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Gary_Ash

Trivia quiz: Why is it called a “pitman arm”?

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From a photo at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum on old U.S. Route 6 in Galeton, PA. It’s a fun place to visit on a road perfect for old cars. 

 

I never knew why the lever arm on steering gear was called a pitman arm. 

 

 

414A7CAC-E678-4477-A6F9-4AB85EE5CCF2.jpeg

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wonderful,  the reason behind the naming of so many things is very interesting.

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If you google 'pitman arm' you will find it was invented by George Washington Pitman, a railroad engineer.

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Gary,

 

Thank's for sharing. I spent the better part of ten years, during the 60's, working in saw mills, as I worked my way through college. There were nine mills in and around Seattle, in those days, today they are all gone. I don't lament their passing, but I'm enthralled by their history. It's been more the forty years since the last of the mills in which I worked closed. Each mill was different from all the rest, from the machinery, to the finished product, to where they got their supply of wood. 

 

Little did I know then that I was witnessing the end of an era-the demise of the urban mills, around which so many cities were built. One day not too long ago, I was with a group of high school friends, when one of the guys pulled out some old pictures of some of the mills, in which I had worked. He had found them in some archival site. For me it was like being transported back in time . He told me I should write up my memoirs. I asked him what the hell he was talking about, nobody would be interested in that stuff. Then he said something that made me sit up straight and pay attention. He said "you are the expert now, all of the people with whom you worked are gone." If you don't do it there will be nobody left who remembers. Well maybe  will have to do that vary thing.

 

Bill

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I recall my surprise visiting Greenfield Village and seeing one of the original Edison generators with brushes that were actually brushes with copper wires for the bristles. I had always wondered why those hunks of carbon in an electric motor were called brushes and now I knew.

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2 hours ago, 41 Su8 said:

If you google 'pitman arm' you will find it was invented by George Washington Pitman, a railroad engineer.

 

Unfortunately, neither the sawmill story nor the George Washington Pit(t)man story on line have any references to substantiate them. The "Library of Congress" notation on the sawmill photo is only where the photo came from, not the story. Sounds more like the origin of the name "Jeep" - there are multiple stories, none of which can be proven.

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Before there were sawmills lumber was sawed by hand using crosscut saws.

Cutting a log with the saw horizontal to the log was difficult at best so logs were suspended over pits with one man on top of the log and one man beneath in the pit.

Hence.......pit man.

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The pitman arm in the sawmill and the automobile steering pitman arm serve the same function.

 

 

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They both convert angular motion to linear motion; or rotational motion to linear motion.

 

The same as the connecting rod, which converts rotational motion of the crankshaft to linear motion of the piston.

 

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All I know is when mine snapped on my AMC Eagle the car didnt steer and we went into the side of the road and rolled!

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