Decontaminating Chernobyl, Rebalancing Nature & Saving the Planet: A Conversation with RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk & Frank Muller about RJ’s Biography of Andrew

Decontaminating Chernobyl, Rebalancing Nature & Saving the Planet: A Conversation with RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk & Frank Muller about RJ’s Biography of Andrew

‘Ground for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl’ book by R.J. King


Initially, it sounded crazy. Nine out of ten on the crackpot scale.

However, you read the book, view the results, meet the man, and it still seems fantastically wild but plausible and valid. Perhaps Andrew Niemczyk is the real deal, a sort of modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci or Nikola Tesla.

A mystical visionary Polish polymath inventor in Detroit is helping humanity in ways so profound they could be called revolutionary.

His name is Andrew Niemczyk (pronounced neem-chick) and this is his story.


What exactly is going on here?

RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


Detroit author and journalist, R.J. King, has masterfully penned a hot page turner.

Ground for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl,” his non-fiction biography of Andrew Niemczyk, reads like a futuristic espionage thriller novel, except for one important detail: everything in this book is real.

A book about the necessity of balance and sustainability, it is also punctuated by helpful and informative historical asides. This is a wholly unique story and I found it tremendously inspiring and engrossing. Meeting Andrew personally solidified this and further piqued my interest.

The basic, and by basic, I mean very basic gist of this enormous offering is that Andrew was once a prisoner in Communist Poland.

He escaped to Detroit via Rome, Italy, in August 1984 and settled in Hamtramck, Michigan, where he lives to this day.


Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


The reason this was such a profound gain for humanity, and the Detroit area, is that Andrew is not a normal person. He possesses an exceedingly rare brilliance, and once in America he was free to invent unabated, especially now that he’s retired after 24 years from the Rouge Steel Plant in Dearborn.

Currently, Andrew has created over 80 inventions.

Five of those inventions (NEPS, GEPS, NSPS, HAZL, MAZL) are commercially manufactured, and they are revolutionizing entire industries.

NEPS involves better delivery of nutrients to trees and vines by bringing nutrients located deep in the soil to the root systems, GEPS accelerates stormwater infiltration and replaces drainage, NSPS is a ‘de-reactor’ that decontaminates radioactivity, and HAZL and MAZL are highly portable drill rigs.

Furthermore, it should also be noted that once installed, these simple inventions require no further maintenance.


Exlterra logo


Andrew and his Swiss business partner, Frank Muller, run Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan. They also have offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Tczew in northern Poland.

Andrew is an inventor, not a businessman, and he needs assistance in that regard, which is where Frank comes in.

In 2011, Frank and his family moved from Geneva to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and soon after he met Andrew they became business partners and launched Exlterra. Plus, Frank’s wife has a Ph.D. in biotechnology and is a native of Warren, Michigan.

Right now, according to the reports, Andrew’s NSPS invention is successfully decontaminating Chernobyl in a rapid timeframe.

In fact, Andrew projects that Chernobyl may be completely clean of radioactivity by the end of 2025 because of his invention.

The 19-mile exclusion zone of Chernobyl, Ukraine, is one of the world’s most polluted areas. A few dozen attempts at decontaminating the site have been unsuccessful until Andrew’s NSPS system was installed in a 2.5-acre (hectare) test site near the No. 4 reactor that exploded on April 26, 1985 (due to human error and a faulty design).



(Very) Quick Biography of Andrew

Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


Born on Nov. 16, 1960, Andrzej ‘Andrew’ Niemczyk grew up in Kietrz (key-air-itch), in southern Poland.

From 1945-1989, Poland was a Communist country. Andrew’s unique creativity was smothered in this environment.

He spent time in 11 prisons (two were repeat visits), was a coal miner 4,000 feet underground, learned karate, military tactics, and after four escape attempts, finally succeeded in 1984.

Assisted by the Tolstoy Foundation, he worked at an auto supplier until 1990, joined Rouge Steel where he worked until 2014, and co-founded Exlterra with Muller in July 2016.

Exlterra is a 6,000-square foot industrial design and assembly facility in Hazel Park where Andrew is chairman and CTO, while Frank serves as CEO.


Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


Andrew’s various inventions have so far proved successful at hundreds of locations across the world, working with public clients such as cities and municipalities as well as private and commercial clients.

He has a photographic memory combined with unique “out of the box” solutions to large-scale problems.

He also has visions and claims to be able to see at both the subatomic molecular level and macro universe-wide levels.

One more thing about Andrew: he designs everything in his head and then builds it from the schematics he envisions.

Throw in an impressive knowledge of global geography, an ability to chat on everything from quantum mechanics to hydraulics and fluid dynamics, and the claim of utilizing 100 percent of his brain and that’s Andrew.


