The only grievance of his being was that he couldn’t drink his hot tea with them! The story of these "wild teeth" spread and led to the telling of a tall tale of Robertson killing a bear, making the teeth, and eating the bear with its own teeth! Catalog Number UA73-009-0001

The only grievance of Robertson’s was that he couldn’t drink his hot tea with them in! The story of these “wild teeth” spread and led to the telling of a tall tale of Robertson killing a bear, making the teeth, and eating the bear with its own teeth!

Turns out, they belonged to Erwin A. “Nimrod” Robertson, an early Alaskan pioneer from Maine who settled along the Yukon near Eagle in 1898.  His reason to venture to the Klondike Gold Rush was to raise $1,000.00 to build his aluminum flying machine and start a flying business.  He used his homemade teeth, forged from an aluminum pot lid set with a mix of carved sheep, caribou, and bear teeth, for about 25 years.

Over the forty years he spent in the Eagle area, he had many occupations including placer mining, dentist, jeweler, as well as serving on the Eagle Common Council, Chief of Police, marshal, magistrate, and attorney.  Because of his inventive genius, he was an all around tinkerer, making inventions and fixing things for people.  “Nimrod”, an endearing nickname given to him, was quite the resourceful genius and the teeth were just one of his many inventions.

He made hunting blades from large wood files that were tempered by a secret processes.  It was said that these knives would trim the corrugation off a silver dollar as easily as an orange peel with a paring knife.  He was well known for his gold puzzle rings and would give it away to anyone who could take it apart and put it together again within a specified time.

This is the motor to "Nimrod's Bird Machine". “To lift, or rise, and propel itself through the air by up and down strokes of its wings as a bird. Power for moving wings to be supplied by specially designated gas engine or by specially adapted commercial gasoline engine” (According to Robertson's own description of his invention) Catalog Number UA79-004-0001

Catalog Number UA79-004-0001
“To lift, or rise, and propel itself through the air by up and down strokes of its wings as a bird. Power for moving wings to be supplied by specially designated gas engine or by specially adapted commercial gasoline engine” (Robertson’s own description of his invention)

In our collections we also have an aluminum motor that he fabricated to go along with an early airplane he engineered called “Nimrod’s Bird Machine” that he had patented in 1892 or 1894.

Another of his creations is a famous and impressively accurate 60”x 80” relief map of the Eagle area, which he constructed from newspaper, magazines, hematite and moose blood.  The map was sent to Seattle in 1909 for the Alaska-Yukon Exposition and again in 1962 for the World’s Fair.  Today it’s on display at the Eagle Historical Society & Museums.

At 81 years old, in 1940, he decided to make a prospecting trip to his placer mines at Seventy-mile, Alaska.  The weather that November quickly turned on him. Realizing he was short of provisions and would unlikely make it home, he pulled up his parka hood and lay to rest, under dripping water.  Later, his body took a week to chip out of the ice and he was buried at the Eagle Cemetery.

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      Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  (1806 - 1859)

      It's hard to believe there isn't an entry about him here yet.  The man scored #2 in a poll to select the "100 Greatest Britons".  Winston Churchill was #1.  (Although others elected to the list are modern pop culture icons, and one is even a fictional character, King Arthur.  Queen Victoria only made #18.)

      He was an architect, civil engineer, designer of bridges and tunnels that are still in use today, creator of The Great Western Railway, with its superior broad gauge (7' - 1/4") track width, and designed the steamships Great Western, Great Britain, and Great Eastern, all of which were revolutionary in their day.

      He cheated death several times during his life, but it still got him at a relatively young age.

      I feel that there should be an entire TV series devoted to his accomplishments, and maybe even a steampunk fictionalized account of his life, where he has cracking good adventures!  Heh.

      There's no way I can even begin to present more detailed information about him in this context, since there's just so much to say.

      His personal motto was "Go Forward!"  And in the CR&A universe, I have credited him with "Brunel's Theorem", which states "When in doubt, make it bigger!"  His broad gauge, and the Great Eastern are some of the inspirations for this.

      Read about him.  I doubt you'll be disappointed.

     Wilhelm Reich , an unlikely candidate.  He was born in 1897, in what is now part of the Ukraine, but was then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and is probably best known for his contributions to what is now regarded by some, like me, as the pseudo science of Freudian psychoanalysis.  But he went far beyond this area, delving into the fringes of biology, weather modification, and the foundations of life itself!

      First, let me explain why I think Reich qualifies as someone who can be seen as a steampunk type of scientist.  Despite doing all of his work in the 20th century, his approach was decidedly more in keeping with the conventions of the 19th century.  He did experiments, made observations, and formulated broad, sweeping theories based mainly on his intuition, rather than work within the boundaries that were then established.

      He claimed to have discovered what he called "bions", a sort of middle ground between life, and non-life, from which living cells could develop.  (Most people then, and now, believe that his cultures were simply contaminated with pre-existing bacteria, which seems very likely to me, but Reich dismissed this notion.)

      He came to the United States in 1939, and began to promote his most amazing, or ridiculous, depending on one's point of view, concept.  That of Orgone Energy.  Orgone energy is similar to chi, or perhaps the Star Wars concept of "The Force", in that it is created by, and exists in all living things, permeates the universe, and can effect the well being of all life.  If you were to ask Reich the age old question of "Why is the sky blue?"  he would say because the sky is full of orgone energy, and orgone energy is blue!  He once met with Albert Einstein, and demonstrated a way to observe orgone energy.  Einstein was intrigued at first, but suddenly changed his attitude, and dismissed orgone energy as metaphysical claptrap.  Why he did so remains unclear to this day.

