How did you do? Here are the answers.
Fun Factoids from Transportation History
- Who was the first English monarch to travel underwater?
James I. In 1624, Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutchman working for the Royal Navy, took His Majesty on a submarine ride beneath the Thames. The sub in question was made of leather and had oars. It went from London to Greenwich and back just fine, but the Admiralty weren't impressed by its combat capabilities.
- What was your best bet for a flight from Paris to Rome in 1805?
Simple: Snag a ride on a balloon. To celebrate the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, a balloonist named Garnerin travelled the 500-mile distance. It took him 22 hours. (There is no record of what happened to his luggage.)
- How long did it take for a message to reach California from New York in 1860?
10 days. (That's why we call it 'snail mail'.) This amazingly short time was due to the Pony Express, which was put out of business when the telegraph took over.
- Speaking of travel times, how long would it take you to get from London to Bristol in 1784?
If you didn't get held up by a highwayman, 17 hours. We hope you brought some reading material.
- Long coach rides could be hard on the posterior. All that bouncing wasn't fun. Why would you prefer a Concord coach in the 19th Century?
Concord coaches, made in the US but sold worldwide, used a suspension system. Instead of bouncing, you swayed. Mark Twain called it 'an imposing cradle on wheels'. Ah, the comfort.
- Back to air travel. Where could you get an airline ticket in 1909? (And did it save you time?)
Berlin. From DELAG, the Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft, of course. You could get from Berlin to Friedrichshafen in 4-9 hours, compared to 18-24 by rail.
What? Oh, they were running zeppelins, of course. Airships.
- Let's talk 'political correctness'. Was the first flight attendant called a 'stewardess'?
Not if you didn't want a funny look, we suspect. The first flight attendant was named Heinrich Kubis, he was German, and he started work for DELAG in 1912. He was a hero, too: when the Hindenburg caught fire over Lakehurst, NJ, in 1937, Kubis helped passengers and crew get out safely. (You'll be glad to know that Herr Kubis was all right, too.)
- We all know that the first animals to fly (without using their own wings) were a duck, a rooster, and a sheep. (Montgolfier Brothers, balloon.) What animal had the honour of being first in space?
Fruit flies. Those stalwarts of the genetics lab travelled aboard a V-2 rocket launched by the US in 1947. Better living through rocketry. (They survived, which encouraged future research into space flight.)
- True or false: The bicycle was invented in Stoke Poges in 1642.
You can have this one for free. Although the bicycle is usually agreed to have been invented in the early 19th Century, there is this intriguing 17th-century window in St Giles' Church. Angels on bicycles? Who knew?
- What mode of transportation was preferred by the man responsible for the traffic roundabout?
William Phelps Eno (1858-1945), the 'Father of Traffic Safety', preferred equitation to motorised transport. He never learned to drive, but he invented the one-way street. He probably spent a lot of time explaining it to the horse.