View Full Version : Bailing wire horsesense

07-08-2010, 12:06 AM

Observed in the high desert over the years, these remnants of someone's dream. A one room adobe house, a shallow well and water storage tank, a livestock watering tank (bottom half of jet engine shipping vessel) and a six bay TV antenna on about a 30 foot steel pole.

The pole/antenna stood against the elements since at least 1957, or so, when height and size were required for reception from LA, about 75 miles to the south. What few aluminum elements remain, are difficult to see.

Someone had a good feel for strength of materials plus a good design of the tension members. It appears heavy galvanized wire was used. The antenna/pole finally fell sometime during the last month.


Paul Alciatore
07-08-2010, 02:29 AM
Thirty feet is almost a nominal height for an outdoor TV antenna. It is, in fact, the height that the FCC specified for standard field strength measurements. Many, many thirty foot masks were made and used.

Heavly galvanized steel can easily last fifty years. Electrolysis actually replaces the zinc in any areas where it is scratched or worn off as long as they are small. The pole probably failed due to rust on the inside.

07-08-2010, 08:41 AM
I love the high desert ...nice picture.

Question: In the lower right corner, just above the cluster of 3 or 4 short poles, off in the distance I see what appears to be the word "TOOT", though the "O"s are more squarish than round.
Is that actually a structure in the distance?

It looks like it could also be some overprinting or stamping of the photo itself.

07-08-2010, 11:36 AM
lynnl--------The appearance of the word 'toot' is made by a double row of three each, grape stakes with their crossbars, fabbed of redwood. The beginning of a very small vineyard. The modern power poles were added in later years.

In searching for a decent water supply for a drilling project, I visited a closeby (3-4 miles) homesteader who had his well powered by a small, very, very antique diesel generator. That was 31 years ago.


07-08-2010, 12:04 PM
What's left of my memory seems to recall that in the 1950s, there was some sort of land deal wherein you could get some of that desert acreage for next to nothing but the one requirement was that you had to build a structure on it. So there were any number of ramshackle buildings out there that were put up just to hold the land for the owner. Is my memory correct?

Brings up memories of going from LA to Phoenix in the middle of the summer well before the days of interstates, rest stops, power steering or auto air conditioning. It was a 10 to 12-hour trip of hard, constant driving. I have a photo of a Coca-Cola thermometer at a gas station in Needles showing 118 degrees. The Whiting Bros. gas stations did a good business in canvas water bags which you hung from your radiator grille or door handle, the seepage through the canvas evaporating to keep the water somewhat cool. And since there were many miles between towns, you did not want to break down out there. No cell phones to call for help. My dad bought one of those window-mount swamp coolers shaped like a short piece of drain pipe which we tried on our Dodge station wagon but it was so lame we decided the GO60-4 air conditioning system was better (Go 60 and roll down all four windows.)

Since the highway was one lane each way, it was not unusual to find the separated treads from the truck tires right in your lane, which kept the driver alert enough to make a quick evasion maneuver. I always wanted to stop and see "THE THING!", a secret attraction contained within a desert outpost, hidden behind a dessicated wood fence covered with peeling orange paint, signs for which advertised it's attraction for at least 100 miles in each direction. We did finally stop once and found assorted reptiles kept in ratty cages along with a box containing "baby rattlers - open carefully." Upon opening the box, you were presented with a pair of baby rattles. Ha ha.

The furnace-like heat is something to experience. On one trip in a Model A Ford, as dusk began, we looked through the holes in the firewall to see the cast-iron exhaust manifold on that little four-banger glowing red. And all that nice heat was blowing back on us, the sheet-metal firewall and wood floorboards having no insulating barrier between us and the bake-oven under the hood. The condenser sat inside the distributor about an inch from the exhaust manifold and the poor little thing would melt from the heat. Roadside replacement was a standard part of the trip and we never left without several sets of points and condensers, a fan belt and water pump, and a jerry can full of water.

Sorry for the digression.... those were fun days in a wierd sort of way.