(Heh, yeah, you figure out what forum this one best fits in!)
How many people have ever heard of Orville Redenbacher's Pop Corn???
Probably quite a few I suspect.
And, why would a post about Orville Redenbacher's Pop Corn belong in the Science & Technology forum??? Well, read on and you'll see.
Back in the early 60's my father was a VP of Engineering for Gary Steel Works in Gary, Indiana. At the time, Gary Works was one of the largest steel
manufacturing mills in the world (still the largest in North America). In the steel business, steel is generally made in "blast furnaces". The
molten steel is released from the blast furnaces into these massive insulated rail cars called "torpedo cars". The steel is then transported across
the facility grounds to rolling or processing mills where it is shaped into whatever the end product is. But, back in the early 60's Gary Steel had a
serious and recurring problem!
Gary Steel sits on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan so they can bring the Iron Ore in by ship. The lakeshore in this area is primarily made of sand.
The distance between the blast furnaces and the production mills was a couple miles. So the train tracks between the two were laid on foundations in
the sand. However, frequently the train tracks would shift in the shifting sands and cause the rail cars with molten steel to derail. When this
happened the steel would cool and solidify creating massive problems. Worse, this situation would also halt further steel production at the entire
plant (a really big deal). Fixing the mess each time it would happen was a mammoth undertaking involving dozens of pieces of huge earthwork
equipment, and huge cranes to remove the rail cars from the track filled with, now solid, steel. It's hard to even imagine how difficult this process
was. Many times the train derailments would cause massive and fiery explosions if the molten steel spilled out on the ground, and these would often
make the local news.
Okay, but what does all this have to do with Orville Redenbacher's Pop Corn????
Over the years they tried everything to combat the shifting sands, and nothing worked. They tried retaining walls, they tried elevating the tracks,
and everything else they could think of. The sand would always win.
At one point my father was approached by an eccentric seemingly older gentleman who claimed he could solve their problem. The man was none other than
Orville Redenbacher. Redenbacher claimed he had developed a special strain of corn which, if irrigated properly, would grow in sand. The corn would
stabilize the sand so it wouldn't shift. And it worked!
This special strain of corn used would ultimately become 'Orville Redenbacher's Pop Corn'.
And so it was molten steel on the shifting sands of Gary, Indiana along the Lake Michigan shoreline which launched Orville Redenbacher and his popping
corn to the fame it endures to this day.
And now you know...the rest of the story (to quote the great Paul Harvey)
P.S. - On a funny side note, Redenbacher had all these crazy terms, and Gary Steel had to do everything "his way" or else he'd refuse to do it. One
of these involved using plastic irrigation pipe. Well, you just didn't use plastic anything
on the property of the US's largest steel
mill...especially pipe! It was steel, or it wasn't used at Gary Steel...period. Not with Redenbacher; it was "his way, or the highway!" (and they
wound up using plastic pipe)
Dad got to know Redenbacher pretty well, and Redenbacher gave him a lifetime supply of what would become "Orville Redenbacher's Popping Corn". I
remember as a kid having literally thousands of unlabeled jars of popcorn (just shelves and shelves of the stuff). Me and my friends used to use the
stuff in our pea-shooters.
edit on 12/15/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)