What’s That For?


On my way to work, I spotted a few trucks parked along Washington, near where the construction is happening along Wabash Avenue.

The thing on the right caught my eye, as I was walking past. The grill on top made me think that fire was involved in some way. The more I looked at it, the less I knew what it was or how it worked. And the more curious I got.

What was the trough for? Did this machine use the bricks nearby? Was it some kind of auto-brick laying machine?

I happened to spot three guys standing on the other side of the truck. After lingering around a few seconds, I caught the eye of one of the crew. I apologized for interrupting, and asked what the machine on the truck was and how it worked.

Turns out, the machine is a mixer for mortar. I’m familiar with a regular cement mixer, so I wasn’t expecting a mixer to be so flat/horizontal. But paired with the bricks nearby, I guess that makes sense.

The guy also pointed to a wheelbarrow nearby, saying that the mortar is poured into the wheelbarrow… making me think that the mixer itself stays on the truck. Maybe it makes for less loading/unloading.

Funny thing – while I was walking by I was thinking about the various build tools I use at my job (things like npm, Gulp, and Webpack that make coding easier).

I thought about this mixer in much the same way. I knew folks nearby used it, but I wasn’t sure how. What does it do? How is it used? Why do you use it, and does it make things easier?

Same questions, different profession.

Related:
Always Ask
Alex and His Mysterious Box
On the Merits of Curiosity and Being a Little Extroverted

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