glyph 643: initiative invention management . attention to intelligence


The Inventor of the Round-Cornered Shovel

from the Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1907

Article title: "The Workman's Lack of Interest," by George Frederic Stratton

Over half a century ago a laborer on an English railroad said to his gang foreman; "If you'd get the corners cut off these shovels we could shove 'em into the gravel much easier.' (The shovels in those days were all square across the front edge.)

"Git back to work!" was the harsh reply, "an' put some muscle into the shovel; that's what you're paid ter!"

The man went back to work, but later he took his idea to a Sheffield ironmonger who secured a patent on a round-pointed shovel, and the two men ultimately divided over half a million dollars from it.

Samuel Smiles said that the idea of a round-faced shovel undoubtedly saved over two million pounds ($10,000,000) in labor on the British railroads.
October 7, 2023

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