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Robert Livingston StevensBorn 18 Oct 1787; died 20 Apr 1856 at age 68.U.S. engineer and ship designer who invented the inverted-T railroad rail and the railroad spike. He tested the first steamboat to use screw propellers, invented and built by his father, John Stevens. Robert designed the first concave waterlines on a steamboat (1808), the first supporting iron rods for projecting guard beams on steamboats (1815), the first skeleton walking beams for ferries (1822), the spring pile ferry slip (1822), the placement of boilers on guards outside the paddle wheels of ferries (1822), the hog frame or truss for stiffening ferry boats longitudinally (1827), spring steel bearings of paddle wheel shafts (1828), improved packing for pistons (1840), and was first to successfully burn anthracite coal in a cupola furnace (1818). He found that rails laid on wooden ties, with crushed stone or gravel beneath, provided a roadbed superior to any known before. His rail and roadbed came into universal use in the United States. He also added the pilot, or cowcatcher, to the locomotive and increased the number of drive wheels to eight for better traction.
A policeman was patrolling a local parking spot overlooking a golf course. He drove by a car and saw a couple inside with the dome light on. There was a young man in the driver's seat reading a computer magazine and a young lady in the back seat knitting. He stopped to investigate.
He walked up to the driver's window and knocked. The young man looked up, cranked the window down, and said, "Yes, officer?"
"What are you doing?" the policeman asked.
"What does it look like?" answered the young man. "I'm reading a magazine."
Pointing towards the young lady in the back seat, the officer then asked, "And what is she doing?"
The young man looked over his shoulder and replied, "What does it look like? She's knitting."
"And how old are you?" the officer then asked the young man.
"I'm nineteen," he replied.
"And how old is she?" asked the officer.
The young man looked at his watch and said, "Well, in about twelve minutes she'll be eighteen."