Do not drive over the speed limit while reading these speedometer facts.

  • ‘Speedometers’ are also known as ‘speed meters’ and historically, ‘velocimeters’, that were typically made from metal alloy materials, but are now partly or mostly made from plastics.
  • Speedometers are devices which measure the speed of a vehicle that travels on land, and most automobiles have been equipped with one since 1910.
  • In 1888, Josip Belušić, an inventor from Europe’s Croatia, invented the first electric speedometer.
  • On 7 October, 1902, eddy current speedometers were first patented by Otto Schulze, a German inventor, and these magnetically driven instruments have been the most popular speed measuring instruments in the last hundred years.
  • The ‘visible’ part of the speedometer has a moving needle surrounded by spokes and numbers, and the location of the needle on the device indicates the speed.

Speedometer, White, km/h, electric, 20 to 220, Ten Random Facts, Car

  • Eddy current speedometers have a cable that is connected to gears, usually in the transmission, that connects to a magnet which affects the needle on the instrument, that indicates the vehicle’s speed.
  • The type of speedometers in new use today are commonly electronic, invented in the 1980s and 1990s, involving sensors and electromagnetic pulses that are read by a computer.
  • Inaccuracy of speedometers most commonly occur due to faults, and differences in tyre diameters, with very minor errors occurring for reasons such as temperature.
  • Some speedometers use the Global Positioning System, or GPS, to calculate speeds, with accuracy depending on the accuracy of the GPS.
  • Leonardo da Vinci designed concepts of a speedometer type of instrument, and ancient civilisations had crude ways of measuring speed and distance.
Kretschmann, Speedometer, 2014, How Products are Made, http://www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Speedometer.html
Speedometer, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedometer
Vintage Speedometers, 2013, Rare Car Relics, http://www.rarecarrelics.com/vintage_speedometers.php


Parade Float

Have you seen a float in a parade?

  • Floats are mobile platforms or vehicles, rigged to move at a slow pace, which are decorated for entertainment, and often advertisement purposes, in parades.
  • Floats, in this case horse-powered wagons, were being used in the 1300 to 1400s to feature biblical plays.
  • It is believed that the term ‘float’ came about due to barges being decorated for the Lord Mayor’s Show, an annual event originally held on the River Thames, London, that was being held as early as the 1500s.
  • The largest float ever was in a 2012 parade, and was 35 metres (116 feet) in length, featuring dogs surfing in a 24 metre (80 feet) sea of water.
  • Using floats for advertising purposes became popular in the 1930s.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Youth Connect, Float Boat, Parade, Flowers, Peter Pan, Ten Random Facts

  • Floats often have fabric draped over the side of the platform, to conceal the mobility devices.
  • Floats are commonly decorated with floral items or theme-related items, and often have people on the platform.
  • Floats generally are included in event parades, commonly abiding a theme.
  • Professional floats can cost a large amount of money to produce, which can be as high as $50,000 to $200,000.
  • Floats are often built in a large workshop, and depending on the features, can take a year to create.
Cavette C, Parade Float, 1999, Encylopedia.com, <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2896800085.html>
Float (Parade), 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Float_(parade)>



Ring, ring, goes the bell on the bicycle.

  • Bicycles are also known as ‘bikes’, ‘pushbikes’, ‘pedal bikes’, ‘pedal cycles’ and ‘cycles’.
  • Bicycles are vehicles that are pedal powered and typically have a frame, two wheels, two pedals and a chain that connects to the pedals and the wheels.
  • Bicycles are used for transportation, mail delivery, leisure and entertainment and have many other uses as well as advantages, which include convenience, less traffic congestion, and health and economical benefits, with some cities having street bicycle rental stations to encourage tourists and commuters to use less polluting and congesting forms of transport.
  • Bicycles have changed the way we live, giving increased mobility to generations of people, which has helped reduce poverty in some areas, given increased freedom to women in the late 1800s and impacted on the way they dressed, and is an incredibly efficient means of transport, with an estimated one billion bicycles worldwide, half of them in China, and twice as many bicycles than cars in the world.
  • It is believed that the earliest two wheeled human powered vehicle was invented by the German Baron Karl Drais von in 1817, which was known as a ‘Laufmaschine’ (running machine) and also called a ‘dandy horse’ or ‘hobby horse’ and it wasn’t until the 1860s that pedals were added to the bicycle design although who did it first is debated, and there are also unreliable reports of earlier instances of pedals.

