FYI August 29, 2018


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On This Day

1869 – The Mount Washington Cog Railway opens, making it the world’s first mountain-climbing rack railway.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway, also known as the Cog, is the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway (rack-and-pinion railway). The railway is still in operation, climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA. It uses a Marsh rack system and one or two steam locomotives and six biodiesel powered locomotives to carry tourists to the top of the mountain. Its track is built to 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm) gauge, which is technically a narrow gauge, as it is a ​1⁄2-inch (12.7 mm) less than 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge.

It is the second steepest rack railway in the world after the Pilatus Railway in Switzerland,[2] with an average grade of over 25% and a maximum grade of 37.41%. The railway is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long and ascends Mount Washington’s western slope, beginning at an elevation of approximately 2,700 feet (820 m) above sea level and ending just short of the mountain’s summit peak of 6,288 feet (1,917 m). The train ascends the mountain at 2.8 miles per hour (4.5 km/h) and descends at 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h). It takes approximately 65 minutes to ascend and 40 minutes to descend, although the diesel engine can go up in as little as 37 minutes.

Most of the Mount Washington Cog Railway is in Thompson and Meserve’s Purchase, with the part of the railway nearest to Mount Washington’s summit being in Sargent’s Purchase.



Born On This Day

1920 – Otis Boykin, American inventor and engineer (d. 1982)
Otis Frank Boykin (August 29, 1920, Dallas, Texas – March 13, 1982, Chicago, Illinois) was an African-American inventor and engineer.[1][2]

Otis Boykin was born in 1920 in Dallas, Texas. His mother was a maid, who died of heart failure when Otis was a year old. This inspired him to make the pacemaker.[3] His father Walter was a carpenter, who later became a minister.

Boykin attended Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, where he was the valedictorian, graduating in 1938.[4] He attended Fisk University on a scholarship and worked as a laboratory assistant at the university’s nearby aerospace laboratory. He then moved to Chicago, where he studied at Illinois Institute of Technology[5] but dropped out after two years; some sources say it was because he could not afford his tuition, but he later stated[6] that he left for an employment opportunity and did not have time to return to finish his degree. He was discovered and mentored by Dr. Denton Deere, an engineer and inventor with his own laboratory.

He graduated from Fisk University in 1941 and got a job as a laboratory assistant, testing automatic aircraft controls. In 1944, he moved on to work for the P.J. Nilsen Research Labs in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, he started his own company, Boykin-Fruth Inc. The firm Boykin-Fruth, Inc., would collaborate on a number of projects. [7]

Boykin patented 28 electronic devices. One of his early inventions was an improved wire resistor, which had reduced inductance and reactance, due to the physical arrangement of the wire.[8] Other notable inventions include a variable resistor used in guided missiles .[9]

Boykin’s most famous invention was likely a control unit for the artificial cardiac pacemaker.[10] The device essentially uses electrical impulses to maintain a regular heartbeat.

Boykin died of heart failure in Chicago of 1982.[2]




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