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


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.

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Image by Tim Jarrett

Crowdfunding's Long History

Mercurius Politicus posted about a fascinating antecedent of modern crowdfunding a few month: a 17th-century writer who raised funds to back a trip by foot from London to Scotland without begging along the way and then to produce a written account.

The deal for subscribers seems to have been a copy of the book, although it’s not clear whether they each received one or whether more generous subscribers might receive more. Taylor may have hoped to sell surplus copies to a wider audience through stationers. It’s also not entirely clear what Taylor actually spent the pledged money on.

Everything old is new again.