Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monograph #12 Fernand Braudel

Development of Transportation, Vehicle

Transportation is the movement of people and goods from one location to another. Transport is performed by modes, such as air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations. (Wikipedia)

As Civilization emerged, and farming and domesticating which resulted in surpluses began, there came trade between groups. What is really important in trade is transportation. In order to trade, people needed to move their goods to trade. This need urged people to seek efficient way of transportation and it was the beginning of development transportation.

Since BC 3500 when the civilizations began, technology and means of transportation has been developing until now. Therefore, I would say the development of transportation would be a good example of events which takes place in long duration time span that Fernand Braudel proposes.

When we talk about transportation, the most of us would first think of vehicle which is a mechanical means of conveyance, a carriage or transport. (Wikipedia) So I would like to focus on how vehicle has been developing in long time of History by following chronicle.

BC 3500

Fixed Wheels on carts are invented – The first wheeled vehicles in History. Other early wheeled vehicles include the chariot.

The wheel is quite great invention in human civilization. The oldest wheel was found in Mesopotamia. We all know that wheel is everywhere on all our cars, trains, airplane, machines, wagon and most factory and farm equipment. We cannot imagine that we move things without wheel. It is so amazing that we, resent people still use a wheel which invented 5,500 years ago.

River boats are invented – Ships with oars

Vehicle was invented not only on land but also on water. In Mesopotamia, the first boats were built out of inflated and stretched animal skins and clay pots. The Egyptians used reeds. Early wood boats included: rafts, canoes, and dugouts.

BC 2000

Horses are domesticated and used for transportation.

Sculptures and drawings that date from the 2nd millennium BC show men and women on horseback. Using Horses as means of transportation played vital role from ancient countries to before a car invented.

The wheelbarrow is invented.

Chuko Liang (181-234 A.D.) of China is considered to be the inventor of the wheelbarrow. Liang was a general who used the wheelbarrows to transport supplies injured soldiers. The Chinese wheelbarrows had two wheels and required two men to propel and steer.


Leonardo da Vinci first to seriously theorize about flying machines - with over 100 drawings that illustrated his theories on flight

He had over 100 drawings that illustrated his theories on bird and mechanical flight. The drawings illustrated the wings and tails of birds, ideas for man carrying machines, and devices for the testing of wings. The Ornithopter flying machine was never actually created. It was a design that Leonardo da Vinci created to show how man could fly. The modern day helicopter is based on this concept. Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks on flight were reexamined in the 19th century by aviation pioneers.


Cornelis Drebbel invented the first submarine - an human oared submersible

Designs for underwater boats or submarines date back to the 1500s and ideas for underwater travel date back even further. However it was not until the 19th century that the first useful submarines began to appear.


Steamboat was invented

In 1769, the Scotsman James Watt patented an improved version of the steam engine that ushered in the Industrial Revolution. The idea of using steam power to propel boats occurred to inventors soon after the potential of Watt's new engine became known.


Jean Lenoir makes a gasoline engine automobile

Belgian-born engineer, Jean JosephÉtienne Lenoir invented and patented (1860) a double-acting, electric spark-ignition internal combustion engine fueled by coal gas. In 1863, Lenoir attached an improved engine (using petroleum and a primitive carburetor) to a three-wheeled wagon that managed to complete an historic fifty-mile road trip.


First motorcycle invented

American, Sylvester Howard Roper (1823-1896) invented a two-cylinder, steam-engine motorcycle (powered by coal) in 1867. This can be considered the first motorcycle, if you allow your description of a motorcycle to include a steam engine.


The Wright Brothers invent and fly the first engined airplane

Orville Wright (1871-1948) and Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) requested a patent application for a "flying machine" nine months before their successful flight in December 1903, which Orville Wright recorded in his diary.


First liquid propelled rocket launched

Liquid fueled rockets were first theorized by Tsiolkozski in his "Investigation of Interplanetary Space by Means of Reactive Devices," published in 1896. His idea was realized 27 years later when Robert Goddard launched the first liquid fueled rocket.


First supersonic jet flight
Dr. Hans von Ohain and Sir Frank Whittle are both recognized as being the co-inventors of the jet engine. Each worked separately and knew nothing of the other's work. Hans von Ohain is considered the designer of the first operational turbojet engine. Frank Whittle was the first to register a patent for the turbojet engine in 1930. Hans von Ohain was granted a patent for his turbojet engine in 1936. However, Hans von Ohain's jet was the first to fly in 1939. Frank Whittle's jet first flew in in 1941.


First manned mission (Apollo) to the Moon

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Neil A. Armstrong uttered these famous words on July 20, 1969, when the Apollo 11 mission fulfilled Kennedy's challenge by successfully landing Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. on the Moon. Armstrong dramatically piloted the lunar module to the lunar surface with less than 30 seconds worth of fuel remaining.


Space shuttle launched

After a gap of six years, NASA returned to human spaceflight in 1981, with the advent of the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle's first mission, STS-1, took off on April 12, 1981, demonstrating that it could take off vertically and glide to an unpowered airplane-like landing.

In this quite long duration of time span, we are able to see how the transportation has been developing. The changes in transportation technology were quite gradual and slow but steady. As what we see, technological advancement in transportation brings us even outside the Earth.

Actually, the changes and development of transportation did not occur at once and they do not seem that they were giving great impact every time when each of them took place. However, the development of transportation very much contributed on development of human society and civilization in fact.


Transport (September 25, 2009) In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:03 September 25, 2009 from

Vehicle (September 20, 2009) In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:16 September 20, 2009 from

Braudel, F. (1982). On history. (S. Matthews, Trans.). University of Chicago. (Original
work published 1969).

The History of Transportation (2009), a part of The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 25, 2009 from

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