Chipping Away at the Problem.

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Top left: The 15 types of pentagonal tilings discovered. Art: Ed Pegg/Wikipedia   Bottom left: The math.
Right: The 15th convex pentagon found to be able to tile a plane.  Art: Casey Mann

At Kowalski Heat Treating, we’re all about doing great work, constantly searching for new and better ways to help our clients grow their businesses – often rooted in problem solving your PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs. And we marvel at new thinking and new discovery.

This week’s blog and email post salutes the work of three mathematicians in their discovery of the latest convex pentagrams to tile a plane, courtesy of a post by

Jennifer McLoud-Mann, along with her husband Casey and David Von Derau have spent the past few years trying to help unravel one of math’s long-standing unanswered questions. How many shapes are able to “tile the plane”? — meaning shapes that fit together perfectly to cover any flat surface without overlapping or leaving any gaps. For example, mathematicians have proved that all triangles and quadrilaterals (shapes with four sides), can tile the plane, and have documented all of the convex hexagons that can do it. But what about five sided pentagrams.

When dealing with pentagons — specifically convex, or nonregular pentagons with the angles pointing outward – the number of convex pentagons is infinite — and so is the number that could potentially tile a plane. It’s a problem that’s almost unsolvable, but also so simple, as anyone could start working toward a solution using just pencil and paper.

Last month, a cluster of computers spit out some intriguing possibilities. Sifting through the data, McLoud-Mann thought she found either impossible pentagrams (one’s that did not fit the problem), or ones that already fit into the 14 types that had been found.

But, this time it was different – the team came up with the first new convex pentagon able to tile the plane in some 30 years, joining only five mathematicians who have accomplished this feat. McLoud-Mann is considering what to do with the pattern – either tile a spot in her home or build a display of the pattern at her University of Washington site. To read the full original story, go HERE.

You know, I’m inspired to re-tile my bathroom with the new pentagon this weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out.



“We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat”


Roger Kastel’s original JAWS artwork, three movie posters and a couple of the many JAWS parodies.

Click HERE to view the original video trailer.

We all know the spine tingling soundtrack – da, da, da, da, – da, da, da, da. Years later is still instills fear and anticipation.

Sharing our 40th anniversary here at KHT, and our love for cooling things and water (we look out over Lake Erie) Jaws is one of our favorite movies. And talk about a PIA (Pain in the @#$) Job – convince a group of beachgoers of the possibility of killer man-eating sharks in the water, and then set out on a small fishing boat to catch it, Jaws was unmatched in it’s action and suspense. Based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, it starred Roy Scheider (as police chief Martin Brody), Richard Dreyfuss (as oceanographer Matt Hooperback and Robert Shaw (as the unflappable shark hunter Quint), all directed by the up and coming young Steven Spielberg.

Looking back today, the idea that there was once no such thing as a “summer movie season” seems inconceivable, as Jaws became the paradigm for the very idea of summer blockbuster films. Yet, this was the case in 1975 and the surprise success of Jaws chilled moviegoers to the bone, instilling a whole new fear of swimming and sharks.

So next time you go for a swim to “beat the heat”, think about your pals at Kowalski Heat Treating – and remember …. “da, da, da, da” …. You never know what’s lurking below.



Guess Dad Just Got “In the Mood”



40 years ago, Dad took a leap forward from his successful operations and management job and got “in the mood” to start his own business, centered on his strong family values, customer service approach and drive to deliver top quality work.  Today, following the same energy and initiative, we’re groovin’ – pushing things forward by continuing to invest in his vision, growing our service platform and inserting our energy into the business.

And the mood around here – simply fantastic!!

For our engineering friends, we thought we’d salute another 40th anniversary accomplishment, and a fellow “sensitive thermal processing” provider – The Mood Ring. Invented by two New Yorkers, Josh Reynolds and Maris Ambats, the mood ring became a fad in the mid 70’s, shared by friends and lovers to keep track of each others moods. Made from a specialized liquid crystal thermometer, the mood ring was wearable on the finger and usually ornamented with a faux gemstone made of quartz or glass and filled with thermo chromatic liquid crystal. Changes in temperature cause the crystal to reflect different wavelengths of light that in turn changed the color of the stone. Most mood rings were set up to display a neutral color at the average human skin temperature, approx. 37 degrees C. Each mood ring came with a color chart indicating the supposed mood the wearer was in – blue for calm, red for excited and yellow for nervous – perfect for young teens to watch and giggle about.

