Category: design

Hybrid Propulsion; Stinkpotting for Raghaulers

  Due to the fact that my wife became wheelchair bound recently, I am in the middle of the design and construction of a 35 foot hybrid propulsion wheel chair friendly catamaran. Together with the boat design and construction masters of Scarano boats, I am converting a 1996 medium to high performance 35 foot sailing… Read more »

The Unpredictability of Innovation in Wheelchair Use

Standard wheelchairs have not changed in decades. It is a chair with wheels and has foot pads to support a person’s feet and to keep them from dragging on the ground. The foot pads are actually quite complicated, because they need to flip away when the person is being seated or stands up and they… Read more »

Build a Little, Test a Little and Learn a Lot; A Waterpomptang story

  Note: The Waterpomptang family is fictitious and occasionally a Waterpomptang story appears on the M&O website. Some say their adventures resemble real events, but that is just a coincidence.   It was early morning at Watt & Fulton’s office above the BuyLo Packy in Red Bank. After the VC investors had overcome their initial… Read more »

The Jeep Stick; I’ll Take Accidental Perfection Any Day

This will be a longer story, but it tells how random timing, the passage of time, weird coincidences, sticking with what works, and a sense of fun, can result in overall near perfection. The story starts in 1995, and Martin & Ottaway had just moved from New York City to Red Bank. The move to… Read more »

Is It Possible to Argue about Taste?

  A long time ago I enjoyed a Car Talk episode where a listener asked Click and Clack what car he should buy for a cross country road trip. Click and Clack right away started making suggestions about late 1960’s or early 1970’s great American cruisers. Their argument was simple. Those cars are not expensive,… Read more »

Grace in the Details Kills Bike Helmets

Design is complicated, but often we try to explain it in a quick catchy phrase. There is a saying: “The Devil is in the Details”. Mies van der Rohe is often credited with flipping the concept upside down by saying: “God is in the Details”. Regardless, it means that if you do not pay attention… Read more »

Sergio Marchionne, An Appreciation of a Leader

I have always had an odd fascination with Chrysler. The whole story is too long to get into, but it relates to my Mother first seeing value in Chrysler stock and timing the ups and downs like Paganini on a violin, and my days at Chrysler’s Highland Parks Tech Center working with Chrysler engineers on… Read more »

Patenting and Copyrighting Great Ideas

My wife posted this picture on my Facebook page. I copy it here because the picture made me think, and that led me right into a patent and copyright approach that I have been toying with for a number of years. First of all, I could not figure out where the picture came from (who owns it), but… Read more »

Brilliant Black

My friend Danny had to take his Black Jack wooden inboard Jersey sea skiff to the Sea Bright NJ Marine Police Barracks to get it titled. David’s Diesel Jeep Cherokee lease was almost up and it had not yet towed anything of substance. Furthermore, it was a nice day, which made it unfair for my dog Harris to… Read more »

The Delightful Frustration of Cruise Ship Power Plant Design

Last year I was contacted by the Philadelphia Section papers chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, who asked if I could make a presentation at a joint ASME, SNAME, SAME section meeting in Philadelphia on January 24, 2017. I told him that, in principle, I would love to do that, but wondered what subject… Read more »