Harper's Weekly 12/30/1911


Coalheaver vs. Typewriter

The girl who is operating a typewriter
doesn't appear to be doing very heavy
physical labor, as compared with the
brawny individual in a stokehold who is
shoveling coal into a hungry furnace, but
this is one of the many instances in which
superficial appearances are deceptive, as
a comparison of the force expended by the
two will show.


The stoker may be credited with hand-
ling one ton of coal per hour, or eight tons
per day, plus the weight of his shovel.
Adding the shovel to his 17,960 pounds
of coal, he expends about 20,000 pounds
of energy.


For each key struck on the typewriter,
there is an expenditure of something over
three ounces of energy, or, say, one pound
to the average word. A fair operator will
average 1,500 words an hour, or, in eight
hours. 12,000 words—12,000 pounds of
energy. To throw over the carriage for
each new line requires, on an average,
three pounds of force. Twelve thousand
words will make a thousand lines, so there
are 3,000 pounds of energy to be added
to the 12,000 making 15,000 pounds of
energy expended—which compares pretty
well with the stoker's 20,000, all things
considered. A really fast operator would
push the expenditure of energy up to
25,000 pounds,
or more.



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