History of Personal Watercraft

I was looking around for some information on Seadoo pwc covers and came across some really interesting information on the history of Seadoos and personal watercraft in general. I am a bit of a history buff so I put off the Seadoo cover search and gobbled up a little history lesson.

 I had always thought that Seadoos were an invention of the late 1980s or early 1990s. In one sense that is correct. The most modern and significant developments in the area of PWCs happened post 1988. However, to limit your sense of history to that era doesn’t give you a proper perspective on the evolution of Seadoos.

 Back in the mid to late 1960s, the Canadian Bombardier family was busy making the ever popular Ski-doo snowmobiles. The family began to toss around the idea of making a snowmobile that traveled on water. They quickly became serious about this project and started to make some preliminary designs of different types of prototypes. After hitting some design snags they heard about an American banker turned inventor named Jacobsen that was playing with a similar design project.

 Jacobsen was interested in motorcycles and his dream was to create a machine similar to a motorcycle that would travel on water. Jacobsen and Bombardier joined forces. Before long, Jacobsen had designed the first Seadoo. Bombardier bought the rights from Jacobsen and added the signature yellow and black coloring from their famous Ski-doo snowmobiles. Bombardier also designed and manufactured the yellow and black seadoo covers. Bombardier produced these Seadoos and offered them to the market in 1968 and 1969.

 The Bombardier Seadoos were limited by the market technology of the times. The 1968 engine was air cooled. This posed as a great problem as the hull wasn’t big enough to allow the proper air circulation. In 1969, the design was changed to allow a liquid cooled engine. This helped a bit there were other problems to contend with. Most of these Seadoos were sold on the east coast and used in salt water. The salt corroded everything. Apparently Jacobsen had some ideas to improve the engine and reduce corrosion but these ideas were not adopted by the Bombardier family.

 After a few false starts the Bombardier family moth balled the idea of the modern day Seadoo for the next 20 years.   Jacobsen bought the rights to his ideas and joined forces with Kawasaki. While at Kawasaki, Jacobsen developed the first Jet-Ski. The history of personal watercraft is colorful and interesting.

How to Barbecue – A Short History and Instruction in Barbecue – Part 3

(Following is the third of a series of articles intended to give a historical and practical perspective to the art of how to barbecue.)

In our last article we found ourselves in 19th century America, discussing the variations on the barbecue theme in separate parts of the American South. We learned that, for the most part, pork was the meat of choice, and that there were four basic types of barbecue sauces. They are: light or heavy tomato-based, mustard-based, and vinegar-based. An interesting bit of trivia is that South Carolina is the only state which includes consistent representation of all four.

Most of the South and Southeastern US chops or slices their barbecue, but we discussed how farther toward the west the pork was “pulled”, with the meat being hand-shredded after the same type of slow-cooking with sauce added afterward. This reaches its height with the style of cooking known as “Memphis Barbecue,” which was also embraced alongside more traditional barbecue in Mississippi and Alabama.

The separate states really differentiated themselves primarily with the barbecue sauce recipes and the side dishes served with their barbecue. Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama favor the red tomato-based sauces, though Alabamans tend to prefer their sauce a little spicier. Northern Alabama also boasts a delicious white sauce composed of a vinegar-base with the addition of mayonnaise. The rubs which have become very popular recently were more common in western Tennessee and in Kentucky, where it wasn’t unusual to serve the barbecue sauce on the side.

In the Carolinas you would likely have a serving of cole slaw and hush puppies along with your barbecue. If you take the mayonnaise out of the cole slaw and substitute vinegar, ketchup and black pepper you would be right at home in North Carolina with your “barbecue slaw.” Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? Other sides, varying by region and state, included the foods which we expect at today’s barbecue picnic. You’d find not only slaws, but baked beans, egg salad, deviled eggs, cornbread, potato chips, French fries, and even hot dogs and hamburgers just in case you needed a little change in your grilled meat offerings.

When we return, we will go beyond the “Barbecue Belt,” as we continue to explore the history of how to barbecue, we’ll talk about how beef became synonymous with the idea of barbecue in many parts of the world outside of the US. And we’ll get to the meat of things as we talk about how to barbecue ribs and how to barbecue chicken, too. Until then…

(to be continued…)