The Conversation

RJ King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


This is a transcript of a rousing conversation I had with R.J. King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller in the conference room at Exlterra in Hazel Park in early June 2021. Enjoy!


R.J. King                Andrew is unlike any person I’ve ever met or heard of. When I started listening to Andrew’s life story, I quickly realized it could be a great book. He grew up in a Polish working-class family under the Communist regime. His escape through Rome in 1984. What he was able to accomplish on the factory floor in terms of inventions and advancements, then Exlterra, everything is just mind-blowing. His perseverance, dedication, and commitment are examples of how you can succeed in life. You can’t do it alone. You have to work as a team instead of constantly competing. And open your mind to possibilities that do not initially seem realistic.


Andrew                I’ve been in the Detroit area for almost 40 years. I have four children. I live in Hamtramck where you have closer to a European feel, very neighborly and social. There are more than seven different nationalities living on my street alone. I don’t go to bars or restaurants too often. My wife Jadwiga (Yaad-viga) cooks our food. I typically hang out in garages, that’s where I work on stuff, that’s where I feel free. I have one garage for cars, one for inventions, and I have an extra side lot attached to my house. I do not have any set routines, just make sure I have eight hours of sleep, and try to control my diet. Mostly I drink water or herbal tea with lemon. There are too many chemicals in processed foods, and many drinks are too overly carbonated, and not good for your body. My inspirations come from real life, finding a way to solve problems.


Frank Muller       Andrew reduces the complex to a simple solution to the point where it’s impossible to simplify it more. That’s the key element. His unique ability enables him to deliver beautifully simple and workable solutions for the environment.


R.J. King                All of his main inventions are novel and unprecedented and really will help the world in terms of widespread applicability.


Frank                     Real sustainability is key. To achieve sustainability is the real goal. Not many products can achieve that.


Andrew                I want to teach people to understand how nature operates. They don’t see that nature is an entire system and connected to the universe. New thoughts can open new doors. Mathematics is good at approximations, but targeting 100 percent is a difficult to achieve goal. You have to have a positive but can’t forget about the negative, you need to blend and combine them to achieve balance.


Frank                     Match negative with positive to create neutral. No side effects. Can’t exist without each other. The duality of the union.


R.J.                         Nature always seeks balance.


Andrew Niemczyk and RJ King at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


Andrew                Yes, balance is key. When I was five years old, I realized I was not an average thinker. I thought how am I going to adapt to this world? To this day, I’m still learning to be normal and fit in. The languages, my relationships, the most important thing for me is to deliver the reality of the product.


Frank                     Nature is always hiding its secrets and always fixing its own problems by constantly rebalancing. Very deep but locked up in layers.


Andrew                 Nature locked me with an inability to express myself because I’m here for a mission.


Frank                     He struggles to accurately express himself.


R.J.                         Through the process of writing this book, Andrew provided me with a second education. You start to look at your place on this earth in the context of the solar system and with special insight.


Andrew                I can go beyond infinity, bring it to the solar system, earth, go deep, open up under what you cannot see, a different layer. I see this stuff. I am using almost 100 percent of my brain all the time. Because of this I have learned to lock myself. I can store knowledge in bits in my brain and assemble it when I am ready to use it. All the pieces, in seconds. The HAZL rig, for example, was built in my mind in six minutes. I had the entire picture of how it would function, everything, the hydraulics, everything.


Frank                     Whenever he invents a product, that’s when he puts everything together in his brain in seconds and minutes.


Andrew                Take the past, present, future, fold them together into one. Know the failure rate, the lifespan. I can see it and feel it.


Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


Frank                     What Andrew does is he tests everything in his head, so it’s already understood by him. We have faced skepticism until now we have evidence. You must accept the results. Plus, each of these products (NSPS, NEPS, GEPS) are completely different. The only common denominator is they are installed in the ground. This man needs to be helped. His knowledge is for humanity. The whole planet. Most people just see the money. If scientists don’t see a formula on paper, they’re upset. It comes from Andrew’s head, it can’t be written down on paper, this is our struggle.


Andrew                The bacteria, the roots, the subatomic world, how everything relates. I told Frank I had 87 inventions in my head, not gadgets, these are just four. Simplicity is important. My visions, this ability to see, I invoke only when I need to use it. I see the entire thing, then zoom in on how each part functions. Not a trance, but a deep focus when developing a product. I transfer myself to the depths to see the whole functioning, which takes a lot of energy.


