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All things Wedge

WEJ Electronics Co. LTD

 

In Technology
 
WEJ is a manufacturer of LED semiconductors and lighting products located in Shenzhen, China.  Informally known as WINNERJOIN, and formally known as the Shenzhen Yongerjia Industry Company, WEJ specializes in LED lamps, large-screen and dot-matrix LED displays, and other LED lighting and sensor products. The company was founded in 1996, and is ISO9001:2008 certified for quality management. Their production of LEDs in a variety of colors, power levels, and packages have made WEJ a popular optoelectronic component manufacturer for not just electronic system applications, but also for home, hospital, urban and industrial lighting.

 

The Tools & Toys
 
The word Wedge is a derivative of the Middle English Wegge, sharing linguistic origins with the Old English Wecg, the Old High German Weggi, and the Old Norse Veggr. The Old English verb Wecgan means “to move, agitate, and drive hither and thither”. Many consider the wedge "the earliest tool known to man," a solid piece of material that is used to lift heavy objects, to keep them in place, or to split objects apart. The narrow edge of the wedge may be inserted into a narrow crevice or groove to be used for splitting, tightening, securing, or levering. Wedges made from glass are used as optical prisms to split and separate (refract) light into its component wavelengths and colors. The aerodynamics of the wedge shape, and its appearance of motion, make it a popular theme in automotive and aerospace designs.

Bertone Nuccio wedge concept car
Wedge Shoes Ferragamo

 

The Shoes
 
Wedge shoes and boots have a sole and heel made from one piece of material that is thick at the heel and tapers towards the toes. High-heeled wedge shoes for women were first made popular by the famous Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1930’s. They quickly became a more comfortable and easier-to-walk-in alternative to most high-heeled shoes because they dispersed weight more evenly across the foot, allowing better balance and arch support. Due to shortages of other materials, Ferragamo used cork in many of his early designs, which also made his shoes light and durable. He would go on to fashion shoes for rich and famous clients that included Eva Peron, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Princess Diana. Wedge shoes were a significant fashion trend in the 1970’s, known for colorful and outrageously high platforms. Wedge sneakers emerged as a trend in the 1990’s, while cork wedges wrapped in rope and flip-flop wedges debuted in 2006.  

In Surfing

 
The Wedge is a popular surfing location at the eastern end of Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California. It is the result of 1930's improvements to the rock jetty entrance of Newport Harbor made by the Army Corps of Engineers. The manmade jetty and ocean floor combination result in exciting and dangerous shore breaks and wave swells produced as a consequence of incoming and reflected ocean waves. The Wedge can produce waves up to thirty feet high, making it a famous California surfing locale. The Wedge was immortalized by surf guitarist Dick Dale in a song by the same name, and appears in Bruce Brown's classic 1966 surf movie The Endless Summer.

Flying Wedge

In Football

 
Considered football’s most controversial play, the Flying Wedge made its debut at the 1892 Harvard-Yale game. Conceived by Harvard coach Lorin Deland, the play was first used during the second half kickoff. One group of five players ran at an angle towards another group of four teammates. They converged at midfield to form a moving wedge of men, just as the team captain handed the ball off to the now shielded halfback. Together they rumbled forward in a concentration of force that delivered a massive blow to the few unfortunate Yale players that made up the first line of defense. “What a grand play!” the New York Times would print, “a half ton of bone and muscle coming into collision with a man weighing 160 or 170 pounds.” Variations of the Flying Wedge were conceived and adapted for years afterwards, but the use of mass-formation plays like it became more and more controversial due to their brutality and the serious injuries and even fatalities that occurred on football fields across the country. By 1910, the newly formed NCAA had banned most such formations to prevent serious injuries to players.

