Here's some advice on how to avoid doing work around the house when you're in retirement, courtesy of John Schremp, retired president of Firestone Polymers and Firestone Natural Rubber Co.
Enroll in a class or two at a local college or university, Schremp said in his acceptance speech after winning the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers General Award for 2006.
Since retiring two years ago, Schremp said he's been taking classes in mathematics and physics at Kent State University and the University of Akron.
``Whenever there is the slightest danger of impending work around the house, I retreat to my desk and tell Mary Jane (his wife) that I have a class assignment to complete,'' he said. ``So far, it's worked like a charm.''
Maybe not for much longer, however, since his wife was in the audience.
Sleight of hand
Dave Jentzsch Sr., former co-owner of T.J. Products Inc. and a long-time veteran of the rubber industry, had more than a few intriguing stories to tell about his experiences in the 50 years he's spent in the field, during interviews conducted recently.
For instance, there was the time T.J. Products was just getting started in the business in the late 1970s and it landed a highly classified military job. ``We were told to complete it in two months,'' Jentzsch said.
One minor drawback: unbeknownst to the military, the firm operated out of Jentzsch's garage.
``When the Navy found out we were doing this top-secret job for a missile in my garage, they weren't too pleased.'' But by then, the project was pretty much complete and T.J. Products' co-owners, chemist Ned Thorne and Jentzsch, had done such a good job, they got a pass. They got their own secure building before taking on another military assignment.
Another time, in the late 1950s, when he was working for Rubber Engineering Inc., he and some co-workers demonstrated their entrepreneurial streak when he bought excess tire cord from companies like Firestone and Goodyear and turned it into cheaper hose.
``We'd buy the stuff at 4-5 cents a pound and we'd make hose with it,'' he said. ``They found out what we were doing and they started selling it to us at full price. It didn't matter because we still made money on the hose. We were the first to make it that way in the U.S.
``We took the tire cord and ran it through a calender to skin the rubber on both sides, then cut it at certain angles. We used two layers of tire cord rather than several layers of cotton to make the hose. This completely changed the whole industry. Then Goodyear, Firestone and Gates started doing it. And that was that.''
In June, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. interstate system by retracing an earlier event, the first transcontinental motor train's ``epic journey for man and machine.''
The year was 1919 when it all began, and traveling just 50 miles in a vehicle could be an adventure, never mind a cross-country journey. But on July 19, then-Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower led a convoy, which primarily rode on solid rubber tires, 3,230 miles from Washington to San Francisco to learn whether troops and supplies could successfully cross the U.S. by truck.
A week into his trip, he reached Columbiana, Ohio, where Harvey Firestone invited Eisenhower and his men to join him at his farm for a fried chicken dinner. When the convoy took off again the following day, Firestone added two of his trucks, using pneumatic tires, to the group.
The convoy reached San Francisco 55 days later, traveling at an average speed of 6 mph. By that time, Ike was sold on the pneumatic tires. He also thought an idea Firestone had-the creation of an interstate highway system-was a good one.
Firestone had been encouraging manufacturers to ship their products by truck since 1918. That idea slowly grew and became popular. But it took awhile for an actual interstate system to catch up.
It finally happened in 1956, when President Eisenhower signed a bill creating the system.
AASHTO plans to retrace the historic route Eisenhower and his men took in 1919 on June 15, with stops along the way to celebrate. The convoy, expected to roll into Washington June 29, will include two tractor trailers from Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire L.L.C.
This time around, the trip won't feature solid rubber tires and is expected to move faster than 6 mph.
Anybody got the time?
Those who weren't wearing a watch at the recent National Manufacturing Week exhibition and conference were out of luck.
That's because dotted around the expo hall were ``Official Time'' clocks, provided by Primex Wireless. Of the Primex clocks on display, roughly 80 percent showed incorrect times, including both of the side-by-side clocks shown here, this despite the tagline on each that promised ``The right time, all the time.''
According to its Web site, the Primex Wireless Clock System ``receives time signals from global positioning satellites, guaranteeing accuracy.'' Except this time.
Maybe it was sunspots.
Compiled and edited by Mike McNulty. Send items to [email protected]