Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hot Rolled Steel Keeps Cows Herded

barbed wire
One of the unsung inventions within the past 200 years has been something we don't think very highly of. Barbed wire fencing is an inexpensive fence made up of wire with many pointed edges to deter people or anything else from touching them. The invention led to a giant spark in the United States' manufacturing of hot rolled steel, and continues to be manufactured in huge quantities all over the world, such as this hot rolled steel from Capital Steel & Wire.

In 1867, Lucien B. Smith from Kent Ohio received a patent for inventing the product, after making several modifications to his original product. Soon afterwards, wire rod was in mass production and it was around prisons, farms and properties all over the world within a few years. So why was barbed wire such a groundbreaking invention for its time? Previously there was no effective way to keep cattle in one place at a time. Large steel gates were way too expensive and out of the question, and wooden gates typically rotted or could be broken by cattle wanting to escape.

This led to a major boom in cattle production and food being distributed at more affordable prices around the world. This supported larger families to exist and less people need on farms, and a move of human populations to urban areas.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Construction on Country Roads

The eastern end of the NEw Lynn Train Station ...
Now that the sun's out longer and the weather is awesome, everyone wants to be outside. The roads aren't icy and slick anymore, but that doesn't mean they will be any easier to travel around on. Summer is also construction season for the northern US, and millions of Americans will be stuck in long lines waiting for construction crews to clear way. They're just doing their job, and you should too by driving slowly and cautiously, and of course, not loosing your temper! Here's a few other tips:

Don't drive too close to the edge of the roads if you can. Quite often construction crews will be digging pipes underneath or around the roads, and they will be huddled out of view in their trench box, which are supposed to prevent their trenches from caving in. Driving close to their trenches is dangerous for you, but also it puts more stress on the trench boxes.

Drive in the early morning, or when traffic is at its lowest. That makes it easier for you and the construction crews. Also, construction activity is at its lowest during that period, and they won't be moving their dump trucks or swinging their cold finished bars around, making the environment a lot less chaotic.

I've said it once, but it's important. Don't lose your temper. No honking or impolite gestures. Construction workers have to deal with jerks every day, and they don't need any more abuse. And you never know, they might let you buy faster if you're nice.