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Bedtime story for Tackit

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  • Bedtime story for Tackit

    Long ago in a foreign land called Pittsford the state cut off the old Erie Canal, and rerouted it leaving an old lock connected to the new canal. They built a repair shop, and promptly abandoned it in 1922 for another repair shop a mile away. Government wasn't much different back then. Along came a man with an idea, a few bucks and some connections along with his fleet of tugs & barges and he leased the yard for cheap money. He naturally was a man with a plan, and love of Lincoln Welders and Mack trucks.

    The plan was to buy a derelict hull off the Lakes, tow it in and convert the hull from riveted to welded to minimize drag and cut crew requirements. Naturally there was more to his plan. The new ship, Dolomite 1, would be a giant floating vacuum cleaner that sucked clean sand off the bottom of Lake Ontario and delivered to downtown Rochester where it would be conveyored to a storage yard. He thought he could get and sell sand cheaper than it could be dug out of banks and pits.

    It sounded like a good idea, even factoring in Prohibition and sobriety thereof. It wasn't.

    With his hull in the lock and the gates closed men from his rock quarry set about remodeling and rebuilding in secrecy. With the Great Depression going on, men were glad for good jobs that paid well and if that required not talking about your job so be it. Men who worked the quarry in Summer and repaired equipment in Winter were happy to work on a ship hull too. There was one big problem though, the state of the black art called electric welding pretty much began and ended with Fleetweld, and that meant a lot of grinding. Plastic hadn't been invented and DeWalt, Makita and others didn't make delicate ladylike toenail grinders yet, so Grinding had to be reinvented and refined. Men had to be hired to do this new grinding thing too. Luckily a workforce of potential new grinders waited just beyond the fence. Three brothers from one family were there and in their attempt to get hired exhibited their athletic skill and balance. BP Stanley the Super looked out from his shack window and was impressed by the brothers, particularly the oldest who was whittling away at a hunk of tree waiting in line.

    BP had a notion of using a round wheel mounted sort of like a unicycle, and Og figured it was possible. Grog just stood there looking dumb, and little brother Frog stared at the floor. All 3 were hired, and development work began on the new deck grinder. BP had some slabs of hard rock brought from the Quarry and Grog & Frog went about chiping away to make wheels from them. Og whittled away on chunks of wood to make a frame like BP drew, and it wasn't long till they had a machine that looked like a unicycle. Og mounted the contraption once it was on deck, and went to grinding like a madman, he also got bucked off till the importance of a balanced wheel was learned. At the Friday afternoon meeting where men were paid and problems were solved the subject of wheel wear on Og's machine was a frequent topic. BP wanted more feet of grinding per wheel and announced he had a plan for another machine to grind the sides of hulls. BP put his fat daughter on payroll as director of research and development.

    To be continued.

  • #2
    Good story Franz, i will be waiting for the next chapter.