Ms. Babbit’s Splendid Invention

Posted: January 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

This is my 100 Word contribution to Friday Fictioneers. We can thank Ted Strutz for the thought provoking picture. If you want to learn more about Tabitha Babbit you can find a very brief history at –

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright Ted Strutz

“Square peg in a round hole that one.”
“Ah, she ain’t so bad.”
“Nuttier than a walnut tree.”

Paying no attention to the men sweating over the pit saw
Tabitha places her invention beside them.

“It’s a spinnin’ wheel.”
“But what the hell has she done to it?”

The notched tin disk rigged to the spinning wheel begins to whir with the touch of her foot on the pedal.
Tabitha takes the half log the men have been working, pushes it against the disk.
With a squeal the log rips into two perfect boards.

“I’ll be damned. A circular saw.”

  1. Sandra says:

    Interesting story, enjoyed the link too. Well done.


  2. BrainRants says:

    You learn something new every day. Thanks from this sometime woodworker.


  3. Ah.. that was one clever girl.. I guess the men were not to happy in the end.


  4. Caerlynn Nash says:

    That Ms. Babbitt is one clever lady. I’ve often heard that the best man for the job is a woman! 😉 (tee hee!)


  5. Caerlynn – I believe that to be true! Thanks for pointing it out. Cheers! Alicia


  6. elmowrites says:

    Hard enough to be a square peg in a round hole these days; hats off to Tabitha for doing it in the early years. I love how you’ve captured the attitudes and the reluctant admiration in these few words. And how you’ve taught me a history lesson too. Thanks!


  7. bykimberlylynne says:

    I love the geometric parallels (& perpendiculars) throughout: square/circle, pit/hole, disc/wheel. A very visual 100 words. Spinning is better than sweating 🙂


  8. Thanks for noticing the parallels and perpendiculars. Yes, spinning is better than sweating. I can’t imagine standing in a hole, holding the end of a whip saw, sawing wood. Can you say, “Sawdust stuck in sweat?” Glad you stopped by. Alicia


  9. Woman one ups and outsmarts man once again. Nuts or not. Randy


  10. I loved this! It takes a woman to make the men’s work easier. 😀 😀 Love it.


  11. Alicia,
    I think it takes someone nuttier than a walnut tree to think differently enough to change the world. Great ending. 🙂


  12. Nan Falkner says:

    I loved the story and the link. She was so smart and to not patent any of her inventions was so selfless. Wow – great job! Nan


  13. draliman says:

    Nice little bit of history! I expect the men changed their opinion of her after they saw her saw 🙂


  14. Lovely story and a credible idea of the conversation. Followed the link interesting – and then linked to nails – the fasteners – and then dragged myself away. Just where do these links lead? Madness beckons.


  15. plaridel says:

    i always hear the phrase, “it takes a woman…” this story proved it once again.


  16. Ellespeth says:

    This has be chuckling. I guess she showed them a thing or two 🙂 I also enjoyed the link.


  17. Dear Alicia,

    This had me smiling for more reasons than one. Quite a few prompts ago my research led me to this brilliant Shaker lady. No matter what I did, though, I couldn’t come up with an interesting story. All my attempts were like sawdust under her circular saw.

    Very well done. I raise my computer mouse in tribute.




  18. Sarah Ann says:

    Love the voices in this – and the line ‘“Nuttier than a walnut tree.” She sure showed them!


  19. Amy Reese says:

    Very original story and nicely written, Alicia. “Nuttier than a walnut tree.” I love that line. Too bad Tabitha didn’t patent the circular saw.


  20. Subroto says:

    Interesting story, really liked this historical fiction. Enjoyed the link too.


  21. Margaret says:

    Lovely story. She’s a wonderful character. I love how she just quietly sets her saw in motion and silences their jeers. Most enjoyable.


  22. Great history lesson! Thanks, Alicia.


  23. hafong says:

    Thanks for the story, Alicia, otherwise I wouldn’t know of Ms Babbitt. I am not in the category of clever women inventors but I like hearing about them. Did you know that Hey Lamarr, the movie star had helped invent the technology they used in torpedoes in WW11? I was blown away by that. I shouldn’t have really because there are brilliant women as well as men.



  24. wildbilbo says:

    Nicely written – I’m a fan of these tidbit history lessons (I read the 100 words then lose myself in Wikipedia for a while… :))


  25. rgayer55 says:

    Fascinating story. Thanks for including the link. Now, you’ve got me curious about the false teeth. I bet they could gnaw corn off the cob faster than a beaver on meth.


  26. Good story, Alicia. I checked the link and found it interesting. That invention saved men a lot of work. How clever she was. Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne


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