Oh man I can't wait!
One of the very best things about Burning Man, the week-long, post-apocalyptic celebration of creative expression that pops up in the Nevada desert each August, is the awe-inspiring collection of art on display.
The installations and the “art cars” roaming through the two-mile stretch of temporary city render humanity’s capacity for imagination limitless. Where else in the universe would a giant, fire-breathing steampunk octopus glide past a 55-foot tall, LED-powered homage to the female form?
The Huffington Post was lucky enough to preview a handful of the projects that will be on hand at this year’s event, which kicks off in mere weeks and is built around the theme “caravansary.” As artists scramble to put the finishing touches on their brainchildren and raise the final funds to bring their weirdest dreams to life, we’ve rounded up what will undoubtedly be some of the most influential works of Burning Man 2014.
From a giant, glowing vagina to a collection of mechanical lotus flowers that light up to the rhythm of your heartbeat, take a look at some of the bizarre creations that will grace the world's dustiest canvas this year (Grover Norquist not included):
Though enormous in scale, the piece is simple -- a 72-foot sculpture of two figures embracing. But creator Matt Schultz hopes his work will convey a deeper message to onlookers, one that was inspired by the loss he felt when his stepfather passed away two years ago. “Embrace is a reminder to take the time out of your busy life to spend time with those that you love,” he told HuffPost. “We hope that people will think of all of the relationships in their lives, past present and future, and consider what has made them so important.”
The Super Pool
The Super Pool is a bigger and more badass version of the legendary Burning Man installation The Pool. For this new and improved iteration, sculptor Jen Lewin has created a 5,000 square foot immersive LED playground where participants can interact with circular pads of light through their own unique movements. “Imagine a giant canvas where you can paint and splash light collaboratively,” Lewin told HuffPost in a statement.
Bryan Tedrick’s climbable psychedelic totem pole first debuted at Burning Man in 2010, and he’s reprising it this year. “This lighthouse of the desert draws people to it and naturally becomes a point to gather and meet,” he explained, adding that the trip to the top is not for the weak of mind or body. “The climb can be arduous, a gritty challenge progressing from the coarse to fine, from the earth to the sky, from the physical to the spirit.”
Wheel of Fortune
The all-female designed and produced installation features a massive spinning wheel emblazoned with tarot card designs, a gazebo area where spectators can relax and, of course, a chandelier made of fire. And it’s all powered by solar energy, to boot. “It’s made of salvaged and reclaimed materials and will also act as a large compass, a place for personal reflection, card readings, high teas, and insight,” project designer Jill Sutherland told HuffPost in a statement.
Who’s more fit to build a behemoth tribute to the female anatomy than a group called the Clitterati? The 18-foot tall, LED-lit vagina will also feature video projections of feminine forms and sensory fabrics called the “erogenous zone.” “We’re delighted when the name makes someone uncomfortable,” the Vulvatron’s lead designer, Rebecca Frisch, told HuffPost in a statement. “We’re using this opportunity to engage in conversation, and we’re eager to help each other explore our triggers and push social boundaries imposed by our culture.”
Pulse and Bloom
An entirely interactive experience, Pulse and Bloom is made up of 25 mechanical lotus flowers. When participants touch the flowers, they light up to the specific rhythms of their heartbeats. “We want to use technology to make our inner invisible worlds more visible,” artist Saba Ghole told HuffPost.
Lost Tea Party
More art caravan than art car, the Lost Tea Party will traverse the playa as a train of enormous teapots breathing real steam. Revelers are encouraged to climb aboard and will be guided by “bedouin tea-pod pullers dressed in traditional desert garb.” According to the artist Wreckage, who’s spearheading the project with the Mutoid Waste art collective, the piece looks like the unlikely union of Alice in Wonderland meets Lawrence of Arabia.
The Wheels of Zoroaster
This year’s Wheels is the sixth iteration of a series of human-powered spinning fire wheels that artist Anton Viditz-Ward told HuffPost are inspired by watching Burning Man’s legendary fire dancers.
Viewers are encouraged to interact with artist Jessika Welz’s churning, 50-foot replica of our planets revolving around the sun. “We’ll provide the opportunity to experience our solar system’s beauty and power with all five of your senses,” Ashley Ortega, who volunteers on the team creating the piece, told HuffPost. “At night, each planet will glow from within.”
