My grandfather on my mom’s side, Harold Milne Alexander, reputed distant relative of AA, inventor of Pooh, was himself an inventor. One of his most important innovations was figuring out how glass curved and could be safely used in automobiles. He was employed by Libbey-Owens-Ford, so he didn’t detain the patent, but he never seemed despondent about that. A different era, I suppose. By the time I knew him and hung out with him a lot, he was retired, but still making things: miniature boats, tankers and galleons and the like, remarkably lifelike, resplendent with gold flourishes, in his basement.

Here are some of his patents:


Harold Alexander’s father, Edwin, made mosaics for the IRT lines in Manhattan at the turn of the century. None have survived, as far as I’ve been able to discover.