Douglas Aircraft Company

The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer based in Southern California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas Sr. and merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas, when it operated as a division of McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing in 1997; the company was founded by Donald Wills Douglas Sr. on July 22, 1921 in Santa Monica, following dissolution of the Davis-Douglas Company. An early claim to fame was the first circumnavigation of the world by air in Douglas airplanes in 1924. In 1923, the U. S. Army Air Service was interested in carrying out a mission to circumnavigate the Earth for the first time by aircraft, a program called "World Flight". Donald Douglas proposed a modified Douglas DT to meet the Army's needs; the two-place, open cockpit DT biplane torpedo bomber had been produced for the U. S. Navy; the DTs were taken from the assembly lines at the company's manufacturing plants in Rock Island and Dayton, Ohio to be modified.

The modified aircraft known as the Douglas World Cruiser was the first major project for Jack Northrop who designed the fuel system for the series. After the prototype was delivered in November 1923, upon the successful completion of tests on 19 November, the Army commissioned Douglas to build four production series aircraft. Due to the demanding expedition ahead, spare parts, including 15 extra Liberty L-12 engines, 14 extra sets of pontoons, enough replacement airframe parts for two more aircraft were chosen; these were sent to airports along the route. The last of these aircraft was delivered to the U. S. Army on 11 March 1924; the four aircraft left Seattle, Washington, on 6 April 1924, flying west, returned there on 28 September to great acclaim, although one plane was forced down over the Atlantic and sank. After the success of this flight, the Army Air Service ordered six similar aircraft as observation aircraft; the success of the DWC established the Douglas Aircraft Company among the major aircraft companies of the world and led it to adopt the motto "First Around the World - First the World Around".

Douglas adopted a logo that showed aircraft circling a globe, replacing the original winged heart logo. The logo evolved into an aircraft, a rocket, a globe; this logo was adopted by McDonnell Douglas in 1967, became the basis of Boeing's current logo after their merger in 1997. The company is most famous for the "DC" series of commercial aircraft, including what is regarded as the most significant transport aircraft made: the Douglas DC-3, produced as a military transport known as the C-47 Skytrain or "Dakota" in British service. Many Douglas aircraft had long service lives. Douglas Aircraft designed and built a wide variety of aircraft for the U. S. military, including the Navy, Army Air Forces, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard. The company built torpedo bombers for the U. S. Navy, but it developed a number of different versions of these aircraft, including reconnaissance planes and airmail aircraft. Within five years, the company was building about 100 aircraft annually. Among the early employees at Douglas were Ed Heinemann, "Dutch" Kindelberger, Jack Northrop, who founded the Northrop Corporation.

The company retained its military market and expanded into amphibian airplanes in the late 1920s moving its facilities to Clover Field at Santa Monica, California. The Santa Monica complex was so large, the mail girls used roller skates to deliver the intracompany mail. By the end of World War II, Douglas had facilities at Santa Monica, El Segundo, Long Beach, Torrance, California and Midwest City and Chicago, Illinois. In 1934, Douglas produced a commercial twin-engined transport plane, the Douglas DC-2, followed by the famous DC-3 in 1936; the wide range of aircraft produced by Douglas included airliners and medium bombers, fighter aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, experimental aircraft. During World War II, Douglas joined the BVD consortium to produce the B-17 Flying Fortress. After the war, Douglas built another Boeing design under license, the B-47 Stratojet turbojet-powered bomber, using a government-owned factory in Marietta, Georgia. World War II was a major boost for Douglas. Douglas ranked fifth among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts.

The company produced 30,000 aircraft from 1942 to 1945, its workforce swelled to 160,000. The company produced a number of aircraft including the C-47 Skytrain, the DB-7, the SBD Dauntless dive bomber, the A-26 Invader. Douglas Aircraft suffered cutbacks at the end of the war, with an end to government aircraft orders and a surplus of aircraft, it was necessary to cut into its workforce, letting go of nearly 100,000 workers. The United States Army Air Forces established'Project RAND' with the objective of looking into long-range planning of future weapons. In March 1946, Douglas Aircraft Company was granted the contract to research on intercontinental warfare. Project RAND become the RAND Corporation. Douglas continued to develop new aircraft, including the successful four-engined Douglas DC-6 and its last propeller-driven commercial aircraft, the Douglas DC-7; the company had moved into jet propulsion, producing its first for the U. S. Navy — the straight-winged F3D Skyknight in 1948 and the more "jet age" style F4D Skyray in 1951.

