Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Where Is the Missing Gold?
Where Is the Missing Gold?
A gold inventory tally made sure gold-in matched gold-out. Why were gold orders going up when sales showed no increase?
Mysteries of Science
Dr. Gilleo
Mysteries of Science by Dr. Ken Gilleo
Dr. Gilleo is a chemist, inventor and general problem solver. Ken has been tracking industrial forensics and collecting case histories for decades. These cases are taken from the vast world of industry and commercial enterprise.

Check out Dr. Gilleo's eBook, 100 Mysteries Solved by Science. We hope you enjoy these case histories. You need not be an engineer or scientist to understand the problems and appreciate the solutions.
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Transcript
Rhode Island has been the jewelry manufacturing capital in the United States for decades. Factories in Rhode Island made everything from gold chains to ornate earrings.

A gold plate room consisted of workbenches and several large plastic tanks that held gold plating solution. Moveable racks were suspended over the tanks connected to power supplies.

A gold inventory tally was kept to make sure that "gold in" matched the "gold out". The tally simply kept track of the gold used.

There could be small errors in weighing since a tiny amount of gold was applied, but eventually things balanced out over time.

A purchasing agent noticed that gold orders were going up but sales had not shown an increase. After looking at the gold inventory records a small imbalance was found beginning three months prior.

The difference was so slight so as not to trigger any alarm. Why were gold orders going up even when sales had shown no increase?

The purchasing agent watched several women as they came through the security checkpoint. He also watched them rack parts and set the plating controls. Then it hit him. He knew what was wrong and how the missing gold was leaving the room.

The next day, he watched the workers go in, and checked back only once that day. His theory was confirmed.

Here's the rest of the story.

He noticed one operator was wearing tiny teardrop earrings as she entered and left the gold plating area, but did not wear the earrings while working. So where did she put the earrings while working?

Into the gold plating tank the slight growth of gold on her earrings during her shift was something guards would not notice.

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