First time Burning Man artist Dan Benedict, who hopes to keep the aesthetics of his piece a surprise until it debuts, describes the project as “a large ring of red parasols that pass through a human figure while closed. As the parasols exit the figure and rise they open, blossom toward the apex and close again on their way down.” He added that, as a former member of the Mormon church, he often turns to his art as a means of connecting with others.
Return of the Racken
“We are the only art installation you’re supposed to lock your bike to,” artist Tyler Fuqua told HuffPost of his octopus-shaped creation, which first made an appearance at last year’s Burn and has since been updated with new tentacle sections. “I mean, who will forget they locked their bike to a giant octopus?”
Charles Gadeken’s 50-foot-tall tree, made entirely of LED-lit cubes attached to square steel tubing, “reflects the universe of complexity, mystery, and serendipity that defines our journey through time and our emergence into the future age,” he told HuffPost in a statement. “The tree provides shade during the day and a magical light show when from dusk till dawn.”
Tree of (Im)permanence
The Tree of (Im)permanence rises from a tiny toy piano that, when it’s played, activates tubular bell chimes that form its branches. At night, the branches light up as their note is played, and creator Nick Geurts hopes individuals will lead yoga and meditation sessions beneath it. “This is meant to be not only an auditory experience but a journey of self-discovery,” he told HuffPost.
The Last Outpost
A house that will haunt the darkest corners of your psyche, the Last Outpost is an “immersive experience” that tells the story of a group of Burning Man volunteers who mysteriously disappear. “I love slow, psychological, horror and science fiction and fantasy, and this installation is pretty much like building a set for an insidiously scary play that no one has written yet,” artist Shing Yin Khor told Huffpost. “I hope that people will wander through this house, and spend some time unraveling the mystery within it.”
Hayam Sun Temple
Designer Josh Haywood drew his inspiration from the Moorish buildings he studied as a graduate student of architecture. He hopes his “tiny palace named for love” will serve as a physical and spiritual retreat for passersby. “The structure provides a refuge from the heat of the sun and an intimate spiritual place for people to gather and rest,” he told HuffPost. “During the night the four pillars illuminate like a giant lantern.”
Kind of leaves the robots out in the cold, don't it.
Wow! I can't what to see Big Man in person. The Man has always been 40' tall, this guy is 120' tall when the arms go up as the burn starts.
Well, now, that’s a Man. A mighty tall man. The names are pouring in – Tin Man, Skinny Jeans Man, Clown Man. You can make up your own. But there’s no getting around one thing: this Man is huge. It took a huge crane to get the huge man assembled. It arrived from Reno on Tuesday morning, and by 8 am it was out at the Man Base, along with a hundred or so onlookers plus workers from various crews of an equal number. There were to be two big lifts – first the Man’s legs would be lifted to an upright position, then his torso would be placed on top of them. We’d only get one try, though – the cranes on site are too small for the job, and this was the only day that the big crane was available. If things didn’t go right, we’d still have a giant Man, but he’d be Reclining Man. Not quite the same. The day broke clear, but very windy. Wind is not a good thing when you are lifting very large objects into the sky. The crane operator, Leonard, was asked what he thought. “No problem,” he said. Cheers all around. Back in the heart of the city, Booya suggested closing down the heavily used 5:30 road, to keep the dust down. Brilliant.
Brandon, the lead rigger in Black Rock City, called together a team of Heavy Equipment and Man Base workers and assigned them to the four guide wires. Then he explained the process of transferring the load from the guide wires to the wires anchored to the ground. The plan was to stabilize the legs, then have Metal Shop Heather weld the base. Heather is the hot-shot welder in Black Rock City, always the person who is called when something special needs to be done. We only know a little bit about welding, but we know enough to know that she lays down a mighty fine bead. But anyone can do that with a little practice. Her skills transcend the ordinary. We’ve watched surreptitiously when she has finished some complex task, because she doesn’t like to be watched when she works. But when she finishes, she pulls away from the weld and tosses her torch back sharply, like she’s just jumped off her horse and finished tying her hog at the rodeo. She’ll also be the person who does the welding in the Man’s middle, and in his neck when the head is attached. Of course she’ll have to be wearing a harness, because she’ll be working way up in the air, but in her case that has presented special problems: One, it has to be a welder’s harness, because it has to be fireproof, and two, welders are often rather big guys, and she’s kinda tiny. It’s not easy to find a welder’s harness that could do the job for her, but eventually a suitably small rig was found.
