Wüsthof knives

The state-of-the-art production facilities of Wusthof in Solingen: From the Design and Engineering Department, Forging, Tempering, Grinding and polishing, Etching, Sharpening and Quality control to Packing and Warehouse. Quality – made in Germany/Solingen.

YouTube comments:

“I’ve got a complete 20 years old set of the classic line from my father three years ago. The Knifes are still sharp and I love them all. I think, twenty years later they will be a nice present to my children.”

“I have an old chefs knife that is simply amazing. It holds and edge forever but can be resharpened with just a few strokes with a diamond hone. Thanks, Wusthof family!”

“I have a set of those knives over 30 years and no problems with them!!”

“I have purchased two sets of these knives. To say the least they are the last knives you’ll ever have in your kitchen. Like anything they will last a lifetime given the proper care. My set has white handles and I haven’t seen any other set of knives with white handles.”

“I have a 1st World War Mauser bayonet made by Solingen from 1917. Nice to see you guys in business after all that time and history.”

Ten Principles of Good Design – Dieter Rams

Innovative. Useful. Aesthetic. Understandable. Honest. Unobtrusive. Long lasting. Consequent to the last detail. Environmentally friendly. As little as possible.

“Konsequent bis ins letzte Detail.” Translated as thorough down to the last detail. That’s a lousy translation. Rams says literally consequent/consistent to the last detail. Meaning, integrated in each and every aspect. Dieter Rams

Very proud of their automobiles

German cars vs. American cars. Germans are very proud of their automobiles.

Comments in YouTube: “Telling Germans how to make cars is like telling Italians how to make pizza.” … “To anyone saying that we Germans don‘t have any humour: We do actually! We laugh at French and American cars!”

“German: Uses the most advanced tech known to mankind to build the fastest, safest and over all best cars ever. American: slaps wheels and v8 on coffin.” … “Built in USA: Can do cool stunts in Hollywood movies. Built in Germany: Can do the same but on a real autobahn.”

The German Mittelstand

A brief video describing well the strengths of the German Mittelstand, small- to medium-sized companies typically in manufacturing and family-owned and -run.

The Mittelstand is often described as the heart of Germany’s economy – and rightly so, given that mid-sized firms account for the largest share of the country’s economic output, employ about 60 percent of all workers, provide crucial training, and contribute significantly to corporate tax revenues in Germany. See BDI

Ludwig Erhard, the Economics Minister who crafted post-war West Germany’s economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder) warned against reducing the Mittelstand to a mere quantitative definition, but instead emphasized more qualitative characteristics which embody the German Mittelstand, as it is “much more of an ethos and a fundamental disposition of how one acts and behaves in society.”

Not in Kansas anymore

In May of 2007, a grade 5 tornado (the highest possible) destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas, killing 13 people, injuring more than 60 others and flattening 95 percent of the town structures (while seriously damaging the other 5 percent). The tornado was estimated to be 1.7 miles (2.7 km) wide at its base, and traveled almost 22 miles (35 km). Wind from the twister was estimated at 205 mph (330 km/h).

In May of 2011, a grade 5 tornado ravaged the city of Joplin, Missouri. Although this tornado was only .75 miles at its base, and traveled 6 miles on the ground, it also had winds estimated at over 200 mph, and, because this tornado hit a city rather than a small town, it had far more devastating figures of destruction: 158 people died, over 1000 people were injured, and around 7,000 homes were destroyed (not including businesses and public buildings).

According to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) an average of 1253 tornadoes occur in the United States every year. Although more common in “tornado alley” (the Midwest), tornados have been documented in every state in the U.S. After the United States, the country with the largest average number of annual cyclones is Canada, with around 100 twisters.

If there’s a relatively high probability that your home will be completely destroyed in a storm, then long-lasting won’t be one of your main concerns when buying it or having it built for you.

Familiarity breeds contempt

A New Broom Sweeps Clean – A fresh leader gets rid of the old and brings in new ideas and personnel. This term can be found in English as early as 1546 in John Heywood’s proverb collection.

Climb/jump on the Bandwagon – Join a growing movement in support of someone or something, often just as that movement appears to have become successful. This phrase developed after American politicians in the late 19th century began using bandwagons when campaigning for office.

