Remember “The one-hoss shay,” an Oliver Wendell Holmes poem about an open carriage built by the deacon who used only the strongest, most hardened materials? Every component was exactly as strong as every other. That chaise wasn’t about to wear out, but everything in it would break down at once.
One hundred years to the day after it was completed, it collapsed into splinters:
“[I]t went to pieces all at once, –
All at once, and nothing first, –
Just as bubbles do when they burst.” Read More»