The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9559   Message #62095
Posted By: Allan C.
09-Mar-99 - 02:09 PM
Thread Name: What did John Henry mean?
Subject: RE: What did John Henry mean?
Sometimes there was a short rod with a loop at the end of it, through which the shaft of the drill was fitted. This enabled the shaker to put a little more distance between himself and the blow of the hammer. The shaker still had to keep one hand on the drill shaft in order to keep the drill from bouncing away from the mark or out of the hole being drilled. The shaker would also have to grasp the shaft of the drill and turn it from time to time in order to drill more efficiently. While he was turning the drill, he would also shake it to loosen chunks of rock which might have become wedged in the grooves of the business end of the drill. I suspect that the use of the looped rod device was also looked upon as being used by only timid "unmanly" shakers and was also likely an affront to the abilities of the "driver" (hammer man). I wish I could cite the source of this information. I believe it may have been a footnote to a similar song in one of the E. B. Botkin series of books.