Heating oil, Jet Fuel and Rocket Fuel ~Kerosene~

  • 2024年05月02日

#Inventions of the Day

 I would like to introduce an invention related to today(May 2). May 2 is the date of birth of Abraham Pineo Gesner (1797.5.2-1864.4.29), a Canadian inventor and geologist.

 Abraham Gesner was an inventor and geologist who, in 1842, discovered the first fossils in the Miguasha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 And in 1846, Abraham Gessner, later called the father of the petroleum industry, refined a new oil for lighting by dry distillation of coal on Prince Edward Island, which he named kerosene. Also in the 1850s, Abraham Gessner invented a treatment process to distill kerosene from petroleum.

Abraham Pineo Gesner
(Photo taken from University of Toronto, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9)
Loris S. Russell, “GESNER, ABRAHAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 11, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gesner_abraham_9E.html.

 Petroleum products made primarily from kerosene include heating oil, jet fuel, and kerosene-based rocket fuel. Kerosene is a purer and less watery version of heating oil, so even at 10,000 meters above the ground, it appears to be able to be used as fuel for airplanes without freezing.

 I have seen my grandparents use heating oil stoves in the 1990s and 2000s. heating oil stoves are powerful and can boil water in a kettle or bake rice cakes, in addition to the heating function. Electric stoves are also good, but heating oil stoves, which do not use electricity, offer high thermal efficiency and can also be used during power outages. In the long history of mankind, we are grateful to our predecessors for their inventions that have enriched people’s lives with the times. (Raspberry)

Oil Pioneers”, author Katsutoshi Murakami, Ronsosha, 1996
JAXA official community site (Japanese only): https://fanfun.jaxa.jp

Braille blocks

  • 2024年03月18日

#Inventions of the Day

 I introduce an invention closely associated with today, 18 March. This time I would like to introduce Braille blocks. 18 March is designated as ‘Braille Block Day’, in honor of the world’s first Braille block, which was installed in 1967.

Braille blocks

 Although we often see Braille blocks, they have become part of our everyday scenery and we may not be particularly aware of them. At a time when social awareness is changing, with the Japan Patent Attorneys Association declaring its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion(PDF), I did a little research, as a matter of self-discipline.

 It seems that Braille blocks are officially called blocks for guiding the visually impaired, tactile paving. Needless to say, they provide the visually impaired with the information they need to walk, and are laid on pavements and floors.

 Braille blocks were invented in 1965 by Seiichi Miyake, the first chairman of the Traffic Safety Research Center. On 18 March 1967, Braille blocks were installed for the first time in the world near the pedestrian crossing at the Haraoshima intersection on the old national Route 2 near the Okayama School for the Blind, leading to the establishment of ‘Braille Block Day’, which was introduced at the beginning of this article.

 Due to their usefulness, Braille blocks have been adopted and installed in many countries. In 2012, the first international standard for Braille blocks, ISO 23599, seems to have been developed.

 I thank our ancestors for inventions like the Braille block and hope that many more such inventions will be created in the future to make the world a better place to live for everyone. (blink)

Safety Razor Blade

  • 2024年01月05日

#Inventions of the Day #patent

 Today, I will introduce an invention that is closely associated with today (January 5), the safety razor blade. January 5 is the birthday of King Camp Gillette, an American businessman and inventor of the safety razor.

 When I think of safety razors, I think of Gillette or Schick, although there is also Kaijirushi(KAI) and Feather. By the way, I use Schick’s Extreme 3 every morning. It is a disposable product, but it lasts rather long (lol).

Schick's Extreme 3

 Gillette was born in 1855 in Wisconsin and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. While working as a salesman, he came up with the idea of inventing a disposable razor blade when his employer told him that he could stabilize his customer base by introducing a disposable product. He went on to develop a replaceable blade safety razor and founded the Gillette Company in September 1901. In December of the same year, he applied for a patent, and after a three-year examination period, he was granted a patent.

(When I searched the J-Plat Pat, the information came up, but unfortunately, “The specified gazette does not exist.” However, a search on Google Patents yielded the gazette as well.)

 Although Gillette did not do well in 1903 when it started manufacturing and selling razor blades, the company’s performance increased when it distributed it to drinks as a free gift, and in 1918, the U.S. government ordered razor blades and replacement blades for soldiers serving in World War I. This led to the company becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of razor blades.

 Today, Gillette is known for its razor and blades model, a business strategy that is said to have been pioneered by the company. This model is based on selling the core product at a lower price (or offering it free of charge) in order to increase sales of complementary products such as consumables. Even today, there are examples such as inkjet printers, where the price of ink cartridges has increased dramatically; coffee machines, where you have to buy special capsules or pods for use; electric toothbrushes…. I’m sure you have some of these in mind. I have all of those listed here (lol).

