Archive for December 26th, 2014

December 26, 2014

Yank Tank

Yank Tank

Yank tank (or máquina) is a slang term referring to American cars, especially large models produced in the 1950s and 1960s common in Cuba today. In 1962 a US embargo against Cuba was introduced, effectively cutting trade between the two countries. This meant that the cars in Cuba could no longer receive new replacement parts when something broke. Currently, the only way to keep these cars on the road today is by using Cuban ingenuity to adapt household products and Soviet technology (such as train parts) for use in these vehicles.

If a car is unable to be repaired at the time, it is usually either ‘parked’ for future repair or ‘parted out’ (to produce extra income for the owner’s family) so that other cars can remain on the road. During the years of Soviet Union influence on Cuba, Ladas, Moskvitchs, and Volgas became the main cars imported by the communist regime, mainly for state use. As a result of these internal economic restrictions, to this day there is no such thing as a new or used private European or Asian automotive dealership branch in Cuba for independent purchasing by regular Cubans.

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December 26, 2014

Fenton Art Glass Company

fenton

The Fenton Art Glass Company was founded in 1905 by brothers Frank L. Fenton and John W. Fenton in an old glass factory in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Originally, they painted glass blanks from other glass makers, but started making their own glass when they moved across the Ohio river to Williamstown, West Virginia, and built a factory in 1906. The first year for glass production was 1907. Frank Fenton was the designer and decorator. From 1905 to 1920, the designs made there were heavily influenced by two other glass companies: Tiffany and Steuben. But the many different colors were the work of Jacob Rosenthal, a famous glass chemist who is known for developing chocolate and golden agate glass. Towards the end of 1907, the Fenton brothers were the first to introduce carnival glass (metallic or iridescent glass), which later became a popular collector’s item.

During the Great Depression and World War II, Fenton produced practical items (such as mixing bowls and tableware) due to shortages. At the same time, they continued creating new colors. Towards the end of the Great Depression they also produced perfume bottles for the Wrisley Company in 1938. The bottles were made in French opalescent glass with the hobnail pattern (similar to the studs on the sole of a hiking boot). In 1939, Fenton started selling Hobnail items in milk glass (opaque or translucent glass, often in white). Hobnail milk glass would become the top-selling line and allowed the Fenton company to expand.

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