      Reich's experiments with orgone energy led to the development of "orgone accumulators".  These were basically boxes in which a person would sit, and be bombarded with concentrated orgone radiation.  Persons who used them claimed they delivered beneficial results.  One of his customers thought it was complete nonsense, but liked the fact that his wife would sit in it for two or three hours a day, so he could get some peace and quiet!

      Reich also attempted to determine how ionizing radiation would affect orgone energy.  The result was was a wholly detrimental result which he called DOR; Deadly Orgone Radiation!  Supposedly, dark clouds of DOR hovered over his compound, and were making people sick!  In order to disperse them, he developed a device he called a "Cloud Buster".  This was a number of metal cylinders, aimed at the clouds, tied together at the bottom with a metal cable, which was then "grounded" in a body of water.  Reich claimed it was totally effective!  He also claimed it could be used on any types of clouds to disperse them, or aimed at a clear sky to form clouds, and make rain!

      I have seen a documentary which shows a man hired as a "rainmaker" who uses a modified cloudbuster to end a drought.  He failed.  But it did rain in a neighboring county, which is completely in keeping with Reich's descriptions of how the device can work.

      Reich was sent to prison for selling orgone accumulators by the Food and Drug Administration, and died there in 1957, of heart failure.  His will stipulated that all his records, and other papers be sealed away for 50 years after his death.  They are available now, but I haven't found any books written that include this information at this time.  I have read three books about him, which form the basis for this article.

      OK, here's my article on Wilhelm Reich, restored to visibility.  Hopefully it will stay that way.

      Oh, an interesting observation I read in one of the books on Reich said that, based on their approaches, beliefs, and general attitudes, Freud and Reich should have exchanged names.  In German, Freud means joy, and Reich means empire.  (OK, apparently the German word for joy is supposed to be spelled "freude", but still...)

      Here's a fairly interesting, and informative documentary about Wilhelm Reich -

      Unfortunately, there are no onscreen credits, or any other indication of who made it, or when.  It ends with a fairly long audio recording, made by Reich himself, the inclusion of which makes me wonder if the film was made after 2007, when Reich's sealed "legacy" became available.  I'd say that the film is definitely pro-Reich, but I think I'll stop there, and let anyone who chooses to view it form their own opinions without any commentary from me.

      There is also a 2013 film called "The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich", but I can't find an English language version available online.  Anyone who understands German, or can read Spanish subtitles (my Spanish isn't good enough for that), may wish to view it.  (Oh, there's also a Russian version, employing what I've gathered is the somewhat standard technique of someone speaking Russian over the movie dialog.)

      The reviews of the film I've read are conflicting.  One characterizes it as Reichian propaganda, another seems to BE Reichian propaganda, and the other seems more concerned with the film's cinematic virtues.  I guess I'm just pointing this out as general information.  Even now, more than 40 years after I first heard of him, finding any concrete, unbiased information about Reich and his work is still a challenging pursuit.

Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) was an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Anning's findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

Anning searched for fossils in the area's Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly before they were lost to the sea. Her discoveries included the first correctly identified ichthyosaur skeleton; the first two nearly complete plesiosaur skeletons; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and fish fossils. Her observations played a key role in the discovery that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces, and she also discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods.

As a Dissenter and a woman, Anning was not able to fully participate in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain, who were mostly Anglican gentlemen, and she struggled financially for much of her life. As a woman, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. However her friend, geologist Henry De la Beche, painted Duria Antiquior, the first widely circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, based it largely on fossils Anning had found, and sold prints of it for her benefit.

Anning became well known in geological circles in Britain, Europe, and America, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils, but the only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter that Anning had written to the magazine's editor questioning one of its claims.

After her death in 1847, Anning's unusual life story attracted increasing interest. Charles Dickens wrote an article about Anning's life in February 1865 in his literary magazine All the Year Round.

In 2010 the Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.

It has been claimed that Anning's story was the inspiration for the tongue-twister "She sells seashells on the seashore", but there is no evidence for this.

Portrait of a woman in bonnet and long dress holding rock hammer, pointing at fossil next to a spaniel dog lying on ground.

Photo of cast of skeleton of creature with long curved neck, and paddles

      Oliver Wendell Holmes Senior  (1809 - 1894)

      Physician, poet/author, inventor, and father of Oliver Wendell Holmes, junior (U.S. Supreme Court justice).

      He's remembered for all of the above, but few people seem to realize he was connected to them all.

      He studied medicine in France, and helped to introduce the stethoscope to the United States.  He coined the word "anesthesia", and was an early proponent of the germ theory of disease, especially with regard to puerperal fever (also called childbed fever), an illness that affected women who had recently given birth, and was very often fatal.  Holmes believed that doctors and midwives were a major vector of this disease, and that the practice of washing one's hands, and instruments, could greatly reduce its occurrence.  He went to great lengths to promote his belief, and was eventually proved correct.

      As a poet, he wrote "Old Ironsides", which was published in 1830 and was influential in the eventual preservation of the USS Constitution.  He continued to write poems, and prose works throughout his life, as well as medical articles.

      In 1860, he invented the American Stereoscope, a device for viewing three dimensional images.  Holmes believed there was nothing new in his invention, aside from its simplicity, and did not patent it.


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