Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gentlemen, start your steam engines...



The antiquated looking machine pictured above was invented by the French Artillery Officer Joseph Cugnot in 1769. It is considered by many to be the world’s first self-powered vehicle or “automobile”.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr. Cugnot is also credited with the world’s first automobile accident since his steam powered vehicle, moving at a mind blowing two miles per hour, crashed into and demolished a stone wall on it’s maiden voyage.

Which of course raises the question what the hell kind of stone wall falls apart when it’s hit by something going at 2 miles per hour? If I ever go to France I’ll have to remember not to lean against any old buildings.

Anyway, Cugnot was undeterred and spent the next year building an even larger version for the French War Ministry. Since the name of this blog includes the word “drive” in it, I feel it behooves me to try to recreate those moments when Cugnot demonstrated his "new set of wheels” on a street in Paris:


(Two generals, one very old and a magistrate are standing with Cugnot in front of his vehicle)

Cugnot: Gentlemen, I thank you for this opportunity. Prepare to be amazed as I start my machine and proceed to move five tons at a speed of nearly four miles per hour.

Old general: Sacrebleu! Is it possible? Can humans even survive such speeds?

Young general: What are you talking about? Your own horse can go faster than that.

Old general: My Fou-Fou ? I can assure you sir that my horse has never run away from anything in his life. You had best watch your tongue or I’ll have to insist on a duel of honor.

Magistrate: Enough nonsense, let us proceed. I have two beheadings and a hanging to preside over and I don’t want to be late.

(Cugnot starts up his vehicle, which roars to life and starts to pull it’s heavy load. The distinguished onlookers gaze intently as it slowly moves to the end of the cobblestone street, only to see it crash on to it’s side as it attempts to turn the corner.)

Old general: I’m the first to admit that I’m not up to snuff on all this new technology, but I must say that I’ll be damned if I can see how that can be of any use.

Young general: Well, at least the walls of Paris are still standing.

(The magistrate summons the gendarmes)

Magistrate: Arrest that man and impound that…that...“vehicle!”


And so off to jail went poor Mr. Cugnot, making him the first person to be arrested for being a reckless motorist. So the next time you’re involved in a little fender bender or even a twelve car pile up, take a moment to think of this forgotten hero of French engineering history.

18 comments:

Dan said...

Thanks for this most excellent history lesson. I found Cugnot's family tree online -- not the one he smashed into repeatedly, but the one showing his descendents, and their descendents and so on.

Not surprisingly, Billy Joel is one of the few descendents still alive (all the others probably died in car accidents).

By the way, looks like Parisian drivers have come a long way since Cugnot's time. See here.

The Drive-by Blogger said...

That was some driving indeed! If there's an after life, I'm sure Cugnot is smiling from above...or maybe from down below...I can't personally vouch for his character.

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

I got pulled over recently for making a flagrant left turn on a red light. I considered playing stupid, got halfway through, and switched to honesty.

"Did you see the light"
"Light?"
"The red one. Did you think it was flashing or something?"
"No."
"Are you in a hurry?"
"Not particularly. I did that on purpose, and you caught me. Lesson learned."
"Had anything to drink tonight?"

At least I didn't hit anything this time.

Bernie said...

I think your picture shows the 1-seater GT model with optional steering crank holder. I can’t tell from the picture if the owner sprang for the optional brakes (they became standard on the 1771 model).

The Drive-by Blogger said...

I just wonder if the vehicle had been a success, how long it would have taken before someone had the idea to paint flames on it.

Anonymous said...

I'm Katy,
from Oceania ,
and I'm 18 y.o

Hi, All
I've studied English sinse this Autumn .
It's so hard Language!
I would like like to meet girls and practisice My English with them.

Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

DISCOUNT MEN'S HEALTH ONLINE!

Very Cheap Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Lipitor, Propecia!

Buy Cheap Viagra Online


The Lowest Prices Online
Free Prescription with your Order
Complete PRIVACY
FedEx Overnight Shipping


Buy Online Viagra
Buy Online Propecia
Buy Lipitor Online
Buy Levitra Online
Buy Cialis Online
Buy Viagra Online



______

buy generic viagra online
Buy Buy Cialis Cialis Generic Online Online Propecia Silagra
buy generic online viagra
where to buy viagra online
book buy online order viagra
where to buy viagra online
buy lipitor online

Anonymous said...

Hospital managers said they appreciated that any wait for an operation was going to seem too long to the individual patient.
--------------




Anonymous said...

Safe, Low Priced MEN'S HEALTH Online!

Very Cheap Viagra, Lipitor, Levitra, Cialis, Propecia!

