As you can see history repeat itself not only in our daily lives but in the construction of old and new elements: Railroad tracks… ( I have seen this before, but it is still funny, true facts, and thought awakening ! And, every man should know this ! )
What other measurements do we have, a pint, an inch, a chain, a link of anchorchain is 90 ‘, carat ?, a bucket, a dozen, fathom, shackle, cable, nautical mile, span, cubit, yard, ell, bolt, megalithic yard, line, pica, point, thou, barley, poppy seed, and many many more !
|foot||30.48 cm||12 inches = 1 foot||see above|
|hand||10.16 cm||4 inches = 1 hand
3 hands = 1 foot
|Hands are used to measure horses. You measure from the ground to the withers of the horse (its shoulder) since it won’t keep its head still. 3 hands is 1 foot (which sounds slightly odd).|
|palm||11.43 cm||3 inches = 1 palm
4 palms = 1 foot
|A palm was 3 inches. A hand is an inch bigger. Possibly the idea was that a hand was the width of the hand including the thumb, and a palm was the width excluding the thumb.|
|nail||5.72 cm||16 nails = 1 yard||A nail was 2 and a quarter inches. It was a cloth measure. Thinking about it, this can’t be a human nail as it’s too large. It must be a small metal nail.|
|finger||11.43 cm||8 fingers = 1 yard||A finger was 4 and a half inches. Another cloth measure.|
|Well-known units – inch, foot, yard, mile|
|Land measurement – furlong, chain, link, rod, pole, perch, Ramsden’s chain|
|Nautical units – fathom, shackle, cable, nautical mile|
|The human body – foot, hand, palm, nail, finger|
|Old units – span, cubit, ell, bolt, cloth-yard, league, megalithic yard|
|Small units – line, thou, barleycorn, poppy seed|
Gunter’s measurement, sometimes Surveyor’s measurement, is a geodetic system, formerly popular in Britain and its (former) colonies. It was developed in the 17th century by Edmund Gunter and is still in use today in the United States of America.
The link (usually abbreviated as “l.”, “li.” or “lnk.”), also called a Gunter’s link, is a unit of length in the imperial system. The unit was based on Gunter’s measurement where a metal chain consisting of 100 links was used in surveying real property. In the English-speaking world prior to the 20th century, links were commonly used for this function but are rarely used now.
Gunter used an actual measuring chain of 100 links. These, the chain and the link, have become units of their own.
|20.11680 m||2,011.680 cm|
|US customary / Imperial units|
|22.00000 yd||66.00000 ft|
The Gunter’s chain is equal to 4 rods, 22 yards, 66 feet, 1⁄80 of a mile or 20.1168 metres. The rectangular area with edges of one chain and one furlong (10 chains) respectively (ten square chains) is one acre, therefore the chain is sometimes called an acre-breadth.
The length of a cricket pitch is based on this dimensions
In some places other lengths have been used, for example 8.928 inches (ca. 0.227 m) in Scotland and 10.08 inches (ca. 0.256 m) in Ireland.Gunter’s link is 1 chain/100. Thus it is exactly 7.92 inches or 201.168 mm. A square link is exactly one hundred-thousandth of an acre and one ten-thousandth of one square chain or 0.0404685642 m². It is about 62¾ square inches.
Chain is usually abbreviated as ‘ch.’, whereas link becomes either ‘l.’, ‘li.’ or ‘lnk.’.
An American, similar system of about the same age but lesser popularity is Ramden’s or the engineer’s system, where the chain consists also of 100 links, each one foot (0.3048 m) long. The even less common Rathborn system, also from the 17th century, is based on a chain of two rods (33 feet, 10.0584 m) length, which consists of 100 links, too (1.98 inches, 50.292 mm each), which are called seconds (″), ten of which make a prime (′, 19.8 inches, 0.503 m).
Back to the Railroad Tracks.
The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Narrow gauge. A narrow gauge railway (or narrow gauge railroad) is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between 2 ft (610 mm) and 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm).
Images of Narrow Gauge
Although most railways of central and eastern Canada were initially built to a 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge, there were several, especially on Canada’s Atlantic coast, which were built as individual narrow gauge lines.
The largest systems in the country were the 3 ft 6 in (1,070 mm) (Cape or Colonial Gauge) lines such as: the Newfoundland Railway and others on the island of Newfoundland (969 mi (1,559 km)); Ontario’s Toronto and Nipissing Railway and Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway(304 mi (489 km)); the Prince Edward Island Railway (280 mi (450 km)); and the New Brunswick Railway (189 mi (304 km)) in the Saint John River valley of New Brunswick.
Standard gauge was favored for railway construction in the United States, although a fairly large narrow gauge system developed in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Isolated narrow gauge lines were built in many areas to minimize construction costs for industrial transport or resort access, and some of these lines offered common carrier service. Isolated lines evolved into regional narrow gauge systems in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Hawaii, andAlaska.
|Break-of-gauge – Dual gauge|
|Gauge conversion (list) – Bogie exchange – Variable gauge|
|Rail track – Tramway track|
Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England , and English expatriates designed the U.S. 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 had 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 (including England ) for their legions. Those 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. In other words, bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’, you may be exactly right.
Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
Now, the twist to the story:
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that 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 in Utah.
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, 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, and 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’ 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.
And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important!
Now you know, Horses’ Asses control almost everything…
Explains a whole lot of stuff, doesn’t it?