Is there a spanish-speaking engineer in the house?
February 21, 2011 3:28 PM   Subscribe

A question about (I'm assuming) Cuban engineering/hydropower slang.

This is in a Cuban documentary about an engineer-mechanic. While talking about a 6 kilowatt mini-hydroelectric generator which he built and maintained, he calls something, which I assume is a part or accessory of the generator, an "iron ball" (pelota de hierro).

The item is 1) very heavy ("es muy pesado, tonelada y pico,") and 2) he was able to roll it to the installation site on the riverbank with a spud or digging bar ("con una barreta así empujándola, rodándola, al estilo egipcio, de las pirámides), that is, "egyptian style, like pyramids were built." There may have been more than one of these items in the installation.

What is it? The literal translation leaves me stumped. I have some guesses (a rotor or flywheel), but I'd like some solid evidence, an example of this term in another context, etc.
posted by pullayup to Writing & Language (1 answer total)
Could "pelota" be a corruption of "Pelton wheel/turbine"? If you pronounce "Pelton" with a Caribbean Spanish accent, you get something pretty similar to "pelota".
posted by drlith at 4:01 PM on February 21, 2011

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