Friday, August 6, 2010

Shovel Time

That project back in the Diggins isn't going to finish itself. There is a little can of worms still lurking after all. It seems that there isn't a standard design for 3/4 inch galvanized unions. I've tried two examples and I'm still getting some weeping at the joint.

I've got a third example of the breed ready to install Saturday. Should this one do the trick, there'll be no excuse to keep me from digging and screening the garden beds and installing the soaker hoses.

I enjoyed a funny ironic thing on my way to the project at hand. I recorded another episode of the History Channel's "Modern Marvels" their story of gadgets, structures, machines, tools, and all things engineered.

Tonight's episode: "Shovels"

I took the hint...and I learned the the business end of those giant excavators they use 24/7 in the world's largest open pit mines, the shovel part of "steam shovel" is named the Dipper.

Some of these dippers hold 50-60 cubic yards of material in a single, dip. The biggest dumpster you can get is a whopping 40 yards!

The show also toured the World's largest shovel collection, back East at some university. I didn't watch every second as I was editing the hour so I can burn it to DVD, so I never caught the name of the school...but they have more than 750 Ames shovels in their collection.

Ames shovels built America, dug for gold in two gold rushes...California and Australia...built the Panama and Erie canals, and built most all of America's railroads.

I looked it up. The Stonehill Industrial History Center is at Stonehill College, Easton, Massachusetts. First made in 1774 at North Bridgewater, MA, Ames shovels were built in Easton since 1803.

By the 1850's, the Ames Brothers were successful businessmen, and one of them became the US Representative from Massachusetts, and was a big mover and shaker in getting Congress to fund the Transcontinental Railroad.

When I was in 7th grade, I visited Promontory Point, Utah where the Golden Spike was driven in 1869. Even though the golden spike was driven 95 years earlier, there were still many rusted, abandoned Ames shovels laying about the two roadbeds.

I've been shoveling my driveways in Truckee for more than 22 years with the same Ames square-point gravel scoop shovel.

I'll be digging in the garden Saturday with an Ames shovel, too.

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