The chief architect for a large federal project determined that 15,000 new doors would be required, and of course also 15,000 pairs of hinges. For once, the shipment was expedited. However, someone in Washington, desirous of avoiding waste, reduced the door order to 12,000. Someone else, somehow concluding more hinges would be needed, increased that part of the order. Then—somehow—the hinge order was multiplied. The contractor received 12,000 doors and 240,000 pairs of hinges! That tale comes from a dependable…
The panic of 1905 took the Panama Canal project to the brink of failure. Although more people died of malaria, pneumonia, and dysentery than of yellow fever, it was the sudden onset and violence of “Yellow Jack” that sent three quarters of American workers on the next ship home.
“If there is any one man whose work is above criticism, it is Col. W. C. Gorgas.”
The failure of the French to complete the Panama Canal can’t be understood apart from the French triumph of the Suez Canal.