Anyway, after the Man’s legs were upright and secure, then the crew would move to the torso, get it up in the air, guide the 20×20-foot spine into the legs, then buckle down the support wires again. “The limiting factor in how quickly this will go is how fast we can do this,” Brandon said to the people gathered around him, their multicolored hard-hats nodding in understanding and agreement. There was one task left before the lifting could begin: the Man needed a lube job. Bacon fat was rubbed all over the top of his femurs, to make it easier for the spine to slide in. And then the big leg lift began, and it was almost astonishingly easy how quickly the legs went up. In contrast to last Friday morning, when a smaller crane seemed to strain under the load, eventually hitting 92 percent of its capacity, this time there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation as the legs neared vertical. Although there were people manning the guide wires, most of the stabilizing work was being done by Pope Phabulous in his Hyster, which had also been attached to the legs. As the legs neared vertical, there was an unmistakable wobble back and forth as the weight shifted. “He was twerking!” Layna said. Then the Man stopped moving, and a cheer went up all around. Done! If nothing else, at least we’d have Leggy Man.
As the cables were being attached and tightened to the anchor buckles on the ground, Joe the Builder was underneath the giant legs, trying to make sure the Man was standing upright. He was using a six-foot level, which looked ridiculously tiny in context. A plumb bob would have been no good, because the wind was still blowing steadily. But no matter. “We use the tools we have,” Brandon said. Finally the cables were set, and Pope could climb out of his Hyster cab. “Want to feel my left foot?” he asked. “It’s still shaking.” The simplicity of the task, and the Man himself, for that matter, was both beautiful and terrifying. He’s held together with giant bolts and, as they have come to be known, Joe the Builder’s giant nuts. The legs are secured to the ground by four cables. Yes, those cables were made of thick metal strands, probably half an inch or so thick, but still: four stinking cables holding up two enormous legs weighing tens of thousands of pounds each.
“There’s a balancing point between ambition and failure,” Andrew Johnstone said to us, “but I think we’ve got the right people to stay on the right side of it.” Pirate took Gary and Playground up in a boom lift, and they helped get the legs ready to receive the torso. On the ground, Brandon had another briefing with the people working the guide wires. The tension was building for everyone, it seemed, except for Leonard, the crane operator. He sat in his cab, legs crossed casually, arms behind his head. It was apparently a walk in the park for him. We asked him later if he had ever been to Burning Man, and in fact he had. He did the big dome lift for Kiwi’s Temple of Transition in 2011. “Burning Man is cool,” he said. “I came back that Friday to check it out.” Then it was time to lift again. The spine of the torso had been sitting securely in the ground, but they had to lift it out of its hole and then, while it was suspended, slice the corners of the ends so that it would slide more easily into the pelvis. Also, Layna slathered more bacon grease on the spine. As you know, you can never have too much bacon at Burning Man. The Man Krewe had already placed the Man’s heart inside the torso. The Man has always had a heart, and this year will be no different. It’s an intricately worked wooden sculpture, usually signed by all the people working on the Man project. Usually, if you know where to look, you can see it because it is highlighted with neon. But not this year, though: the Man’s outer cladding will shield it from view. But don’t you worry – the Man has a heart. The engine of the crane grumbled slightly louder, and just like that, smooth and easy, the torso began to rise in the air. Easy peasy. The torso was flown over into the legs, and the protruding wood was guided into place 50 feet in the air by Bruiser and Joe the Builder. There was an incredibly loud grinding sound as the wooden spine slid into the wooden pelvis. “I couldn’t hear myself think,” Bruiser said later. “I’m yelling, ‘Stop! Stop!’ and I couldn’t even hear myself.’”