Frank                     There’s no other person like Andrew in the world. We are all unique, yes. He just has a rare ability to understand the extremes of largeness and smallness, the macro and the micro, and put them together. One of the most gifted heart surgeons in Switzerland said of Andrew, “I think he is a mutation.” When Andrew starts talking technical stuff and breaking barriers in physics, it’s an overload of information, and a lot for the listener to process cognitively. Andrew will only open his mouth when he knows. No theories. He’s not into theories or hypotheses, only in demonstrating results, real results now. Andrew has no limitations.


Andrew                People want to trash what they don’t understand. My world is yes or no, with nothing in the middle. I hate the word “if.” I look at pictures, sketches, the inventions themselves, that’s how I’m inspired.


R.J.                         It doesn’t seem possible but everything he’s done so far has panned out. Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief and be open to understanding new concepts that might initially seem impossible or unfeasible.


Frank                     Andrew left school around 13 years old, and yet he can solve big problems in such a simple manner. It’s very difficult to emerge when you know something new. Entire industries will protect established knowledge and try to block new and better ways of doing things. Andrew goes beyond mathematics. It’s about understanding relationships in nature and how to improve and maximize them for the benefit of all.


Andrew                We have abundant resources here on earth, that’s not the issue. The issue is the food and water, how we’re managing these resources, they’re currently being mismanaged, that’s the issue. Drainage at houses is good example. Global warming, oceans rising, house rooftops wasting rainwater. Everything is interconnected. Gravity and earth’s magnetic fields play a part. Human population growth is manageable. We have more than enough water. Now, let’s start using everything better. There are nutrients underground, we need to recharge the ground. I want to re-greenify the earth. Make everything green and lush with vegetation, oxygen. Help the chain of the food. We can bring nature back. Give me the tools. Our civilization is the problem. We need to change ourselves, our habits, and recycle more energy and waste to help the planet. We need shorter, real, more practical timeframes for a solution, not thousands or even hundreds of years, we won’t last that long at our current rate. It’s about balancing the system, everything combined correctly.


Frank                     Currently, Exlterra has no plans for an IPO or going public. What we have is the IP (intellectual property), the proof of concept across the world and what we do is forge relationships with established companies that we partner with to market our various technologies.


Andrew                I have no limit. Infinity on both sides. There’s always positive and negative, you need both. Quantum physics is good example, just because it’s not visible to the average person’s naked eye, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Limitless energy exists all around us and within us and we just need to tap into it. There is life in outer space. We are not alone. I have designed a new spaceship (in my head) that uses a totally different type of energy to go much faster than current ships, we just need money to build it. Mathematics is too restrictive, too limited. Humans invented mathematics, it’s a human invention and too linear. I need support, not questions. You’ll see results. Questions are too cumbersome, counterproductive, slow everything down. Just give me a chance to show results, that’s all I ask.


Buy RJ’s book ‘Grounds for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl’


Exlterra homepage



[email protected]

Andrew Niemczyk at Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


Exclusive Interview: Detroit author RJ King discusses his new book ‘8 Track: The First Mobile App’ which details the pivotal role of Ford Motor Company in bringing the 8-Track Tape Player to market

Exclusive Interview: Detroit author RJ King discusses his new book ‘8 Track: The First Mobile App’ which details the pivotal role of Ford Motor Company in bringing the 8-Track Tape Player to market

RJ King 8 Track book

I’ve always loved Boston-Edison. This is a large residential Historic District in the geographic center of Detroit full of stately homes, wide boulevards, and old-fashioned streetlamps. Detroit author and DBusiness magazine editor RJ King moved to a beautiful three-story Colonial Revival here in 1994.

Sitting in RJ’s living room, we can hear the steam gently whooshing through the radiators. Soothing, it reminds of my Marpac Dohm sound machine, whose sonic white noise helps me sleep.

RJ is very welcoming, hospitable, and insightful. In terms of stories and hidden history, he has an eagle eye for tantalizing, overlooked, and underreported gems. A writing talent, RJ has penned over 6,000 articles at DBusiness and over 16 years for The Detroit News. Prolific at home, RJ has written four books. Never one to lollygag or dawdle, he’s also a licensed real estate agent!

We’re here discussing his fabulous new book, “8 Track: The First Mobile App,” published by Folktellers and Written in Detroit.

RJ King, Detroit author of 8 Track the First Mobile App (photo by: Ryan M. Place)

When publicly released in October 1965 by Ford Motor Co., the 8 Track tape player completely revolutionized in-car audio and how music in general was experienced by consumers.

It offered, for the first time, a mobile music experience in an industry dominated by AM Radio and record players.

Since then, the 8 Track, which essentially offered “album” cartridges, served to bootstrap the introduction of cassettes, followed by compact discs, and now downloads. Today, the medium has been largely forgotten as a fun and useful device in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The last major release on 8 Track was in 1988 with Fleetwood Mac’s “Greatest Hits.”

Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

Sure, from 2009-2014 there was an 8 Track museum run by Bucks Burnett in Deep Ellum, Texas.

And Barry Fone runs Barry’s 8 Track Repair Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

And don’t forget “Tracker Bob” Hiemenz. Bob owns the world’s largest 8 Track collection. Over 90,000 tapes and 700+ players are stored at his house in Quincy, Illinois. But for many people, especially those who postdate 8 Track mania, the true story is a quick trip back in life filled with nostalgia.

RJ’s new book is an incredibly detailed and well-researched story of Detroit and Ford Motor Co.’s pivotal role in the development and rollout of the 8 Track tape player.

Part hidden history, part business lesson, this is a story largely untold until now.


RJ King on His Book

8 Track book RJ King (photo by: Ryan M. Place

“My older brother Patrick emailed me a speech that my dad, John P. King, had written in 1975 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 8 Track tape player. Until reading that email, I had no idea my dad was intimately involved in the development of 8 Track back when he was a product engineer at Ford.”

“Fascinated, I searched for a period history of 8 Track, and there was nothing. So I started researching my dad’s involvement, assembling a chronology, reading Billboard magazines every week from 1964 to 1980, and doing interviews with my dad and other key people whom he introduced me to.”

“I worked on the book on weekends, typing it up on my iMac, and about a year and a half later had a final product.”

“This book details the leap from stationary music to mobile music. The 8 Track really was the first mobile music app. Prior to its creation, you could only listen to music live, on a record player, or on AM radio. What Ford and Motorola did, using Bill Lear’s design which they modified, is they built a combined AM Radio and 8 Track tape player and it completely revolutionized music and car audio.”

Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

“All four of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, math) were used to invent, launch, and sustain 8 Track. It was a big leap from the mono world to the stereo world. The 8 Track was a physical music playback system that allowed you to listen to songs without being present with the band. It was the introduction of ‘music to go.’”

My dad was hired by Ford in January 1965, and the 8 Track was ready to go by October 1965. It was a rush program, to be sure. After Ford came out with 8 Track, Chrysler, and then GM, Volkswagen, and American Motors offered 8 Track. It was successful because it was a group effort.”

Motorola designed the players, Lear made the cartridges, RCA contributed the music, and Ford installed the players into 1966 model year vehicles.”

“Initially, none of the record companies would license their music to 8 Track. But Bill Lear knew David Sarnoff, chairman at RCA Records, and they licensed 175 albums.”

Motown 8-Track (courtesy of Google Archives)

“Then later, Motown Records in Detroit, licensed some of their catalog for it. And all the other record companies came on board, and by 1970 it was a $1 billion industry. Motown even let Lear’s team transfer the initial master record tracks from RCA to magnetic tape. Berry Gordy would sometimes come up and hang out on the third floor of Motown Records (which is a converted house on West Grand Blvd.), and the machine was only available after midnight.”

“What I want the reader to take-away is that forming a talented team and working together is key to the success of any project. You’ll also learn how vital it is to control your intellectual property, and how to launch a major industry from scratch, and take advantage of the good sales years and properly prepare for winding down the business, as 8 Track gave way to cassettes, and so on.”


RJ’s dad John P. King fills in the gaps

RJ calls his father on the phone. His dad, John P. King, is 85 years old. He grew up on Chicago’s west side on Jackson Boulevard near Garfield Park, until moving to Michigan in January 1965. He earned a master’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and he had magnetic tape background based on his early employment.

John started out as project engineer for the introduction of the 8 Track Tape Player, and wrote all the standards (and made sure everyone adhered to them).

He retired as Regional Manager of Asia Pacific and New Markets for Ford Customer Service Division in 1997, and today is active with FREE (Ford Retired Executive Engineers).

John says:

“The development of 8 Track was fast-tracked so we could make the 1966 model year. We all worked many extra hours to bring it to market in only nine months, which was unheard of.”

“Back then, I had what we called a ‘Sound-Off’ with Earl ‘Mad Man’ Muntz out at the Ford Assembly Plant (28801 South Wixom rd, Wixom, MI). Muntz acquired that nickname in Los Angeles when he had a used car business. He was the guy who invented the 4 Track tape player, and he had a flair for showmanship and self-promotion. He was trying to get all the automakers to go for his 4 Track.”

“The Sound-Off was held at the Ford Wixom Plant, where at that time they were building the Thunderbird and the Lincoln Continental. Well we had an audio test among a small group of Ford people and Muntz, and we pitted his 4 Track against our 8 Track tape player by doing a live demonstration.”

