The Width of Two Horses

Discussion in 'The Pump House Saloon' started by graehaven, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. graehaven

    graehaven Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,955
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    The Width of Two Horses



    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 designed 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 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. Bureaucracies live forever.

    So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/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.

    (Two horse's 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 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 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, 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? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything...and CURRENT Horses Asses in Washington DC are controlling everything else.
  2. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,429
    Location:
    Indiana
    :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

    That's some information worth sharing!
  3. 199er

    199er New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Messages:
    627
    Location:
    Columbia SC
    Thanks for sharing.......good information to be aware of before November 2nd !!!!
  4. tcox4freedom

    tcox4freedom Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,362
    Location:
    South Carolina USA
    That's one of the coolest bits of trivia I've ever heard.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Pump House Saloon Catholic Horses Sep 24, 2013
The Pump House Saloon A woman named "Five Horses". Jun 18, 2012
The Pump House Saloon 'Five Horses' Jul 12, 2011
The Pump House Saloon Catholic Horses Jan 19, 2008
The Pump House Saloon Playing the horses Apr 12, 2004

Share This Page