Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Friday, June 7, 2013

The mystery of Robertson screwdrivers in Ghana

Every Canadian blog eventually has to have a post about Robertson screwdrivers. We are told they are uniquely Canadian. Especially when they start showing up in Ghana.

I remember once working on an oceanographic vessel out of Bedford Institute--almost 30 years ago. Some of the (at that time analog) recording equipment had been fastened in place with Robertsons. We had to move some of the equipment, and an American colleague remarked, "We need to have some kind of a special tool to undo these."

Some years ago I was running a marine survey in Ghana. We had a variety of braces and mounts assembled here and shipped over. In the course of operations I found myself having to modify our home-made mount for the GPS, which was held together with Robertsons. I had a multi-tool, but there was one screw that had was hard to access, and impossible for the tool (the knuckle couldn't get into the access) so I was stuck unless I could find a dedicated Robertson screwdriver, which was impossible in Ghana.

Uniquely Canadian.

A few years later I needed to buy some screws at a hardware store in Accra, and ended up picking up a few packets of Robertson screws. They even had some of the screwdrivers too. But since cleaning them out that day, I have never found any at any store in Ghana.

Why did they appear in such limited numbers, only to disappear?

In checking out the new Robertson webpage, I did see one clue. It is now part of the Berkshire Hathaway empire.

But a brief market flirtation doesn't really seem like their style. My present guess is that it was some kind of Canadian government initiative--get the Robertson out there. But without any follow-through.

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