Re: Explosive demonstration
When I started on the drawing board at a large steam turbine manufacturing company in 1974, my first assignment was to lay out the installation of a blade wheel in the vacuum overspeed chamber. About a year later, we were all busy at our boards when there was a loud bang and the whole building began shaking, as if we were in an earthquake.
After a while, the shaking slowed down and eventually stopped, during which time most of the inhabitants of the office block had exited and were milling around in the car park. My Boss, one Tom Heath, poked his head round the doorframe and said "That's one of your jobs, Iain, please get me drawing XXXXXXX and bring it into my office". With much fear and trembling I retrieved the drawing from the filing system and trudged reluctantly towards my doom.
We pored over the drawing, recalculating every dimension, stress calculation, and instruction, after which Tom said that he couldn't see anything wrong, perhaps we should go down and inspect the corpse. On arrival on the shop floor, we found that the overspeed chamber had been opened, and its contents were being shovelled out onto a portable workbench for examination. The Foreman was standing by with his arms folded across his chest, his foot tapping, and a face like thunder.
Tom searched through the metallic scrap on the table and suddenly his hand shot out and grabbed a mis-shaped bolt head. He showed it to me and asked "What do you think that is?". I replied that it appeared to be the head of a 3/4 inch black mild steel bolt, which was displaying a textbook cup and cone tensile failure on its underside. Tom unrolled the drawing over the scrap and pointed to a legend which called for 3/4 inch High Tensile bolts to be fitted.
The Foreman suddenly defated like a punctured baloon, and his face went an unhealthy grey colour. "Oh! Shit!" he exclaimed, as the realisation that the failure was down to him and not us, and that he would therefor be footing the bill for a new blade wheel, shaft, instrumentation, and radio communications equipment, all of which had been destroyed by the failure of the drive bracket counterweight.
Tom rolled the drawing up, tapped me on the shoulder with it, and said "Time for a cuppa, I think". We walked away across the shop floor, leaving the Foreman standing dejectedly beside the ruined chamber.
(PS, as well as Tom Heath, we also had a Ted Jones on the section, at a time when Ted Heath was PM and Tom Jones was big in the charts).