July 10, 2014

Duralumin and the Origins of Rivets

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Duralumin and the Origins of Rivets

Technology thrives during wars when scientists, inventors, and mad rulers come up with ideas to guard against destruction (or enhance their capacity for destruction). Here is some background information about Anthony Fokker and Hugo Junkers, who not only contributed to the aircraft industry, but also indirectly to the future of Airstream. Their creation, the Junker J2, was constructed with steel sheeting. But it was too heavy – the dense steel weighed the aircraft down. So the company then experimented with duralumin, a new high-strength aluminum alloy. They intended to use it for the next model of aircraft, the J3, but it

Wally Shares His Birthday

The signers of the Declaration were dedicated in their fevered goals and are summed up in the ending statement, “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Many of the signers lost their lives, and others lost their fortunes. As a collective body, they sent the world’s political institutions a message. Today we not only give thanks to our forefathers for giving us our freedoms from an oppressive overseas monarchy, but we pay tribute to and celebrate the birth of an individual that and shaped an industry. Wallace Merle Byam was born on July

Wally and The Third Man

On any journey you can always expect the unexpected. You might be traveling down old Route 66 in Arizona, the fishing shores in Nova Scotia, or a Caravan highlighting a series of cultural, historical or breathtaking natural landscapes. The 1956 Airstream Wally Byam European Caravan covered encyclopedic experiences from A to Z and beyond. Your eyes widen as you walk under the Eiffel Tower, strolling through the Vatican, enjoying a beer at the Hofbräuhaus in München, swimming on the French Riviera, or going to the opera in Vienna. Then you have an unexpected luncheon with a very famous and special person. The owner of a

Wally and Stella Prepare for Their Journey

The day had finally arrived. Wally and Stella Byam were preparing to leave for New York, where they’d head off to Africa for the Airstream Caravan. Arthur Ruiz, Caravan mechanic, also had his rig ready. As they readied their trip, Wally and Stella addressed the Jackson Center, Ohio Airstream employees. They explained the adventure ahead, and what their efforts in manufacturing means to Airstream owners – both on the African Caravan and those enjoying the byways in the States. With their Airstream rig in New York, Wally and Stella have just one final stop before they leave for Africa. They travel

Airstream and Advertising

Have you ever discovered a paradise in the wilderness? A spot where you felt like you could stay forever? A hidden stream, a quiet canyon, a windswept shore? If such a scene permeates your dreams, prepare now to visit it – in an Airstream. There is no wilderness too remote for an Airstream…shipshape as a trim yacht, maneuverable as a sports car, Airstream is the answer to the question, “how shall we be free?” Start living. Get out of your rut and on the road to travel adventure.

Airstream at the Greatest Spectacle(s) in Racing

The 140th Kentucky Derby has just concluded, with California Chrome winning. My thoughts go back to my Airstream memories of 1957. Airstream Trailers, Inc. offered their first domestic Wally Byam Caravan, the Kentucky Derby/Indianapolis 500 Caravan, taking in the some very beautiful and historic areas, and adding two premier sporting events. For Wally Byam, it was the introduction for “Stella’s Gold Airstream” designed by Stella in Europe as her dream Airstream. Wally displayed “her Airstream” to the world as an entry in the Kentucky Derby parade. The real grandstand for the Gold Airstream occurs on the Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan.

Cooking Up Adventure

Grub? Grub is a word from the 19th century that means gourmet, not a small little worm or a prospector wanting a grub stake to search for gold. Grub is normally reserved and associated with beans, salt pork and hardtack. Grub was Wally’s word for a meal, going shopping for food, or even going to a night club for dinner and entertainment. More than once during a Caravan potluck, Wally thanked the ladies for the wonderful grub. Wally once herded his grandfather’s sheep for a full summer. There is no doubt that outdoor cooking became a part of Wally’s life during this

The Blue Beret and Airstream Goodwill

Why did Wally Byam get involved with head coverings? In 1948 he and Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. toured Western Europe. On that trip, Wally was introduced to the beret. He found it covered his head, kept it warm and could be folded up and stuck in his pocket. Very simply, he found it to be practical and convenient. The beret became part of the Byam persona. Friends, Caravanners and Airstreamers followed suit and adopted the “Blue Beret” as a tribute to Wally. On Airstream Caravans, the beret announced to local citizens that the Caravanners were an American group traveling through their

Roaring Lions in the Night: Kruger National Park

What is the main attraction in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert? Animals! The land of Africa is one with nature, and the animals roam the Earth freely, with grace. It is possible to account for almost every animal you might find in a zoo in sub-equatorial Africa. With animal abundance and economic hardships there are poachers harvesting animals at an alarming rate. Trophy hunters are rapidly losing their respect in their hunting and killing African game. This comment is a red flag, making you aware that times are changing in Africa. Nick Charles and I left early from Pretoria,

Exiled Napoleon and Old Johnathan

This article is a continuation of the previous Airstream Caravan journal from New York to Cape Town.  When we left the New York docks, we were thinking about the African Caravan, and not landing on St. Helena. We were able to go ashore and spend several hours roaming the small rocky island certainly a travel gift. This is the story of Old Johnathan, a two hundred year old land tortoise, and the exiled despot Napoleon Bonaparte. The British determined that Napoleon would never return to Europe sailed him to St. Helena, an island so remote that his return to France was impossible.