So next time you are stressed, or anxious about your PIA (pain in the @#$) jobs, slide on your old mood ring and give us a call – we’ll help you “chill out, baby” and “make sometin’ happen” on your next job. Peace, baby.



Shake It Up Baby


With the heat upon us, I couldn’t help but think back to my younger days and a Kowalski summer treat – creamy milkshakes. I always liked mine with a simple traditional hamburger and salty fries. My favorite memories were stopping on the way home from work at a small little ice cream shop and having a strawberry banana milk shake – real strawberries and very chunky!

Milkshakes began way back in the late 1800’s and actually started out as an eggnog type alcoholic drink. Many years later, the use of malted milk powder was popularized by Ivar “Pop” Coulson of the Walgreens drugstore chain, who made a milkshake by adding two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the standard malted milk drink recipe, making Walgreen’s in-store counter the place to be. Metal shake containers and high speed blenders made shakes a staple in the 50’s and 60’s. Since then, dozens and dozens of variations, and improvements, have been made, including adding fresh fruit to make popular “milkshake/ice” smoothies.

Like most things, ask around to find out who has “the best” milkshake, and you get many opinions. Along with the chain restaurants (e.g. Steak N Shake) my friends and staff have their favorite Cleveland locations – here’s my “Top 5” list to visit and some shakes to try:

  • Town Hall (W 25th) – traditional vanilla/chocolate shakes (try adult Nuts, Bourbon & Bacon)
  • Tommy’s (on Coventry) – milkshakes, malts and smoothies (try black raspberry chip)
  • B Spot (Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis) – traditional and seasonal shakes (try chocolate banana marshmallow)
  • Mitchell’s Ice Cream (seven locations) – shakes, malts and smoothies (try strawberry with mango or cookies & cream)
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop (on Euclid) – shakes, malts and smoothies (try Oreo or Coffee)

Stay cool!





Original cast (l to r): Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase

Hard for me to imagine, but also sharing the Kowalski Heat Treating 40th Anniversary this year is another “one-of-a-kind” – Saturday Night Live, a late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show, created by Lorne Michaels. As most people know, the show parodies contemporary culture and politics performed by a large and varying cast of characters (over 130 since its inception), hosted by a celebrity guest and most often features a musical guest. Some of my favorite actors, actresses and comedians got their start on SNL. Most of us remember John Belushi as the Samari Warrior, Lisa and Todd, Chevy Chase falling and Gilda Radner dancing. I could go on and on, but I thought it would be more fun to give you some trivia you may or may not know:

  • The show airs from Studio 8H, NBC’s Headquarters in the Comcast Building, and to date has aired over 785 shows

  • The original cast members included Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase – all of which went on to become huge stars.

  • Movie spinoffs Wayne’s World and The Blue’s Brothers grossed nearly $300M, while a little known movie It’s Pat lasted one week and grossed under $61K.

  • The show was narrated by Don Pardo for years, and later by actor Darrell Hammond

  • The writing begins late on Tuesdays and includes the guest host and producer, with most sketches selected on Wednesdays, including the full support staff who begin set designs, costumes and any needed special effects.

  • A 1975 performance by pop group ABBA was the first and only act to feature lip-synching,[97] until the controversial 2004 performance of Ashlee Simpson, who is the only person to ever walk off stage during a performance.

  • George Carlin was the first host of the first episode.

For more, visit SNL on Wikipedia.




