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Judicial CP - February 1937

Corpun file 24418 at

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, 28 February 1937

Solomon's Spanking Suggestion Discloses Machines That Do

German Authority on Subject Discovered Here Trying to Organize International Trust to Market Devices for Punishing Bad Boys, as Magistrate Proposed in Lieu of Jail Sentences for Minor Traffic Law Violations

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Magistrate Charles Solomon's reluctance to send to City Prison boy violators of the traffic laws and his expressed preference for some sort of spanking machine in cases where the fine cannot be paid, led yesterday to an investigation of the sale and utility of such punitive devices.

There is, it was revealed, active competition between backers of devices that rotate spanking blades for contact with boys and sponsors for those that rotate boys for contact with the blades. There is also keen international competition for sales in the more extensive American field, and that discovery in turn uncovered engineering uncertainty over standard designs of spankers that would meet the problems raised by the varying spankable contours of the German boy and the American boy.

"I repeat," Magistrate Solomon said yesterday, "that I would rather see a spanking machine used on boys of 16 or 17 who violate traffic rules and cannot pay, than see them sent to Raymond St. jail."

He refrained from digging up a variation of the old one and saying that the jail and the spanker both hurt but not in the same place.

Warden Frederick L. Morehead of the City Prison in Raymond St. looked at his records and stated emphatically that he has not one case of youthful violators of traffic laws in his charge.

"Have these ever been a problem for your jail?"

"Never," replied the warden.

He had no views on the spanker issue, but a veteran attache at Raymond St. murmured that he thought it would do more good than fines.

That this is a general opinion is evidenced in the fact, revealed by further inquiry, that there has been an attempt in recent months to float stocks of foreign spanking-machine manufacturers here, to obtain concessions and in other ways to lay the foundation of an international spanker trust.

The representative of the German manufacturers here, who declined the use of his name because he said he loves boys too much to have them think harshly of him even while the blades on his product are whirling, explained the situation.

He is a professor who has devoted a life of study to the spanker and he has written learned works on the subject. He finds the international trust difficult of formation because of the reluctance at the American public to use any but American devices.

"For one thing," said the professor, "it is not so much a matter of the excellence of the mechanical device but of the contour of the American boy as he reposes, expectantly, in the spanker, contrasted with that of the German boy viewed from the same point of vantage.

"It would require, I fear, a too expensive remaking of German standard machines to take up this deviation in spanker contour. Our scientists are trying to solve that problem. I have monthly reports."

Suggested Solution Spurned

"But, Professor, would it not be possible to scale down the German boy and arrive at a new international code, as in other matters of weights and measures?" was asked.

"The magnitude of that task is appalling, sir," the professor replied. "Have you seen our native German spankable boys?"

'"What is the preferred American apparatus?"

"The sensation of the market is the Little Giant Duplex Spanker. It accommodates two boys at a time. It is made, appropriately enough, In South Bend."

"Is that not the concern that manufactures the Little Giant Duplex Pea Splitter?"

"Precisely. It was the spread of the sale of that device, which splits, with one descent of the great electrically driven cleaver, not one pea but two, which led to the increase In popularity abroad of that great American delicacy -- split pea soup. A recent addition to this invention sends whirling discs through a slice of toast and instantaneously furnishes a store of the croutons that add zest to this soup.

How Spanker Works

"As to the spanker, it has rotating, non-rigid blades, which, when the boys are placed at the proper heads-down angle, establish, using either direct or alternating current, proper contact with one of the two objects of its activity, then yields and swings back swiftly, contacting in similar manner the next boy.

"Invaluable for twins identical in size, the Duplex is adjustable for varying sizes. An automatic meter displays and records the total of such contacts. Indeed, it is so adjustable that a parent may place in position the boy or boys and leave them, assured that the Little Giant will cease activity and release the boy or boys after having reached a dialed total."

As its name implies, this is a comparatively small device for the magnitude of the work. Le Fanneur, the French two-boy spanker, is far more elaborate. The blades are of rigid metal composition. The boys rotate, counter clockwise, and not the blades.

Accident spoils sale

"An unfortunate thing happened at the first Fanneur demonstration in this country," the professor explained. "The sales engineer whom it was proposed to interest in floating the device, which requires an installation comparable to that of a Hoe printing press and a crew to operate it, slipped on the tread of the mezzanine balcony from which it is possible to observe the subject with the machinery in motion, and felt into the rotator. His struggles to escape made it dangerous to turn off the current, and he took his spanking until in desperation he blew out the fuse, his temper and the possibility of a sale, all at once. No, I fear the Americans want their own, in spankers as in everything else."

Magistrate Solomon, in the case before him last week that caused his remark about spanking machines as preferred to fines, found no recourse but to exact the financial penalty. He cut it to bargain rates. The boy was guilty of driving without a license, speeding and falling to keep to the right. He could not have escaped jail had the full fines been exacted. He finally paid $22, which is $33 less than the maximum.

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