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pretty pictures of a gold-plated Couf Superba I

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Measurements in patents...

...are almost never specified as an exact figure for the very good reason that doing so would make it extremely easy to "design around" such a specific figure, something that would reduce the whole patent system to chaos. Usually, where numbers are involved, they are used in a ratio fashion (if it is necessary to establish numeric relationships at all).

The whole concept behind the patent process is that protection is granted to someone who comes up with a "novel" idea. Novelty is key when considering granting protection, but not everyone realizes what "novelty" is.

A simple numeric change could be novel if it affects (as an example) a clarinet's bore, since there are some empirical limits to what can happen to a clarinet bore before it ceases to work like a clarinet. But, normally numeric changes do not constitute novelty. An example here would be making a quilt five inches longer. Such a change is "novel" in that it is different, but there is an additional factor that bears on the patent process, that being that the change has to be not readily apparent to a reasonable person, the so called "obviousness" test.

Most patent applications break on one of these two issues. Novelty is assessed by examining the "prior art", those improvements that pre-exist the application. The "obviousness" issue is assessed by the patent examiners themselves, and I understand that this is the easiest way (relatively speaking) to break a patent.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
Oh yes, we Germans love saying "nein"... ;-) ... As a matter of fact, I say it all the time. However, it means something completely different in German. And "no", I won't tell you what it means. You're a smart guy, I'm sure you can figure it out for yourself. :)

Jeez, talk about feeding a stereotype...
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
Oh yes, we Germans love saying "nein"... ;-) ... As a matter of fact, I say it all the time. However, it means something completely different in German. And "no", I won't tell you what it means. You're a smart guy, I'm sure you can figure it out for yourself. :)

Jeez, talk about feeding a stereotype...
American's only know three German words; nein, ausgezeichnet, and Fahrvergnügen. No, really! :cool:
 
Anyone who served in the US Army, or who grew up near an Army post, between WW II and Vietnam is familiar with Macht Nichts, or more often mox nix. It may have been the only non-profane German that most American GIs knew.
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
Anyone who served in the US Army, or who grew up near an Army post, between WW II and Vietnam is familiar with Macht Nichts, or more often mox nix. It may have been the only non-profane German that most American GIs knew.
And that idiomatic phrase became a mocking of most soldiers poor understanding of the language. I heard more than one German ask a soldier "Macht Nichts" in a mocking tone because it was clear the soldier didn't understand what was being said. But I degress... again...
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
American's only know three German words; nein, ausgezeichnet, and Fahrvergnügen. No, really! :cool:
Fünkengrüven. Of course, we also know "Volkswagen." However, I'm not sure if many folks know what it means.

(Of course, I was referring to the SNL skit from the 1970's ....)
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
"People's wagon", of course.

Although none of them were ever delivered to the good folks who opened a payroll savings account to purchase one in the late 1930's, it's the thought that counts...
 
"People's wagon", of course.

Although none of them were ever delivered to the good folks who opened a payroll savings account to purchase one in the late 1930's, it's the thought that counts...
I suppose you're saying that Ferri Porsche pulled a fast one.....
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Nope

While the good Doctor Porsche was responsible for the design of what became the Volkswagen "Beetle", those with the responsibility for the thievery were the Kraft durch Freude ("Strength Through Joy", hereafter KdF) organization, the government sponsor of the program, along with the surprisingly avaricious Hermann Göring, who became increasingly involved in economic matters as the NAZIs slowly consolidated their hold on the German economy.

The car was proposed as a "People's car", and payroll savings accounts were opened by numerous working class Germans, who (as a people) were more mobile than other Europeans in the 1930's and thus aspired to vehicle ownership. Concurrent with the prototype reveal (with the first car created in 1938 going to the man that championed the concept, Adolph Hitler), plans were announced for a huge manufacturing complex, sort of like the River Rouge in Detroit, only without Henry Ford.

The factory was slowly built (at the now named town of Wolfsburg) and was poised to start in on production when history intervened. When the German aggression against Poland started World War II, plans were made to retool the factory to war production. The Volkswagen plant was retooled to produce aircraft sub-assemblies and the Jeep-like Kübelwagen, or "Ball Car" (not an official name, and not four wheel drive, but about as useful) and a quirky little amphibious car.

