just plain craig wrote:I really don't know what to call them but I'm talking about how the RR's used to water on the fly with a water canal down the middle of the track. My aunt insist that her brother invented how to do that and it was stolen by Pennsy. She said he called the RR company and 3-4 men came down and looked over his plans for hours and asked hundreds of questions. They left saying "they didn't think the idea would work" and a couple of years later they started doing exactly what he described. I believe this was back in the 30's or 40's and being a black man didn't have much chance of going up against the Pennsy since he had no real proof except the drawings.
sorry, but it sounds like you have come across a "family myth"..they happen a lot!
(I have started doing genealogy..you would be amazed ho much fiction there is in everyone's family history!
Considering its the year 2010, and the idea was patented in 1894, and the fact that your aunt is still alive..
unless your uncle was born about 50 years before his sister, sorry, but the math just doesnt work..
of course, it is possible your uncle came up with the idea independently in the 1930's..
but even if that is true, im sure the PRR knew all about the idea by then, and its unlikely they got the idea from your Uncle,
even if he did think of the idea 40 years after it had been invented by someone else..