Saturday, September 18, 2010

The American Gate

When A. H. Spicer wrote to his mother from Coromandel in 1858, he mentioned an intriguing thing. He said,
Soon after we passed through a gigantic gate hung on a pivot on the top of a strong post. The pivot ran through the top rail of the gate which extended double the length of the under rails and was of massive timber. This extension caused the gate although so heavy to be easily moved as the height of the gate was counter balanced by the propelling beam of the upper rail on the opposite side of the pivot. This is an American notion of the proprietor a man named Paget and although clumsy looking, is very simple and effective and where timber is so plentiful and cheap enough. No hinges would probably be strong enough to support so massive a gate.
I pondered this for awhile, trying to imagine what it might have looked like. One day, I mentioned it to my son who after reading the passage drew the following illustration:

 You always wanted to know that, didn't you!

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