It takes eight years to be a fully certified line tech, but just after two weeks into an apprenticeship these key terms are apparent. Of course, to the average person listening in, it may be as if they are speaking an entirely different language. There’s a reason they use some of the terms and that is because they are key abbreviations which speed restoration after an outage. All of these items are carried in all of OUC’s trucks and while most are universally known throughout the industry, we have a couple terms created by our long history and folklore. Here are some of our most common terms.
Chicken Catcher: This is a service hanger used to attach a smaller, secondary wire to a house. It is about 8 to 10 inches long.
Pig Ear: Also known as a Goat Head. This is used to attach a downed guy wire to a pole.
Pork Chop: This is a hoist on a wire, a temporary grip that grabs a wire.
Cigar or Pickle: An automatic wire sleeve. If a wire burns down, it helps put the wire back together.
Roscoe Stick: OUC calls it a Roscoe, other utilities call it a Pogo Stick. Decades ago an OUC trouble tech went out of town and saw one in action, Roscoe came back and told everyone and they loved it. The Roscoe is several feet long and can be used to change a fuse from the ground.
Wilkie Arm: This is a fiberglass T-bracket. Many decades ago, “Old Man Wilkie” worked in OUC’s machine shop and literally fabricated a way to hold a line on OUC’s large three-line (three-phase) poles.
Gut: You’ve seen these before. They are the orange protective line covers that go up when our crews are working.
Pig and String: A 3 to 4 foot section of rope used to tie things down.
Gaffs: The special hooks attached to boots line techs used to climb poles.
Wire Stretcher: There is no such thing, but a new apprentice does not know that. Often the “new guy” is told to go find the wire stretcher. They are often gone for a long time, before coming to terms with it.