These engineering and science tech-centric
jokes, song parodies, anecdotes and assorted humor have been collected from friends
and websites across the Internet. I check back occasionally for new fodder, but
it seems all the old content is reappearing all over (like this is). The humor is
light-hearted and clean and sometimes slightly assaultive to the easily-offended,
so you are forewarned. It is all workplace-safe.
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 the US railroads were built by English expatriates.
Why did the English people 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 use that odd
wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the
wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because
that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts.
So who built these
old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were
built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads
have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts,
which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons,
were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were
made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel
Thus, we have the answer to the original questions.
The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives
from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.
Specs and Bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are
handed a specification and wonder what horse's rear-end came up with
it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots
were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two
...from the Davar.net web site
Here's a counter
to that explanation, provided by RF Cafe visitor Bob P:
Truth Or Fiction