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January 17, 2013
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January 22, 2013

Lots to celebrate in 2013

Given the challenges of the last year or two, members could be taken aback by the suggestion that there might be anything to celebrate during 2013. This, though, is exactly the cheerful view offered by Tom Cosway of our strategic fuel cards partner, The Fuelcard People.

Pausing for a few moments from looking after members’ interests, Tom Cosway says, “Nobody anticipates an economic miracle during the coming 12 months and, based on recent history, members should not expect much help from Westminster. So, maybe we should all take the Scarlett O’Hara view, that tomorrow is another day, and look for something else to cheer about.”

He suggests that those members who love classic literature can begin to party almost as soon as the New Year celebrations fade. As they would already know, January will mark 200 years since the first publication of Pride and Prejudice.

“Jane Austen’s milestone is likely to receive more publicity than the month’s other 200th anniversary,” says Tom. The other 200th anniversary? One or two members might need to be reminded that, of course, 1813 saw the first planting of pineapples in Hawaii.

Any members uninterested in literature or fruit, however, can still prepare for more than one commemoration in the New Year.

“Underground railways became reality 150 years ago,” Tom says, “with the first section of London’s Metropolitan line opening in January, 1863 to link Paddington and Farringdon. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, our cousins were also contributing to transportation development. In the same month that we opened the Tube, an American called James Plimpton was busy patenting the modern four-wheel roller skate.”

While the roller skate may hardly have changed, other sporting pursuits with notable 2013 birthdays might not be recognisable to their founding fathers. The Lawn Tennis Association and the Football League were both created 125 years ago, into a world that knew nothing of millionaire sportsmen and their millionaire agents.

“On the other hand,” says Tom, “If a certain Marvin C. Stone were still around, he would instantly recognise the modern incarnation of his 1888 brainchild. As our committees collaborated on their complex creations, this American was single-handedly inventing something that every member must have used at some time: the drinking straw. Happy 125th, Mr. Stone!”

There are any number of centenaries during 2013 for members to commemorate. Across the Atlantic, New York’s Grand Central Terminal opened in 1913 – and still has more platforms, with 44, than any other railway station in the world. In Canada, Gideon Sundbäck was busy perfecting the zip fastener. Back in the USA, the first electric refrigerator for domestic use went on sale in Chicago. “The Domelre may have been the first to market,” says Tom, “but it was hardly popular. That may have been because, even 100 years later, $900 still seems rather a lot to pay for a fridge.”

Countless people could have planned 100th birthday parties during 2013: Sid James and Peter Cushing, Cyril Fletcher and Percy Thrower, Danny Kaye and Burt Lancaster, Richard Nixon and Michael Foot, Jesse Owens and Gerald Ford, to name a few. “I am sure that some of these might have welcomed a few members at their parties,” Tom suggests, “if it were not for the slight challenge that none of them is still with us.”

Tom Cosway concludes, “The Fuelcard People may not have been around for 100 years, but we are still here are ready to help. Whatever other reasons members may have for partying during 2013, low-cost diesel and petrol is always worth celebrating.”

Written by Tom Cosway – The Fuelcard People

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