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This feature ties in with the “This Week in History” box on the front page to honor The News’ 75th anniversary. In each feature, news from past issues corresponding to the current week will be explored, reminding all of us from where the industry and The News has come, which might help us understand the industry today and tomorrow.
1933: That’s a Crack UpAs reported in the January 25, 1933 News, McCord Radiator & Mfg. Co. announced a new product — a “stainless steel, ‘all-metal’ ice tray.”
The way this product worked was to flex the tray sidewise, thereby dislodging the ice from the tray. “Flexing the tray cracks the ice into cubes corresponding to the division points in the tray, and then forces the cubes up and out. Pressure forcing the ice out is due to the 5-degree draft on both sides of the tray,” wrote John T. Schaefer, engineering editor.
The company’s executives pointed out that water wasn’t required in the ice cube ejection process.
Guy L. Tinkham, vice president of the General Utilities Mfg. Co., a McCord subsidiary that produced household appliances, was the inventor of this style of tray.
The retail price announced for the McCord ice tray was $0.50 — roughly the price of a plastic ice cube tray today.
1995: Busted!Two men, Adi Dara Dubash and Homi N. Patel, were indicted in the largest case of R-12 smuggling up to that time. According to the January 25, 1995 News, the two men illegally imported over 100 tons of CFC-12 into the United States. These defendants also allegedly placed a “down payment” on a bribe to licensed warehouse officials so that the refrigerant could be diverted into the United States rather than sending it to Mexico.
Dubash and Patel arranged to ship seven cargo containers of R-12 from the United Kingdom on four different ships. The ships docked in New York and New Jersey ports. Two of the containers were “diverted” to be sold in the New York area, said George White, a regional customs official.
The other five containers were sent by rail to Miami, where the defendants approached a licensed facility to divert at least two of the containers to the United states, while producing documentation that all seven containers were shipped to Mexico.
The alleged smuggling violated the tax code, which levies a tax on imported refrigerants, and the Clean Air Act. This is the first case of this kind dealing with exporting and importing under the Clean Air Act.
These men could have been subjected to a maximum fine of $2.2 million and 20 years in prison. According to a July 31, 1995 News item, Dara Dubash was sentenced to almost two years in federal prison and fined $6,000. Homi Patel, was sentenced on July 25, 1995, for the same offenses as Dubash. He was sentenced to three years of probation and was required to pay a mandatory special assessment.1
The incentive for these two was the large amount of money to be made selling the refrigerant. It was a simple matter of the economic law of supply and demand. The supply of CFCs was low, due to the limited production of CFCs in the United States, which was to cease altogether at the end of 1995. Many units, especially those in older air conditioned automobiles, had not been converted by 1995 to use other acceptable refrigerants, so the demand was high for the small amount of legal CFC left in the United States.
1 From the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement website section, http://es.epa.gov/oeca/accomplish/appendix/criminal .html.