I was getting my haircut last night and my barber told me of an accident
his uncle recently had.
He was out in the woods pulling some logs with a chain attached to his
tractor. Apparently when he tossed the chain in the direction of the
tractor, it landed across the battery or some electrical connections and
starting sparking. As he moved towards the tractor to remove the chain, the
He was dressed in coveralls and a long sleeve shirt, so the acid burns were
minor, but a piece of the battery case hit him the eye. The tractor was
disabled so he had to walk about 15 minutes with a bleeding eye to get to
He called 911 along the way and the ambulance met him at the house. They
were unable to save his eye and he now has a prosthetic. My barber said
that they used digital imaging to take a picture of his good eye and then
created a "lens" for the prosthetic so that it matches his other eye
perfectly. Everything moves normally so people can't tell that it's not his
This doesn't surprise me; lead acid batteries can also explode when
charging them, sometimes even just blowing the "caps" off will cause the
sulfuric acid to shoot out of them.
Think of a lead acid battery as a very tightly wound spring, with all
that entails, and you can begin to appreciate the need for safety around
The man in this story is lucky he only lost one eye.
Hmmm. This sounds like a fishin' story. The batteries on all
the tractors I've seen were in cases. There is usually a cover over the
battery box. This goes back to tractors manufactured in the 1940s with
six volt systems.
The only possibly exposed electrical connection is at the starter
solenoid. Those are typically at the rear of the engine just
like on a car.
Chains don't throw well either for that matter.
Is your barber's name Aesop?
Nope, and he's not just my barber. He does contracting jobs on the side and
we've worked together a few times. We'll be pouring a new stoop at my house
next month. I have no reason to think he'd lie to me, but obviously you are
free to do so.
First he says that "usually" tractors have a battery cover.
Then he says the only "possible" way to short it out is via the
starter terminal? There are all kinds of tractors. If you
take a look at one at the highway authority garage that they
use to cut grass, it's very likely relatively new, intact, with the
battery covered. But if you're talking about some old farm
tractor, I've certainly seem plenty of them in all kinds of
shape, parts, covers, safeties etc missing.
It sounds like a freak accident, but certainly possible. And
it's not an internet story. The barber should know if his
uncle no longer has one eye.
On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 7:16:19 AM UTC-4, Dean Hoffman wrote:
Yup, and tractor owners have *NEVER* gotten lazy and didn't bother to put the
cover back on after dealing with a corroded battery cable, or a jump start, or,
Those steel battery boxes have *NEVER* rusted away over the last 70 years, due
to close contact with battery acid...
I've seen plenty of old tractors with batteries fully exposed to the world, held
in a convenient location by rubber tarp straps.
Farming accidents are very common. It is one of our most dangerous
professions. I know a farmer whose young son fell off tractor riding
with dad and dad ran over and killed him. Grief nearly killed the dad.
Several years ago, I was at the PA state fair and a rep from Pioneer
Seed was there. My former employer, DuPont had just bought them out and
I mentioned it to the rep. He told other retired coworker and I that
DuPont was killing them with their safety program. DuPont having
started in the gun powder business was extremely safety conscious.
I had to always wear safety glasses in the lab. I wear old pairs now
when cutting the grass or using machinery. If tractor driver wore them,
his sight may have been saved.
When I worked at a Sears auto center we had someone come in who knew everything.
One day, he was checking the water in a customer's battery (with the customer
watching) and to see better, he pulled out his cigarette lighter to get a better
Once the battery blew up, he got in his car and left. The customer had to be led
into the wash station to clean his eyes and everything else.
We never saw him again after that.
On 5/15/2013 2:47 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
everything. One day, he was checking the water in a customer's battery (with the
customer watching) and to see better, he pulled out his cigarette lighter to get
a better look.
One blew up on me when I was about 19 or so. I was hooking up jumpers on
the "dead" battery when it blew apart on me from the spark. Apparently
there was still plenty of life in it. Fortunately I was wearing glasses
and was close to a sink. Scared the crap out of me.
I'm nearsighted: can't see the big "E" on the eye chart.
But with no glasses I can read a computer screen (if I move a little
closer), I can read a book, I can read a map...
With corrective surgery, I would need glasses to do all those things.
Plus, I'd have to have prescription lenses in my safety glasses when
working with tools.
Since I wear sunglasses outside most of the time (prescription
sunglasses...) and, the rest of the time am glad for the added
protection of plain glasses...
The only time that glasses are a hassle outside is on the water - as in
windsurfing or paddling my surf ski. In those cases I use disposable
I can't, for the life of me, see why anybody in my situation would ever
get corrective surgery.
AFIK, the need for reading glasses is inevitable in all except the
near-sighted. Young, yes... but, with a little luck, most people will
make it to middle age and that's where the need for reading glasses sets
So it's a waste of money for a 20YO to get corrective surgery because
he'll have to wear glasses in 30 years anyway? BTW, those glasses
will only need to be corrected for "strength" (read: cheap).
Astigmatism will be taken care of.
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