- May 2017
Designed during the first months of World War II, the Canol Pipeline brought oil from Norman Wells near the Mackenzie River to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Once the oil was refined, it would be sent to Alaska via pipeline to ensure that the Japanese navy could not intercept any transport. The oil deposits at Norman Wells were discovered by the explorer Alexander Mackenzie during the 18th century. In January of 1942, Lieutenant General Brehon Somervell, commanding general of the Army Service Forces, ordered James H. Graham, former dean of engineering at the University of Kentucky, to investigate the possibility of harvesting oil from Norman Wells. On April 29, 1942, General Somervell immediately approved the recommendation of Dean Graham to implement a pipeline from Norman Wells to Whitehorse (O'Brien, 1970). The construction began in 1942 and was completed in 1944 by the United States Army. A road was also constructed alongside the Canol pipeline during this time. In 1945, soon after the completion of the Canol Pipeline, the volume of crude oil that was able to be transported compared to the cost of operating the pipeline could not be justified. The Canol Pipeline was shut down and abandoned in 1945 (Wilson, 1991).
O'Brien, C. F. (1970). The Canol Project: A Study in Emergency Military Planning. The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 101-108.
Wilson, W. H. (1991). Review: A Walk on teh Canol Road: Exploring the First Major Northern Pipeline. The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 114.
Northwest Staging Route
The Northwest Staging Route was an airfield between Alaska and Alberta. The airfield was used for military personal to transfer supplies from Canada to Alaska in World War II (Christie). The string of airfields along the Northwest Staging Route were responsible for great contributions to the North American war effort. The earliest records of the Northwest Staging Route are from a survey by the Canadian Department of Transportation in 1935, but the Northwest Staging Route only consisted of a few airstrips by the 1940s. The Route was not used until right before the attack at Pearl Harbor. After the attack, America greatly increased their work on the Route and prepared the airfields due to fears that the Japanese would attack Alaska. The first few tests of the Northwest Staging Route airfields were unsuccessful and several planes were crashed in the process. The airfields were undeveloped and the pilots untrained. The Canadian government attempted to fix the Staging Route alone, but received pressure from the United States. Canada and the United States worked together on improving the airfields in 1943. Overtime, the Canadian government feared permanent United States presence along the Route. The two governments eventually came to an agreement where Canada would reimburse the United States for any permanent improvements to the airfields. At the conclusion of the war, the United States ceased military action in Canada. Canada then struggled with documentation of aircraft along the Northwest Staging Route, which was resolved after a conference with American air force members in August of 1943.
Reference: Christie, Carl A. "The Northwest Staging Route." Homefront in Alberta - The Northwest Staging Route. Accessed May 03, 2017. http://wayback.archive-it.org/2217/20101208171343/http://www.albertasource.ca/homefront/feature_articles/northwest_staging_route4.html.
- Apr 2017
The Alaska Highway was originally constructed for and used by the military during World War II which lasted from 1939 to 1945. It was opened in November of 1942. Its length reached nearly 1,525 miles. When Richard Bucksar wrote his article The Alaska Highway Development published in the journal Arctic Volume 27, Number 1 in 1974, the Alaska Highway had not been paved in its entirety despite many proposals to do so. In 1974, it remained mostly a gravel road described as “rough and uneven” (Bucksar 1974, 74). About 400 of the 1,525 miles were paved. Since the Alaska Highway passes through Canadian territory to connect the continental United States to Alaska, both country’s governments had to be consulted regarding improvements to the Alaska Highway. The Canadian Parliament and United States Congress were presented with numerous proposals to improve the Alaska Highway including improving the road, developing railways, introducing new sea-routes, reconstructing, paving, etc. (Bucksar 1974, 74-75). Mostly all of these propositions were not passed since alternate “adequate modes of transportation were developing and that the expected traffic on the [Alaska] Highway did not warrant reconstruction and paving at that time” (Bucksar 1974, 78). The Alaska Highway was the only land-based link between Alaska and the continental United States. Some towns, cities, and other landmarks that the Alaska Highway passes through include Dawson Creek, Fort Saint John, Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Provincial Park, Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park, Watson Lake, Teslin, Whitehorse, Halnes Junction, Beaver Creek, Delta Junction, North Pole, Fairbanks, and many more. A detailed current map of the Alaska Highway is displayed below.