Buy Viagra Online


The Lowest Prices Online
Free Prescription with your Order
Complete PRIVACY
FedEx Overnight Shipping



Buy Online Propecia
Buy Online Viagra
Buy Lipitor Online
Buy Levitra Online
Buy Cialis Online
Buy Viagra Online



______

buy cheap viagra online uk
buy viagra pill online
buy online propecia
buy online online tadalis viagra viagra
buy buy online viagra viagra viagra
blogspot.com buy inurl online viagra
buy online online tadalis viagra viagra

Anonymous said...

I'm glad!


Afrfiliate Program Sales
Back Pain
Diy Home Heating
Ma Lemon Law Lawyer
Upholstery Cleaning Miami
Westin Mission Hills
Interest Loan Mortgage Only Refinance
Carnival Cruise Com
Insurance Life Protection Term
Roofing Nailer Review
Real Estate Agent Tampa
Cause Of Low Back Pain
Stock Broker Misconduct Attorney
Bank Company Home Mortgage Us
Boston Car Repair

Kiss!!

Anonymous said...

Compare Cheap Phentermine prices and save $$$!

Buy Cheap Phentermine Online
Cheap Phentermine Diet Pill
Cheap Phentermine No Prescription Online

Anonymous said...

God dag

I'm sorry

Ka jums klajas?

Backward Mortgage
Discount Financing Mortgage
Custom Business Card
Connecticut Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Bad Credit Lee Mortgage Refinance
Relief From Back Pain
Westin Mission Hills
Dentist Flint
Iowa Wrongful Death Lawyer
Afdfiliate Program Sales
Account Card Merchant
Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Differential Scanning Calorimetry
Geothermal Air Conditioning
Travellers Diarrhea
Carolina Charlotte Exterminator North

Ïðîùàé

Anonymous said...

Get Cheap Phentermine Here! All about Cheap Phentermine.

Buy Cheap Phentermine
Cheap Phentermine Diet Pill Online
Phentermine No Prescription Cheap




___

Dilet Pills 0phentermine W3eight Loss Diet Pilols Phentefrmine Weighrt Loss
Diet Pillw Phentegmine Weight Koss Diet Plills Phenrtermine Weigfht Loss

Anonymous said...

He denied the loan was to pay off mortgage arrears of �2,400.
'Nothing unusual'
The court heard even if Mr Meadows had made the payments on time he would still have paid �20,699.21 interest on the original loan.
--------------






Acupuncture Schools Florida
Air Base Force Us
Used Car Dealer Columbus Ohio
Deputize Lawyer
Chandler Real Estate Agent
Affiliat3e Program Sales
Online Law Degree
Herbalife Scam
Alpine Animal Hospital
Back Low Pain Treatment
Little Bo Peep Nursery Rhyme
Yoga For Back Pain
Attorney Comp Defense Illinois Worker
Cheap Car Insurance Uk
Employed Home Loan Self
Mortgage Financing Online

Anonymous said...

Pryvit

It's bad girl!

Hoe gaan dit?

Bad Credit Home Loan Mortgage Refinance
Bare Bare Escentuals Mineral
Used Car Dealer Miami
Belly Button Fun
Houston Car Accident Lawyer
Backyard Landscaping Gallery
Plastic Bag Supplier
Sub Contractor Agreement
Carpet Cleaners Houston
Fort Veterinarian Worth
Accident In Lawyer Motorcycle New York
Baseline Animal Hospital

Khair

Anonymous said...

Lethal Dose Lexapro

Lexapro 20mg Side Effects

Chat Lexapro Side Effects

Bad Effects Lexapro Side

Effects Lexapro Side Stopping

Drug Interaction Questions Crystal Meth Lexapro Percocet

Lexapro Acid Reflux

Anonymous said...

I think..
***
Ma shlomkha?


Car Farm Insurance Quote State New Sudoku Times York Behind The Scene Catering
Car Repair New York Basement Waterproofing Agent California Estate In Real Southern
Big Bubbas Computer Repair
====








Scottsdale Chiropractor
Real Estate Midway Georgia
Travel Agent
Civil Colorado Lawyer Right
Basic Stock Market Information
Worker Compensation Lawyer Nc
Azffiliate Program Sales
Chiropractor Houston
Fund Non Profit Raising
Baby Bedding Boy
Dentist Albuquerque
Low Interest Credit Card
--------------
Jema jai yong

Anonymous said...

Ola

I'm sorry

Hoe gaan dit?
[url=http://valen.ifastnet.com/index.html]Spine[/url] [url=http://balem.ifastnet.com/basement-home-remodeling/index.html]Basement Home Remodeling[/url]
Back Kidney Lower Pain
Best Carpet Cleaners For The Home
Real Estate Agent In Glendale California
2000 Access Microsoft [url=http://gfa60.ifrance.com/about-blank/index.html]About Blank[/url] [url=http://plo78.iespana.es/st-louis-motorcycle-accident-attorney/index.html]St Louis Motorcycle Accident Attorney[/url]
New York Car Insurance
Pirmelenge