How Things Are Made

Posted on by Jerry

Take moment to look around you, at your desk or wherever you’re sitting, standing, or otherwise engaged. Unless you live in a hillside cave free of any creature comforts, chances are something within arm’s reach had to be manufactured.  That Ticonderoga #2 graphite pencil?  Not made in the USA (anymore), but it was manufactured by human hands.  Own a cellular telephone, or if you’re more antiquated, a land line phone?  No farmer grew that from a seed.  Our lives are filled with man-made products, and it’s a little awe-inspiring to live in a world manipulated by human ingenuity, though others may view it as the sum of all our excesses.  To-may-to or to-maw-to, indeed?

I don’t care to answer the tomato question; I think they’re best left in spaghetti sauce or or as garnish for overpriced wedge salads.  However, in an effort to earn your appreciation for a universe reconciled by creative thought and opposable thumbs, I’ve selected three common items to describetheir manufacturing process.  If you want the full story on how these items are made, you’ll probably have to contact the manufacturer, or you could just watch these short videos from the Science Channel and become a more well-rounded person:

Air Conditioners

We all love them, and they are at heart a completely man-made object from the paint used to make them pretty to the spine-fin tubing that gives us that sweet AC we love on those hot summer days.  These are not cocoa beans after all.  Mother Nature has no hand in constructing these universally loved machines, except for providing some of the raw materials.  The video below shows a brief overview of how outdoor AC units are constructed:


Trains are a collection of moving parts that have transported good across this country since 1869 when the first intercontinental railroad was finished.  These steel behemoths crank out thousands of horsepower, have thousands of inter-operating parts, and you can see them rumbling across the tracks in cities and countrysides multiple times per day.  Did you ever wonder though, what it takes to make one?  The train is not a product of a bit of fertilizer, careful watering and photosynthesis.  It is brought about by the hard work and ingenuity of modern society:

Think this is cool and want to become a locomotive engineer? Check out the Modoc Railroad Academy.

 Computer Processors

In a process that resulted from our earliest forays into mechanical computers and vacuum tubes, the modern CPU truly showcases the ability of people to be forward-thinking and progressive.  Our understanding of microscopic electrical principles and macroscopic manufacturing processes (a facility for CPU manufacture requires a cleanroom nearly two football fields in size) has allowed us fantastic technological advances in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Whether you ever think about them or not, without computer processors, you’d have to live your daily life without iTunes OR Netflix.  Think about that for a minute.

If you want to be a part of this fascinating industry, check out for more information.

That’s it for this month’s edition of tech tips.  We hope you’ve learned something and bettered your chances at trivia night!

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