George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Dec 1 22:09:43 UTC 2005

Do you get the impression I am cleaning out my notes?  I've only
gotten through the letter "G". too.

        5th.  Having arrived with the engine at its place of safe
keeping, after a long and exhausting exercise, to be informed that it
is your turn to do leader class duty, (which, by the bye, is not the
smallest part of the fireman's service) and that the engine must be
taken apart, in consequence of being gravelled, &c.
        New-York Reflector, October 28, 1826, p. 39, cols. 1-2

OED has 1 b. To smother or choke with gravel or sand; also with up:
lit. and fig. Obs. & c. To injure with grit or sand. Obs.).  It lacks
any instances after 1686 of either & lacks application to fire-
engines – I take this to have a literal meaning: the fire engine’s
workings are clogged by gravel that it has sucked up, and it needs to
be cleaned


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

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