Little by little, through the grinding noise, the spine slipped into place. Bruiser and Joe were being encapsulated by the descending torso, but they seemed almost too busy to notice as the poked and prodded, persuading the spine into place. Once again the ground crew went into action, transferring the weight from the guide wires to the ground anchors, and the big lifts were done. We’ll have a standing Man, a giant standing Man, after all. “We’re gonna live inside there for the next couple of days,” Layna said afterward. She and Goatt and Cory and all the others will attach the torso to the legs securely. They’ll drill holes through the giant pieces of wood and push enormous bolts through, attaching them with, yes, once again, Joe’s giant nuts. “This is so surreal,” Crimson Rose said as she watched it all unfolding, and indeed it was. There were dark clouds moving in now, and the radio said people were seeing lighting at the work ranch, and the dust was kicking up. So here we were, standing under a giant Man, who was perched under a giant crane, as a lightning storm approached. “(The crane) is the tallest thing in 50 miles,” Leonard the crane operator said. So everyone scrambled down and huddled underneath the shade structure at the Man Base. The big crowds were long gone, Sarah was coiling up the cables, and it was time to bid Leonard and his crane farewell. We love you Leonard, but you’re paid handsomely by the hour, and it’s time for you to go. The squall missed us. The crews went back up in the boom lifts and went back to work. Tomorrow they’ll continue to secure the connection between the torso and the pelvis, and eventually they’ll put the final cladding on, which will close up the open middle and extend down below the waist. Oh and also tomorrow? They’ll put on the big Man’s head.
Image description: On Saturday, the Navy christened a new research ship the “Sally Ride” after the first U.S. woman and youngest person in space. It is the fifth current ship named for an astronaut.
Photo from the U.S. Navy
the person doing the christening is dr. tam o’shaughnessy, ride’s partner of 27 yrs. sally ride was not just the first woman and youngest person in space: she was also the first lesbian in space - likely, the first lgbtq person in space.
I know we shared this before but finding out that this ship was christened by Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy was something that required re-sharing.
Damn, that's an excellent price! I'll bet it does close to 20MPG too.
Printing playa gifts over Skype while I work. When a print is done I let it cool and nudge it off the glass with the nozzle and start a new print.
Ride the lightning Ben! Ride it!
My right hand has been hurting for a couple of months when I type so I've been playing with the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking. It is pretty amazingly accurate and fast. However, I think it's going to take some mental training before I am able to speak as fluidly as I write.
Can you tell the below was dictated rather than typed?
My family and I are headed to Burning Man this year.
I have been twice in the past and have always stayed in a tent. I was reasonably comfortable, however sleeping late was problematic. As soon as the sun rose over the RV I had pitched my tent next to, it simply got too hot to continue sleeping.
So this year I built a Hexayurt to stay in. The Hexayurt is a structure originally developed for disaster response. It's a hexagonal hut built out of foam insulating panels and super strong bi-filament fiberglass reinforced tape. The particular design I chose is made from 12 4' x 8' panels. Six of the panels are cut diagonally and connected together to form six triangles. These triangles become the roof. The other six panels are laid on their side and set out in a hexagon and make the walls of the Hexayurt. The foil surface of the panels and their insulating qualities make this an ideal structure for desert camping.
I won't go into too much detail concerning the construction of my Hexayurt. If you are interested, you should go to Hexayurt.com the repository for all such information
My Hexayurt will be shipped to the playa on the Boston burning truck. We'll be flying in at the beginning of the event and taking the bus from Reno to Black Rock city. However, the Burner Express stop where we'll arrive is about half a mile from the place where the Hexayurt will be deposited. Keep on reading to see how I'll deal with that situation.
I began with polyisocyanurate insulation panels from Lowe's. Unfortunately, the panels from Lowe's come with logos on both sides. I cut them so that the silver side would be on the outside, I edged all of the cut panels with aluminum insulating tape. I used the Camp Danger method to create flexible hinges so that most of the Hexayurt can be pre-taped and folded flat for shipment. Once on the Playa the two halves of the base and the two halves of the roof are taped together and then taped to each other. It should only take about half an hour to erect the Hexayurt once we get to camp.
Once I assembled the panels into the roof and wall shapes, I painted them with a coat of Killz primer and a finish layer of white exterior latex paint to hide the logos.
The bottom of the Hexayurt is taped to a tarp to keep dust out.
I also cut a door, and two circular windows.
The windows are glazed with acrylic sheet, and I added two layers of "space blanket" to help keep the heat of the sun out.
The Windows flip up to open, and are sealed with foam rubber weatherstripping. The weatherstripping is compressed and the windows are held closed by neodymium magnets.
The door frame is reinforced with suspended ceiling angle trim.
The door is made from the cutout section of foam panel and acrylic sheet. A screen door hinge was cut down to serve. Assembly was accomplished with silicone seal and pop rivets.
