St. Patrick Was an Engineer Clarification

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone – hope you are enjoying the day.  In response to our post last week, KHT received the following clarification from our friend Todd Courtney, President of Crown Composites Tooling LLC in Twinsburg Ohio.
– Steve

While I generally enjoy your emails, I have a couple of things on which to comment.

First of all, if 1 in 161 Americans is named Patrick, that would be about 2 million Patricks (approximately 320 million people in U.S.). You’ve got the number right, but the relationship between that and Ireland’s population is wrong.

Second, many people don’t know that St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers like me.

It seems that this fact was discovered in 1903 by a group of spring-fever infected University of Missouri engineering students. Their chain of logic is thus:
1. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
2. Legend states that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland.
3. A snake is nothing but a big worm.
4. Therefore, St. Patrick invented the worm drive.
5. Nobody knows more about worm drives than engineers.
6. Therefore, St. Patrick was an engineer.

Interestingly, this fact is still recognized and celebrated by engineering schools across the United States. At Mizzou, it takes the form of roughly a week of activities, parties, ceremonies and outreach programs involving the university community, local community and high school students around the state. Check it out sometime.

(For an “official” version of the origins, minus the worm drive story, visit

Green hats off to all our engineering pals out there – “Top of the mornin’ to ya – and the rest of the day to yourselves”




clover art 768 blog

Happy St. Patty’s Day (a Bit Early) from O’Kowalski

Next week we’ll all be wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage and celebrating with green beer, parades and fun. In KHT fashion, here’s some trivia to get you ready for the day – be safe and enjoy!

Erin go Bragh – translates to “Ireland forever.”

The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland – It was in Boston in 1737. And the largest parade in the United States, held since 1762, is in New York City, and draws more than one million spectators each year, joining over 100 cities who hold parades.

Chicago celebrates the day by dying their river green – Green is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day because it is the color of spring, of Ireland, and of the shamrock – even thought St Patrick is associated with blue. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. Green was associated with Ireland, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside.

There are about 34 million U.S. residents who are of Irish ancestry – that number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself.

1 in 161 Americans is named Patrick – two million more people than the population of Ireland. And 19 Presidents of the US proudly claim Irish heritage — including our first President, George Washington.

St. Patrick is a hero in Ireland – there are about 60 churches and cathedrals named for him in Ireland alone. One of the most famous cathedrals is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. These grounds bear the mark of the place where St. Patrick baptized his converts.

St. Patrick is actually not Irish – He wasn’t born in Ireland. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

The Guinness Book of World Records – was created by Hugh Beaver, a managing director of the Guinness Brewery to help settle arguments and bets made inside bars over random trivia.

St. Patrick was a slave – At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape and made his way to a monastery in England.

St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity – Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same.

Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland – According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, “toads,” out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term “snakes” may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians.

The Shamrock (or Leprechaun) is not the symbol of Ireland – These are popular Irish symbols, but not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts.

St. Patrick’s was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970 – Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick’s Day is drinking. Irish law had declared St. Patrick’s Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. Overturned in 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was reclassified as a national holiday – allowing the taps to flow freely once again.

Bonus Fact: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000.

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