I had a great uncle on my father’s side of the family that lived on a big farm in relative seclusion. I would occasionally go for a family visit, and the one thing that I remember most was that he had a ship in a bottle. For the average ten year old, before the advent of video games and tablets, it was pretty exciting to see. One evening I was sitting near the fireplace, staring at the model stuck behind the green glass. I must have been concentrating pretty hard because my uncle came over and asked what was so interesting.
As a child, I only had one question. “How did they get the ship in the bottle?” He went on to explain that the creator slowly crafted the model, folded down the masts and sails and then poked it all into the hole at the end of the neck. The person that made the model would then painstakingly take hours to erect the masts and trim the sails and get the clay ocean waters looking just right.
A couple of things immediately popped into my fertile, 10 year old mind. First, no wonder the ship was so crude and sails a bit eschew and secondly, why not just make a perfect model ship, cut the bottle in two, place the ship inside and then glue the bottle back together? It made perfect sense. It would be the same product only much faster and with higher quality.
The same can be said about the current way some companies go about installing an elevator. They make the bottle (the hoistway or elevator shaft) and then proceed to put parts in, all the while working is a tight, vertical space. That process comes with problems of alignment, safety and a much longer timeline for project completion. For higher quality and faster lead and installation time, doesn’t it make more sense to build the elevator horizontally in a factory setting where precise alignment can take place in a safe environment? Then the entire elevator can be taken to the job site and hoisted into place. And get this: even at a lower overall investment!
As I have grown up, I have come to understand the more romantic reasons for building a ship in a bottle. It shows that the builder appreciates old traditions and demonstrates patience and determination, but why should we build buildings as if we had all the time and money in the world? The better option is building quality more quickly with modular.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48077358@N02/4952091078″>i miss you grampa.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>