“I showed up with my 1963 Ford Fairlane wagon, but I had swapped out the factory speakers with six-by-nine-inch speakers front and rear, and I had installed a very new production 8 Track tape player. From there, it was obvious that the 8 Track sounded far better. What wasn’t obvious was that I had installed stereo speakers in my car.”

Ford Quadrasonic 8-Track (courtesy of Google Archives)

“One other funny story. Donald Frey, the guy who designed the Ford Mustang, lived near Pete Estes, who was vice president for General Motors. Don was the overall lead on 8 Track at Ford, and he asked if speakers could be mounted in the front grill of his car, and he wanted specially loud Motorola bullhorn speakers. The speakers were wired to Don’s 8 Track tape player in his car. At the time, Ford’s ad slogan was ‘Ford has a better idea.’ So every morning when he drove by Pete’s house, Don would blast that slogan with the music at full volume.”

“Later, in 1967, Don Frey had us do a sound comparison between the 8 Track Tape Player with the latest cassette tape. At that time, the fidelity of the 8 Track was superior. Another factor was you had to manually flip the cassette, where 8 Track was hands free. But eventually cassette won out as Lear, who owned the patents on 8 Track, sold them to Gates Rubber Co., and they failed to renew the patents in 1975. From there, the standards could not be maintained, and the industry started to introduce cheaper products.”

“A plus for cassette tapes was that it was much easier to record your own material. And the cassette was half the size of 8 Track. So we helped usher in cassettes, and then compact discs. When I retired from Ford in 1997, downloads were available, and you could see one day they would be readily available.”

Back to RJ.


RJ King Biography

RJ King (courtesy of DBusiness)

“I have 6 sisters, 2 brothers, and I’m in the middle! (laughs) I have 3 sisters and 1 brother older, and also 3 sisters and 1 brother younger.”

“I’m editor of DBusiness magazine. Prior to that I was working at The Detroit News starting in 1990. I was on the business staff until I ran into Gail Fisher (now Gotthelf) while volunteering at a charity event during Super Bowl week in February 2006.”

“Gail worked for Hour Media and said the two owners, John Balardo and Stefan Wanczyk, were looking to start a business magazine. I came onboard and that’s how DBusiness was born.”

DBusiness Magazine

Hour Media is based in Troy, Michigan. As a parent company, they own around 160 magazines, including Hour Detroit, DBusiness, Grand Rapids magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and we have other magazines in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Cincinnati, Atlanta, all throughout Florida, the Gulf Coast of Alabama, and more.”

“In general, I write one story per day for DBusiness Daily News and write about 7-10 stories per each issue of DBusiness magazine.”

“In terms of local restaurants, some favorites are Roman Village in Dearborn and also London Chop House and the Vertical Wine Bar, both in Detroit.”


Upcoming Developments

Detroit Engine of America-RJ King

“We just introduced an audiobook version of my other book, ‘Detroit: Engine of America,’ available on Audible.”

“And I have a fifth book coming out in March 2021 called “Grounds for Freedom.” It’s an unbelievable true story about Andrew Niemczyk, a local inventor who has developed amazing machines and new technologies. Check out his website at Exlterra. ”


Buy RJ King’s 8 Track book here


Email RJ King

[email protected]


8 Track (and related audio) Timeline

*Most of this timeline was pieced together from information found in RJ’s book

Rarest 8-Track: SinatraJobim (courtesy of Google Archives)

