Playing with design at the Mingei!

A super fun and enjoyable exhibit is now on display at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

Toying with Design intentionally coincides with San Diego Design Week 2022, which concludes today. Fortunately, however, this very unique exhibit will continue on until February 2023.

So what will visitors to one corner of the Mingei’s upstairs gallery see? Lots of clever designs! Including all sorts of inspired designs that make common functional household items as playful as toys!

I particularly enjoyed how ordinary kitchen utensils were creatively infused with surprising humor!

Check it out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Makers, dreamers, inventors come together in San Diego!

After a long pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego Makers Guild is looking to reenergize. Innovators and fun-loving creators are welcome to join!

I stumbled upon the San Diego Makers Guild tent at the Escondido Street Festival today. They are seeking cool new ideas and pathways to follow as makers move into a technology driven, ever evolving future. Interested? Hook up with them!

I was surprised to hear Dexter explain he’d helped build those awesome Cupcake Cars that have roamed around Balboa Park during past Maker Faires!

You can learn more about the San Diego Makers Guild by visiting their website here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Will this be your futuristic “wearable” car in 2050?

A futuristic car–a new form of wearable machine–is presently on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

The Nissan GT-R 2050 is a full-size prototype made at Nissan Design America, San Diego. It was designed by student intern Jaebum “JB” Choi to be an autonomous, human-connected vehicle of the far future!

According to the Nissan website, The completed project runs just under 10 feet long and sits just over two feet high. The single occupant, the driver, rests horizontally in a “prone” position with limbs extended in an X-shape. The driver wears a futuristic, form-fitting suit and helmet that resembles a superbike riders’ protective helmets and leathers.

Does it come with a Bat Cave, too?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison in North Park!

What in the world are Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison doing in North Park?

They’re decorating the exterior of the very unique San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s Substation F!

I happened to look up and see the two historical figures as I walked along the El Cajon Boulevard sidewalk just east of Iowa Street.

These gentleman made groundbreaking discoveries and inventions that remain important in our electricity dependent world. Both esteemed men, in North Park, are busts made of cast stone!

Learn more about SDG&E’s beautifully restored Station F, originally built in 1926, at this web page.

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Star III submersible outside Birch Aquarium.

Should you walk from the parking lot by Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to the popular attraction’s entrance, you’ll see what looks like a small submarine. On its side is written Star III.

Star III is actually a submersible that was used for undersea studies back in the mid-20th century.

I looked at the cool little marvel of technology and wondered about its history.

A nearby sign provides interesting information concerning the submersible, which was built by General Dynamics.

When I got home, I found a book published in 1968 by the Naval Oceanographic Office titled Undersea Studies With the Deep Research Vehicle Star III which you can preview here. It concerns a series of 21 dives off Key West Florida in March 1967…to evaluate the Star III system as a platform from which to conduct underwater photogrammetric and various surveying tasks.

I also found the following old public domain photograph of Star III suspended above the water from a seagoing vessel.

Launched in 1966, Star III was capable of carrying a two-person crew and as much as 1,000 pounds of scientific equipment to a depth of 2,000 feet. The sub and its occupants could remain underwater for up to 120 hours…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

World’s longest running IMAX film projector!

The world’s longest running IMAX film projector is on display in San Diego’s Balboa Park. That’s because this venerable old projector operated for 48 years at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center!

Tonight I headed over to the Fleet Science Center to watch The Sky Tonight, a once-a-month astronomy presentation on the giant space-like IMAX dome. As I waited in the theater lobby for the show to begin seating, I noticed the historic projector on display to one side, behind an open curtain.

A gentleman briefly explained the projector’s history. The very durable, then state-of-the-art projector was originally installed in 1973. It was the second IMAX projector made. Apparently nobody knows what became of the first!

When I got home, I found this link to a great article concerning the projector, and its replacement last year with a new, improved IMAX Laser digital video projector.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Exhibit of 19th century patent models at UCSD.

Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.

The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.

I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.

I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.

Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.

Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.

I took a few photos…

The spirit of ingenuity characterizes America…
Patent Model – Life-preserving state room for navigable vessels. Patent #20,426.
Patent Model – Improvement in electro-magnetic induction-coils. Patent #138,316.
Women invented in industries ranging from agriculture to shipping…
Patent models by 19th century women inventors.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A tour of UCSD’s new Design and Innovation Building.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a tour inside the new Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego. The special tour, part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event, was one of many opportunities for the public to go “behind the scenes” at fascinating places around the city.

