20 Billion Zerks Is A Lot Of Zerks
June 15, 2009 in Technology
I was reading a tractor manual today and I came across a word I’d never seen before: “zerk.” Apparently, my new garden tractor has several of them.
A zerk, I have seen learned, is a special kind of grease fitting named after its inventor, Oscar Ulysses Zerk.
A little googling has turned up some fascinating information about Oscar Zerk – such as the following, from findagrave.com (Zerk is dead, by the way):
“His engineering creativeness asserted itself in a multitude of fields: leg-slimming hosiery, quick-freezing ice cube trays, spatterproof nail brushes, fail-safe brakes for trolley/interurban cars, vibration-free camera tripods, oil well recovery systems, and automotive refrigeration equipment. But Zerk’s most important invention – and the one that earned him the most money – was the tiny grease fitting, a lubrication system which became the basis for those used on nearly every car, truck, plane and other mechanized vehicle. At the time of his death in 1968, it was estimated that 20 billion of those fittings had been manufactured.”
Findagrave.com will also tell you where to find Zerk’s grave, if you’re interested.