Once, while working on a tug boat, the marine engineer asked me to help carry a heavy, greasy, irregularly-shaped chunk of machinery. I assumed we would both just grab hold and struggle away. But the engineer, being of Filipino descent, knew a better way. Wisely, he found a 2-by-4 and lashed its middle to the machinery. Then we each took hold of an end of the 2-by-4. That made our task much easier, and kept us clean.
Other than the awkward phrase “two-person carrying pole,” I can’t find an English word for this method. And note that I’m not talking here about the related milkmaid’s yoke or “shoulder pole,” a method for one person to carry two objects such as buckets. Other than hunters, the two-person carrying pole seems to have fallen out of fashion. Except in Asia. Here’s a video of two people using a pole to carry a television down a staircase in China:
I decided to do a quick test of the concept. Since the only access to our house is up 30 steps, I can’t believe that I didn’t know about this technique earlier. With just a closet rod, a hook and a strap I put together a simple carrying pole in just minutes. Here’s Kelly and I using it to carry a bundle of firewood up our stairs:
It worked amazingly well. I noticed that you do not need to put the pole on your shoulder but, with small objects at least, you can carry the pole at waist level. Some other possible improvements:
- Use webbing or sew together a set of adjustable straps to use for irregularly shaped objects.
- Pad and/or contour the pole so it’s more comfortable on your shoulders.
- Make a kind of carrying platform or box to put multiple smaller objects in like a set of grocery bags.
- Use two poles and four people for really heavy objects.
I have a utility dolly for really big things like refrigerators but I think the carrying pole would work much better for most other objects.
The carrying pole can be used to carry people, a use for which there is a word in English: “litter.” Here’s a carrying pole being used in Guatemala to carry an injured man to the hospital:
I’m hoping that the litter version of the carrying poll will become Kelly’s new way of getting around the neighborhood during the hot summer months:
In all seriousness, I would like to figure out a way to get relatives up our steps. That means you can look forward to some litter (not cat litter!) experiments on this blog.