(Trivia question: Which nation had the first military "Jeep" to go into series production?)

Ultimately the firm went on to "employ" thousands of slave laborers, up to 10% of its total workforce.

As the war went on, the Volkswagen assets came more and more into the hands of Fat Herman. Göring, a World War I ace and popular military hero, is more generally known as the founder of the Luftwaffe, the German air force, but during the interwar period he was deeply involved with German politics. At one point, he was the president of the Reichstag, the German legislative assembly, and he was a significant factor in the NAZI party, rising through the ranks to become Hitler's first right hand man.

Göring, son of the Prussian envoy to Haiti, was accustomed to the good life from the get-go (even before he became a war hero), but during the inter-war period, he was as much a victim of the hard times as anyone else. It is thought by some that his cleptomania tendencies dated from that period, and he went at it with a vengeance.

Aside from "collecting" (i.e., stealing) artworks from dispossessed Jews and other foreign nationals, he also looted Jewish businesses (and diverted large portions of the booty to his personal fortune). And, there is strong evidence that he did the same thing with Volkswagen savings accounts. in conjunction with complicit KdF officials, the savings accounts were pocketed with the majority of the cash going to Göring. Or, at least, that's how the story goes.

After the war, the Volkswagen concern was kept in business by the British, who funneled orders to the firm for cars to use during their occupation of Germany. Once a few Beetles found their way out to the West with returning occupiers, the car took off.

To its credit, after the war, the Volkswagen firm refunded the money paid into savings accounts, but only for the residents of the Western zone. (They have also paid reparations to those who were engaged in force labor.)

(Trivia answer: The Japanese, who in the early 1930's fielded the Type 95 Kurogane (which translates as 'Black Medal'), a diminutive, two-cylinder engined "utility and command car" that held three passengers, looked like a car from a Harry Crumb cartoon with fat balloon tire and bulbous fenders, and had four wheel drive long before Bantam came up with the Jeep or Volkswagen their Kübelwagen)
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
More trivia: during WWII, the "Beetle" (really called "Type I") was modified to run on wood.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
In keeping with this thread's new theme of VW's ;-).... My dad originally worked for DKW (which later became AUDI), Porsche, and VW while in Germany. He was a Master Mechanic, and he ended up in Canada because he was sent over from VW of Germany to introduce the then new (at least it was new to the North American market) brand to the Cdn. dealers in the late 50s. But before then, he did his training through DKW, Porsche, and VW.

He was a 2nd generation company man.There are lots of photos, and documents in German here at the house, dating back into the war years--or perhaps even earlier, I can't remember now. Both my grandfather and my dad were avid photographers, and took photographs everywhere they went. Some of the shots show the plant and the various types of cars and transporters they built at the time. Other photos show engines or engine parts in great, gory detail. Or sometimes a clutch taken a part. There are also photos of the race tracks, and the test tracks. Interesting stuff. I was thinking I should contact VW and see if there is anyone there who would like these things, since I don't need them, and I don't want to throw them out without first checking if the company would like them for their archives.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
In keeping with this thread's new theme of VW's ;-).... My dad originally worked for DKW (which later became AUDI), Porsche, and VW while in Germany.
Bit of trivia again - last there was Audi, before it was DKW, and initially it was Horch (think Goering being driven to some airfield in some stretchy convertible), which, verbatim, says "hark" and, translated to Latin, "audi"...
 
I restored a VW! Sat for a long time, but when I was done fixing it up I had a 1979 Rabbit diesel with 30k original miles on the engine. Just sold it a month ago as I found out I am going to be needing a more family-friendly vehicle soon! :)

Here she is, just finished up. I removed the back seat and put in a flat slatted cargo deck- think Mary Poppins and her bottomless bag. 50mpg and ran like a top. Just loud, smelly, and slow.

Helen: it was a Canadian car originally (luckily garage kept so no rust), so perhaps your dad might have laid eyes on this one at some point. Original owner was in B.C.

And here's another vote for dusting off some of those photos and docs and putting them up somewhere.


 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I can't put my finger on it, but I have that hunch that you have an inclination toward yellow vehicles...

Btw the Rabbit went as "Golf" here. Again a quintessential frugal car. (Did I mention the 2CV or the R4?)
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Oh? You wanna talk Citroens? They've got some pretty cars.