First known use: 1899 by President Theodore Roosevelt: “When I once became sure of one majority they tumbled over each other to get aboard the band wagon.”

Familiarity Breeds Contempt – The better you know someone, the more likely you are to find fault with them. First known use: 1386 in Chaucer’s “Tale of Melibee.”

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side – A different situation always seems better than your own. First known use: 1400s.

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – Old dogs (and people) learn less well than the young. Although this phrase primarily refers to people, not products, it nevertheless shows how Americans tend to view old things as outdated and unadaptable. First known use: John Fitzherbert’s 1534 The Boke of Husbandry.”

Upgrades

There are a lot of American websites that describe ways to make use of old products after upgrading to newer models. If you type “creative ways to reuse things” into Google, you are met with over 20 million websites with such titles as “40 Awesome Ways to Reuse Old Stuff” and “534 Ways to Reuse Things You’d Normally Throw Away.” These sites have suggestions for reusing everything from bicycles to wrenches, and even to fruit peels.

Some of the suggestions listed on these websites include: Using an old bicycle as a sink stand. Turning an old cassette tape into a coin purse. Bending old wrenches into wall hooks. Cutting old credit cards into guitar picks. Turning an old suitcase into a chair. Grinding old egg shells to make sidewalk chalk. 

Try anything once

The idea that people should try everything once is deeply ingrained in American thinking. In fact, Americans are so hesitant to choose a definite course of action without trying all of the alternatives, that Winston Churchill once said “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

Many famous Americans possessed of a try everything once spirit. American actress Mae West once said “I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.” In 1920, G.B. Manly offered to take American humorist Will Rogers on an airplane ride. After the ride, Rogers remarked: “Try anything once. Try some things oftener. When you goin’ again?”

American President Franklin D. Roosevelt also had the willingness to try anything – something which is now said to have greatly attributed to his ability to help America out of the Great Depression. FDR’s wife Eleanor once commented about him that “He recognized the difficulties and often said that, while he did not know the answer, he was completely confident that there was an answer and that one had to try until one either found it for himself or got it from someone else.”

Americans take a similar viewpoint towards products. They don’t want something that will last forever, but just long enough for them to try it, and see how it compares to other products that they’ve used. Then they want to move on to try another product.

Drowning cars

Because Americans like to upgrade products so often, they have developed interesting ways to dispose of their old products. One such way is in an ice car competition.

In many northern cities in the U.S., there is a tradition that involves driving a car out onto a frozen lake in the middle of winter, and taking bets on when the car will break through the ice when temperatures rise. 

The activity became popular in the 1940s when civic groups (such as the Lions Club) realized that putting an old, unused car on the ice and betting on when it would crash through would be a fun competition and a good way to dispose of an old piece of machinery and generate revenue for local cities.

These days, with environmental awareness on the rise, most cities have laws against dumping old cars in lakes. As a result, in cities that continue this tradition, the towns typically remove the engine and transmission, and make sure there are no fluids in the car that might damage the environment. Additionally, the cars are usually tethered to the bank so that they can easily be pulled out of the lake once they break through.

In cities that participate in this tradition, having your car plunge through the ice is considered something of an honor, and it’s not unusual for people to donate their old cars when they want to buy new ones.

“The same product forever?”

Americans rarely want to own a product for an extended period of time. Most are updated, changed, modified on a regular basis, giving them a kind of newness. These include: computers, electronicc, automobiles, and clothing styles.

Even houses are torn down so that new ones can be built in their place. To the extent that a person views themself as a product, some even alter their own physical appearance via cosmetic surgery: lift, tuck, tighten, remove, add.

Americans simply don‘t want to own, use or be seen with the same product for all too long. They want what is new, better, the „next best thing“, whether it is truly better or not.

Think of mobility in the U.S. Large percentages of Americans in a given year move from one place to another. Job mobility has always been a part of the American economy, now more than ever involuntarily.

Americans own cars for shorter amount of years than in most Western cultures. Fashion cycles are short, the trends are frequent. America is the land of fads, crazes, rages. It‘s a very large and diverse market, culture. It is a consume and consumer oriented economy.

Durable is important to Americans, but for a shorter period of time.