Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roses for Valentines Day and Engineering Geekery

The other day, my wife looked over at me and said, "Honey, don't order flowers from the florist this year."
"Okay", says I, "But why? I thought you liked her work?"
"Oh, you are ordering me flowers, but they will be roses of the bare root variety."

Looks like I have a post Valentines Day appointment with a shovel.

In other Valentines Day trivia (for engineering nerds), it's George Ferris' birthday, which you will know if you use Google. Ferris built the very first Ferris Wheel. He won a competition put on by by the 1893 Chicago Exposition to design something to surpass the Eiffel Tower. His wheel stood about 265 feet high and could carry 2160 people. While it did out shine the Eiffel Tower for a short time, it didn't have Eiffel's longevity. It was moved twice after the exposition but could not find a long term home and was finally blown up in 1903 for scrap. However, its construction did mark a few engineering firsts, one of which was the largest single hollow forging (the axle - 71 tons, 45.5 feet long). You have to be a metal monger geek to appreciate that.

If you want to learn more about how the Chicago Exposition promoted technology, and enjoy a good murder mystery, go read "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson.

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