Douglas made commercial jets, producing the Douglas DC-8 in 1958 to compete with the new Boeing 707. Douglas was a pioneer in related fields, such as ejection seats, air-to-air missiles, surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surfa

Charles F. Ritchel

Charles Frances Ritchel was an American inventor of a successful dirigible design, the fun house mirror, a mechanical toy bank, he was the holder of more than 150 patented inventions. He was born on December 1844 in Portland, Maine, he died in Bridgeport, Connecticut on January 21, 1911. Ritchel built a small, one-man dirigible powered by a hand crank; the aircraft consisted of a brass frame put together at Folansbee Machine Shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The frame was hung beneath a cylindrical, rubber gas bag manufactured by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Naugatuck. A small propeller could be moved left and right for turning; the craft could reach a height of 200 feet. At the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Ritchel flew the craft within one of the large exhibition halls. Two years on June 12, 1878, the craft set off from a baseball field behind the Colt Armory in Hartford, Connecticut. Before a large group of spectators, Mark W. Quindlen flew the machine over the armory building and the Connecticut River before returning to the starting point and landing."This was the first flight of a man-carrying dirigible in America," according to Harvey Lippincott, founder of the Connecticut Aeronautical Historical Association.

On the following day, Quindlen again ascended, but the wind proved to be too strong and he was blown off course, landing in nearby Newington, Connecticut. More flights took place in Boston and elsewhere, five of the aircraft were constructed and sold. Ritchel imagined a transcontinental airline with larger dirigibles cranked by 11 men. Today the most well-known of Ritchel's inventions is the funhouse mirror dubbed by the inventor as "Ritchel's Laugh-O-Graphs." The curved and specially shaped mirrors reflect amusing, distorted images of anyone standing in front of them. Some credit Ritchel with inventing rollerskates, he did invent a toy bank in the shape of a monkey. A coin is put on a tray held in the monkey's upturned palms. A lever in the back is pressed; the arms rise. Ives Manufacturing in Bridgeport may have produced the bank. In a patent application for his dirigible, Ritchel said he was a resident of Pennsylvania. Despite his many inventions, Ritchel died destitute in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut

Sweetening (show business)

In sound design, sweetening refers to "juicing up" the audio portion of a film, computer game software or any other multimedia project. Its origin may have been old-time radio, which produced visual detail with sound effects such as people walking, horses galloping, doors opening and closing, gunshots, "body slams," etc. In the case of a music performance or recording, sweetening may refer to the process of adding instruments in post-production such as those found on The Sounds of Silence by folk troubadours Simon and Garfunkel; the original acoustic version of the song features just their vocals with one guitar. Producers at Columbia Records, felt that it needed a little spicing up to be a commercial hit, so without the consent of the artists, they added drums, electric bass and electric guitar. In television, sweetening refers to the use of a laugh track in addition to a live studio audience; the laugh track is used to "enhance" the laughter for television audiences, sometimes in cases where a joke or scene intended to be funny does not draw the expected response, sometimes to avoid awkward sound edits when a scene is shortened or more than one take is used in editing.

Sweetening has been used in a number of television series, from older shows like Happy Days, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, to newer sitcoms Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls. The act of sweetening is demonstrated in the Woody Allen film Annie Hall when Alvy Singer visits his friend Rob, played by Tony Roberts, in Los Angeles. At one point, Rob has the engineer add laughter to cover voiced disapproval from the audience; some shows used the canned laughter technique obviously rather than the "in-between" technique described as a laugh track. An obvious sign of this is that the laughter is more or less identical in volume or magnitude, regardless of how extreme the joke is. In bigger music TV shows, sweetening is used to enhance the sound of the visible audience, it is difficult, for a number of reasons, to pick up the sound of the real audience, so audio sweetening is used so that viewers hear what they see - an engaged audience. Canned heat Laugh track David. Studio Stories - How the Great New York Records Were Made.

San Francisco: Backbeat Books. Cf. pp.94-97