The Milepost. Alaska Highway. 2016. https://www.themilepost.com/highway-info/highways/alaska-highway (accessed April 4, 2017).
Bucksar, Richard G. "The Alaska Highway Development." Arctic 27, no. 1 (1974): 74-80. http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.bucknell.edu/stable/40508483.
- Jun 2016
Title: The dying breed of craftsmen behind the tools that make scientific research possible - LA Times
Keywords: government-funded research opened, snake glass coils, fuse glass beakers, organic chemistry, research hubs, world war, experienced glassblowers, glassblowers remain, church laboratory, befallen glassblowing, glass manufacturer, glass technicians, cost-cutting world, jobs tend, entry-level jobs
Summary: Hunkered down in the sub-basement of the Norman W. Church Laboratory for Chemical Biology, underneath a campus humming with quantum teleportation devices, gravity wave detectors and neural prosthetics, Rick Gerhart chipped away at a broken flask.<br>Peering into the dancing flames, he examined his work for wrinkles — imperfections invisible to the untrained eye.<br>“It not only should be functional,” he said, smoothing the rim with a carbon rod, “it has to look good.”<br>Here in Caltech’s one-man glass shop, where Gerhart transforms a researcher’s doodles into intricate laboratory equipment, craftsmanship is king.<br>In a cost-cutting world of machines and assembly plants, few glassblowers remain with the level of mastery needed at research hubs like Caltech.<br>“He’s a somewhat dying breed,” said Sarah Reisman, who relied on Gerhart to create 20 maze-like contraptions for her synthetic organic chemistry lab.<br>Rick Gerhart, scientific glass blower at Caltech, has been helping to make scientific research possible at the campus since 1992.<br>(Dillon Deaton/Los Angeles Times)<br>Similar fates have befallen glassblowing at UCLA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.<br>Across the U.S., those who land such jobs tend to stay until retirement.<br>He chuckled: “Looks like we have to steal somebody.”<br>To master scientific glassblowing, proper training and apprenticeships are key.<br>In addition to the hands-on training, which requires a knack for precision as well as coordination, students must take courses in organic chemistry, math and computer drawing.<br>So it really takes a long time to get to a position like Rick’s.”<br>Gerhart enrolled in the Salem program in 1965, after dropping out of college to give his father’s profession a try.<br>The craft, which dates back to alchemy in the 2nd century, took hold in America by the 1930s and 1940s, after World War I cut off glassware supply from Germany.<br>The profession peaked after World War II, when booms in oil and government-funded research opened up numerous glassblowing jobs in many a lab.<br>At first, Gerhart hopped around a number of firms and worked alongside more experienced glassblowers at TRW Inc. and UCLA.<br>When he settled at Caltech in 1992, the glassblower before him handed over the key to the shop and said, “Good luck.” On his own, Gerhart pieced together his patchwork of experience to twist and fuse glass beakers and snake glass coils over vacuum chambers.<br>“That’s when I really started learning.”<br>Social media videos have sparked new interest in the craft, Briening said.<br>But while his students have no trouble getting entry-level jobs at companies like Chemglass Life Sciences, a glass manufacturer, and General Electric Global Research, rarely are universities willing to budget the overhead costs for more than one glassblower, if any.<br>“Years ago, all the universities had two or three people,” Briening said.<br>One of the few resources left for the next generation is the American Scientific Glassblowers Society, a close-knit group that hosts national workshops and swaps ideas when a researcher’s custom order stumps one of its members.<br>Its members also serve as Caltech’s best — and possibly only — options once Gerhart leaves.<br>“Rick’s one of those glass technicians that I put in the top 5%,” Ponton said.<br>
- organic chemistry
- fuse glass beakers
- research hubs
- snake glass coils
- entry-level jobs
- church laboratory
- glass manufacturer
- glass technicians
- experienced glassblowers
- world war