Excaliber

QUESTION:  BY what other name is Excaliber referred in the legend of King Arthur?
A). The Sword in the Stone
B). Caliburn
C). Blue Steel
D). Monmouth
ANSWER BELOW

Having spent a week honoring the women associated with the legend of King Arthur, it stands to reason that we would dedicate a blog entry to the sword given to Arthur by the Lady in the Lake, Excaliber. Although it definitely stands to reason, it is not exactly the same Excaliber we will talk about today. Today's Excaliber is a remote control drag racing car. Anyone with any appreciation for video games and electronics has to love the idea of remote control. The American Treasure Tour has a wonderful collection of remote control airplanes suspended from our ceiling. We also have remote control cars, including the Excaliber that inspires this blog. One thing we do not have displayed is a remote control boat, which is notable because the first remote control device ever demonstrated was a boat.

The year was 1898.  Technological advances were rapidly changing the world. Edison had harnessed electricity and had already begun wiring houses with lighting. Automobiles were on the road, competing with horse-drawn carriages to get from place to place. And a man named Nikola Tesla was experimenting with things most people couldn't even fathom at the time. One such item was remote control. His understanding of radio waves was way ahead of his time (some scholars argue that he beat Enrico Marconi to wireless radio communication, but the bottom line is that Marconi was more efficient at marketing than Tesla so, true or not, Tesla definitely lost that race). He created a tiny radio transmitter that could receive exactly one frequency. He attached it to a model boat and demonstrated it at Madison Square Garden. His remote control box had a lever and a telegraph key (normally used to convey Morse Code) to send a signal to the boat and control the propeller and rudder and make the boat go. Like so many of Tesla's amazing innovations, it was not a huge success during his lifetime, but it would continue to be worked on. For example, the German military used remote control technology during World War I to steer boats filled with explosives into enemy ships.  Check in next week for more on this fascinating - and highly fun - form of technology.

ANSWER:  B). Caliburn.  The word is a Welsh composite of the words for "hard" and "breach."  Although some storytellers have accidentally confused Excaliber with the Sword in the Stone, they are widely considered different weapons that King Arthur had at different times in his life.