17 March 2006

Jas. Cunningham, Son & Co. Tidbit of Information

In the mid 50s, I was working at Jas. Cunningham, Son & Co. in Rochester, NY. My boss was Andy Vincent, inventor of a crossbar switch. There is a good article about it at http://www.obs-us.com/people/karen/cunningham/chapter6.htm if you want to dig a little deeper.
We started out in a small building on Canal St. and had to go through the main plant, then across Litchfield St. to another building to get to the model makers. One of the men who did a lot of the intricate work was Percy Brown, a former gunsmith from Ithaca, NY. One day, I was over to see Percy about a piece he was working on, and happened to lean on his workbench, and I learned a very important, but little used, fact. It seems that Percy and some of the other men wondered how much weight a person put on a workbench when he leaned on it with his elbow like I had just done. So they got a scales (from where, I know not) and began testing by having various people casually lean on it. Turns out that an average of 30% of a person's weight was transmitted to the bench. So now you know! So now you can go out and prove it for yourselves. Or make bets. Or whatever.


Ronabear41 said...

That's an interesting fact. What did you there?

Granpappy said...

Well, let's see. I worked on the design, did some testing, developed the part numbering system, did some assembly, and generally chatted with the model makers to find out interesting items to report to future generations. I also had a good opportunity to watch the inventive process as practiced by Andy Vincent.