Have We Forsaken Traditions?
We live in a bold new age. About the time we figure out how to master the last “thingamajig” we bought, there is a new and improved one that we want more. Designers are ever working to make sure that they upgrade everything from electronic gadgets to automobiles to enhance the desire of the consumer to buy the latest improvement. I can remember when I saw my first remote control for television. It was a “box”, maybe five inches long, three inches wide and two inches in height with buttons. I thought if my family ever gets one of those, we will be rich. Today, I have one. But, I can’t begin to figure out all of the buttons on a remote control. I just want to change channels during the commercials. I am waiting for “Remotes for Dummies”!!!!
Everything has changed. Education methods have changed. Sports expansion for children has exploded to new levels. Entertainment has certainly changed. And, even “church” services and worship styles have changed. Everywhere we are witnessing phenomenal changes.
But, have you heard the old proverb…”The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Many of our daily routines and the things we use are from civilizations and customs that have long since faded into history. We never stop to think “why” something is like it is. Here is one example of how many things that we do today without even thinking is from our past…..
The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.
Why such an odd number? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and American railroads were built by British expatriates.
Why did the English adopt that particular gauge? Because the people who built the pre-railroad tramways used that gauge.
They in turn were locked into that gauge because the people who built tramways used the same standards and tools they had used for building wagons, which were set on a gauge of four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.
Why were wagons built to that scale? Because with any other size, the wheels did not match the old wheel ruts on the roads.
So who built these old rutted roads?
The first long-distance highways in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been in use ever since. The ruts were first made by Roman war chariots. Four feet, eight-and-one-half inches was the width a chariot needed to be to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses! (Copied).
Next time you see a train, if you use your imagination, you may just see one of the Caesar’s riding his golden chariot at blinding speed of “two horsepower” in the ruts of Roman highways!