Bubbles In The Wine by Deane Gunderson (February 27, 1975 — Part II)


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(You probably won’t understand Part II below unless you first read Part I.)


“Bubbles In The Wine” by Deane Gunderson, February 27, 1975 * (Part II)

My father, Deane Gunderson, played on this John Deere softball team during his 1940 to 1945 employment with John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

My father, Deane Gunderson (back row, far left), played on this John Deere softball team during his 1940 to 1945 employment with John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa. During this employment he attended the meeting described in his February 27, 1975, "Bubbles In The Wine" article. (Click photo to enlarge.)

About thirty years ago [in the early- or mid-1940s] the John Deere Experimental Men’s meeting was being held in Moline and a good friend of mine from the Waterloo factory, Emil Jirsa, was to give a talk on the development of the John Deere Powr-Trol (hydraulic) system, then in its infancy.

Emil wasn’t much of a talker and he didn’t have the handsome, slippery appearance of John Connally. He was, as a matter of fact, just the opposite, and I suppose the audience was expecting a dull halting speech, hoping to get on to the next topic or to get into the bar, where each engineer would have the opportunity to brag about what he had dreamed up.

Emil started thus: “You know, I have five gallons of wine fermenting in my basement, and the ideas we got at first for this Powr-Trol system came to us about as fast as the bubbles are coming off of that wine — and most of the ideas we got were not worth much more than the bubbles are worth.”

After that Emil had the audience in his hand. Later the Chief Engineer came to the podium and remarked that as the bubbles were necessary to ferment and refine the wine — so the ideas are necessary to develop and refine the Powr-Trol system, and further, that no one expects every idea to be a winner, far from it.

Remember, I said I hoped this column would be mostly ideas, “Bubbles In the Wine,” and if I do one-fourth the job that the John Deere Powr-Trol system does for us JD farmers, I’ll be in ecstasy.


(Within the next two weeks I’ll post the U.S. patent for the Powr-Trol, invented by John Deere’s Emil Jirsa, who was also a friend of my father.) (Update: February 5th, 2010…I haven’t posted the patent yet because I’m still trying to locate more information about Emil. Hopefully I will have more information about Emil by this spring and post the patent by then.  Thank you for your patience.)

*  Posted with permission of the Pocahontas Record-Democrat and Deane Gunderson.

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4 Responses to “Bubbles In The Wine by Deane Gunderson (February 27, 1975 — Part II)”

  1. Clara Says:

    I suppose “bubbles” are an important part of the beer-making process, too.

  2. Peg Moore Says:

    How did I miss this story before?!? It’s wonderful. I plan to forward it to a few people. And the photo is *great*!

  3. Carmella Says:

    This was forwarded to me by Charles and because I too wrote a column for the Rolfe Arrow at one time, I was immediately interested in Bubbles in the Wine. I wrote in the early 90’s and still have a nice note from your mom written Feb 3, 1994 that I keep with my collection of the clippings of my columns. It was in reference to my Feb 1 column about celebrating the written word in letters. In the note she complimented my writing and told me about SPEMB, mentioning Peggy’s file of letters from when she was in college. I thought you might enjoy knowing I enjoyed the 2 parts to the origins of Bubbles in the Wine! Thanks for sharing, Charles.

  4. Peg Moore Says:

    Hmmmm, my “file of letters”? Does that mean letters I wrote Mother and Daddy that Mother saved? And do you think she meant letters from when I was in college in the ’70s or in the ’90s? (Actually, I think I started in January of ’95, but she and I did some really rich corresponding–sharing excerpts from mutually favorite books–in the few years before I began college again that January. I do remember once seeing a stack of my letters to Mother and Daddy (in the ’70s) . . . in her desk drawer, I think. But they’ve long-since not been there . . . or anywhere . . . anymore. INTERESTING! THANKS CARMELLA, CHARLES, AND LOUISE!

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