The Tree House loves TreeStuff!

Interesting wheel width history

  • Thread starter Frans
  • Start date
  • Replies 5
  • Views 729
F

Frans

Guest
AN INTERESTING HISTORY LESSON.

Railroad tracks.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the
rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an
exceedingly odd
number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way
they
built them in England, and English expatriates built
the US
railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because
the
first rail lines were built by the same people who
built
the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge
they
used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then? Because
the
people who built the tramways used the same jigs and
tools
that they used for building wagons, which used that
wheel
spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel
spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing,
the
wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long
distance
roads in England , because that's the spacing of
the
wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome
built
the first long distance roads in Europe (and England )
for
their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed
the
initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for
fear of
destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were
made
for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter
of
wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard
railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from
the
original specifications for an Imperial Roman war
chariot.
Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a
Specification/Procedure/Process and wonder 'What
horse's ass came up with it?' you may be
exactly
right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just
wide
enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
(Two
horses' asses.) Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch
pad,
there are two big booster rockets attached to the
sides of
the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters,
or
SRB's. The SRB's are made by Thiokol at their
factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the
SRB's
would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but
the
SRB's had to be shipped by train from the factory
to
the launch site. The railroad line from the factory
happens
to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the
SRB's
had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly
wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track,
as
you now know, is about as wide as two horses'
behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is
arguably the world's most advanced transportation
system was determined over two thousand years ago by
the
width of a horse's ass.
 
M

Mr. Sir

Guest
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
haha, I LOVE trivia like that! :D
 
The Tree House Loves TreeStuff!
Top