The Man Who Invented the Modern Shipping Container

Keith Tantlinger recently passed away at the age of 92. Most people have never heard of him, but his contribution to containerization played a pivotal role in globalization. Almost sixty years ago, he developed the early technology that made modern container shipping possible. The corner locking mechanisms and other refinements made the stacking and transferring of containers not only feasible but also economical. Here is an excerpt about Keith Tantingler from Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed the World by Brian J. Cudahy:

 

Although the spar decks installed on McLean’s T-2 tankers did not permit containers to be stacked one atop another, the new thirty-three-foot units were designed with sufficient strength to permit stacking. Keith Tantlinger, who was then with the Brown Trailer Corporation, tells how his company delivered two prototype containers to the Bethlehem Steel shipyard outside Baltimore in the summer of 1955, where Ideal X and Almena were being adapted for container service. Tantlinger expected to meet Malcom McLean and other Pan-Atlantic officials for breakfast in a downtown Baltimore hotel the next morning and then drive out to the yard to inspect the two new units.

Tantlinger reached the coffee shop in ample time, but upon learning that the Pan-Atlantic people had already left for the yard, he caught a taxi and followed them. When he got there, he had to forgo the detailed presentation he planned to make about the design of the new containers, since McLean and his people were jumping up and down on top of the prototype units to test its strength and durability.

A year later, the Pan-Atlantic fleet had expanded, and McLean was able to load containers in stacks in the holds of his converted C-2s thanks to their unique and patented corner castings, even carry additional containers as deck cargo atop the hatch covers since the corner castings, even carry additional containers as deck cargo atop the hatch covers since the corner castings could be linked together with twist locks.

To read more about Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed the World

Keith Tantlinger recently passed away at the age of 92. Most people have never heard of him, but his contribution to containerization played a pivotal role in globalization. Almost sixty years ago, he developed the early technology that made modern … Full Story

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The Cultural Significance of 9/11

“I became interested in the way our culture felt the desperate need to represent 9/11 but also to ward off representations of 9/11. . . . From the beginning, you find strictures against photographing the site, but you will also find a vast number of photographs, even photographs of people taking photographs.”—Mark Redfield

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The terrorist attacks that day, did symbolic as well as literal damage. A trace of this cultural shock echoes in the American idiom “9/11”: a bare name-date conveying both a trauma (the unspeakable happened then) and a claim on our knowledge. In the first of the two interlinked essays making up The Rhetoric of Terror, Marc Redfield proposes the notion of “virtual trauma” to describe the cultural wound that this name-date both deflects and relays. Virtual trauma describes the shock of an event at once terribly real and utterly mediated. In consequence, a tormented self-reflexivity has tended to characterize representations of 9/11 in texts, discussions, and films, such as World Trade Center and United 93.

To read more about Marc Redfield and his thoughts on 9/11, visit Today at Brown.

To learn more about the book, you can listen to a podcast by Mark Redfield or watch a short video clip from the author.

“I became interested in the way our culture felt the desperate need to represent 9/11 but also to ward off representations of 9/11. . . . From the beginning, you find strictures against photographing the site, but you will also … Full Story

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NYROB on School 'Reform'

In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Diane Ravitch dissects two books on school reform in America, including As Bad as They Say? Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx by Janet Grossbach Mayer. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Janet Grossbach Mayer represents the kind of person who is on the other side of the “class war.” In As Bad as They Say? Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx, she vividly describes her life on the front lines of urban education. She went to public school in the Bronx and graduated from Queens College. She saw teaching as a career and a calling, not a stepping stone to policymaking or law school. Like most career teachers, she chose to teach where she grew up, which happened to be one of the poorest districts in the nation. Over many years as an English teacher, she taught 14,000 students. She wrote her book because she wanted the world to know that Bronx students, “contrary to expectations, were young people of remarkable character, unlimited potential, uncommon courage, and indomitable will.”

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In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Diane Ravitch dissects two books on school reform in America, including As Bad as They Say? Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx by Janet Grossbach Mayer. Below is … Full Story

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