When I met Thomas Engel in Sweden on Nov. 28, 1990, he said, “The paths of life are frequently this strange.” Afterward, he mentioned that if a shoe factory had been present in his vicinity at the time he invented PEX, we would perhaps be walking around today on shoe soles made of cross-linked polyethylene.
The Arsenal is one of only two parks department buildings that take heat from the district steam system run by Consolidated Edison. The problem was it was taking two hours for steam to reach the radiators once it had passed through the PRV station, which had people very upset.
I was thinking about how we’ve grown so used to central heating and, with the exception of an occasional cleaning, pretty much ignore our boilers and heating systems when the weather gets hot and sticky. I wondered if it had always been this way...
When I got older and was at the bar with my father, I was thinking about Billy. I asked my father about him and those two pair of pliers he always kept so close at hand. My father smiled as he remembered.
Oh, and I should mention that Daniel and Chapman were the man’s first and middle names. His last name was Stillson. Think of him the next time you reach into your toolbox for that durable Stillson wrench that will forever carry its inventor’s proud name. Think of him, remember him, thank him, and smile.
I think about how many hands must have touched these things before they came to me, how many jobs they helped size, and how many problems they helped solve. Think of all the time they saved — and not one of them needed a battery.