Archive for Friday, August 10, 2012

100 years ago: Curious young boy receives near-fatal electric shock

August 10, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Aug. 10, 1912:

  • "A serious accident that nearly proved fatal occurred late yesterday afternoon on West Warren [Ninth] street, when a small boy came in contact with some live wires. As it was the boy was severely burned and it was remarkable that he escaped with his life. Lincoln Smith, aged about nine years, had climbed an electric light pole at the corner where the line turns from Warren street to the Stubbs home. He had reached the box containing the meter and was investigating it, when he touched the live wires. One of his legs came in contact with one wire and his hand with another. The current passed through his body and caused a short circuit, burning his hand and leg badly. When the boy received the shock, he lost his hold on the pole and fell backward into a ditch at the side of the road. Here he lay stunned for a short time until he was picked up by one of the neighbors.... Lincoln is getting along as well as could be expected at present. He has to remain in bed."
  • "It is believed that hog cholera has made its appearance in two sections of the country within the past ten days. In one instance it was detected when two pigs became infected and they were promptly killed in order to give a post-mortem examination. This examination showed cholera in a severe form.... Another case was reported from south of the city and Dr. McClelland is watching it closely for developments. In cases of cholera prompt vaccination will save the hogs, but if the owner waits until the hogs begin to die then it is a hard matter to save any of them."


Sarah St. John 5 years, 10 months ago

It would be pretty funny if Lincoln Smith was the great-grandfather of Billy Smith, Professional Tree Climber.

(I tried to link to that old PSA, but would you believe it's not on YouTube??)

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 10 months ago

Yup, that amazing thing called electricity can sure get you!

Once I got caught on an electric fence, it's too lengthy to describe exactly how that happened, and I could not get out, my younger brother didn't know how to shut off the fence, he just ran into the house screaming about what was going on.

Then my Dad hollered at him, "Shut up! Can't you see I'm on the phone?"

My younger brother sat on the edge of his chair for a while, and the very second my Dad hung up the phone he screamed: "Ron's caught on the electric fence!"

Then my Dad came running out, and I was OK except for some bluish holes on my right leg.

Another time my Dad was trying to see if the electric fence was working, so he told me to hold his hand to see if we got shocked. We didn't get shocked, so then my Dad told me to take off my tennis shoe and stand on the ground, maybe that was why we weren't getting shocked.


And then years later, I was an EM attending BEEP school at NTC San Diego, and we were all assured that at least one of us was going to become a member of the 440 club. That meant that at least one of us was going to break some rule about the 440 VAC box and get shocked.

We didn't have a single member of the 440 club in my class. Because I was the second member!

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