  • 1928-Motorola founded in Chicago. Bill Lear helped name the company.
  • 1930-the Motorola car radio is invented
  • 1935-RJ’s father John P. King born in Chicago
  • 1948-Columbia Records introduces the LP
  • 1949-RCA invents 45 RPM
  • 1949-sales of the 1949 Ford help save the company’s fortunes
  • 1952-endless loop tape cartridge invented
  • 1954-George Eash invents the Fidelipac tape cartridge
  • September 12, 1955-Chrysler agrees to install Peter Goldmark’s in-car record player (Columbia Records) after the automaker’s team in Highland Park, MI tests the prototype by driving on the nearby Davison Freeway.
  • 1956-58-the Highway Hi-Fi in-car record player is featured in some Chrysler vehicles. It uses special 7-inch records called ‘ultra-microgroove.’ It was a big flop.
  • 1959-closed loop tape players are used at nearly every AM radio station
  • 1960-used car dealer Earl “Madman” Muntz invents the 4 track tape player
  • 1961-Michiganian Larry Spitters founds Memorex in Silicon Valley
  • 1962-the audio cassette is developed by Philips in Hasselt, Belgium
  • 1963-Bill Lear, owner of 110 patents, invents the Lear Jet to be introduced in 1966
  • October 1964-the 8-Track Stereophonic Tape Player is developed by Bill Lear and Richard Kraus at Lear Jet corporate HQ (Wichita, KS). Afterwards, they are built regularly at the Lear Jet Stereo-8 division (13131 Lyndon Ave, Detroit)
  • January 1965-John P. King moves to Dearborn to work for Ford
  • July 1965-Motorola begins production shipments of 8 Track tape players to Ford
  • October 3rd, 1965-8 Track tape players are released to the general public thanks to Lear’s friendship with Henry Ford II (grandson of big Henry). They are released in the form of an AM radio with integrated 8 track tape player installed inside Ford vehicles.
  • 1965-80 = 8 track is popular
  • 1966 = Ford sells over 125,000 8 track players as an option (available on six models)
  • Fall 1966-all Detroit automakers now offer 8-Track factory installation options
  • April 1967-Gates Rubber Co. acquires a controlling interest in Lear Jet
  • May 1967-Earl Muntz has his son Jim Muntz fly to Detroit and open Muntz CARtridge City (15278 Gratiot Ave, Detroit) to sell 4 track players and tapes
  • 1969-Sinatrajobim 8 track tape (3,500 made but quickly recalled; only a handful not recalled). This is currently the rarest 8-Track, selling for upwards of $6,000
  • September 1969-production of 8 Track tapes ceases at Lear’s Detroit plant. They move production down to twin plants in Tucson, AZ and Nogales, Mexico.
  • December 1969-Lear’s company’s name is changed to the Gates Learjet Corp.
  • 1970-RCA releases 40 Quad-8 tapes (Quadrasonic sound)
  • 1971-GM and Chrysler start offering cassette tape player options in cars
  • 1979-Sony and Philips join forces to create Red Book standards for Compact Disc Digital Audio
  • 1979-Sony Walkman invented
  • 1979-Ford introduces all-electronic AM/FM stereo radio with Quadrasonic 8 Track player. Knobs and buttons are replaced by a brand new digital display.
  • October 1982-CD player Sony CDP-101 publicly released in Japan by Sony Philips
  • April 1983-CDs become popular in USA as car manufactures install them
  • October 1984-Terra Haute, IN = first US CD plant opens
  • May 1985-CDs become insanely popular worldwide
  • 1985-Sony Discman invented
  • 1986-the Lincoln Town car has a CD player. This is the first factory-installed application in the domestic auto industry.
  • 1988-CD sales eclipse vinyl
  • November 1988-the last 8 track tape is made = Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits
  • 1991-CD sales eclipse cassettes
  • 1999-Napster file sharing MP3s
  • 2000-CD sales global peak (2.45 billion sold worldwide)
  • 2001-Apple iPod

Ford Quadrasonic 8-Track (courtesy of Google Archives)

Motorola Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

8 Track vintage (courtesy of Google Archives)

Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

Motorola 8 Track (courtesy of Google Archives)

Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

Panasonic 8 Track detonator (courtesy of Google Archives)

Ford 1966 advertisement (courtesy of Google Archives)

Ford 1967 advertisement (courtesy of Google Archives)

Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)


Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)


Lear Jet Stereo 8 (courtesy of Google Archives)

Tracker Bob Hiemenz (courtesy of Google Archives)


Father Gabriel Richard Brought Michigan’s First Printing Press to Detroit in 1809!

Father Gabriel Richard Brought Michigan’s First Printing Press to Detroit in 1809!


Father Gabriel Richard


Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus

(“We hope for better things. They will rise from the ashes.”)

Father Gabriel Richard (Detroit, 1805)


In life, it’s good to celebrate progress, honor the past and always give credit to the architects and originators.

Father Gabriel Richard was a dynamic figure of early Detroit. We have him to thank for bringing the very first printing press to Michigan, among a host of other incredible accomplishments.

The Chinese invented paper around 100 AD. Then, they invented the process of imprinting ink on paper in 175 AD. They would take blocks of wood, ink them, put paper on them and rub them with a bamboo stick to create an impression.

The Chinese invented paper around 100 AD.


Around 1440 AD, Gutenberg, who previously worked for the Mainz mint in Germany, invented the printing press in Strasbourg, France. Gutenberg’s moveable type printing press revolutionized the world.

On February 23rd, 1455, Gutenberg printed 200 copies of his now famous Gutenberg Bible, a two-volume Bible written in Latin.

Currently, there are only about 48 copies known to exist. One of these babies is estimated to go for upwards of $35 million dollars if sold on the market today.

So, if anyone has an original Gutenberg Bible lying around they want to sell me, just let me know and I’ll be over in a jiff to buy it from you!

Gutenberg Bible (c. 1455 AD)



Quick Timeline of Father Gabriel Richard

(compiled from various sources by Ryan M. Place)


Printing Press


Saintes, France (October 15th, 1767)

Father Gabriel Richard is born.


