359 Chapters
Medium 9781855209701

Chapter 10: Fuel System

Greg Hudock Brooklands Books ePub
Medium 9780253356963

3 - The Omnibus: Travel for All Citizens

John H.Jr. White Indiana University Press ePub

Travel for All Citizens

INNOVATIONS IN THE PRACTICAL FIELD OF TRANSPORTATION IS normally accomplished by mechanics or businessmen, and yet the introduction of the omnibus is credited to a French philosopher and scientist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). Late in life this learned man, best known for his work in calculus and fluids, decided to establish public transit in Paris. He advocated horse-drawn carriages that would run over a fixed route to carry ordinary folks around town at low fares. Five routes were established and service began during his final year. However, Pascal's democratic notions that the service would be open to all citizens was thwarted by a government charter prescribing that only “people of merit” might ride in such coaches and excluded soldiers, pages, servants, and laborers. Uniformed drivers and conductors were provided, but the vehicles were slow and the fares high. This pioneer operation expired by about 1675. The concept was reintroduced in 1823 by the operator of a hot bath in Nantes, a suburb of the French capital, who sought an inexpensive way of carrying patrons to his establishment from Paris. The bus proved so successful that service was expanded to other routes, and within five years more omnibus lines were organized. By mid-century thirteen hundred buses were running in Paris. The system, consolidated by royal decree in 1855, was carrying 40 million passengers. That number rose to 120 million by 1867. By this time Paris was a large metropolitan area, having overflowed its ancient walls in the seventeenth century and spread well into the countryside. Great boulevards and broad avenues replaced the crooked medieval streets in the 1850s and 1860s. The population had grown to more than one million by 1850 and would more than double over the next half century. The old “walking city” was obsolete, and Parisians were unwilling to trek for miles from one destination to the next. While the buses were not much faster than a walk, they allowed travelers to rest as the horses plodded along.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253019066

7 Illinois Railroad Labor

Simon Cordery Indiana University Press ePub

As Confederate forces were winning the Battle of Chancellorsville and Union troops prepared to lay siege to Vicksburg, a group of disgruntled railroad engineers met secretly in Marshall, Michigan. Unhappy about the treatment they were receiving at the hands of their supervisors, they decided to assert their republican rights and defend themselves from arbitrary rule. They formed the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE), a fraternal order fighting for decent working conditions and offering insurance protections. Firemen, conductors, trainmen, and other groups created their own organizations in the 1860s, challenging the conventional belief that capital and labor shared a common interest in the profitable operation of railroad corporations.

A period of often dramatic conflict on the railroads followed formation of the brotherhoods. Wage cuts and layoffs led to strikes but owners and managers fought back. The proud industrial peace of the railroads was shattered by walkouts and murders. Financial panics and technological change led to violence and confrontation in Illinois, most notably in 1877, 1888, and 1894. These were the visible manifestations of a seemingly limitless well of unhappiness and subterranean conflict. But the railroads could bring the nation’s economic activity to a virtual standstill, hastening the quest for alternatives. Worse for the industry, federal regulators responded to public complaints about monopoly power by restricting managerial autonomy. The peace of pioneer railroading had been shattered.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412383

“Back in the Saddle Again: Riding the Chrome-moly Horse”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

220 Still Movin’ On, Any Way They Can have since ridden over 5,000 miles of Texas back roads and streets with thousands of others astride chrome-moly mounts. It was here that I first discovered that today’s cyclists are yesterday’s cowboys.

Hear me out before you protest.

As we near the end of this century in a society that now rewards conformity over individuality, individualists still find ways to retain their independence. At the turn of the century, many individualists found solitude in becoming cowboys. Others became explorers who set out on their horses to discover new territory.

Both found particular pleasure in sharing an intimacy with the land, its people, and the abundance of nature. Today’s fenced-in, paved-over environment inspires corporate farming and cattle raising. Ours is a place hostile to the horse and cowboy. I believe these same individualists have found the bicycle.

Now I’m going to give you some numbers. But I must warn you that the only accurate horseflesh numbers come from those compiled at the turn of the century. That’s when statisticians, and other authority types, considered the horse an agricultural commodity. Today horses are no longer considered an agricultural commodity. Horses are considered recreational. Therefore, no one keeps tabs on the overall number of horses or horseback riders.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412383

“Driving Across Texas at Thirty-Five Miles Per Hour”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF


MILES PER HOUR by Jean Granberry Schnitz

Progress. That’s what they call it. True, travel is easier and faster than it was when I was a child, but trips across Texas are not what they were during the 1930s and 1940s. Expressways and interstate highways now speed travelers to their destinations. The wonderful little towns, the cities full of amazing sights, the courthouses, many with matching small-scale jails—all are by-passed by modern transportation systems. Gone are stop lights and bumpy roads, but not hot, dusty afternoons and freezing mornings. We just don’t notice the outside weather as much now that the windows are tightly closed!

Imagine having no radio or tape deck or CD player or television to bombard the vehicle with sound! Modern children cannot imagine dashing across Texas at thirty-five miles an hour—or less.

How long would a mere six-hundred-mile trip take at that speed?

It would require seventeen hours of driving, plus time for meals, fuel, and other stops. Seventeen hours strapped into a child safety seat would be pure torture! Despite the long hours, I wouldn’t take anything for the experiences my family had during such trips.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters