Knowing Where to Tap

At the end of the 19 Century a wealthy mill owner was sick with worry as his steam boiler lay broken and workers were standing idle. Time was money and as the hours and days passed he could see his profits slipping away. He had tried all the major firms in the area and they had been unable to cure the problem and was now about to meet a new.

A small man dressed in overalls, carrying a small tool bag mad from rough brown hessian was shown in and introduced to the owner. The man looked over his small glasses and asked the owner him to explain the nature of the problem in simple terms. With this the owner immediately had no faith, the boiler system was a hugely complicated affair, but after a while, the man was eventually shown to the boiler room.

Tapping gently, the man travelled up and down the pipe work until he finally settled on one particular elbow. He put his small hammer back in the toolbag and exchanged it for a large one, which he used to give one clean firm thump to the elbow. Immediately the owner could hear sound of the boiler system working again and showered thanks on the man and told him to double his bill. “No” the man replies, and with that leaves.

Within a few days the mans bill comes and was far more than expected. £100 was a huge sum for the time put in and was very much more than any of the others, some of which were there for days not just 10 minutes. The mill owner demands a breakdown of the bill.

A reply came by return :

for 10 minutes of tapping £1
for knowing where to tap £99


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