Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ladish Works doing new Alvin submersible

Reading NY Science Times this week and there was an interesting article about the replacement submersible for Alvin, the long-chugging oceanaut that discovered among many things Titanic.
It has been 40 years since this counrty forged Alvin. We are only talking $50 M or $150 M here, but undersea diving bells sort of peaked back then. But they are trying again.

Cause Alvin, like the old carnival ride Nautilus Jake and I rode in 1995 at Disneyland is long in the tooth and not futuristic.

Very interesting to see how they are going about replacing Alvin, and hoping to better its maximum depth by about 20% [to about 3 miles] so as to be able to cover about 90% of the Earth’s ocean’s bottoms. To go where tremendous pressures press. And lo and behold but the work of the forging is going on at Ladish Works in Cudahay Wisc. I must say after all the great manufacturers that bit the dust since I left Wisconsin in 1972 I am surprised to see Ladish is still at it. So here is my Ladish story.

When I was a ladish we were middle class on the periphery of rich. My father for a while would get Braves tickets from a business associate. [This stopped at some point, as, my father, a credit manger, later told me, the business associate’s business had some issues and my father deemed it inappropriate to take tickets from a fellow, for some time anyway, who might need more credit than he literally qualified for.]

Anyway, the Braves winning the World Series in 1957 was a massive Inflection Point in Wisconsin history. In summer we played baseball in the morning, afternoon and evening. And we imagined we were Braves. We collected the cards..but to be able to see them play.. wow! And the tickets pop cadged were on the first base line by the dugout.

Yes I remember Eddie Matthews, Johnnie Logan, Red Schoendinst, Del Crandall, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, Warren Spahn, Lou Burdette, Billy Bruton, Don McMahon .. and on the other side .. Ernie Banks, Bill White, Stan Muscial, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Vada Pinson, Don Drysdale, Duke Snyder.

But what I recall too is Mr. Ladish. Of the same Ladish works of Alivin submersible forementioned. He was a large character. He had season tickets by the Braves dugout there.
He was a millionaire, I supposed. Head of Ladish Works. We’d go by there on our way to the game. In Cudahay. Big sign said ‘Ladish’ – absolutely giganitic rings of forged iron.

Mr. Ladish was out of an old movie. Hot summer day yet he still came to game in a three –piece suit. French blue but three piece. Also straw hat, and, dig this, spats. I took him for a German-American Industrialist.

He sat there every game. He knew the players by name. And he could coherce Manger Fred Haney to have Johnnie Logan come my way. “Jackie is going to be a ballplayer,” Ladish would say, because, of course, that is what I had told him I wanted to do. "Johnnie say 'hi' to Jack."

From the obit pages.
Killer Kawalski - Globe
Killer Kawalski - NYT

Phil Hill dies - NYT
Phil Hill dies - Road & Track

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