Friday, February 27, 2009

William Otis' steam shovel

Friction and lots of simple/complex machines working here: Pulleys [single/multiple--transmitting energy/motion], gears [single/multiple], belts [transmitting rotary motion from shaft to shaft], the wheel and axle [increasing force like a level]--yada, yada. Every classroom in general physics needs one of these. Check out the steel cables. Steel braided cables is a physics in itself. All of that for a steam shovel and its electric predicessor as seen in Big Brutus. Patent was granted on February 24th, 1839.

William Otis


West Mineral, Kansas

What's orange and black with a bit of white and green and once tore into the Earth’s surface seeking vast coal deposits? The answer can be found in West Mineral, Kansas. It is "Big Brutus". It was eclipsed by “Big Muskie” once located in Cumberland, Ohio and now gone. "Big Brutus" [Bucyrus Erie model 1850B] weighs 5.5X10^3 tons, is about 160 feet high, has a bucket capacity of 90 cubic yards, and speeds along at a whopping speed of about .2 mph. In the mid 1980’s it was retired and converted into a museum.

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