Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ending Human Drudgery ...

I had an idea for this post, so out of curiosity I googled "pedal powered machines". I was floored ~ 1,820,000 result hits. Looking through some of the sites on the first page, I kept seeing references to treadle power. So I googled "treadle powered machines". This really blew me away, now remember that treadle power predates pedal power. But there were only 248,000 result hits, and both pedal and treadle powered machines came about thanks to the industrial revolution. Also both are descended from winches and capstans. For those of you who are not into nautical terminology, a popular style of capstan is what draws in an anchor on ancient ships, and wind sailing ships of old. It is still in use today on modern ships to draw up, or "to weigh the anchor" as the saying goes.

Now what makes the treadle and pedal so revolutionary in terms of human powered machines, is that they allowed people to do more. You see pedals or foot cranks had a higher work ratio over hand cranks, treadles, and capstans because of compact versatility. Also the power of human legs could be harnessed, while allowing the hands to do other things. Ah yes, an early expression of multi-tasking.

In other posts I have referenced that the cycle came about in the late 1800's, well this time I have found a closer date. No one knows for sure (that I am aware of) just when the first cycle was invented exactly, but the time frame reference that I now keep finding is in the 1870's. To me that means that for some 10 - 15 years earlier, some inventors were possibly tinkering with ideas. All of the early cycles were direct drive. Later cycles starting using rope or leather thongs or crude chains to transfer power. Also some early versions had a large gear or wheel at the pedals, with a smaller gear or wheel powering the object being moved or rotated. Sometimes the object being rotated was a large fly wheel, to aide in powering what ever the machine was used for. In essence the inventors were borrowing from steam engine technology to aide in human powered machines. There you have it folks, some history into pedal powered machines.

Now let me get into the reason for my current curiosity into types of pedal powered machines.  Is a you tube video created by: Chris Turitzin, Jaireh Teccarro, Jennifer Chen and Nathen Lee ~ about their idea for the "Innovate Or Die contest". They used a bicycle to make ice cream, while pedaling around for a while. I also knew of other uses for a bicycle, so I went looking around the web to see what else I could find. Thinking that maybe my findings would make for an interesting post, here on my blog that is basically on a similar subject. Granted I do tend to wander into other subjects along the way, but I always do return to my root subject matter in a post or two.

OK, here we go in no particular order: a miller/thrasher; several versions of clothes washers were found; a blade sharpener; a blender; a meat grinder; several trike styles of a taxi or rickshaw; a rope or chain water lifter; a water pump; a nut sheller; a coffee or grain grinder; with the use of a winch and pedals to plow a field or garden; using a trike as a tractor to disk, drag, hoe, and plant food; wood and metal cutting saws; a pedal powered log splitter ~ that powers a hydraulic jack to push a log into a set splitting wedge; early sewing machines - before the popular treadle sewing machines; pedal powered cranes for heavy lifting; pedal powering of a generator or dynamo to charge up batteries; powering devices like laptops; powering a shaker that aides in the making of concrete tiling for roofs; shelling corn; grinding meal or flour; found several versions of ice cream makers; lawn mowing ~ mainly the old reel type of mower, however I did find one version where three push type power mowers were combined with a trike for a very interesting type of pedal powered riding mower; a water transport and filtration unit called an "aquaduck"; found several versions of a bladed snowplow ~ am wondering how long before someone comes up with a pedal powered snow thrower; also found a pedal powered drill press; a lathe; a grinder; a sander; tool sharpeners; boring and drilling and cutting machines; also a pedal powered scroll saw. All of these and more were designed for use in homes and workshops that have or had no power sources from in our past. However in currently developing countries around the world of today, I don't see why all of these ideas and more can not be used by everyone. As we all are trying to save some of our hard earned coins. Even in the modern world, where it seems that the working poor is the fastest growing class of people.  and  Are two interesting web sites to wander around on. So my friends, the information is out there on the web. Just do like I do, go for a stroll in cyber space. Also you tube is a lot of fun to get lost on. Wandering and wondering while doodling on the web is not only fun, but it can also be rewarding and educational along the way.

Remember this my friends;
When we stop learning or growing or doing,
We are pushing up the flowers ...

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