I'm going to lead this thread on a further tangent. (Note that all dates are approximate.)

Thing 1: some of you that have followed my posts for a long time know that I was married to a car mechanic, whose sister and father were also mechanics. This eventually led to how many cars I've owned to date: appx. 70. In that mix were two Beetles ('63 and '72) and an '81 Rabbit diesel, which consumed more oil than gas. Before I bought my Mustang convertible, I tried a 2006 Beetle which looked great, but died during my test drive (and the Beetle is an Audi TT with a different body, BTW). When I was in MI, recently, I drove a 2009 Jetta. These last two VWs had the i5 engine, which I just think is ... wrong. The Jetta ran beautifully, tho.

Thing 2: my wife's car, a late Taurus, is needing to be replaced in a year or two. That got me thinking, "What's the best car ever made? I want a perfect balance of, well, everything: luxury, longevity, etc." The answer to that, on SEVERAL car forums I checked, was the Mercedes W123, which most people in the States know as the 300. Most of the ones I've found have well over 100,000 miles on 'em and still sell for several thousand $. Additionaly, one of these was the car that James May drove across Africa for Top Gear -- and was the only one that didn't break down. An almost 30 year old car. Impressive. I hear that some of the diesels can get north of 40mpg, too.

Thing 3: slightly after my ex-wife bought our first Beetle for $50, we happened to hit a stoplight and a DeTomaso Pantera happened to pull up next to us. This car was from a local dealer that had an excessively large price tag on the car. Anyhow, Mr. Fancy Pants decided he wanted to race. He lost. While the Pantera can go faster than the Beetle, the Beetle can out accelerate lots of cars from a stop. I often wondered if the guy decide to get a Beetle, instead.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
Bit of trivia again - last there was Audi, before it was DKW, and initially it was Horch
Thanks for keeping me honest TTT, I'd forgotten about that. That was during my grandfather's time, not dad's, so there isn't nearly as much stuff around the house from Horch. (All of dad's certificates and memorabelia are from DKW/Audi, Porsche, & VW.)
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I restored a VW! Sat for a long time, but when I was done fixing it up I had a 1979 Rabbit diesel with 30k original miles on the engine. Just sold it a month ago as I found out I am going to be needing a more family-friendly vehicle soon! :)

Here she is, just finished up. I removed the back seat and put in a flat slatted cargo deck- think Mary Poppins and her bottomless bag. 50mpg and ran like a top. Just loud, smelly, and slow.

Helen: it was a Canadian car originally (luckily garage kept so no rust), so perhaps your dad might have laid eyes on this one at some point. Original owner was in B.C.

And here's another vote for dusting off some of those photos and docs and putting them up somewhere.
Congrats on the upcoming new addition Matt. It's kinda' funny when you think about it, when we were all growing up, our parents drove around in cars like this--or maybe slightly larger station wagons--and that was what we were all crammed into when we went anywhere... Anyone else vacation in VW Beetles (the original ones I'm talking here) with the family complete with luggage and stuff while growing up? The Rabbit, AKA Golf in Europe, was downright roomy in comparison.

BTW Matt, is that a relacquer? If so, did you buff it? Or chemically strip it? ;) :D

It's possible my dad might have had this car pass through this care briefly. After he retired from VW (the company), he took a job with a few of the dealers in Metro Vancouver for a few years as a Service Manager.

I think Gandalfe came up with a great idea. Luckily I have unlimited space and bandwidth on my server package, so I have lots of room to put the photos up. Now I just need to find the time to pour through all the photos, and even more time consuming, scan them.

Speaking of memorabilia, there is a great vintage poster in my office that's from AUDI (At least I think it's from AUDI, it's been years since I took a good look at it. It's been hanging in the room I use as an office for more than 20 years now.) I'll take a photo of it for you. It's a famous race car that broke a land speed record in its day. I'd have to translate all the fine hand script German text for you. For those of you who read German, I'll see if I can capture it well enough so that you can read the script. It's very fine print though.
 
Definitely a relacquer!

Driving that thing was like driving an aquarium. Huge inside, and so much glass. Now we've got a rather generic but safe and reliable 4-door Honda hatch, and I get my quirks and desires for fresh air worked out on a scooter.
 
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