« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 44: The Greaseman Cometh

2017-02-28 | 🔗

Don't like your job?  Just invent something that does it for you.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey, there's micro. This is the way I heard it's the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span: hey if you already picked up my book the way I heard it. Please accept my heartfelt thanks. I am grateful and if you liked it I'd, be grateful again. If you took a second to review, but over at Amazon by publisher, says the reviews are really important and I'm trying to impress my publisher if you haven't picked up a copy, you can find one at micro, dot, com, slash book book itself is a combination of stories from this podcast interrupted by a series of story
from my own misspent youth and dubious career in the world of nonfiction television, eight brag, but it is the New York Times best seller and my mom says it's. The feel good head of the holiday season had an about that. But we do have a few autographed copies left at micro, dotcom, Slash book and I'm told they would make ideal Christmas presents hashtag just say and pick up a copy micro dotcom, Slash book stuff me in somebody stocking I'd, be grateful. This the wired. The grease man dragged his shovel across the wooden floor and stabbed it into the towering pile of coal with a satisfying crunch. Technically, this was a job for the fireman, but the grease man wasn't one to complain in eighteen. Sixty
I'm complaining on the Michigan Central Railroad got you nowhere, lifting with his legs and pivoting with his head, the grease man sent the anthracite sailing through the air with a flip the wrist and watched it vanish into the furnaces gaping mouth. The sounds of his work kept time with the tempo of the train that swayed by meet them a steady, sisyphean rhythm, propelling man and machine through America's heartland as he shovelled. It occurred to him that his body worked a lot like the engine he fed the more fuel he gave it the fast would go, but when the train quickly slowed and ground to a sudden halt for the fifth time that day, the grease man stopped thinking in metaphors and prepared himself for the job at hand, the job that no one wanted, but somebody had to do armed with an oil can a giant brush and a bucket of rendered, an
or fat? The grease man jumped from the engine car and began the business of lubricating the axles, as well as every piece of exposed metal inside the locomotives engine? It was tough work, it was hot work, but there was no getting around it back. Then locomotives were constantly shutting down for oiling and loosening the so too were engines and wheels in factories and ships all over the world. Everything that moved needed lubrication
and nothing could be lubricated while it was moving. Thus, the wheels of civilization could only turn as quickly as the grease man could work. After ten minutes of contortions underneath several box cars and inside the engine itself, our hero emerged, looking very much like a glazed, donut, sweat streamed down his forehead and stung his eyes. Chunks of animal fat clung to his overalls and skin was he resentful. Did he believe his advanced apprenticeship and mechanical engineers coming from a prestigious machine shop in Edinburgh. Scotland might entitle him to do something more than shovel cold and slathered lubricant upon the end trails of America's iron horse now, but he was thirsty. The grease man was very, very thirsty and, as he gulped down cup
After cup of cool water, he was once again struck by the similarities between a hard working engine and a hard working railroad man, along with copious amounts of fuel, both required plenty of internal lubrication. The grease man refilled his empty cup and wondered allowed what if a train could be hydrated as easily as a man of good question and for the next year the grease man tinkered in his workshop, determined to find an answer. Eventually, he perfected a prototype, then he applied for a patent. His device was so book, a reservoir of oil that used gravity to deliver just enough for the lubricant to wherever it was needed. While the engine was still running, he called it a lubricating cup if it worked locomotive engine would no longer need to stop down in order to be oiled a true
mechanical solution would eliminate his own job, but all things considered, it seemed like a risk worth taking. Well, the lubricating cup did work and the impact on productivity and mobility was astounding. Word of this breakthrough spread all over the country and soon every engineer and conductor from two coma to tell ass. He was demanding one. Obviously, the grease man was in no position to leap into Mass
reduction so for the next few years, cheap imitations popped up everywhere, promising the same results, but none proved as reliable as the original. In fact, many of those impostors made the problem even worse. If it wasn't the grease man's original lubricating cup, it just wasn't worth it over the next sixty years, the grease man would apply for and receive fifty seven additional mechanical patents and literally revolutionise the industrial revolution along the way he paused to invent the ironing board, because His wife was tired of steaming shirts and the sprinkler, because he was tired of watering is long, but it was his original lubricating cup. The change the pace. Modern civilization and helped build the infrastructure we rely upon today.
Thomas Edison once said that true genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration. Well, maybe if Tom had consulted with the grease man. Called Eliza. He might have assigned a few percentage points to lubrication and emancipation as well. You see long before. Eliza was greasing wheels on the mission
in central railroad. Hundreds of anonymous men and women were quietly greasing a different set of wheels on a different set of tracks, tracks that would carry Elijah's parents from a plantation in Kentucky to a small town in Canada. There, the grease man was born, unlike his father, a free man thanks to the underground rail road, Eliza, was afforded and opportunity thanks to his parents, Eliza was afforded an apprenticeship and thanks to his work ethic and his unquenchable thirst to build a better mousetrap Eliza was afforded success and the last name that still resonates today. You know it, you ve, probably used it. It's the name of a former slave. That's become synonymous with everything, authentic everything, original it's the name we invoke today when I
our search for the genuine article leads us to ask is that the real Mccoy anyway? That's why I heard.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-31.