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May 30, 1955
Heavyweight perspectives, Williams vs. Snead Leadfoot Trophy, Schweinberger's vaccination, Muskellunge psychology, Model basin at work
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May 30, 1955

Events & Discoveries

Heavyweight perspectives, Williams vs. Snead Leadfoot Trophy, Schweinberger's vaccination, Muskellunge psychology, Model basin at work

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Put such information into an IBM machine and you get a busted IBM machine and the conclusion that either muskies prefer artificial lures to live bait or that muskie fishermen prefer artificial lures to live bait.


The Stevens Institute of Technology, a collection of brick and stone buildings sprawled along the waterfront in Hoboken, N.J., is willing to test practically anything that gets wet. The Navy brings scale drawings (from which models are made) of submarines, airplanes, and PT boats. The Army brings landing craft. Yacht designers bring yachts. Oilmen bring pumping stations for offshore oil. The Moran Towing and Transportation Company brought in a garbage scow.

Once, in a fit of naturalistic enthusiasm, Stevens even did some calculating on porpoises. Figuring skin friction, eddy resistance and wave resistance—the three basic deterrents to anything that wants to move forward in water—Stevens announced brightly that if a porpoise wanted to follow an ocean liner at 25 mph for 10 hours, it would have to eat two to three times its own weight during the 10 hours. This, apparently, made certain fish experts very happy, because they had wanted to know if that porpoise that follows ocean liners is always the same porpoise or whether there are several substitute porpoises who run in whenever anyone gets tired.

The other day the problem at Stevens' Number One testing tank was a bit more prosaic. Briefly, the question was: If Philip L. Rhodes builds a 77-foot, all-steel luxury yacht for Houghton P. Metcalf of Middleburg, Va., what kind of engines will Mr. Metcalf have to buy to push the boat at 12 knots through a cruising radius of 1,000 miles?

Mr. Philip Rhodes, a naval architect for 36 years, had already figured it out, even though the boat so far was nothing more than a set of drawings and a three-foot model fixed to a towing carriage in Stevens' 106-foot-by-9-foot testing tank.

"Two 275-hp diesels," he said. Rhodes knows things like that.

"However," he conceded, "it's nice to have that verified when you're spending somebody else's jack."

Besides the size of the diesels, there was the matter of verifying the hull design—how the boat would ride in the water, how she would behave at various speeds, what sort of wake she would throw. And since Mr. Metcalf was planning to pay $150,000 for the finished boat, everyone was willing to indulge in what Rhodes described as "reassurance of the client."

That was fine with Mr. Metcalf, who had come all the way from Middleburg, Va. to be reassured; and now, flanked by Designer Rhodes and Master Draftsman Joe Reinhardt, he moved close to the tank for the tests. For the Institute men, the Metcalf hull was pretty tame stuff. Allan Murray, assistant director of Stevens' testing tanks, had been doing this sort of thing since the days when Harold S. Vanderbilt brought in early models of the Cup Defender Ranger, whose scaled-down hull still hangs above the Number One tank. The other two—Randolph Ashton and Clayton Odenbrett—spend most of their days on ocean liners and commercial cargo vessels. But these men are scientists, and one hydro-dynamic curve is pretty much like another to them.

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