Bicycle, black, blue, pink, white, girl, boy, two, double, chain, parts, full, row, Ten Random Facts, Australia

  • Laufmaschines (early bicycles) became known as ‘velocipedes’, meaning ‘fast foot’ in Latin, while the name ‘bicycle’ wasn’t used until the 1870s for the high wheel bicycle, also known as a ‘penny-farthing’.
  • When a cyclist rides a bicycle at 16 to 24 km/h (10 to 15 mph), they use only as much energy as when walking.
  • The fastest unpaced speed record on a bicycle on a flat surface is 133 km/hour (83 miles/hour), a record gained in 2009 by Sam Whittingham, a Canadian.
  • In recent years, 130 million bicycles are sold annually, and China makes two thirds of the world’s bicycles, even though the percentage of Chinese commuters riding bicycles has significantly decreased since 1998.
  • In some countries is illegal to not wear helmets and/or be equipped with bells and/or lights, as a safety precaution for the cyclist and others.
Bellis M, History of the Bicycle, 2013, About.com, < http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventions/a/History-Of-The-Bicycle.htm>
Bicycle, 2013, Wikipedia, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle>





Roll, roll, roll.

  • Wheels are generally circular in shape, and rotate, primarily on an axis, and are said to be one of the most important inventions of all time.
  • A basic standard wheel has a rim which is the outside of the wheel, spokes that attach to the rim and go to the centre of the wheel, and a central hub where the spokes meet and the axle is held.
  • Wheels are most commonly found on transport, which allow the vehicle to move, although they are used in many other applications including machinery.
  • Modern wheels are made from metal, although they were originally made from wood, and they often have a rubber tyre on the outside of the rim of the wheel to protect the metal wheel and to reduce shock from bumps, holes and rocks on the ground.
  • Wheels are often used in transportation, farming and industry machines, as well as on moving toys.

Wheel, Blue, Grey, Black, Car, bicycle, Ten random Facts

  • The idea for the wheel is said to have come from the process of moving heavy items by sitting them on logs or similar, and this process was developed further by having a platform that sits on the logs, which eventually became a basic cart.
  • Other inventions such as propellers, jet engines and wind turbines were derived from the idea of the wheel moving on an axis.
  • Evidence of the use of a wheel, a potter’s wheel, dating back to 3500 BC, has been found in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).
  • Other significant types of wheels throughout history include spinning wheels, water wheels, cogwheels (toothed wheels), steering wheels and grinding wheels.
  • Hub-less wheels do exist and are very eye-catching, although they are not widely used due to their practical limitations and expensive manufacturing process.
Wheel, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel>


Honk, honk!!

  • A truck is also known as a lorry.
  • Trucks are vehicles generally used to transport various items, often large and heavy, from one place to another, and often special truck trailers can be attached to the vehicle.
  • The word ‘truck’ was used as early as 1611, in reference to the special heavy duty wheels on the canon carriages of a ship, and by 1771 was used in reference to carts designed to carry heavy loads.
  • Most trucks run on diesel, which gives better fuel economy.
  • In many countries, a special licence (different to a general driver’s licence) is required for a person to be able to drive a truck.

Truck, Blue, Old, Half, Cab, Front View, Australia, Ten Random Facts

  • Trucks come in various shapes and sizes and have a cab, an engine, chassis, wheels, suspension, and sometimes a sleeping area in the cab, especially in large trucks designed to travel long distances.
  • In 2011, Isuzu, a Japanese company, manufactured the most trucks in the world, producing 447,359 trucks in the year.
  • In 2010 in the United States, there were 500,000 truck accidents with over 5,000 related deaths.
  • The first motorised truck was built in 1896 by German Gottlieb Daimler, who also invented the first motorbike and taxi.
  • There are numerous different types of trucks used for different purposes, including tip trucks, semi trucks, concrete trucks, fire trucks, refrigerated trucks.
Truck, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truck>


Before diesel.

  • Steamrollers were rollers that flattened roads.
  • Steamrollers were powered by steam, although the term steamroller is still applied to the more modern rollers run by diesel.
  • Steamrollers flattened surfaces due to the mass of the vehicle and the cylindrical like drums, called rolls.
  • Steamrollers typically had three rolls and were controlled by gears.
  • Steamrollers are often seen in action at steam shows.
Steamroller, Old Fashion, Betsy, Steam Motor, Road roller, Flickr, Mr Pbps, Ten Random Facts, Green, Olive
Image courtesy of Mr Pbps/Flickr
  • The most famous steamroller manufacturer was the British company, Aveling and Porter.
  • Britian was the largest steamroller producer and exported many of the machines to other countries.
  • Part of the M1 motorway, the highway from London to Leeds, England, was built by steamrollers.
  • Sometimes stemrollers had scraper bars fitted, that removed foreign material from the surface of the roll.
  • Steamrollers have been popular in movies, music and books, including the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends series and Bob the Builder episodes.
Steamroller 27 February 2013 , Wikipedia,  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steamroller>
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