Monday 6 April 2015

johnny-scoff-law oder mannheim steam-roller

Over the holiday weekend, we flagrantly violated the prohibition on dancing during Easter when H and I went to the Time Warp event held in the massive May Market Halls (Maimarktgelande) of the industrial zone of Mannheim. I think that transgression is forgivable; H captured far superior foottage of the DJs, music and dazzling light shows. I was somewhat familiar with the city, though during this visit, we weren’t really afforded the chance to explore—just possibly to eliminate anything we’d might regret having not seen, had we partied until dawn.

I also knew a smattering about the city’s mechanised and innovative heritage as well, what with Mannheim being intimately connected with automotive pioneers Karl and Bertha Benz, but I discovered that that association is really barely scratching the surface. Besides the car, Mannheim was also instrumental in the development of the zeppelin airships and the jet engine for civilian applications, but the forerunner of all of these inventions too came about in Mannheim, I learned over the name of a campus adjacent to our venue, Drais—for Grand Duke Karl Drais, whose acumen and engineering skills produced the first so called Laufmaschine, Running-Machine, dubbed the dandy-horse, before becoming known as the modern Velocipide, the bicycle. Supposedly bizarre weather in the year 1816, just before Drais’ inaugural bike ride from Mannheim to Schwetzingen and then from Gernsbach to Baden-Baden, famous routes we were partially retracing that late evening from the Autobahn, had resulted in a poor harvest and prompted the population to resort to slaughtering all the horses for sustenance—or at least unable to share any of their grain with livestock however useful, and in turn inspired the professor of agriculture and physics to find a substitute for individual transportation.
As an after-though, Drais developed the keyboard as an input-device for the typewriter, as well. I will have to look into that further, since something known as well as the back of one’s hand as cliqued as never forgetting how to ride a bike is hardly something to just pass up.  The bit about Citizen Drais being elevated with a dukedom was so that he might be able to profit from his genius and enjoy a bit of a monopoly on his bicycle, being that this German state did not recognise patent-law at this time, but personal intrigues and war made Drais renounce his title and the idea fell into public domain and was championed by many others as a bridge for later discoveries, like the above automobile and the airplane, Benz and the Wright Brothers both first in bicycle manufacture. Not only was the introducing of the bicycle a touchstone of democratising and liberation, pedal-power also indispensably shaped the world as we know it.