The Design and Innovation Building opened late last year. This great article describes the building as “A place where disruptive ideas come together to spark learning, technology, collaboration and new ventures.”

Inside the building it feels very spacious. Hallways are lined with large inside windows, allowing one to see activity in classrooms and labs and practically everywhere you turn. From the third floor you can look up through part of the ceiling to see the fourth floor. Even during the tour when the building was quiet, I had the feeling that I was moving freely through an incredible, connected, creative space.

The floors, from first to fourth, are called: The Basement, Maker Space, The Design Lab and the Entrepreneurship Center. Our student tour guide described how ideas proceed upward through the building, forming in The Basement, undergoing design and testing in the Maker Space, then rising to the Entrepreneurship Center where products can be brought to market. The Design Lab is where “faculty from the arts, humanities, engineering and the sciences join forces to solve complex issues related to education, health, mobility, communication and urban planning.”

The building will eventually include a good old restaurant on the first floor, but above all it was designed to inspire innovation.

I was excited to discover a museum-like room on the fourth floor of the building, with a gallery full of inventions! The exhibit is titled Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention. It was so cool, I think I’ll post a separate blog concerning it!

Now, to give you a taste of what our tour group saw, on with the photos…

Looking into a classroom on the first floor of the Design and Innovation Building.
Bits of stimulating art on the first floor.
Looking down from the second floor.
A room where there are seminars open to the public. At the conclusion of the building tour, our group heard a talk here about the selection of San Diego-Tijuana as 2024 World Design Capital.
We walk out onto the second floor terrace, with great views across UCSD, including the nearby trolley station.
Walking through the Maker Space on the second floor.
Display includes rapid prototyping.
I took this quick pic as we moved along.
Windows into the future.
A metalworking shop, if I recall correctly.
Tables where people with unique ideas can freely interact.
Gazing up from the third to the fourth floor.
One fascinating room at the Design Lab: Speculative Ecology and Bioarchitecture.
A room on the fourth floor where students can speak to entrepreneurs.
Social Contract on a fourth floor wall. I am joining an inclusive, collaborative community of partners. Together we will extend and expand the innovation economy in San Diego…
Nearby post-it dreams. Seeing beyond the horizon…Curating your knowledge and influence to create or envision something new…Solve problem in a new way…Opportunity and solutions with flare…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Old Town’s windmill–the only one of its kind in the world!

This might surprise you, but the windmill that stands in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the only windmill of its kind in the entire world!

The tall Tustin style windmill located in the yard behind Seeley Stable is an accurate 2009 reconstruction of the one built in 1870 for Albert Seeley’s Cosmopolitan Hotel. Back then, its design represented the latest in windmill technology.

The Tustin style windmill was invented by pioneering manufacturer William Isaac Tustin, who came to California in a wagon train in 1845. His first job was working for John A. Sutter before the discovery of gold several years later at Sutter’s Mill.

Tustin claimed that he built California’s very first windmill, in Benica in 1849.

The unique Tustin style windmill is self-regulating, with a wheel that turns to face the wind at variable angles, controlling the speed of the blades’ rotation.

Originally, this windmill was erected to raise water from a well and store it in a wooden cistern, which you can see in my photos.

And it still works today!

Old Town’s one-of-a-kind, historic windmill is usually disabled, however, because the noise it makes when operating is quite loud!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Minding your p’s and q’s in the Old Town print shop!

Upper case and lower case.

Mind your p’s and q’s.

The wrong sort.

Out of sorts.

I learned yesterday during a visit to the San Diego Union Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that these expressions are believed to come from days long past.

There was a period in history when printing was a tedious operation requiring a hand operated press. To print pages, small cast metal blocks that imprint individual characters were manually assembled into words and sentences. These physical types were set into printable forms by the skilled, quick fingers of print shop compositors.

See all those drawers in the above photo? Each drawer is a type case containing sorts, the particular letters and other characters that are “sorted” into the forms.

Somewhere along the line, capital letters were arranged in an upper drawer: the upper case. Compositors rushing to print a newspaper would sometimes confuse the similar appearing p’s and q’s. Or accidentally choose the wrong sort. Or become disconcerted when they ran out of sorts.

And that how these peculiar expressions are said to have originated!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.