Monday, February 18, 2008

Painting the Forth Bridge

Reuters UK
18 February 2008

Painting the Forth bridge -- end in sight

LONDON (Reuters) - For over 120 years the job of painting the colossal Forth railway bridge has famously been a never-ending task.

So much steel is involved in the 1.5-mile long rail bridge over the Firth of Forth that, the legend goes, by the time the painters finish, they need to start over again at the other end. [...]

BBC News [UK]
18 February 2008

Forth Bridge painting set to end

The process of painting the Forth Rail Bridge is finally set to end in four years' time, it has been announced.

The need for continuous maintenance of the structure has passed into folklore and led to the coining of a phrase for a never-ending job. [...]

The New Yorker, 7 Sept 1929, p. 17.


Notes and Comment

Investigation to determine the dreariest job in the world has brought to light the fact that the fence at Woodlawn Cemetery requires painting once a year -- that is, each paling must be covered with a coat once in every three hundred and sixty-five days. Two men are employed on the work, and as punctually as they complete the round, the year completes its round. Then they start over again. [...]