Paris, France (1792)

While the French Revolution is in full swing, Father Gabriel Richard leaves France for the Midwest, USA. He was originally stationed in Baltimore, Maryland but his first official job was preaching as missionary to Native Americans in Southern Illinois.


Detroit (1798)

Father Gabriel Richard arrives in Detroit, which was a tiny French village on the river at the time.


Detroit (1802-1832)

Father Gabriel Richard is pastor of Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic Church.


Early Detroit


Detroit (June 11th, 1805)

The Great Detroit Fire of 1805 leveled the city’s 200+ log cabin homes, including Fort Detroit.


Upon witnessing the devastation, Father Gabriel Richard uttered his now famous phrase “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus” (“We hope for better things. They will rise from the ashes.”).


This phrase is now the City of Detroit’s official motto.


Detroit (June 1805)

After the blaze, a major food shortage ensued. Father Gabriel Richard organized massive food aid relief to the city from outlying ribbon farms in what are now the suburbs.


Detroit (June 30th, 1805)

Augustus Woodward arrives in Detroit. Judge Woodward was appointed chief judge of Michigan territory by President Thomas Jefferson. Judge Woodward joins forces with Fr. Gabriel.


Detroit (Spring 1809)

Father Gabriel Richard brings the first printing press to Michigan. He sets it up on Detroit’s Southwest side at 5450 West Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, up the street from Fort Wayne.


Judge Woodward’s Map of Detroit.


Detroit (August 1st, 1809)

Father Gabriel Richard prints the first book printed in Michigan.


Detroit (August 31st, 1809-1816)

Father Gabriel Richard and James Miller print Detroit’s first newspaper, The Michigan Essay: or Impartial Observer. By 1840, Michigan Territory will have over 30 newspapers.


Detroit (1812)

During the War of 1812, Father Gabriel Richard is imprisoned by the British for refusing to submit to them. “I have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and I cannot take another,” Fr. Richard told them.


Detroit (July 1817)

Michigan’s first bookstore, The Detroit Book Store, opens. It is owned by John P. Sheldon and Ebenezer Reed. Father Gabriel Richard is a frequent customer and supplier.




Detroit (August 26th, 1817)

Father Gabriel Richard and Rev. John Monteith, with the assistance of Judge Woodward, establish the Catholepistemiad of Michigan. In 1837, this school moved to Ann Arbor and was renamed The University of Michigan.


Michigan (1823-1825)

Father Gabriel Richard serves as the Michigan Territory’s delegate to the United States Congress. He fought for the establishment of The Territorial Road, which connected Detroit to Chicago. This road is now known as Michigan Avenue.


Detroit (September 13th, 1832)

Father Gabriel Richard dies. He is the last victim of the raging cholera epidemic in Detroit. Reportedly, the epidemic started when a troop ship carrying infected soldiers to Chicago to squash Blackhawk’s rebellion, stopped in Detroit, and unwittingly unleashed the epidemic on fair Detroit.


Michigan (January 26th, 1837)

Michigan officially becomes a State.


Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church in Detroit, Michigan.


Father Gabriel Richard is buried in a subterranean crypt inside Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church (1000 Sainte Anne Street, Detroit, Michigan).



Printing Press.


Some other resources you should check out:

Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit houses Father Gabriel Richard’s original collection of books and papers


200 Years of Detroit Booksellers (this is an excellent book by deceased BCD member Kay MacKay)


Frontier Seaport (fascinating scholarly work about early Detroit superbly written by Dr. Catherine Cangany)


Michigan’s First Bookstore (c. 1817-1828)


Detroit: Engine of America (wonderfully informative book by Detroit’s own RJ King)


Flor-Dri (5450 W. Jefferson, Detroit), which was once the original site of Michigan’s first printing press in 1809, thanks to Gabriel Richard (photo by: Ryan M. Place)


First known illustration of a printing press (c. 1499 AD).


Win a FREE Personalized Autographed Copy of ‘Detroit: Engine of America’ signed by author R.J. KING!

Win a FREE Personalized Autographed Copy of ‘Detroit: Engine of America’ signed by author R.J. KING!

Detroit: Engine of America (photo courtesy of Calvert Lithgraph Company)


*Special thanks to R.J. King for this*

We are raffling off one personalized autographed copy of ‘Detroit: Engine of America‘ signed by author R.J. King!

*One winner will be selected at random. Enter now for your chance to win!*

The raffle will run from Monday, September 23 to Sunday, September 29.


Detroit: Engine of America

Detroit: Engine of America‘ is written by award-winning journalist, editor, and author R.J. King. Published by Momentum Books, this 168-page hardcover book is the ultimate book about Detroit’s history.

