Railroads and the Iron Horse are related to the real horse.
Does the statement, "We've always done it that way" ring any bells... read to the end... it was a new one for me
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.
Okay! 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.. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.
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 SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah.
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs 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.
The SRBs 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'
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.
..... and you thought being a HORSE'S ASS wasn't important!
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A whole lot of history? Or a big gimmick. Either way, got me all the way to the end! Seems to make sense though, lol. Weeeeird
That was very interesting. I'm sending it to my boss.
This response submitted by http://www.snopes.com/history/american/gauge.htm on 2/26/05 at 1:17 AM. ( ) 126.96.36.199
Let me tell you something about snopes.
Once incedent did in fact happen. I gave them the names of four witness.
They still denie it.
The mule killing the mt lion. I gave them the ladies name and her hunters name. They have never called her.
She has called them several times and they have slammed the phone down or refuse talk with her.
The Snope craphead says "IT is unconfirmed"
Well for those who dont know about a mule or horse being mean enough to take down a small cat. feature this they will kill a quite large bear.
People claim horses are prey animals, they are not!
Even one taxidermist that keeps large exotic cats has horses in the containment area around the cat cages.
Two horse of his did in fact kill a 600 pound male Bengal tiger.
Mules are about 5-7 times meaner than horses.
Now if you will take your computer snopes poster and do some research
using the railroad gauge and the chariot and even look at the asssss of a horse you will see that that information is pretty darn close.
But since you probably never walked across a railroad track in Europe and you will be suprised to find that tracks in the USA are the same width as tracks in Europe.
Except narrow gauge.
I have rail loaded many military tracks and wheeled vehicles on railheads in Germany and at Ft Riley KS, off loading in places you cant believe and by George, the tracks are the same width.
Now also knowing a bit about horses and looking up the specs on chariots, why do you think it is they happen to convert to the same measurments?
Maybe it just happened by accident, if so well it works.
If it happened by the stated cause it still works.
My bet is snope has not been around long enough to know what the width of any is personally.
Surely they and you are smart enough to do some research, oh wait you did. LMAO AT YOU!