A transportation quiz

We're starting to get a little itchy to travel now that winter is officially over. We thought you might be, too. You've probably ridden on (or in) most of these inventions designed to get us from here to there. We suspect you haven't been on all of them, though. Have you?

Look at the photos and read the clues. Can you guess what they are? (Check your answers below.) 1 Animal-powered versions of this machine were in use in the third century BC. But it wasn't until an important safety device was added in 1853 that people had much confidence to 'go up in one of those things.' Or down.

2 In 1895, three years after it was invented, a version of this 'people mover' was a novelty ride at New York's Coney Island amusement park. The longest distance traveled by a single one of these is 330 feet. The shortest one is 2 ft., 8 in.

3 An engineer named Rudolf was the motive power behind this means of transportation. You know him better by his German-sounding last name.

4 Versions of this kid-size wheeled item appear on ancient Greek vases. The steel type pictured here was a hit at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. Extra credit: Why is 'radio' in its trademarked name?

5 They are one of two National Historic Landmarks that move and were invented out West in 1873. Clang!

6 The world's first, in London in 1863, was steam-powered and smoky. A New York inventor constructed a cleaner version in 1870 that ran on vacuum pressure created by a 10-ft.-tall fan. Modern ones are all electric now.

7The development of this invention has made the planet a much smaller place. Today, you may be asked to take off your shoes before you can take a seat.

8 'Dynamic stabilization' and five gyroscopes are key to this device, which was code-named 'Ginger' before it was revealed to the public in December 2001.

9Its name comes from the Old English word 'farian,' which means 'to carry or convey, especially by water.'

10 The first passengers were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck in a 'vehicle' that had no moving parts. The first two humans clambered aboard in Paris 222 years ago this coming Nov. 21.


(1) Buttons in an elevator (the bottom one means 'close doors'; note the Braille markings). American inventor Elisha Otis came up with a safety device to prevent an elevator from plummeting if a cable broke. He first demonstrated it in 1853. (2) Escalator step. Several 330-ft.-long escalators operate in subways in St. Petersburg, Prague, and Kiev (Ukraine). The shortest one is in a shopping mall in Kawasaki-shi, Japan. (3) Diesel locomotive. More accurately, it's a diesel-electric locomotive. The diesel engine generates electricity, and electric motors power the wheels. (4) Coaster wagon. This one is a Radio Flyer. Manufacturer Antonio Pasin was fascinated with radio and flight when he named it in the 1930s. (5) A cable car in San Francisco. Cable cars were invented there by Andrew Hallidie in 1873. The St. Charles streetcar line in New Orleans is the other 'mobile' National Historic Landmark. (6) Subway. Alfred Ely Beach's short (it ran only 312 feet) pneumatic subway closed in 1873. Beach died before New York opened a second, successful subway in 1904. Workers digging a tunnel for the new subway came across Beach's sealed-up tunnel in 1912. (7) Jet airliner. Some air passengers are asked to remove their shoes for inspection at airport security checkpoints. (8) Segway Human Transporter, also known as the 'Segway scooter.' (9) Ferryboat. According to the latest US Census figures, 44,106 Americans went to work by ferryboat every day in 2000. (10) Hot air balloon. The first ones were made of silk and paper. Today's versions use reinforced-nylon 'envelopes' to hold the hot air. Passengers often ride in low-tech wicker baskets, though. Wicker is sturdy, fairly lightweight, and flexible, so it helps cushion landings.

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