Who names these things? How do we stop them?

My lawnmower sharpening kit came with a great set of instructions that made the job pretty simple. Heck, each step was spelled out in three languages, and the diagrams actually made sense and mirrored my mower!

I also learned a couple new words. Anyone know what this sentence means?

“Carefully remove the pinion gear, being extremely careful not to allow the pawl to fall out of the slot in the reel shaft.”


Fortunately, the diagrams helped clarify the goal. But what is a pinion gear, and how does it relate to a pawl? Who named these parts? And where do the names come from?

Wiki comes to the rescue with a couple helpful definitions.

A pinion is usually the smallest gear in a gear drive train. In many cases, such as remote controlled toys, the pinion is also the drive gear.

A pawl is even less descriptive:

Pawl may refer to:

  • A common component of a ratchet
  • A part of the adjustable height locking mechanism of an extension ladder
  • Pawl (constructor), a former racing car constructor
  • A part of a table saw splitter, a safety mechanism designed to prevent kickback

But still – how to stop the madness of naming little bitty parts?


2 responses to “Who names these things? How do we stop them?

  1. At least these names don’t make people snicker at you. A popular running workout is called a “fartlek.” Just try telling a friend at the ballpark “I had a great fartlek today.”

  2. Pingback: Mower Wars: The Finale « The Education of Elginista

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