By: Wayne Brown
This is my 45th hub so as a special surprise, rather than follow the traditional let’s wait until we get to #50 to celebrate, I thought that I would give 45 a chance at the limelight. I’ve seen Stan Fletcher do it and it looks like he has absolutely recreated the career of #57 who was unfortunately stuck with a political tie to John Kerry’s wife, heir to the Heinz fortune. So, let’s see what I can do for #45.
In the beginning of the history of the world, 45 popped up pretty quick. When we consult historical registers we find that the first year 45 was called just plain ‘45’ with nothing in front or behind it. A fitting label I presume. In that historical year, Romans Marcus Vinicius and Titus Flavius Sabinus became Roman Consuls and The Roman Emperor, Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome. Latin poet, Statius, was born in 45 as was Plutarch, the Greek historian and biographer. Much like good wine kept to proper aging in the cool cellars of Rome, 45 was a pretty good year in several ways.
Way back in 1872, a joint venture between the Colt Firearms Company and the Union Cartridge Company, both of Connecticut, yielded a new pistol capable of firing metallic cartridges. This advance in firearm science would allow the US Military to step away from the cap and ball single-shot pistol that had been used as standard issue through the Civil War. This new pistol would flourish overtime and become a legend in the tales of cowboys and Indians of the old west. Even today, its significance still stands as many pistol owners decry “The reason I use a .45 is because they don’t make a 46!”. Yes, the Colt .45 is a standard among guns and the number 45 played a very important part in that history. This should not be confused with the malt liquor by the same name that 45 so generously allowed his label to be associated. Now, 45 wants you to know that he enjoys a good drink just like the next guy, but any time you malt liquor is involved, it is “a lightning bolt, when you drink that Colt…..45.” On that note 45 ask that you drink responsibly. Also, never walk into a bank and mention that you have a Colt 45 in a brown paper bag.
As you might recall from your history lessons, there were two great world wars. The last one, commonly referred to as WWII, saw America enter the war on multiple fronts and for multiple reasons. For that matter, we were also fighting multiple enemies. In Europe, we, along with our Allies, faced off to stop the advance of Hitler’s Nazi war machine. In the Pacific theater, we faced the aggression of Japanese Empire who so recklessly launched a surprise attack on US Forces at Pearl Harbor. We, like the good Americans that we are, dealt with both at once and came home victorious. The world, for the most part, was grateful. That entire wonderful end to war and fighting would come about in the year 1945. So you see, 45 has played a key role even in international relations for our country.
When I was growing up, all the music was on vinyl. There were no CD’s, MP3’s and at one point there, we were still awaiting the arrival of the 8-Track. You see, in that day, our infatuation was with the transistor radio. How could so much music come out of something that small we wondered in amazement as we leaned against any metal pole within reach to improve the signal. Well, anyway, that only has a remote bearing on our subject. Back to the vinyl or records as we affectionate called. Records were classified by the number of RPM (Rounds per Minute) they made when placed on a turntable and engaged with a sound stylus or needle. In the hey-day in which I started to gain my musical appreciation of rock ‘n roll and rock-a-billy, the record of choice was the 45 RPM (there’s that number, ya see it!). Artist released what they called ‘singles’ in those days on 45 RPM. The little record had two sides and two songs. There was an A side and a lesser, B side. Sometimes, contrary to the plans of the artist, the B-side became more popular than the A-side. Radio stations delivered their daily musical agenda via the 45 RPM record. Now, you see, there is a tie with the transistor radio. Thus, 45 had a big place in musical history in America.
45 also took on a number of roles in the field of math. I think my favorite is that it acts as the exact bisector of the 90 right angle. So, anytime you are standing straight up and don’t want to lie all the way down, you can depend on 45 as your reference to determine a good angle at which to lean. We began to recognize it quite easily as we observed “Well, I can tell from here that one pole is standing straight up, but the other one, I am pretty sure that it is leaning at an angle of 45 degrees.” Yep, it’s halfway between straight up and flat on the ground. We needed a name for that place and 45 volunteered right away before any of the other numbers could react. They had no idea how important this role would become in the daily lives of Americans everywhere. Now, all the other numbers are sad because 45 is so well recognized. 45 can be compared to Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer in some respects.
Oh! And let's not leave out the music industry. C F Martin is a household name to the stock and trade of the music industry. The company rose from a family of cabinet makers in Germany who transitioned into the making of lutes, guitars, and other stringed instruments over time. Martin was a key innovative in the use of “X-Bracing” interior of acoustic guitars. This bracing allowed the use of steel strings as opposed to catgut strings more commonly used on earlier models. Overtime Martin pioneered many innovations into the pre-World War II era guitar technology. As time passed and the market expanded, market for guitars grew. Martin’s image began to tarnish in the early 1960’s as many musicians cited poor quality and tone in the acoustic products. Martin addressed the issue in 1968 with the introduction of a new line of Martin guitars. These guitars would quickly set the standard for both manufacturing and tonal quality for the industry. Those guitars are still sought after today if one has the pocketbook to afford them. It was thm Martin D-45 that saved)20the day abd I dare not be the one to point out the significance 45 played in that shift in musical history.
45 also played a pivotal role in the history of time. Along with its partner 15, it established two significantly important clock positions in the 24 hour time period of the daily cycle. 15 became the popular “quarter past” reference and 45 positioned its self to take charge of the “quarter ‘til” post. Thus when you hear the terms, you immediately think of those numbers. Again, 45 was able to leap forward ahead of your fellow numbers and volunteer to serve in this all important spot in the time continuum. So as time marches on to eternity, 45 will have an hourly role in registering the advance.
As mankind has aged through the centuries and expanded longevity in this life, 45 has commonly become the reference at which man refers to himself as having reached ‘middle age’. Much like the bisector of the right angle, 45 has again stepped up to define the approximate half way point that many would desire in terms of a long life span. In this role 45 stands out as a lone beacon in the night not yet seen by the young ones but brushing its light ever so faintly against the far horizons of the oncoming 30-year crowd. For the older sect, the ones who have passed this well-known marker buoy in the dark seas of life, they look back over their shoulders and fondly remember their passage at that landmark and it reinforces their will to go on. 45, for all that it is, it is also a beacon in the night of the aged.
Obviously, I could go on and on detailing the quests, adventures, measurements, divisions, markings, nomenclatures, chapters, and verse that 45 has so willingly stepped forth and identified with for the remainder of time. But I hesitate to take you on that journey in this time and space for in my need for brevity I may do you the unimaginable by not showing all is 45. No, I will leave that search through history and that speculation of the future to you and the greater minds that follow. I will leave you in the peace of knowing that ‘45’ will stand in time as the title of this precious piece of work. Amen.