 Anyway, I guess it is not so easy to succeed just by making a groundbreaking invention. I would like to refer to the struggles of our predecessors who created new markets that had never existed before. (blink)

Takuma-style boiler

  • 2022年08月10日

#Inventions of the Day #patent

I would like to introduce an invention closely related to today, August 10. The invention is the “Takuma-style boiler” invented by Tsunekichi Takuma (1872.2.8~1953.12.22), a Meiji-era born industrialist, inventor, and founder of Takuma Corporation.

It is said that Tsunekichi Takuma applied for a patent for the Takuma boiler, Japan’s first domestically produced boiler, to the Patent Office, a foreign bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce at the time, 107 years ago (1915) today. Some sources say that he invented the boiler in 1912 and patented it the following year.
Tsunekichi Takuma was a successful lumber merchant in his thirties, but after investing in a boiler manufacturing business, he failed and incurred a large amount of debt. However, he later went on to develop boilers on his own and completed the Takuma-style boiler. This was so successful that it put a stop to the import of foreign-made boilers.

In 1936, Tsunekichi Takuma established the Takuma Tsunekichi Research Institute at his home (now Takuma Co., Ltd.). Takuma Corporation is now a research and development company that applies for 10~30 patents every year.

Related link(Japanese):
8月10日 – Wikipedia
田熊常吉 – Wikipedia
タクマ (企業) – Wikipedia

Flying Machine

  • 2022年05月23日

#Inventions of the Day

Today, I would like to introduce an invention that is closely related to May 23rd. What I would like to Introduce this time is the “flying machine”(Flugapparat, Flying machine) invented by a German inventor born in Prussian and famous as a pioneer of aviation technology Otto Lilienthal (1848.5.23 ~ 1896.8.10). Otto Lilienthal was born 174 years ago today in Anklam, Pomerania, Kingdom of Prussia (current Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Federal Republic of Germany).
Otto, who became a design engineer, began researching manned flight in 1867 with his younger brother Gustav. Except when he served in the Franco-Prussian War, he energetically developed hang gliders. At the start of the experiment in 1891, the flight distance was about 25 m, but in 1893 the flight distance was extended to 250 m, and in 1894 it was patented in the United States. He has conducted more than 2,000 flight experiments in total, but in 1896 he suffered a crash and died of a cervical spine injury.

Lilienthal is known not only for conducting flight experiments, but also for developing steam engines. The steam engine was one of the safest small steam engines of the time, and the profits gained could be used to fund flight experiments. He has obtained 25 patents in his lifetime, four of which are related to flight technology.
Lilienthal’s flight experiments attracted public attention as they were widely reported not only in his native Germany but around the world. It can be said that he left various influences such as inspiring the Wright brothers and built the foundation for the current aviation technology.

Related Link:
Otto Lilienthal -Wikipedia


TV Game

  • 2022年03月08日

#Inventions of the Day

Today, I would like to introduce an invention related to March 8th. Introducing this time is a home video game console invented by German-born American inventor Ralph Henry Baer (March 8, 1922-December 6, 2014). He was born exactly 100 years ago today in Pirmasens, in the southwestern Germany.

Being a Jew, he left Germany with his family in 1938, when the Nazi persecution of Jews became fierce. In the United States where he fled, he studied by himself and worked as a factory worker. In 1943, he was convened in World War II and served in the army. After the war, his took a bachelor’s degree in television engineering (1949) and began his life as an inventor.

In 1966, while working on airplane radar at the munitions company Sanders Associates (currently part of BAE Systems), he began prototyping game consoles such as the “Brown Box.” The licensed Magnavox was launched as the “Odyssey” in 1972, leading to the subsequent rise of the video game industry. However, even though it produced the most profitable business at that time, it was not recognized by Sanders. However, his willingness to invent was never lost, and it is said that he obtained more than 150 patents in his lifetime. (blink)

Related link:
Ralph H. Baer – Wikipedia


  • 2021年12月05日

#Inventions of the Day

I would like to introduce an invention that is closely related to today, December 5th. This time, I would like to introduce the air defense radar invented by Sir Robert Alexander Watson Watt (1892.4.13~1973.12.5), a British electronics engineer and inventor. Robert Watson-Watt died 48 years ago today in Inverness, Scotland.

After studying engineering at university, Robert Watson-Watt worked on radio communications for the British Meteorological Office and other organizations. In 1935, as Nazi Germany was on the rise, he proposed an electromagnetic aircraft detection system to the British Air Ministry, which he tested in February, patented in April, and by the end of the year had increased its range to 60 miles (97 km). For this achievement, he was awarded the title of Knight in 1942.
As a result of this technology and air defense radar equipment, the British won the Battle of Britain in 1940. Later, in 1941, he was dispatched to the United States to advise on air defense systems after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Incidentally, there is a theory that Robert Watson-Watt is a descendant of James Watt, who improved the steam engine and sparked the Industrial Revolution (Japanese Wikipedia), but there seems to be no clear evidence (English Wikipedia).

Reference URL
Robert Watson-Watt – Wikipedia