Who Invented The Dreaded Taximeter?
06 August 2020
Remember the good old days of taxis? We sat there quietly with one eye on the road and the other on that dreaded taximeter! We all knew the feeling! You needed to make sure your driver didn’t take the “long way around" in order to push up the price on the meter. And with every passing minute you anxiously looked at the meter itself and hoped that you would actually have enough money to cover the final price which was always expensive! Some of us even had to ask the drivers to stop their taxis when the meter reached a certain price because we simply couldn’t afford to pay more! We would then have to walk the rest of the distance while we silently cursed the person who ever came up with such an abominable device.
Yep! Those were the days!
Now, many of you might think that the taximeter is a fairly recent invention. But the truth is that the idea goes back a long way. Actually, way-way back! Like literally a couple of thousand years!
That’s right! The first records of the idea around the taximeter can be traced back to 27 BC in the writings of a man named Vitruvius.
Vitruvius was born in The Roman Republic. And it is said that he once served as an engineer under Julius Caesar.
In one of his writings, Vitruvius described a device that could be used to measure distance. It was a wooden device driven by two chariot wheels. On this box there was a cogwheel mechanism that would turn every time the wheels did a full rotation. After a certain number of turns, a pebble would be dropped into the top section of the device. So if it were a taxi, you would pay for the number of pebbles that fell into the top part of the device at the end of your trip.
Essentially, what Vitruvius created was an odometer. In other words, it was a device to help measure distance. But the idea behind this device is also directly linked to the idea of the “much-loved” taximeter we know today.
So whenever you have nightmares about your past experiences with meter taxis, you can thank Vitruvius for his contribution to them.
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Stay awesome inReaders!