TOP ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Tiki Dog, the Frito Pie Dog, the French Onion dog, the Monte Cristo Dog, BOTTOM ROW LEFT TO RIGHT:  the Nacho Dog, the Bacon-Jack Dog, the Onion Dip Dog and the Vietnamese Dog

TOP ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Tiki Dog, the Frito Pie Dog, the French Onion dog, the Monte Cristo Dog, BOTTOM ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: the Nacho Dog, the Bacon-Jack Dog, the Onion Dip Dog and the Vietnamese Dog

“With summer upon us, I thought it’s a good time to visit a Kowalski Heat Treating favorite – good old fashioned grilled hot dogs. Whether you like them lightly toasted or “black and crispy”, hot dogs rock. My “go-to” favorite, especially when I’m golfing, is spicy mustard, onions, chili and a pickle, but I must admit, I love to experiment and try other toppings. Sauerkraut, ketchup, hot sauce, peppers, cheese – you name it and I’ll give it a try. My wife and daughters love that about me.

For inspiration, I went surfing, and found these awesomely dressed dogs, compliments of Joshua Bousel at His top picks include the Tiki Dog, the Frito Pie Dog, the French Onion dog, the Monte Cristo Dog, the Nacho Dog, the Bacon-Jack Dog, the Onion Dip Dog and the Vietnamese Dog. Visit HERE for the recipes. My goal is to try them all.

So next time you’re in the supermarket, skip the pre-packaged franks and pick up a dozen from the deli case. Add in fresh buns, potato chips (ripple cut of course)—don’t forget the French onion dip and some lemonade. Fire up the grill and think of your pals at KHT working on your PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs.

Bonus – if you have a favorite recipe topping, or one you think I need to try, shoot me an email or give me a call – I’ve got the lemonade chilling’ and the grill ready for grillin’.



Get Up & “Do the Hustle”

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At Kowalski Heat Treating, we’re all about hard work, problem-solving and having some fun.  Sharing our 40th anniversary celebration this month is a famous disco song, “The Hustle”, by songwriter and arranger Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony.  Sweeping the nation it hit #1 in July 1975 on Billboard Hot 100, Hot Soul Singles and top 10 playlists around the world. Creating a buzz on dance floors as “the must play” dance tune of the summer, it went on win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1976.  Said one song lover – “there’s no way you can sit still after playing that tune…”

A little history, (compliments of Wikipedia) McCoy composed the song after his music partner Charles Kipps watched patrons do a new dance called “the hustle” in the Adam’s Apple nightclub in NYC.  The band consisted of McCoy on piano, Gordon Edwards on bass, Steve Gadd on drums, Richard Tee on keyboard, Eric Gale and John Tropea on guitars, and Philip Bodner on the lead melody piccolo.  Years later, after McCoy passed away, a longer version was remixed, using synthesizers and is often the version played today.

So next time you are faced with a “PIA” (pain in the #@$) problem, give us a call and send it our way.  We’ll “hustle” on it, while you can sit back and enjoy the music.

Bonus – if you know of another top hit from the summer of ’75, or have a favorite dance tune to share, send me an email or give me a call, and I’ll send you one of our KHT “disco” shirts you can wear when boogieing at home. Come on, sing it “do, do, do, do do do do do, do, do do ……”





Congratulations to NASA on their most recent “PIA” job

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New Horizons was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Pluto and Charon when it snapped this portrait late on July 8, 2015. Image Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway.

In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto—the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken when the spacecraft was just under 5 million miles from Pluto.

This view is centered roughly on the area that will be seen close-up during New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach. This side of Pluto is dominated by three broad regions of varying brightness. Most prominent are an elongated dark feature at the equator, informally known as “the whale,” and a large heart-shaped bright area measuring some 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) across on the right. Above those features is a polar region that is intermediate in brightness.

“The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today,” said Jeff Moore, Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team Leader of NASA’s Ames Research Center. “It will be incredible!”

We at Kowalski Heat Treating salute the hard working engineers and scientists who have accomplished this amazing feat.  (courtesy website)



Happy Independence Day – From Our Family to Yours


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Tomorrow, as we all celebrate the 239th Independence Day of this great nation, we at Kowalski Heat Treating are also pleased to be celebrating our 40th anniversary by looking back to all the men and women of the KHT family who have helped make this anniversary year so special.

