24. Chromium: I’ll Be Your Mirror

It might be tempting to speed right on by, but it’s worth stopping for a moment to gaze at element 24.

Featured above: Harley Earl’s legendary 1951 GM LeSabre.

Show Notes

My Apologies: I accidentally neglected to credit the musicians behind Eefen’ It Don’t Go, Chrome It. Ed Roth’s musical group was called The Weirdos, featuring the voice of Mister Gasser, off their album Hot Rod Hootenanny.

Ed Roth was also the comedian behind Rat Fink, an illustrated character who was kind of an antithesis to Mickey Mouse. He had a big beer gut, bulging eyes, and sharp teeth.

Older Than You Think: So who did invent the automobile? According to Homer, it was Vulcan’s idea, back around 1200 BCE:

Wondrous to tell instinct with spirit roll’ed
From place to place, around the blest abodes,
Self-moved, obedient to the beck of gods.

(from Alexander Pope’s translation.)

In reality, it was, as always, the result of dozens of people’s inventions piling up over time, going back at least as far as Leonardo da Vinci (if you discount Homer). If you had to attribute it to one man, though, it would probably be Karl Benz.

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  1. Petrolicious, The Designer’s Story: Harley Earl. Johni Parker, May 9, 2014.
  2. How Stuff Works, 11 Design Innovations Of Harley Earl.
  3. GM Heritage Center, 1938 Buick Y-Job Concept.
  4. Hemmings Daily, Cars Of Futures Past — 1938 Buick Y-Job. Kurt Ernst, November 14, 2013.
  5. How Stuff Works, 1951 General Motors LeSabre Specifications.
  6. Car Design News, Concept Car Of The Week: GM LeSabre (1951). Karl Smith, January 13, 1951.
  7. Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth To Modern America, p. 259-260. Donald L. Miller, 2014.
  8. The New Yorker, The Silver Spire. Claudia Roth Pierpont, November 18, 2002.
  9. The New York Times, Streetscapes: 40 Wall Street; A Race For The Skies, Lost By A Spire. Christopher Gray, November 15, 1992.
  10. The History Of STainless Steel, p. 105. Harold M. Cobb, 2010.
  11. Chrysler: The Life And Times Of An Automotive Genius, p. 426. Vincent Curcio, 2000.
  12. The Art Story, Jeff Koons.
  13. The Village Voice, Jeff Koons Clowns Around The Whitney. Christian Viveros-Faune, July 2, 2014.
  14. Hyperallergic, Jeff Koons: Shiny On The Outside, Hollow On The Inside, Part 1. Richard Milazzo, January 31, 2015.
  15. The Cut, Jeff Koons Is Perfectly Happy To Bring You The Selfie Of The Summer. Isabel Wilkinson, July 16, 2014.
  16. The Guardian, Chromium-6: ‘Erin Brockovich’ Chemical Threatens Two-Thirds Of Americans. Tafline Laylin, September 20, 2016.

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