As you walk around your city, you may notice that manhole covers are round. This shape is actually very practical for a few reasons. First, it’s easier to fit a cover on a round opening than it is on an oblong one. Second, the round cover can deflect rain and other debris away from the opening and protect the underground system below from damage. And finally, round manhole covers are less likely to snag on obstacles as you try to climb down or pull up the cover.
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The History of Manhole Covers
Manhole covers are essentially round pieces of metal that fit over the top of a manhole opening to protect people and equipment from rain, snow, and debris. The first manhole covers were fashioned out of iron plates that were nailed or screwed to the sides of a manhole opening. As cities became more populated and streets became wider, this method proved ineffective because objects could easily fall into the manholes and injure people or damage equipment. In 1876, a Philadelphia inventor by the name of Charles F. Brush designed and patented the first manhole cover with a lip that prevented objects from falling into the hole. The patent was not commercially successful, however, and Brush abandoned his invention. It was not until 1907 that another Philadelphia inventor by the name of Harvey S. Firestone patented a design for a manhole cover that used spiral springs to open and close. This design became widely popular and is still in use today.
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Theories About Why Manhole Covers Are Round
There are many theories about why manhole covers are round. One theory suggests that the round shape is more efficient and easier to use in the manufacturing process. Another theory suggests that the round shape is more aesthetically pleasing and easier to remember. Still another theory suggests that the round shape is more resistant to vandalism.
What the Round Manhole Cover Actually Is
Can manhole covers be square?
No, manhole covers cannot be square. They are round because they are easiest to fit into the circular hole in the ground.
Could manhole covers be any shape other than round?
Could manhole covers be made of any material other than metal?
What purpose do manhole covers serve?
What shape Cannot fall through itself?
There are many shapes that cannot fall through themselves, including manhole covers. This is because the cover would have to be cut in half, or else it would just spin around and around until it falls through the hole.
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Whenever you see a manhole cover that is round rather than the traditional rectangular shape, it likely means that the cover is made from rubber. Round covers are much more durable than their rectangular counterparts and can last considerably longer before they need to be replaced.