The Cost Analysis Story
Written 09/2012 and rewritten 03/07/2016
This story was told to me by my good friend Barney Kaplan, Barney was in the automotive electrical parts business in Detroit Michigan. Barney passed away at 96 years old in 2015.
Barney said this was a true story that happened when he was located on Wabash Avenue in Detroit.
To make the story more understandable, I must explain what an automobile generator armature is.
The armature is the rotating part inside a cars generator, it is wound copper wire with a steel core, and it burns out quite often, needing replacement.
Back in 1973 Barney Kaplan was a supplier of good clean used armatures, he would buy used generators from junk yards, remove the armatures, clean and test them, and put them on the shelf for sale. Barney Kaplan was well known in the automotive electrical business, as having good reconditioned
armatures in stock.
One day a salesman that knew Barney, stopped by to see him. As they were talking a customer came in looking for a 12 volt armature for a generator that he was repairing.
Barney went into his shop with the customer and salesman in tow. He walked over to a shelf and removed an armature. He then took it to a bench where he put it on a machine called a growler that tests for shorted coils, satisfied he took two probes attached to a light bulb and tested to be sure the
Copper wire in the armature wasn’t shorted to the steel core, satisfied, Barney hesitated a moment, then he put the armature in a lathe on the bench. As the lathe turned the armature, Barney gently tapped the armature with a plastic headed hammer, he did it for about a minute.
Barney removed the armature from the lathe and handed it to the customer requesting $8.95.
The customer paid Barney and left.
The sales man said to Barney, “I understand what the growler test was for, and I understand what the light bulb test was for, but what the heck was the tapping of the armature with the plastic hammer for.
Barney said, “It was for nothing, but it gave me time to think about what to charge the customer”.