A Horse’s Ass IS Important

Why is the U.S. Standard Railroad Gauge 4 feet, 8.5 inches?


Does the statement, “We’ve always done it that way” ring any bells? The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an odd number, don’t you think? Why was that gauge used?

- Because that’s the way they built railroads in England, and English expatriates built 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 used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Then 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 U.S. 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 war 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 (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. 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...


QuotaBills
I should like to be a horse. - Queen Elizabeth II

Horse ovaries (hors d'oeuvres) - Archie Bunker

Use a little of your horse's sense. - Archie Bunker

Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse. - Groucho Marx

Lend a horse, and you may have back his skin. - English Proverb

A unicorn is just a horse with a point of view. - Ron Sexsmith

Care, and not fine stables, makes a good horse. - Danish Proverb

The speed of a runaway horse counts for nothing. - Jean Cocteau

Marry me and I'll never look at another horse! - Groucho Marx

Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse. - Groucho Marx

I had the best buffalo horse that ever made a track. - Buffalo Bill

This is really a lovely horse. I once rode her mother. - Ted Walsh

You don't have to have been a horse to be a jockey. - Arigo Saachi

A rabbit's foot is a poor substitute for horse sense. - Unknown

Horse Manure: 50p per pre-packed bag. 20p - do it your self. - Unknown

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him float. - Unknown

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. - English Proverb

The only thing worse than beating a dead horse is betting on one. - Relient K

Don't worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon. - John Madden

All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song. - Louis Armstrong

It's too late to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. - French Proverb

When rats infest the palace, a lame cat is better than the swiftest horse. - Chinese Proverb

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. - WC Fields

A horse doesn't care how much you know until it knows how much you care. - Tom Smith

You can lead a horse to water but I'd rather ride it to the liquor store. - Wayne Nowazek

It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse. - Adlai Stevenson

In fifty years, he never worked a day. To him, nine to five was odds on a horse. - Archie Bunker

Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on. - Robert Frost

To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse - German. - Emperor Charles V

You've got to concentrate on one idea. You can't ride a horse with two asses. - Joe Segal

Half of the failures in life come from pulling one’s horse when he is leaping. - Thomas Hood

The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse. - Jacqueline Kennedy

I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse. - Woody Allen

An Irishman after trying American beer for the first time: "Put it back in the horse!" - Unknown

A definite purpose, like blinders on a horse, inevitably narrows its possessor's point of view. - Robert Frost

When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' - Elon Musk

Democracy is very different in U.S. and A. from Kazakhstan. In America, woman can vote, but horse cannot! - Borat Sagdiyev

Like the old adverb, "you can lead a gift horse to the water but ya can't look in his mouth." - Archie Bunker

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success. - Dale Carnegie

A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still. - Samuel Johnson


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11-Dec-2017