The latch and door handles for the door were 3-D printed on my RepRap Prusa Mendel. They were sized to fit a carbon fiber arrow shaft. STL files for the handles and latches are available on Thingiverse.
Here's a picture of the completed door. Also note the rebar stake and the rope halo which will hold the Hexayurt down in windy conditions.
An interior shot of the Hexayurt. As you can see, it is quite roomy.
After painting the exterior white, the Hexayurt looked a bit plain. So I cut a template from an extra piece of insulation board.
I then used this as a stencil with spray paint to decorate the Hexayurt.
To get the Hexayurt and all of our gear from the place where it will be deposited on the Playa by the Boston Burning Truck, I built a bicycle trailer using bed-frame angle iron. The trailer uses the two front wheels of the other bikes that we will be bringing. The trailer bed is welded together, the rest of it is bolted with quarter-inch hardware.
Once we get to our camp, the bike trailer converts into a table frame. The top of the table will be formed by the box we ship the Hexayurt in.
The Hexayurt shipping box is built from 1/4 inch luan plywood.
The collapsed Hexayurt fits into a space 4' x 8' x 13" deep.
The plywood protects the Hexayurt during shipping.
The frame for the bike trailer fits around the edge of the Hexayurt crate. It takes up almost no extra space, and protects the corners of the Hexayurt from damage in shipping.
Stay tuned for details on how the Hexayurt performed on the Playa. Also you may want to check out my post on building a swamp cooler to keep the Hexayurt cool during the day at Burning Man.
Finally finishing the kickstarter reward for Nathan's *last* album.
OMG so many layers!
I have done this.
The dual-rack PDP-11/34 is on static display at my office, so I’ve written a quick guide on booting RT-11 and getting Colossal Cave Adventure compiled from FORTRAN sources.
Finding work mind numbingly dull lately. But there is a difference between given no fucks and apathy so I'm attempting to inject weird into things in the form of a personal Time Management System.
An auspicious card to draw for my first attempt at a corporate time management program that includes magic and whimsy. The inevitable seminar series will be called: “Fuck you, I am a Wizard.”
"My Paperback Sharona," a mashup of The Knack and The Beatles, by Go Home Productions. (via Laughing Squid)
I am not a fan of air conditioning, I would totally back a New Open Air Movement, especially if it began with a window that would open in my office at work.
Engineer Guy Bill Hammack tells the fascinating tale of how an early 20th century health phenomenon known as the “open air movement” attempted to block the rise of school and home air conditioning over health concerns.
Many hygienists at the turn of the 19th century believed indoor air unhealthy because of respiration. The pictured large crowds of people spewing out toxic carbon dioxide. So they opposed air conditioning, claiming it was something for a factory, not for the home.
#2 is from the Dean Gray American Edit album and a favorite. So far I'm enjoying to others too!
Mashup demigod djBC writes, "Pimpdaddysupreme (Mashville), myself and Jabulani (Bootie Boston) will be spinning the opening night rave at Dragon Con this year.Read the rest
The Gay Metropolis, page 47, Charles Kaiser (via bibliothekara)
Phelps tells this story herself in the excellent 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube (she’s at 19:30, but really, watch the whole thing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX7AxQd82H8
I made a copper plaque for Annie to take to Burning Man and place in the Temple of Grace.
She was not a fan of Burning Man, but she did love to watch churches burn, so I think she'll be OK with it. <3 \m/
What would have once sounded like a “far-fetched feminist fantasy” – women forming the majority of a parliament – is a reality in Rwanda.
In fact, women are making gains throughout Africa, but these achievements have been met with a loud silence from the western feminist movement.
this fuckin rules
Interesting that most dogs were like "sausage!" but couple were all "What the fuck! NO!"
Jose Ahonen, the Finnish magician about whom we’ve previously written, performs a magic trick in which he levitates a sausage weiner in front a variety of absolutely adorable dogs, just to see how they’ll react. While some of the dogs weren’t exactly sure as to what what happening, it was all in fun and, as Jose says, “everyone got to eat the weiner in the end!”
For those who don’t know, Burning Man is a week-long festival in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event attracts a wide range of creative people from all over the world.
This year, [Jake] is going to bring his homemade evaporative ‘swamp cooler’ to help battle the heat. His design uses a medium-sized shipping container with two large holes cut out of it and two 200mm PC cooling fans embedded into the plastic. The fans blow air from the outside into the bin. Humidifier filters sourced from a local dump are inserted into the middle of the container. The filters acts as an absorbent material to hold melt-water being pumped in from another cooler chest above.
