Grand Inventions: Weathering Time with Benn Bollay (Episode 110)

Benn Bollay remembers that he knew as a kid that his grandfather was an early researcher into weather forecasting. But it turns out that Eugene Bollay was one of the founders of the field of meteorology and television weathercasting! His g’pa even preceded Pat Sajak in a TV weatherman job. Benn tells us about his grandfather's literal study (in his house) and his study (his work). (Eugene Bollay recorded an oral history back in 1987.)

Benn was always struck that his grandfather was seen and respected as a person of science. This helped lead him on his path as a programmer, entrepreneur, and researcher, currently pursuing directions in AI at the Paul Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

This episode is part of the “Grand Inventions” micro-series within The New Disruptors in which I talk to people whose grandparents or other ancestors invented something that’s still current or in use today. Do you have a relative back a generation or three who fits the bill? Contact me and we’ll set up an interview.

Thanks to you and help support the show: The New Disruptors is back on the air due to patrons and sponsors! You can become a patron of the show on a one-time or recurring basis, and get rewards like an exclusive enamel pin and being thanked in this fashion!

Grand Inventions: A Towering Monument with Dave Hamilton (Episode 107)

Tower_Optical_Binoculars.jpg

Dave Hamilton’s grandfather invented the ubiquitous coin-operated binocular viewer you see at monuments and viewpoints worldwide, the Tower Optical Binoculars. Dave, an entrepreneur, writer, musician, and founder of The Mac Observer, joins host Glenn Fleishman to tell of days spent with his grandfather and his “Big Fish” stories that turned out entirely true.

This episode is part of the “Grand Inventions” micro-series within The New Disruptors in which I talk to people whose grandparents or great-x-parents invented something that’s still current or in use today. Do you have a grandparent or beyond who fits the bill? Contact me and we’ll set up an interview.

Thanks & help support the show: The New Disruptors is back on the air due to patrons and sponsors! You can become a patron of the show on a one-time or recurring basis, and get rewards like an exclusive enamel pin and being thanked in this fashion!

Image by Tim Jarrett

Grand Inventions: Counting Gears with Chris Higgins (Episode 105)

“Grand Inventions” is a new micro-series within The New Disruptors in which I talk to people whose grandparents or great-x-parents invented something that’s still current or in use today. Two things sparked this micro-series idea for me. First, my grandfather’s stories of making a suggestion during WWII at an IBM wartime manufacturing plant that led to improved impeller productions; second, how invention and entrepreneurialism spans generations.

Joining me for the first episode is Chris Higgins, a documentary filmmaker and writer, whose great-grandfather invented a variety of geared devices that counted things like fuel and people and more, and ultimately became CEO of Veeder-Root. Chris’s great-grandfather was H.L. Spaunberg, and Chris provided a list of some of his patents:

Do you have a grandparent or beyond who invented something still in use in some form? Contact me and we’ll set up an interview.

Thanks & help support the show: The New Disruptors is back on the air due to patrons and sponsors! You can become a patron of the show on a one-time or recurring basis, and get rewards like an exclusive enamel pin and being thanked in this fashion!

Here’s a scan of one of the suggestions my grandfather submitted to IBM during the war, but not the three-legged stool idea. He received a whopping $10, worth about $150 in today’s dollars.