King, editor of DBusiness magazine, DBusiness Daily News, DBusiness Tech and Mobility News, and Detroit 500, details chronologically, for the first time, how the city grew, step by step, from a French fort on the Detroit River in 1701 to become the world’s first industrial powerhouse and the birthplace of the automotive industry in 1900.

In the first chapter, “Detroit: Engine of America” details how from 1600 to 1800 the superpowers of Europe — France, England, Spain, and the Netherlands — opened trade routes to the New World. The English and the Dutch settled along the East Coast, the Spanish went south to Florida, Cuba, and the West Indies, while the French sailed the St. Lawrence River and established Quebec and Montreal before turning south to found Detroit.

From there, the book covers the city’s growth by decade, from 1800 to 1900, including the Great Fire of 1805, the platting of modern streets by Augustus B. Woodward, the War of 1812 and the surrender of the city to the British, the resulting American victory, the rapid development of a manufacturing economy, the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, and the resulting mass migration of people from the East Coast and beyond to what is the oldest city in the Midwest.

Detroit: Engine of America (image courtesy of Momentum Books)

Readers will learn about Detroit’s role in other major milestones such as the establishment of Michigan as a state in 1837, and the expansion of industry fueled by the production of iron, steel, copper, and brass machinery, and the breakneck progression of farms, hearths, stoves, mills, foundries, steamships, railroads, and finally, the horseless carriage.

The book is designed as a journal, complete with a red page-mark ribbon, to evoke an explorer’s guide to Detroit. Booklovers can follow in the footsteps of well-known pioneers, inventors, and merchants of the era, including Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac, Lewis Cass, Father Gabriel Richard, Gov. Stevens T. Mason, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, Elijah Brush, Bernhard Stroh, Frederick Sanders, R.L. Polk, Ellen Scripps, Mayor Hazen S. Pingree, Henry Ford, and many more.

“Detroit has turned the corner on its renaissance, but few people know how the city was, and still is, at the cutting edge of manufacturing, innovation, and culture,” says King, author of “Mystical,” “Passport to the Corner Office,” and “8 Track: The First Mobile App.” “My new book is a tribute to the men and women who built a city out of the wilderness starting in 1701, and sustained its incredible growth to become the world’s Industrial Versailles in 1900. And the best part is, Detroit is still leading the way. It remains the ultimate Maker City.”

Momentum Books was founded in 1987 and was acquired by Hour Media in 2001. As a small press focusing on regional nonfiction, Momentum has cultivated a reputation for its exceptional catalog of award-winning, mostly Michigan-centric, books.

Momentum Books

“It’s an outstanding book.”

Bob Bury, President and CEO, Fair Lane Home of Clara and Henry Ford, former President and CEO, Detroit Historical Museum

“It’s a beautiful book and it’s done so well.”

Mitch Albom, Author, Columnist, Host on WJR-AM

“R.J. King’s book provides great insight on leadership and how people working together can accomplish amazing things.”

Vanessa Denha-Garmo, Host, “It’s Your Community,” WJR-AM

R.J. King (photo courtesy of R.J. King)

Biography of R.J. King

R.J. King is editor of DBusiness magazine, DBusiness Daily News, Tech and Mobility News, and Detroit 500, all of which cover companies in metro Detroit and Michigan that are expanding locally, nationally, and internationally. He also is author of four books, “Detroit: Engine of America,” “Passport to the Corner Office: The Starter’s Guide to Corporate Life,” “8 Track: The First Mobile App,” and “Mystical.”

Since 2011, DBusiness magazine has been honored with more than 35 Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in the Editorial Excellence Awards from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers, including being named the top regional business magazine in the country. Prior to launching DBusiness in 2006, Mr. King was a business writer for The Detroit News for 16 years, where he wrote more than 4,000 articles covering economic development, automotive, aerospace, health care, technology, transportation, and other business sectors.

Mr. King is a board member of the Brother Rice Business Alliance, Beyond Basics, Detroit Aircraft Corp., Detroit Spacecraft Corp., ASX, and the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he serves on the Board of Trustees for The Parade Co. He is a member of the Detroit Athletic Club, and on the board of the DAC Executives Club and the DAC Car Club. He also is a member of the Boston-Edison Historic District and the University of Michigan Alumni Association. In 2014, Mr. King was inducted into the International Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Hall of Fame.

DBusiness Magazine


Momentum Books

DBusiness Magazine

Hour Detroit


*Special thanks to R.J. King for this*

We are raffling off one personalized autographed copy of ‘Detroit: Engine of America‘ signed by author R.J. King!

*One winner will be selected at random. Enter now for your chance to win!*

The raffle will run from Monday, September 23 to Sunday, September 29.



R.J. King (courtesy of R.J. King)