Categotry Archives: Business


Jack Steiner


Categories: Business, Scientists

John Edward Steiner, an aerospace engineer who was known as the “Father of the 727,” drowned in Lake Washington on July 29. He was 85.
Originally, Steiner wanted to design boats. After he received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Washington in 1940, he looked to the sky for inspiration.
Steiner was best known for the inventive design work he did at Boeing from 1941 to 1984. Steiner created the triple-slotted flap, a device that allowed planes to take off and land on shorter runways. In 1963, he helped build the high-performance Boeing 727, turning it into a commercial airliner that was ideal for domestic flights. Previously, commercial jets only flew international flights.
Boeing sold over 1,800 727s during Steiner’s tenure, making it the second best-selling commercial jet airliner of all time. The first was the 737; Steiner was the chief engineer on that project. In the final design of the 737, Steiner used 60% of the 727’s parts, including its doors, cockpit layout and avionics.
From 1982 to 1990, Steiner served on the White House Aeronautical Policy Review Committee.


J. Liddon Pennock Jr.


Categories: Business

When society brides wanted elegant floral arrangements for their weddings, they called J. Liddon Pennock Jr.

For most of his life, Pennock operated his family’s 100-year-old flower shop in Philadelphia. He studied at the agricultural college of Cornell University but was called home before graduation; it was during the Depression, and all hands were needed to save the family business.

So Pennock turned himself into the florist the rich and well-connected always called. He created bouquets for society weddings and floral centerpieces for debutante coming out parties. He decorated the White House for the Tricia Nixon Cox wedding and filled the executive mansion with plants and flowers each Christmas from 1971 to 1973.

Pennock sold the flower shop in 1970, and built a retail nursery and garden shop on a 25-acre estate called Meadowbrook Farm. The 12 public gardens offer visitors to Meadowbrook a horticultural tour of perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs worthy of a spotlight appearance on Home and Garden Television.

Pennock died on July 24. Cause of death was not released. He was 90.


Art Brophy


Categories: Business, Sports

Arthur Brophy Jr., a baseball player who invented a pitching machine, died on July 28 of bone cancer. He was 70.
Brophy attended Rollins College on a baseball scholarship. An All-American player, he pitched a no-hitter game that earned him a spot in the school’s Hall of Fame, and won his team an NCAA championship.
He was recruited by the majors and played five seasons with the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins. After his professional baseball career ended, Brophy became a scout for the Baltimore Orioles, and invented Quic Hands, a soft toss pitching machine that helps batters sharpen their hand-eye coordination.


Walter Zapp

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Categories: Business, Scientists

wzapp.jpgWalter Zapp, the inventor of the Minox mini camera, died on July 17. Cause of death was not released. He was 97.
In the early 1920s, Zapp worked as an apprentice art photographer in Estonia. A self-described weakling, Zapp found it difficult to carry the heavy wooden cameras used at the time so he decided to create a smaller one.
Fourteen years later, Zapp invented a camera so small it could be hidden within a closed hand. He started manufacturing it in Riga, Latvia, using the first standard 8×11 film cartridge, but production was halted during World War II when Zapp was warned that the Russians planned to co-opt his designs and send him to work in Moscow. Afraid of such a fate, Zapp moved to Germany and co-founded Minox with Richard Jürgens.
Although he never intended it to be used for espionage, the Minox mini camera was featured in several James Bond movies. More than 1 million were sold, but Zapp received none of the profits because he sold the patent for a single, lump sum fee.


H. Warren Ghormley

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Categories: Business

H. Warren Ghormley, a co-founder of the famous Dick’s Drive-in, died on July 19 of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85.
In 1953, Ghormley and Dr. B.O.A. Thomas decided to invest in Dick Spady’s fast-food restaurant idea. A year later, the first Dick’s Drive-In opened in Seattle.
Over the past half century, Dick’s has been hailed as a cherished institution by locals and travel guides for its simple and affordable cheeseburger/fries/shake menu. The restaurant expanded to five locations, and established a scholarship program for its high school student workers.

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