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Joined: March 19, 2003  (email not validated)
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For steam-powered machines that ran at varying speeds, it was clearly not practical to control the speed of operation by producing varying amounts of steam. Instead mechanisms were incorporated that regulated the amount of steam that actually drove the machine. An integral part of such a regulator is the rocker, hence if a machine was 'off its rocker' it meant its regulator was shot and the machine was out of control.

JB March 19, 2003, 5:16am

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