This holiday weekend, celebrate with your family – as John Adams wrote: “as the great anniversary Festival, to include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”



We’re celebrating our 40th year. Did you know ball players didn’t always have numbers? I didn’t either.

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Top left and center: Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player ever to take an at-bat in the majors sporting his number ⅛. Bottom left:An early portrait of Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1914, 1012 photo of popular Cleveland catcher Paddy Livingston. Far right: 1995 Jim Thome #25 Game-Worn Road Jersey that sold at auction for $600.

We’re so pleased to be celebrating our 40th year with you, we thought we’d give you some summertime baseball and Tribe “number trivia” to celebrate:

  • The first time a Major League baseball team to wear numbers was on this day, June 26, 1916 by our very own Cleveland Indians. Inspired by football and hockey’s use of numbers, the Tribe trotted on their home field wearing large numbers on their left sleeves. This “experiment” was tried for a few weeks, again the next season, and then abandoned.
  • 1923, the St. Louis Cardinals adopted uniform numbers on their sleeves. However, as then-manager Branch Rickey recalled, the Cardinals’ players were “subjected to field criticism from the stands and especially from opposing players,” – so the numbers were removed.
  • In 1929, the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians were planning to start the season with uniform numbers on the back of their jerseys. The Yankees were rained out on opening day, while the Indians played, making Cleveland the first MLB franchise to wear numbers on their back. (The Yankees debuted their numbered jerseys the following day.)
  • The first MLB game to feature both teams wearing numbers on their jerseys was the game between the Indians and the Yankees on May 13, 1929.
  • By the mid-1930s, all MLB teams wore numbers; in 1937 the Philadelphia Athletics finally began wearing numbers on both home and away jerseys, making numbers a universal trait in the MLB.
  • The original baseball numbers were based on the lineup. The starting players would be numbered 1-8, based on their spot in the order. The backup catcher would be number 9, and the pitchers would wear 10-14 (but not 13, as that is superstitious). Notable examples of this system are teammates Babe Ruth (he was number 3 and batted third for the Yankees) and Lou Gehrig (number 4, batted fourth).
  • In the late 1930s, the 1938 and 1939 Pittsburgh Pirates tried standardizing number assignments by position. Under the Bucs’ experiment, pitchers were assigned numbers in the forties and fifties; catchers, coaches and managers in the thirties; infielders in the twenties; and outfielders in the teens.
  • Numbers 1-14 are usually only worn by position players, while numbers 50 and above are more likely to be worn by pitchers.
  • Numbers 60 and above are rarely worn in the regular season. During spring training, such high numbers are often given to players who are unlikely to make the regular-season team. It is generally thought that the higher the number, the less chance of making the team.
  • Many players grow emotionally attached to a number. When a player switches teams, his number is often already in use. Since the MLB allows number changes at any time, bribes occur for numbers. Among the most outrageous was when Brian Jordan joined the Atlanta Braves and gave then-third base coach Fredi González a $40,000 motorcycle for #33
  • When Rickey Henderson joined the Toronto Blue Jays he paid Turner Ward $25,000 for Henderson’s long-time career #24.
  • Not every player pays top dollar for his number; when Mitch Williams joined the Philadelphia Phillies, he bought #28 from John Kruk for $10 and two cases of beer.
  • In 1951, independent ball player Johnny Neves wore the number 7 backwards because “Neves” spelled backwards is “seven”
  • Eddie Gaedel, the dwarf who made one plate appearance for the St. Louis Browns, wore the number ⅛.
  • Joe Girardi, in his managerial role with the Yankees, wore #27 to signify his desire to lead the team to their 27th championship. After winning the 2009 World Series, he subsequently switched to #28.
  • In 1997, Major League Baseball, for the first time ever, made a Major League-wide retirement of a number. Number 42 cannot be issued to any new players, having been retired in honor of Jackie Robinson.

And here’s a couple trivia question for you – what number did I wear playing sports (hint – it’s between 7 and 9) and what number do MLB “power hitters” wear – and why? If you know, give me a call and I’ll send you one of our KHT jerseys.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the history trivia!