Friday, June 8, 2012

This Day in History: Jun 8, The first Porsche, Forensic evidence captures a murderous father & Founder of Islam dies

Jun 8, 1948: First Porsche completed


On this day in 1948, a hand-built aluminum prototype labeled "No. 1" becomes the first vehicle to bear the name of one of the world's leading luxury car manufacturers: Porsche.

The Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche debuted his first design at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900. The electric vehicle set several Austrian land-speed records, reaching more than 35 mph and earning international acclaim for the young engineer. He became general director of the Austro-Daimler Company (an outpost of the German automaker) in 1916 and later moved to Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart. Daimler merged with the Benz firm in the 1920s, and Porsche was chiefly responsible for designing some of the great Mercedes racing cars of that decade.

Porsche left Daimler in 1931 and formed his own company. A few years later, Adolf Hitler called on the engineer to aid in the production of a small "people's car" for the German masses. With his son, also named Ferdinand (known as Ferry), Porsche designed the prototype for the original Volkswagen (known as the KdF: "Kraft durch Freude," or "strength through joy") in 1936. During World War II, the Porsches also designed military vehicles, most notably the powerful Tiger tank.

At war's end, the French accused the elder Porsche of war crimes and imprisoned him for more than a year. Ferry struggled to keep the family firm afloat. He built a Grand Prix race car, the Type 360 Cisitalia, for a wealthy Italian industrialist, and used the money to pay his father's bail. When Porsche was released from prison, he approved of another project Ferry had undertaken: a new sports car that would be the first to actually bear the name Porsche. Dubbed the Type 356, the new car was in the tradition of earlier Porsche-designed race cars such as the Cisitalia. The engine was placed mid-chassis, ahead of the transaxle, with modified Volkswagen drive train components.

The 356 went into production during the winter of 1947-48, and the aluminum prototype, built entirely by hand, was completed on June 8, 1948. The Germans subsequently hired Porsche to consult on further development of the Volkswagen. With the proceeds, Porsche opened new offices in Stuttgart, with plans to build up to 500 of his company's own cars per year. Over the next two decades, the company would build more than 78,000 vehicles.


Jun 8, 1913: Forensic evidence captures a murderous father

Two farmers walking near a quarry outside of Edinburgh, Scotland, find two small, dead bodies floating in the water, tied together. Although the bodies were so waterlogged that authorities could barely confirm that they were human, Sydney Smith, the century's first "Quincy," was able to use forensics to help solve the crime.

Smith was at the beginning of his 40-year career and working as an assistant to Professor Harvey Littlejohn at Edinburgh University. The first thing he noticed about the body was the presence of adipocere, a white and hard type of fat. The level of adipocere in the bodies, which takes months to form inside the human body when exposed to water, led Smith to believe that they had been in the quarry somewhere between 18 to 24 months.

The adipocere had preserved the stomachs of the bodies and Smith saw that the children had eaten peas, barley, potatoes, and leeks approximately an hour before they died. Given the seasonal nature of the vegetables, Smith figured that the kids had died at the end of 1911. Most importantly, Smith found an indication that one of the children's shirts had come from the Dysart poorhouse.

With this information, law enforcement officials quickly found the killer. Patrick Higgins, a widower and drunk, had placed his two boys in the Dysart poorhouse in 1910. When he didn't pay the small fees, Higgins was jailed. He eventually took the young boys out of the poorhouse, but they had not been seen since November 1911.

Higgins was arrested and pled temporary insanity at his trial in September 1913. The jury rejected his defense, and, on October 2, 1913, he was hanged.

Sydney Smith went on to be a pioneer in forensic medicine.


 Jun 8, 632: Founder of Islam dies

In Medina, located in present-day Saudi Arabia, Muhammad, one of the most influential religious and political leaders in history, dies in the arms of Aishah, his third and favorite wife.

Born in Mecca of humble origins, Muhammad married a wealthy widow at 25 years old and lived the next 15 years as an unremarkable merchant. In 610, in a cave in Mount Hira north of Mecca, he had a vision in which he heard God, speaking through the angel Gabriel, command him to become the Arab prophet of the "true religion." Thus began a lifetime of religious revelations, which he and others collected as the Qur'an. These revelations provided the foundation for the Islamic religion.

Muhammad regarded himself as the last prophet of the Judaic-Christian tradition, and he adopted the theology of these older religions while introducing new doctrines. His inspired teachings also brought unity to the Bedouin tribesmen of Arabia, an event that had sweeping consequences for the rest of the world.

By the summer of 622, Muhammad had gained a substantial number of converts in Mecca, leading the city's authorities, who had a vested interest in preserving the city's pagan religion, to plan his assassination. Muhammad fled to Medina, a city some 200 miles north of Mecca, where he was given a position of considerable political power. At Medina, he built a model theocratic state and administered a rapidly growing empire. In 629, Muhammad returned to Mecca as a conqueror. During the next two and a half years, numerous disparate Arab tribes converted to his religion. By his death on June 8, 632, he was the effective ruler of all southern Arabia, and his missionaries, or legates, were active in the Eastern Empire, Persia, and Ethiopia.

During the next century, vast conquests continued under Muhammad's successors and allies, and the Muslim advance was not halted until the Battle of Tours in France in 732. By this time, the Muslim empire, among the largest the world had ever seen, stretched from India across the Middle East and North Africa, and up through Western Europe's Iberian peninsula. The spread of Islam continued after the end of the Arab conquest, and many cultures in Africa and Asia voluntarily adopted the religion. Today, Islam is the world's second-largest religion.

 Taken from: [08.06.2012]

1 comment:

  1. I have stumbled upon your blog and found beautiful images and history of Porsche...great work Ferdinand Porsche
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