We are often faced with long roads to goals or rewards. In particular, children and teenagers are often discouraged by how long it takes to save for something they really want or to get the training or education needed for a certain type of career.

Waiting is tough… And the competition is and will always be equally tough (or at least I hope so). Time lends itself to patience and competition lends itself to excellence in my opinion.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been depending on fans in my office to suck the cold air from out of the hall and out of neighbors’ offices at work. I can almost count on losing my air conditioner for a few weeks in the summer. It’s really not that big of a deal, with others having single units in their offices. On the other hand, if everyone’s units go out, it is unbearable.

It’s an old building and to be honest, I like it a lot. We (my office neighbors and I) have pledged not to complain about such things, knowing that we could be moved to a more modern building without the charm and windows and space that we have now. We would also have to move our stuff that we have accumulated in our offices through the years.

We do math and science, thus we like our books and our “stuff.”

I was sitting in my office chair, studying my oscillating fan swishing from left to right and blowing air. Enjoying the sound which is just wonderful, but I’m hoping that it gets a little nosier soon. You know maybe a little rusty. More noise would give it a little more character like that of record player hissing while playing your favorite songs on vinyl.

As I often do, I started wondering about inventors and the invention of fans in general and in particular, oscillating fans. Surprisingly, the electric fan was invented by a fellow named Wheeler in 1882. “Surprisingly,” just in that 1882 was a long time ago. So 1882, we see the first electric fan – within five years, another fellow named Diehl hooked a fan blade to a sewing machine motor and then to the ceiling.

So, five years after the fan was invented, this fellow “took it to the top” or ceiling by inventing a ceiling fan.

In addition to Diehl patenting the first ceiling fan in 1887, Mr. Diehl is also credited with driving down the price of Thomas Edison’s light bulbs. How did he do this with Edison’s bulbs? His light bulb design was seen as competition by Mr. Edison.

This fellow, Philip (with one “l”) Diehl started as a locksmith, then became a machinist with Singer Sewing Machines, then became an inventor of many other things associated with motors and lights. Diehl’s bulb was never produced commercially, but he sold the patent to Westinghouse for $25,000 (equivalent to about $700,000 today).

Five years to the top of the ceiling, the patience of a locksmith and completely willing to go up against Thomas Edison and his light bulb.

What’s the big Diehl? This story is a good example of taking your time and patience to get to the top and not being afraid of the big dogs that might try to scare you along the way.

And I’m still really happy with my oscillating fan and the way it sounds. I never really figured out who made it oscillate, but I did figure out who moved it “up.”


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