You are not going to believe this, , , , but over 60% of the world’s Railroad Tracks are exactly 4 feet 8 ½ inches (1,435 metres) apart and this is based on the width of the backsides of two Ancient Roman Horses !!! , , , , Unbelievable?? Well then , read on and weep , , , , , ,
THE ROMANS INVADED ENGLAND IN 55 B.C.
When the Romans invaded England in 55 B.C. they crisscrossed England in their Chariots pulled by two horses, side by side. The distance between the wheels and the grooves they made, were exactly 4 feet 8 ½ inches. When they finally left, these grooves remained and English Coaches had to adjust to these or they skidded out of control. Thus they were set for all time.
THE FIRST STEAM VEHICLE
The first Steam Powered Road Vehicle appeared in 1801 A.D. This was Richard Trevithick’s “THE PUFFING DEVIL” (and of course it had to comply with the 4 feet 8 ½ inch wide tracks or skid out of control). There had to be a “Fireman” on board to keep the boiler going, and he was called by the French name “CHAU FEUR”. This name has stuck right up to the present day, as you already know.
THE FIRST INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE VEHICLE
In 1826 A.D. Samuel Brown followed suit with the first Internal Combustion Engine Road Vehicle that he drove up “Shooters Hill” in South East London. Subsequently, “The Locomotive Act for Self Propelled Vehicles on Public Roads of 1865” was proclaimed (where a man with a Red Flag had to lead the way !!). A Scientific Journal at that time also proved beyond any shadow of doubt that if the Human Body travelled at over 20 miles per hour, its head would drop off.
Running on Steel Tracks came much later, but by then, the distance between the wheels was well and truly entrenched at 4 feet 8 ½ inches. Remember too, that at that time, England had very strong world wide influence, hence this 4 feet thingy quickly spread to other countries.
ONLY A ’LEGEND’ ??
Some say that all this is only a “Legend” and that the distance between the wheels was set by Hand Carts. , , , But I don’t go along with this, as there would be no form of ‘Standardization’ throughout the country in those days (and there was no sophisticated communication like we have today). Also, Hand Carts would form only a very small percentage of all the road traffic users, and then not on the main roads anyway.
BUT OF COURSE, EINSTEIN WAS RESPONSIBLE !!!
But of course, , , , this exacting distance was arrived at by Einstein on his Laptop using a Microsoft Program !!!!!!
So there you have it! folks!!! , , , , , , You make your own choice.
I think I have got my dates and facts right, but these are readily verified from dozens of reference books or on the Internet. (but you just might have a little bit of difficulty trying to find out if Einstein was responsible !!!)