Saturday, January 8, 2011

The 1960 Sno-Melter

From one of my favorite blogs, Paleo-Future

The Sno-Melter, "Closer Than We Think," January 3, 1960

Snow piles and drifts on highways and turnpikes may soon be a thing of the past. Esso Research and Engineering Company has already devised a system for clearing urban roadways that is reported to be cheaper than under-pavement steam or electric coils. A trough is built alongside the road and kept half-filled with water which is heated by oil and air fed units at the bottom. Snow channeled into the trough melts instantly.

Variations of this system can be evolved for cross-country roads. Flame-belching snow-melting highway equipment is even now on the drawing boards.

Much more at

Les Baxter - "World Music" 1950s-style

Ah, the good old days, the good old day that never were, the good old days of flame-belching snow-melting highway equipment.

And to get into the era a little more:
Museum of Mid-Century Illustrated

The 1960 Sno-Melter is a great reminder of growing up through the Golden Age of Petroleum in America. Knowing nothing but that, we took it for granted. I'm not sure the Baby Boomers were well-served by pumping 30-cent-a-gallon gas into 10 MPG automobiles. In one sense, we were likely well-served, since the full service lane was the only lane. Now, it would feel quite odd to pull up to a gas pump and just sit there and wait for someone to fill the tank, wash the windshield,and check the oil and tires. But that's how it was, and I had no reason to think it wouldn't always be like that.

I remember a family vacation to the Southwest when I was five. As we drove along Route 66 in Oklahoma, I was fascinated with the oil pumps scattered along the plains. Watching them rock away, I thought of small dinosuars or large grasshoppers. One other thing about the West caught my attention: it was festooned with signs for a lot of gas stations I'd never seen before in North Carolina, and other parts of the Southeast.

Yes, nostalgia is easy. But there's nothing like a 1960 Sno-Melter to illustrate what a ridiculously decadent era it was.

Assuming there are human survivors to what we’ve wrought, I can only imagine them looking back on us with a mixture of amusement and disgust: amusement at our stupidity and disgust at the carelessness with which we’ve squandered our inheritance and mistreated the planet.

The Golden Age of Petroleum - it was fun while it lasted.


Back then, lots of Les Baxter's music fell into the "Exotica" category. You don't hear those artists much anymore. There was the Peruvian songstress Yma Sumac:

This Baxter number features the unforgettable "Bas Sheva" on vocals:

Finally, Nelson Riddle dabbled in exotica, but for today, there's only one choice from Nelson and his orchestra:


Dr. Iggy Mucklefunk said...

I'll see your Les Baxter with Sun Ra and "Space is the Place"

And I'll trump that with two from Dr. Funkenstein himself:

GULAHIYI said...

Ahh. So cool! I detect an interplanetary theme. The Arkestra. Mo-tropolis. Planet Oith.