Thursday, March 31, 2011

Answer: Finding the connection between an award and the tallest monument

The question is one of chaining together pieces of the problem.  What IS Eck industries 2010 award link to Washington Monument.  There IS one??

First I figured out what the tallest monument in Washington DC is.  This was easy: 
[ tallest monument in Washington DC ] 

Sure enough, it's the Washington Monument.  I read a bit about the monument in preparation for figuring out the next bit.  (This included the surprising observation that Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument ALSO designed the very first Washington Monument in the US... This one is in Baltimore.  Go look it up yourself.  Who knew?)  In the process I learned where the stone for the monument came from, when it was designed and funny/odd details such as that the topmost tip of the monument is made of aluminum.  Really?  

I'll spare you the details of how I figured out it was Eck Industries.  It wasn't that interesting a process--just a lot of slogging through companies in WI that won awards and looking for a possible connection to monuments in DC.  I finally ran across one that won an award for metallurgy in aluminum (Eck Industries--aha!) and the rest was pretty straightfoward.  

[ Eck industries award 2010 ] – I clicked on the first link to a report on Eck Industries.  (You should recognize Highbeam--they're an agregator of information about different businesses--sometimes really useful for business-related queries like this.)  

I read the Highbeam report carefully… (Well, I really used Control-F to find all the places in the document that mention the word "award.")  I quickly found out that Philip Eck won the “William Frishmuth Award in 2010."  Interesting. What’s that award for?  So I chain backwards to find out about that....   Do the search: 
[ William Frishmuth award ] 

Click first hit, (the Wikipedia article) and find that William Frishmunt, like Phillip Eck, ran a casting foundry.  What's more, his foundry was the first to cast aluminum AND that's the material used on the cap of the Washington Monument AND his foundry was the place that cast it!  

So the connection is this:  Eck won the Firshmuth award in 2010 for superior aluminum metal casting, which is what William Frishmuth did for the Washington Monument. 

Case closed.  

Keep searching!

Photographer Theodor Horydczak checks the pyramid  of aluminum at the apex of the Washington Monument.  (Picture taken sometime around 1920.)

1 comment:

  1. I love that story! The aluminum cap is one of the great forgotten monuments to poor technological timing. At the time they commissioned it, aluminum cost more than gold or platinum due to technical difficulties. Shortly after they finished it (and paid for it), someone made the breakthrough that allows us to use aluminum in every Coke can in the world. Oops.