A 30 watt solar panel provides enough power to keep the swamp cooler going while giving enough juice to energize decorative LED interior lights along with some backup batteries for phones and cameras. [Jake]‘s system contains a re-purposed A/C computer load center for the solar system. He plans to take temperature and humidity readings at the Burn, bringing back the data from the desert to share with the world.
[Jake] does warn about mold with this system though, but one of the advantages with the filters he chose is that they are pretreated with biocidal compounds. This should help to reduce the chance of mold growth. High humidity conditions are also a disadvantage with this type of cooler, but this is a non-issue in the extremely dry desert of The Playa.
If you plan to go to Burning Man, tell about your energy/cooling preparations. Will you be bringing a system similar to this? If so, let us know.
Custom 1960 Cadillac Hearse - the 8,000 lb. Thundertaker by Bryan Fuller
There is a gorgeous maroon one of these with a huge-ass vintage winch on the front I see each morning when I bicycle to work. I covet it.
Willys’ pickup trucks made their debut (in two- and four-wheel-drive configurations) in May of 1947, though the two-wheel-drive pickups were dropped after 1951. The blunt front end, accented with slats flanked by round headlamps and a set of flat front fenders, instantly identified the Willys pickup as a cousin of the CJ, while the boxy all-steel cab shared its lines with the wagon.
At the outset, the truck was powered by the Go-Devil four-cylinder L-head engine. Though dead reliable, at 60hp and with 105-lbs.ft. of torque, the Go-Devil engine wasn’t doing much serious hauling and towing without the aid of deep gears. So, Willys outfitted its pickups with a stump pulling 5.38:1 final drive as standard, with 6.17:1 optional. (Taller gearsets were used with more powerful engines in later trucks.)
The only available transmission throughout the production run was a three-speed Warner T-90. Initially, the trucks used a Timken rear axle that was later changed to a Spicer 53. A Spicer 25 front axle was used throughout the truck’s production run, with some changes in steering knuckle design through the years. Spicer transfer cases were also used.
In mid-1950, the truck’s flat grille was traded in for a more aggressive-looking V-design, seen on this 1950 Willys 473 4WD pickup, for sale on Hemmings.com. At the same time, the Go-Devil engine was replaced with the F-head Hurricane. Though still a 134.2-cu.in. four-cylinder, the overhead-valve Hurricane had a 6.9:1 compression ratio and was rated at 75hp with 114-lbs.ft. of torque.
In 1954, the 226.2 cubic inch Super Hurricane straight-six engine was made available in pickups and wagons, offering a substantial improvement in horsepower and torque over the four-cylinder, with a rating of 115hp and 190-lbs.ft.
In 1957, 12-volt electrical systems were implemented, and in 1959, decorative chrome trim was added to the hood and doors of these otherwise plain trucks. Midway through the 1962 production year, the L-head six-cylinder engine was dropped in favor of the 230 overhead-cam Tornado straight-six.
Production of the Willys truck finally halted in 1964, but the series soldiered on through the 1965 model year. These simple little pickups are popular with Jeep enthusiasts today and seem to draw crowds of truck lovers of all stripes wherever they go. This great looking truck, for sale in Hemmings Motor News and on Hemmings.com, appears ready for anything you could throw at it, on road or off. From the seller’s description:
1950 Willys 473-4WD pickup- Excellent condition and close to original. F-134 Hurricane I-4 (75HP) engine improved with hardened valve seats for unleaded gas, electric fuel pump and ignition booster. Summertime driver -on weekends, for cruising, yard work and parades. Stored in winters. Well maintained and annually Maine State Inspected. Interesting trades considered.
Find more Willys for sale on Hemmings.com.
Biked home by a new route and found this. It’s given me an idea for a project. Just ordered a bunch of used copies of Marilyn French’s “Beyond Power” to seed with. Up the revolution!
