Since we will likely be getting our first dose of snow shoveling this weekend, why not revisit the history of this handy tool? Perhaps you can impress the neighbors with your knowledge.
More than 100 patents have been granted to inventors of snow shovels since 1870. Various forms of serrated or very sharp metal tips were used early on for cutting and scraping snow before lifting it. One of the first patents for a shovel that both scraped and scooped snow was given to a woman, Lydia Fairweather (yes, that was her real name) in 1889. Believe it or not, the first patent for a lighter, plastic snow shovel was granted in 1939 to a Robert A. Smith. Today, plastic snow shovels come in all shapes and sizes.
Keep in mind that you should take it easy, use your legs for lifting, and always throw the snow downwind where Mother Nature is going to take it eventually. History has shown that the snow shovel is capable of finding the boudary line with your neighbor far more precisely than any surveyor!
Good luck shoveling this weekend…..try to get done before the Vikings game starts. For more information on the history of snow shoveling, as well as snow blowing, go buy a copy of Bernard Mergen’s book “Snow in America.”