Blowin' in the Wind
When I was a master electrician working for a manufacturing facility, the company was in the process of a $1.5 million ventilation system upgrade. I wired all of the controls and feeders for the entire system, part of which included a 15-hp, 3-phase squirrel cage exhaust blower. Once I wired the blower up, I turned it on and air came out. The job was done, or so I thought. Once the system went online, it never seemed to be exhausting the room properly. After calling in the designer of the system and the manufacturer of the blower, the company concluded that I had wired the exhaust fan in reverse.
A Prickly Predicament
Many years ago as a young electrician in southern Arizona, I was assisting a new A/C installation in a rural desert location. The project journeyman was around a corner, bending a length of conduit when I heard his screams for help. As I turned the corner, I saw my associate's plight: the bender had broken just as he was leaning back for leverage, dropping him squarely in the middle of a patch of prickly pear cactus. As he screamed for help, I approached and held out my hand to him. However, before I could secure a good foothold, he quickly grabbed my hand and proceeded to pull me down right next to him, face-first in the cactus. As we moaned from the pain and laughed at our circumstance, we gingerly pushed ourselves up and out of the patch. But it only got worse later when we set to work plucking the hundreds of needles from our swollen bodies.
Charles W. Mueller
Illustrations by Clint Metcalf
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