"What the hell is a millwright?"

Earlier this evening, I saw a bumper stick which said "What the hell is a
millwright?", displayed prominently under the center brake light of a late
model Dodge Neon. Does anyone know what it means? I can't figure it out.
Reply to
AL
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From a web page:
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"Millwrights install, maintain, repair and troubleshoot stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment in factories, production plants and recreational facilities."
Maybe the bumper sticker was made up by someone tired of explaining what they do for a living.
Reply to
Wayne Bengtsson
Millright work on BIG Industrial eguipment. Setting up, maintaing factories, they are like farmers, jack of all trades....
Reply to
Kevin
Got a job as an apprentice millwright in a plant back in the '60's. There it was mostly moving and setting up BIG and HEAVY equipment, as you said. Learned a lot about leverage. And keeping it all running.
Reply to
gfulton
Up here in B.C. Canada Millwrights are trained in their apprentice ships for five years . They must pass the Inter-Provincial red seal certification. The training includes Machinist training ( 3rd year Machinist school), Weldor training to a minimum of level "C" , some electrical control and a lot of hoisting and rigging. You will find them in mills , oil refinerys and most often every industrial plant of reasonable size that still does it's own work. It is a very skilled and highly paid trade. A good Millwright is as important as the old village blacksmith was in the old days ....... he could do anything ,any time with next to nothing.
Pete
Reply to
Pete
That reminds me of the tombstone I saw while out in California attending a relative's funeral. On the back side of Betty Stern's tombstone were these words:
WHO THE HELL WAS BETTY STERN?
Only in California, where in the same cemetary I found a shining white tombstone with nothing but the deceased's "hadwritten" signature on it.
I'm hoping that my children will have the good humor to follow through with my oft repeated request that the back of my tombstone bears this exclamation:
HA!
(My last laugh...)
Jeff
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Several decades ago I went to Africa for a few months to help straighten out some survey problems left by some Frenchmen who had been fired. On the plane I met a millwright traveling to the same job for the same reason. I told him about all the precision equipment that I am taking with me (theodolite reading to one second of arc) etc. He kept quiet about his equipment.
After a few days of work I realized that he is working with layout equipment that far surpasses anything that I had seen or imagined. He would do setups with mirrors, micrometers, collimators etc. that would align shafts of equipment that were 30 to 50 feet apart. He would send a light beam around a 40ft. x 60 ft. rectangle (mirrors) and align equipment to within a thousandth of an inch at those distances. Needless to say, had I used surveying techniques my accumulated errors in four setups would have exceeded (worsened) his by a factor of 20, or so. I was very impressed. He would explain to me that in a conveyor line (heavy multi-ton aluminum ingots) one roller out of alignment by a mere few thousandths of an inch would mean bearing life cut in half, etc.
As mentioned in the other posts he was a jack of all trades. While I was pretty impressed at my ability to lay out column lines to within an eight of an inch at distances of hundreds of feet, his everyday accuracy way exceeded what I could do with my equipment and knowledge.
Ivan Vegvary
Reply to
Ivan Vegvary
A good Millwright is as
In fact, it might be interesting to deal with the difference between a blacksmith and a millwright. We tend to think of a blacksmith as someone who shod horses, but of course they did much more than that.
I assume the original "millwrights" (someone who made or repaired mills) was either a good carpenter was well as metal worker, or else had an associate who was a carpenter/builder. I would guess in many cases the millwright made the machinery for the mill, while a carpenter/builder built the structure.
I am really interested in this thread, 'cause I am working on a historical novel where the leading character is a millwright.
BTW, what was the term in use in those days for someone who did build houses and other structures?
Reply to
Don Stauffer
"AL" wrote: Earlier this evening, I saw a bumper stick which said "What the hell is a millwright?", (clip) Does anyone know what it means? (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Correct me if I'm wrong, AL, but I don't think anyone has answered your question. You weren't asking, "What is a millwright." You were asking, "Why would anyone ask that question on a bumper sticker?" I can't figure it out either.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Back when the Cascades in Washington state supported dozens of sawmills, each had a millwright with similar abilities.
In addition to the machinist skills, the millwright was often the first-line electrician and pipefitter.
The jobs, to the best of my limited knowledge, were often filled by ex-navy/merchant marine engineers.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
I think the point of the sticker is that as manufacturing jobs disappear, so do the skills that were once required. It is a political comment on the scourge of outsourcing.
Reply to
Emmo
"Emmo" wrote: I think the point of the sticker is that as manufacturing jobs disappear, so do the skills that were once required. It is a political comment on the scourge of outsourcing. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ You may very well be right about the intended meaning. And you are certainly right about the effect of outsourcing, as well as the effect of high tech manufacturing techniques and products on our job skills.
However, I would never hire the author of that bumper sticker to design a campaign for me. The message requires you to know the answer before you can understand the question. (And it helps if you are a mind reader.)
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
You could get hit some places for saying a blacksmith shod horses, thats done by a farrier. I know a good blacksmith and what his does is very distinct from fitting horse shoes.
D> Pete wrote:
Reply to
David Billington
Thank you! I know what a millwright is. I just don't understand what that bumper sticker means.
Reply to
AL
I have a cousin in law who's a millwright -- I'd like to get him one like it.
Of course I'd like one that says "what the hell is a systems engineer?" Now _there's_ a question who's answer is highly variable.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
I think the intent of the bumper sticker was to be thought provoking, or to generate inquires.
Tony
Reply to
Tony
In the Metro Transit Bus repair shops in Seattle the Millwright is in charge of maintaining and repairing all service equipment, from overhead hoists to hydraulic lifts. My neighbor is an electric bus mechanic for Metro.
Woodwright
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
Shot in the dark here, but is there a local-ish college team whose name is "The Millwrights"? A tech/industrial college just might have such a nickname, and an opposing team might, no,too much of a stretch. Disregard.
Reply to
Dave Hinz
"Dave Hinz" wrote: (clip) A tech/industrial college just might have such a nickname, and an opposing team might, no,too much of a stretch. Disregard. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Millwrongs? I had to ask.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
I was watching a "Hands On History" last night and they were talking about Washington's grist mill.
They said that in those days a millwright was a carpenter that specialized in fabricating the (mostly wooden) running gear used in a mill.
Reply to
Jim Stewart

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