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High in transit

Some exciting Historical information you need to know about Shipping Manure.

I got this by mail.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship. It was also before commercial fertilizer’s invention, so large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas.

As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T," which came down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

Neither did I. I always thought it was a golf term!

Off topic, I scored a miserable 52% in the Geek-o-meter.

  1. Alas, too good to be true, of course.

    Posted by: Mike Gunderloy on February 4, 2003 11:05 AM
  2. A really good site for anything like this is:

    Posted by: Michael Kearns on February 6, 2003 03:55 AM
  3. Sorry, but that is a false origin; check it out at "Urban Legends". Nevertheless it is a great tale!

    Posted by: Tim Common on March 1, 2003 01:02 PM