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
Mayor: A he-horse - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Trojan Horse: A phony pony - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Installment: Putting a horse in his stall - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse. - Christopher Morley

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

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

Centaur: A man with a horse where his pants ought to be - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Absent-Mindedness: Searching for the horse you are riding - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Life is like a horse - either you ride it or it rides you. - Unknown

Horsepower: A power which has put the horse out of business - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

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

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong. - 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

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

The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never. - Yiddish Proverb

You can not lead a battle if you think you look silly on a horse. - Napoleon Bonaparte

Riding: The art of keeping a horse between yourself and the ground - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

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

Unicorn: 1. A single blemish on the foot; 2. A horse with a point of view. - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Dude Ranch: Where a guy who is rich enough to drive a Cadillac rides a horse - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

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

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

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

A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character. - Tesio

One of the worst things that can happen in life is to win a bet on a horse at an early age. - Danny McGoorty

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

Thank you, horseradish, for being neither a radish nor a horse. What you are is a liar food. - Jimmy Fallon

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

Good Secretary: A stenographer who must think like a man, act like a lady, and work like a horse - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

It is not best that we should all think alike; it is differences of opinion that make horse races. - Mark Twain

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

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

Do you ever get halfway through eating a horse and go, 'You know, I'm not as hungry as I thought I was'? - Tim Vinel

Hypothesis: 1. First thing a Redneck teenager says to his father on the phone; 2. Hippo, horse; thesis, placing: putting something on a horse. - Daffynitions joe-ks.com


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26-Jun-2022