The Inspector and the Bolts
I was going through my file of articles that are too good
to be discarded and ran across this one. It is a classic, it points out
how we sometimes get so wrapped up in the details that we miss a larger
issue. The article was published in the "Journal of Licensed Aircraft Engineers,
Berkshire, England." I have no idea of the date of publication. If anyone
has any additional information about this article or other articles that
are priceless gems of wisdom, please let me know.
The Inspector and the Bolts
Author Unknown but Revered
e r e d w e l t i n t h e
C i t y o f M a n c h
an Inspector of a Turbine Factory
and his chief spoke unto him, saying "Lo, there is, in the wilderness of
Traff, a maker of bolts, and he has made two score and five special bolts.
They be Sooper-Dooper bolts and great is the tensile strength thereof,
that they may fix the top of a cylinder casing even unto the bottom. Get
thee hence and inspect them. And take micrometer and things, that thou
shalt gauge them unto within the wideness of a certain part of a gnat.
For I say unto thee, if thou shalt release them and they be found wanting,
then I will tear a strip off thee. Yea, if the bolts be not properly inspected,
then will I cause a great misfortune to fall upon thee."
And the Inspector
who was a sound bloke spake thus: "O. K. Chief, that which is asked for
by Drawing and Specification shall be done."
And then he departed
and journeyed unto the maker of the bolts who spake unto him saying: "Here
they are Charlie. Want a sixinshrool?"
But the Inspector
chided him saying: "Before I measure them command your servants and your
handmaidens that they may deliver unto me all the paper works thereunto."
Then there were
carried unto him one hundred and fifty nine scrolls, which were the Release
Notes and the Test Certificates for the raw materials and the M.S.L. Certificate
of the fiery furnace in which they did heat treat the bolts, and the Calibration
Charts for the hardness machine in which they did test the bolts, and a
host of Certificates of Accuracy for the tensile and Izod machines in which
they did stretch and smite the test pieces. And there was also brought
unto him a dog license, a copy of a Factories Act and a Pool's Coupon,
which were included amongst the papers in error. And they delivered unto
him also many M.S.L. Certificates relating unto the Wickman Gauges used
upon the bolts. There were also Certificates of Chemical Analysis and Radiological
Reports and Inspection Records and many other reports of strange, and wonderful
things of which no one knew the meaning. And they brought a copy of the
order and set of drawings and a Pyrometer Record Chart which was fifty
cubits in length and a multitude of other things too numerous to recite.
For twelve days
the Inspector looked upon these things and on the twelfth day he said they
were good. Then did he measure the bolts, and all the dimensions thereof
were according to Hoyle. And he put them in strange positions and tested
them upon a machine of a Magnaflux. And he performed Rockwells upon them
all, and some he rubbed with a precious jewel. Then he cast his eye upon
them through a microscope, a horoscope, a telescope, a periscope, a stroboscope,
and other strange devices. And he did project the threads upon a screen
and gazed upon their form and it was fair. And he gauged the threads by
the law of the Go and Nogo and the law of Root thickness. And from one
bolt which seemed doubtful he did cause a test piece to be made, and great
was the tensile thereof and Izod and the Elongation were fair to behold.
Then he caused X-rays to shine upon them lest there be concealed weevils
inside them. These things and many others which are in the Sacred Book
did he perform with great cunning.
And when all these
things had come to pass it was the evening of the nineteenth day and he
made out a release note and inscribed therein all the necessary details.
And he signed it and put his stamp upon it and upon the bolts also. then
he spake unto the bolt maker saying: "I do declare this batch of bolts
to be pretty damn good. Dispatch them unto the Turbine Factory, and if
they bounce, then I shall catch them without salt."
But Lo it came
to pass, that they were rejected. They had been fashioned to an obsolete
issue of the drawing. And the grief of the Inspector was terrible to behold.