In our fast paced high tech world of today, people tend to think things are constantly changing. I would agree with that statement, but I can think of at least one exception.
A while back someone was looking at some railroad tracks and was told , those tracks are standard gauge. This person then inquired, what do you mean , standard gauge ? Well they are 4 foot 8 1/2″ apart, that’s standard gauge, came the reply. That’s rather a strange measurement, why is that ? Well that is what all large railroads of today follow. Well why do they do that , asked this person ?
These large railroads of today, followed the gauge that the early railroads of the eastern U.S. used in the beginning of railroading, in the early 1800’s. The next obvious question is where did these early railroads pattern their gauge off of ?
The answer to that question is , early railroad equipment was purchased from England, and that was what gauge they used when built there.
Well then, why did the English use such an odd measurement to space the wheels on the equipment they were building ?
That answer is simply , they copied the space that the carts and wagons of the day they were using. But that answer is even explained further by asking one last question. Why?
Because if the wheels on a wagon or cart, were spaced 4′ 8 1/2″ apart they would follow the ruts in the roads all over the countryside. Those ruts, were made by Roman chariots centuries earlier.
So if you think things change all the time, think again. The next time you cross a railroad track, look at the two rails, and remember, you are looking at the tracks of Roman chariots from centuries ago !!