 

In Science Fiction
 
Wedge Antilles is a Corellian starfighter pilot and hero of the Rebel Alliance in the original Star Wars film trilogy. He and Luke Skywalker were among the few surviving pilots of the Battle of Yavin, in which Skywalker’s attack run destroys the first Death Star (A New Hope). Antilles and Skywalker team up again as members of Rogue Squadron, and in the Battle of Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back) Wedge pilots the speeder that brings down the first Imperial AT-AT walker. Wedge goes on to fly as Red Leader in the Battle of Endor (Return of the Jedi) and his attack run with Lando Calrissian destroys the second Death Star. As the only starfighter pilot to participate in and survive both Death Star attack runs, Wedge earns the reputation as the New Republic’s greatest ace. 

Wedge Antilles
Wessex and Wedge

The Family

 
The Wedge family name is Anglo-Saxon and can be traced back to 9th century Wessex and Middlesex families living along the River Thames. Records suggest Wedge family members were knights and nobles in the prosperous Kingdom of Mercia and the famed Kingdom of Wessex. Wedge power and influence in the English nobility appears to have peaked during the Anglo-Saxon rule of King Alfred the Great, considered by many the first King of England. Following the 11th century Norman Conquest of England, the prestige of Anglo-Saxon families was much diminished. Wedges are not again mentioned as holding feudal estates in England until the 14th century. Family names such as Wedgwood and Wedgeworth appear to have been derived during this period. Wedges were early pioneers in North America and Australia. Thomas Wedge (1640-1685) was an early American Massachusetts Bay colonist from England known to have fought in the Native American uprising known as King Philip’s War. John Helder Wedge (1793-1872) was an explorer, surveyor, and early Australian pioneer from Cambridge. He was one of the original 15 members of the Legislative Council for Queen Victoria's Colony of Tasmania.

In Landscaping and Gardening

 
The Wedge Nursery was one of the largest nurseries in the Midwestern United States during much of the 20th century.  Located in Albert Lea, Minnesota, it was opened by Clarence Wedge in 1878 and operated continuously until 2005. The nursery was famous for its ornamental shrubs, beautiful trees, and flowers that were sold all over the world. Donald R. Wedge (1913-2008), grandson of Clarence, directed many operations at the nursery until 1997. He designed landscapes for over 5000 homes, and was also a pioneer and leader in grafting and propagating several lilac varieties. The popular Wedge Lilac is a striking hearty French Lilac cultivar variety known by the botanical name Syringa Vulgaris ‘Don Wedge’. The location of the Wedge Nursery is now the site of Three Oaks Vineyards, which produces several varieties of cold-weather grapes developed by the University of Minnesota.
 

Wedge Lilac
Wedge shaped kleenex boxes

 

The Shapes
 
In solid geometry, the wedge shape is formally known as a pentahedron (five-faced polyhedron), triangular prism, or digonal cupola. Its surface is created with two triangular faces and three rectangular or trapezoidal faces. Informally, “wedge” is a nickname for almost any shape or object that is thick at one end and tapers to a narrow edge at the other. This includes the common circular sector shape as with an orange wedge, a cheese wedge, or “wedge of pie”. In heraldry, the wedge shape pointing downward is known as a pile (from the Latin pilum for spear). It is considered to symbolize the large supporting structures used to build medieval bridges (akin to the modern trestle or bent) and represents building and engineering skills.

The Flora and Fauna

 
The Wedge Plantation, also known as The Wedge, is a 1,500 acre property located in Charleston and Georgetown Counties, South Carolina, near the intersection of the Santee River and U.S. Highway 17. Property records date back to 1784, but the plantation house was first built by rice planter William Lucas around 1826. The property remained in the Lucas family for the next 100 years, and was a working rice plantation until 1914. The plantation house is located within the Francis Marion National Forest, a region famous for the Revolutionary War exploits of “The Swamp Fox”. From 1966-1976 the plantation was owned by Dr. Richard B. Dominick who collected over 25,000 moths and 1,000 butterflies on the property. His work resulted in the Wedge Entomological Research Foundation for lepidoptera studies, dedicated to publishing scientific descriptions of the moths of North America. In 1975, The Wedge was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (record number 383977). The house and land are currently in use by the University of South Carolina.

Wedge Entomological Research Foundation
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