Friday, April 11

The Magic Ingredient

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By Art Cashin

On this day in 1916, a self-styled genius demonstrated a miracle product to a major corporate entity. The product was so deliciously fascinating that its concept lives today. Any tabloid will tell you that it's really true and that corporate America found it and suppressed it.

The product was that mysterious ingredient that you pop in a tank of water and it can run an automobile. And through all these years the "big guys" kept it hidden. Where were "60 Minutes" and "Geraldo" when we really needed them?

Well, anyway, on this day in 1916, the developer showed this particular hot-shot corporate type how you take said bucket of water, add said mysterious ingredient, pour into said gas tank and run said car. The corporate type was amazed. His name was Henry Ford and he gave the entrepreneur - one Louis Enricht a binder of a year's salary and a free Model T to work on. A few months later Ford read that Enricht had sold the rights (for several years' salary) to another guy. Trying not to be a bad sport - Ford asked for his Model T back. Enricht sent it back without the motor. Rumors said that Enricht had refused to let his new investors examine test engines either.

Scientists now believe that Enricht's magic ingredient was a form of acetone - which would make your engine run while burning it out at the same time. Enricht disappeared but the rumor of a magic pill for the gas tank has hung on through several wars and a few energy crises.

Many thanks to Mr. Cashin and UBS Financial Services who graciously allow his historical musings to be republished on this site. To enjoy more of Art's posts simply click on "Cashin's Comments" in the label section on the sidebar.

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