the
popular and well-done Detroit Jewish News!
You can find these, and many more selections, on our new retail website. We may like to funk it up a little or a lot, but we shoot for an elegant and high-quality result. And guess what? It's made in the U.S.A.!!

Mention the "holiday blog" in the instructions box on the PayPal payment page and we'll throw in a bonus card or two (or more), depending on the size of the order. And don't forget to take a look at our Belles Visions and Sweet 'n' Sassy lines....they could be just the thing for an unusual and beautiful little gift for a teacher, friend or gift-exchange at the office!