Thursday, 2 May 2013
Spanking Machines: Comment and Reply
In response to my previous posting on spanking machines an anonymous contributor wrote “I can imagine the girls being made to gin cotton, or shuck corn… and if their bucket did not fill up to a satisfactory weight every 10 minutes or so the spanking machine would be triggered.” This set me to thinking… And the thing is it could have worked, and within a Victorian setting too!
Steam power distributed throughout the workroom or shed by a system of belts and pulleys from a distantly-mounted engine to run other machinery could also have been siphoned from to run the spanking devices. A simple mechanical linkage running from a metal hopper mounted in front of each girl could then have been put to use to trigger the spanking when necessary. And there wouldn’t even have been a need for any kind of potentially complicated timing device – not if the product of the girl’s sweat had been continually whisked away, flowing out from the base of the hopper beneath the work bench.
Simply put; if the girl’s work rate did not equal the rate of emptying or outflow of the hopper inset within the bench top, the resultant fall in weight of the material buffered within the hopper at any one time (preset by a weight balance mechanism) would have triggered the punishment, and a bell to sound. On the other hand, should the detainee girl’s work rate have exceeded the preset outflow rate by some preset margin at any one time then the corresponding build-up of material - again detected by weight – would have caused a ratcheted trap, flap or valve mounted at the hopper’s outflow point to open up further, thus automatically resetting the girl’s work quota for the day (a consequence again associated with a bell sounding, albeit of a different pitch). The number of the latter occurrences, noted by the overseer, could then have been used to estimate and modify the preset quota for the next day, and all those days following, from then on!
Now imagine that as a result of a single girl actually managing to exceed her (very demanding for most) quota by some preset amount all outflow rates of all hoppers were to be instantaneously increased in concert - i.e. that the hopper outflow-governing mechanisms were mechanically coupled together in some manner – so that all detainees would, from that point on, be obliged to work faster. Then ponder for a moment on how the identity of such an over-industrious lass might have been made known to all - including her hard-pressed compatriots - by the automatic, mechanised ringing of an overhead bell at her position. Whether driven by the misguided urge to gain favouritism with her supervisors, purely through the happenstance of having been gifted with particularly dextrous hands or through the sheer dread of the cane repeatedly slashing across her buttocks, driven by a series of cams mounted beneath her open-bottomed seat, doesn’t matter; just imagine the psychological effects on the girl concerned of having earned the ire of her fellow detainees... A deliciously teetering balance between two punitive extremes is thus established, a wearing and psychologically demanding tightrope which must be trod day after endless day! So imagine the consequences if our unwitting or unwilling captain of industry were also to be seen to be rewarded in some way, perhaps through receiving increased rations for a few days, a temporary alleviation of the usually monotonous dietary régime through the addition of a few tasty sweetmeats or other titbits or – god forbid – a temporary (and necessarily obvious) reduction in her own work quota at the expense of all those around her whose quotas will have been permanently raised as a result! It is through the application of such contradictory carrot-and-stick mechanisms such as this (and others) that the astute overseers and governors of the institution might, if they really knew what they were doing, set up a conflicting mindset within the individual – psychologically isolating each within her own little imprisoning shell - while simultaneously encouraging a culture of distrust within their cadre of detainees – “divide and conquer”.
Anyway, that’s what I think. How about you?
By the way; anyone seen the new-look website yet? It has been flagged up to me that the direct link from the posting was not working (thanks for that ‘The Non-Victorian Girl’! (who I sort of think of as looking a bit like ‘Abby’ out of the TV show, NCIS, for some reason!) Yup! Nested brackets, no less – strictly speaking, parentheses). Well, I don’t know what went wrong, but it’s fixed now!