Ask anyone who owns a tiny house trailer or an RV or a house on wheels and they can probably tell you exactly when they became enamored with the idea of taking their home wherever they went. For me it was an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. I have since found out its title: Mickey’s Trailer (1938). In fact, before you read any further I encourage you to watch ‘ol Mickey and his friends scoot around a mountain in their wonderfully streamlined camper that has everything from a bathtub to a fully stocked kitchen! While you’re watching check out 1:18 where Goofy is toting the camper with its awnings fully extended. I love that. Nothing like road safety! All that to say almost every person remember the time they became fascinated with homes-on-the-go and since automobiles first gained popularity and became a familiar site on the road (between 1906 and 1913) there became a desire to figure out how to build a house on axles and take it with you. In fact, although the modern touring car had been invented some years earlier, it wasn’t until Panhard et Levassor’s Systéme Panhard was widely license and adopted that recognizable and standardized automobiles were created. This same Panhard specified front-engined, rear-wheel drive, internal combustion engine cars with sliding gear transmissions. Coach vehicles and buckboards were tossed aside and tonneau-covered touring cars took the roads en masse!
During the 1920s Ford ruled the road and it is said that well over 2,000 after market products and accessories could be purchased for them. The Lamsteed Kampkar body was one of those products.
Engineered by Samuel Lambert of the Lambert Pharmaceutical Company (makers of Listerine) the primary reason for its invention was because Lambert himself loved the outdoors and felt like suitable transportation would increase the fun! The dimensions of the Kampkar body were developed so they would match those of the standard Ford chassis and according to ads of the day it only took hours to attach one. What a marvel. The 1921 Kampkar would comfortably seat six adults, provide sleeping accommodations for four, as well as hold blankets, clothing and even food. The Kampkar also had a folding table, a two-burner stove, an eight-gallon water supply, and a camping set in its trunk (consisted of cooking and eating utensils). Best of all? It sold for just $535.
The Kampkar and similar modifications as well as the emerging social status of camping spawned further exploration into this new medium of housing. Take for instance Roland and Mary Conklin of Huntington, N.Y. whose bus factory built their house-car in the summer of 1915. One of the first custom made “house-cars”, the Gypsy Van (as it was affectionately called), was a 25-foot motor coach built by Conklin’s American Motor Bus Company. It weighed roughly eight tons and was powered by a six-cylinder engine that produced only 60 horsepower. It also used nine forward gears and three reverse gears. Together with their children, a driver, and a butler, Roland and Mary traveled round-trip from New York to San Fran in 1915 on dirt roads, wagon paths, and all other passes that pre-dated modern Interstates.
The early models were still campers at best and served a leisurely purpose more than a permanent one. While they were truly part of tiny house history they had yet to display the features that make them a solid, early predecessor of the tiny house trailer. The idea was catching on though. By 1922 a German construct aptly named Ein fahrbares Landhaus took to the open roads of Europe. Thought little is known about it it clearly shows that the house was more important than the automobile and the tiny house transition began.
Germany 1922: A wheeled country house for a whole family is shown. The caravan consists of living room, three bedrooms and the kitchen.
With its use of wooden siding, windows boxes, raised pitch roof, and even trailer addition, the LandHaus was the ultimate in camp car and tiny house trailer!
The trail more or less runs dry there as America became plagued by events that would overshadow frivolous fun and exploration. From the stock market crash to World War II to the Vietnam years the tiny house – in either house-car or trailer form – faded from the limelight. The 1950s saw a rise in interest in house trailers but only for recreational reasons as soldiers returning from the war were anxious to work hard and play hard. In the 1960s the travel trailer industry seemed to split, creating the RV industry and the motorhome industry. Coupled with the addition of new materials such as fiberglass and plastic the wooden house-car became a thing of the past.
This isn’t to say they didn’t reserve their space in tiny house history though as without them we would have little understanding of how mobility meets domesticity. How does a car marry a house and what will their babies look like? One can only assume that if you build a house, make it mobile by putting it on wheels the end result is…well, (to be continued…)
The Late Show gets a Tivo Season Pass for the first time in a decade when Stephen takes over next year.
Sex with the rain is actually pretty great.
Fuck you for getting to me advertizing people.
When we looked recently at the best/worst uses of the personalized #ShareACoke bottles, many of them were angry, bitter or weird. (My favorite was the Nativity scene that showed up on Reddit).
But here's a new addition that's none of those things. It's uncomplicated, fun and—particularly in its surprise ending—quite adorable indeed. Kudos to Patrick and Whitney McGillicuddy for making a great little film ... and for becoming Coke's new favorite amateur brand ambassadors.
We can't spoil this one. Watch it for yourself: