The Slide Rule of Our Security

Pastor Rod is on vacation this week, We hope you enjoy this article he wrote in 1996.

People in Ontario will tell you about L.L. Nunn—the man who built the great electrical plant in Niagra. But if you ask the old-timers in Telluride, Colorado, they'll tell you about how they got started: by bringing a dead gold mine back to life through sheer ingenuity and determination. They're also bound to tell you some of the legends of 'Nunn's Pinheads'-as they were called.

When L.L. Nunn drifted into Telluride (1881), a lot of the gold mines were going under. The gold was still there, of course--plenty of it. But now the mines were too costly to run. The problem was that the mines were all still powered by steam, and since they were located way above the timberline, the cost of packing huge quantities of coal thereby mule train was already astronomical: $2,500 a month. That was more than the gold was worth. To everyone's amazement, that's when Nunn started buying in! His first purchase was the abandoned Gold King mine located way up on the crest of the Rockies in a tiny ghost town called Ames. The first thing Nunn did was to scrap those old steam boilers and write a letter to George Westinghouse asking for help: "I want alternating current up here, can it be done?" he asked. Within a few months, one of Westinghouse's newest inventions-the AC genera-tor-was installed on the mountaintop and the mines were running for $500 a month. Nunn was making good profits.

When he failed to find any trained electrical engineers in the region, Nunn decided to create his own. He turned the tiny generator shack at Ames into an "Institute for Mining and Engineering", put a little library in it, and then invited some of the local boys who were too poor to go to college to come on up, run the machinery, and get some studying in.

The boys had to do all the work: cook meals, shovel snow, repair motors and, above all, keep that generator going through all kinds of emergencies. They were bright young men and in that re-gion-where booklearnin' was a rarity-they quickly became legendary. All the local folks referred to Nunn's scholars as 'Pinheads '-the word nerd hadn't been invented yet.

One of the greatest of the 'Pinhead' legends (who knows if they're true!) was the time, in September of 1909, when the telephone rang in the little shack at Ames and a frantic voice told the Pinhead who answered the phone to run for his life- "the dam at Trout Lake has just done broke and there 's a mess of water and timbers comin ' down the canyon, headin ' right fer ya!" But the Pinheads didn't run. They just sat down and thought a moment. "Hm! Trout Lake. Was there really that much water there?"

So they took out their slide rules, calculated the amount of water in the lake, and the dimensions of the canyon. Then they stepped outside, put a chalk mark on one of the fence posts to show where they thought the water would rise, and then just in case they were wrong!-climbed up on the roof of the shack to watch. 

Within minutes, tons of water and debris came roaring down the canyon but, sure enough, the waters subsided just three inches short of that mark on the fence post! The boys and the machinery were all safe.

Has it occurred to you lately how precious that Book is? And how blessed you are to be able to read and understand it? That's your slide rule you know! When everything around you spells danger and despair, you can take our that Book and check it again: promises that tell you there's no need to run; no need to panic. You're safe. You're okay. Promises like: 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. ' (Heb. 13:6); or 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. "(Heb. 13:5), and finally, one, even the 'Pinheads" would have liked: 'When you pass through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. ' 

(Is. 43:2)

                        See you soon.  RAS

*If you don't have a Bible, come talk to us, we would love to give you one.


Kaweah's Broken Dream
Courtney's Pharmacy