Monday, July 26, 2010

Sheeps Feet or Sheepsfoot?

One of these is hard at work on our construction project.  It's a sheepsfoot roller designed to compact the soil in preparation for a building pad.

The roller has knob-headed spikes on the drum that work to compact the earth.

It was only this past weekend when I learned at least one origin of the term.

During construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal where soils were sandy and the sides of the canal couldn't be sustained, the workers brought in clay.  The clay-sand mix wouldn't compact so they deployed sheep to walk up and down the side walls of the canal.  The sheeps feet would compact the clay, allowing the walls to hold their place and the canal to retain water.

Ironically, the sheepsfoot roller is at work today on the Horton Building.  Just a few thousand feet away was the Licking Summit where ground was broken for the Ohio & Erie Canal on July 4, 1825.

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