I’ve spent inordinate amount of time in my life in mechanics’ garages. Being a child of the 70s, I had the pleasure of playing in areas that certainly would decimate and kill today’s children if they so much as glanced in the general direction. I’ve torn a Triumph Spitfire 1500 down to nearly its chassis, replaced clutches, toyed inside transmissions, rebuilt carburetors, replaced water pumps and radiators, rebuilt master and slave cylinders, replaced manifolds and fuel filters and spark plugs and wires and points, turned heads, gasketed this and that, totally rewired two cars (the Triumph and a Ford Escort) from schematics, upholstered, chemically removed rust, bondo’d, primed, polished, replaced brake pads and discs and calipers, changed inner and outer tie rods, and boldly replaced the front axles on a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I left out some things like alternators, belts, lug nuts, and removing rusted parts. In all this, I came to know that a differential is that knotty thing sitting in the center of the back axle where the drive shaft connects.
We live our lives on assumptions and partial knowledge. To have breakfast, we only need to know how to make toast (insert bread, pull lever) not how the actual inside of the toaster works. Web developers may know that a certain DOCTYPE works for their needs without ever understanding what a doctype is. We flick a switch and lights come on but how many people truly understand where how electricity gets to their house? Personally, I have spent my life knowing what a differential was but thanks to a 1930 film I now understand how a differential works. I also know that I haven’t done nearly enough cool things with my motorcycle.
Thanks to Makezine for discovering the video!