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Thingamajig Thursday: tub trip levers and such

Welcome to yet another Thingamajig Thursday. Today's entry was inspired by my wife, who got out of the bath the other day and said, "You know that thingamabob that you pull up to plug the drain"¦" and went on to tell me that ours broke and asked if I wouldn't mind calling Schneider over to put a new one in.

Of course our handyman isn't really named Schneider, but my wife and I both had a thing for One Day at a Time when we were kids, so that's what we call all handymen. I know: welcome to dorks on ice.
Anyway, today I'm naming those bathtub thingamabobs, which are actually comprised of two separate pieces. The first is called the overflow plate, which, in some cases, allows water to seep through so it doesn't overflow, much like the hole in the sink.

The second piece is the thingamajig that broke in our tub, and that's called a trip lever. Pretty straightforward this week, but still useful. In case it happens to you and you need to call Schneider over, he'll know exactly what to bring. It's okay, you can thank me later"¦

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Thingamajig Thursday: ferrules

It's been a while since our last Thingamajig Thursday. Today I'm naming that slim metal band, or clamp, that wraps around a pencil, holding the eraser in place. You'll also find them stretched around a paintbrush, keeping the bristles tight, or the part of a violin bow that holds the hair to the "frog," or base.

fer.jpgAlso a verb, the word ferrule comes from the Latin viriola, or "small bracelet." So next time you're at Pearl Paint, or even Tiffany's, whip out the dope on ferrules and tell that salesperson what you really want. You might not get any better service, but you'll get a helluva lot of satisfaction showing off your knowledge.In the meantime, let's come up with a better word for the ferrule. I mean, it's a pretty okay work as far as thingamajigs go, but I know you smart readers can do better. Lay them on us.

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Thingamajig Thursday: rowels

Time for another Thingamajig Thursday. Today I'm naming those small revolving disks with the sharp points that you find on the end of a cowboy's spurs.

They're called rowels, a word which can be traced back to the Latin root, rotae, which was the name of the wheel on a horse-drawn chariot. As a verb, we derive roto, or, to turn, from the same root.

Though no one knows exactly when people first started putting rowels on spurs, the spur itself is believed to date back to the Roman empire, though you won't find them on any of the sculptures from the period.

brokeback_15.jpgBefore rowels, spurs sometimes had little pointy nubs on the ends of them, which eventually morphed into fixed disks before someone had the smart idea to get those wheels a turning. The fixed disk variety can be seen on the seal of Henry III and by the 14th century, the roweled spur was as standard as the horse itself.

If this post has spurred you on to come up with a better name for the rowel, it's that time again: Let's see what your smart readers can come up with. Drop your improved thingamajig name in the comments below. And if the Brokeback Mountain theme is now stuck in your head, I sincerely, really, honestly do apologize.

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