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Past Transportation

Land Transportation

Domestication of animals was the first type of transportation. Oxen and horses were harnessed to vehicles by neck straps, which usually choked them when they had to pull very heavy loads. Around 500 AD, somone made a collar that was padded that was put ont he animals shoulders. This increased the amount of weight the animals could pull. In 200 BC, horse stirrups were used in Asia and India which allowed riders to better maneuver their horse. Around 700 AD, horse shoes were made to guard the hooves of a horse. In 200 AD, saddles were used in Europe.

The first major idea in transportation with wheels was the spoked wheel. This caused vehicles to be faster and more able to maneuver. Around 2000 BC, the use of copper nails sticking out of a wheel provided better traction. In 700 BC, iron rims were put on the edges of wheels which increased the strength and durability of the wells. Another way to increase weight but have better speed is to use multiple animals. This idea began in 100 BC.

When the wheel was put on carts and wagons, it was the first idea to create roads that could last after repeated use. In Rome, India, Persia, and China slaves built roads out of brick or stone. During the Middle Ages, the roads were not repaired as they used to be. In the 18th century, during the Industrial Revolution, people in Europe began to need additional roads and new ways to construct them. John McAdam founded a new way to build roads. He used small stones in a soil foundation, and called it macadam. This new type of road construction made road building simply and enabled new roads to be built.

Water Transportation

Sails and Oars show two early jumps in water travel. These devices increased the ships speed. Oars allowed ships to be rowed against the current, and to be able to move in winds that did not go where the sailors wanted to go. Sails allowed ships to gather energy of wind travel for long distances. The lateen sail is a triangular shaped sail that can convert side winds into a force to go forward. This was one of the most important discoveries. This important sail could also allow ships to sail against the wind. This was major sail technology that was used by people on the sea in ancient times. Another device that allowed control over the ship was a stern rudder. This replaced oars in the 700s AD in China.

Great advances in navigation were made that allowed ships to go out on the sea and return safely. Before the 100s BC, ships stayed close to the shore because they were afraid of being lost at sea. Then primitive astrolabes developed to help determine the latitude. An astrolabe is a small instrument that is used to observe and calculate the position of celestial bodies. This let the seafarers determine their position at sea. In 1757 the sextant was invented. The sextant is an instrument used to measure angular distances. In the 12th century, the compass was now being used for navigation. In the early 1400s mapmaking grew. This allowed explorers to find their way by using landmarks.

The invention of the canal lock was the most important development for water transportation. It connects canals built at different elevations. In 984, the Chinese built a simple canal lock. The most use of locks is found in Holland where they were in use by 1373. In the late 1400s, Italian engineers invented the pound. This allowed ships to enter an end of a canal, and then water was removed or added to leave at the other end at a different water elevation.

Steam and Internal-Combustion Engines

In the 8th century, the steam engine was developed. This revolutionized transportation on sea and land. Steamboats were made with large paddle wheels that had the ability to move against the current. It was not until iron-hulled ships and efficient screw propellers were created in the late 1800s did steam-powered ships dominate trade routes around the globe.The ships design was made to carry specific types of cargo. Examples of this are freighters carried general cargo, while tankers were made to carry liquids.

When the steam engine was applied to railroads, it increased the freight and passenger carrying capacity of a nation's transportation system. Early railway tracks were made out of long wooden rails, and had iron straps fastened to the top. This soon became obsolete because it could not carry heavy vehicles. It was later replaced by a T-shoped iron rail in the mid-1830s that is still used today. The standard gauge provided rail service from one place to another.

A major technological advance in the rail transportation was the creation of the diesel locomotive. The disel locomotive was: fuel efficient, required less maintenance, reduced the amount of soot and pollution in cities, and it was quicker to start. The diesel locomotive was first used in 1925, then was used regularly in the United States by the late 1950s.

The internal-combustion engine had a greater affect to the history of transportation. In the early 20th century, it was used to power automobiles. This invention had forever changed the way people moved from place t place. Before it became a common method of transportation, several ideas were needed because eary automobiles were less than convenient. Improvements like the: automatic starter, pneumatic tires, improved suspension, safety plate glass, automatic transmission, and hydraulic breaks made cars more from place to place. Several innovations in the motor vehicle itself were necessary before it became the common method of transportation used today, as early automobiles were less than convenient. Gradual improvements such as the automatic starter, safety plate glass, pneumatic tires, hydraulic brakes, improved suspension, and automatic transmission each made the motor car more fascinating to the consumer. In 1913, Henry Ford's large assembly-line increased production. This caused the automobile to be a personal transportation that millions of people could afford. New production methods revolutionized manufacturing around the globe.

With the internal-combustion engine, people now could attempt air travel. The reason they could not try it with early steam engines were that they were too heavy for air travel. In 1903 the first aiplane that the famous Wright brothers flew had agasoline engine.The development of the jet engine allowed greater distances and speeds, which made it possible to fly around the world within a day.

Picture of John McAdam Picture of Sextants

Ford Roadster Ford Speedster


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