96 votes
Accepted

Transatlantic Zeppelin trips usually took > 100 hours. How did they stock enough food, and where did they sleep?

The Hindenburg was originally built with 25 double-berthed cabins which accommodated up to 50 passengers. While the ship was laid up in Frankfurt during the winter of 1936-1937, 9 more cabins were ...
  • 76.7k
69 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

In Moscow, under former mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, it was built a line (Butovo line) which is mostly elevated. I think the practice was not considered quite successful as a result. There are many drawbacks: ...
  • 32k
59 votes

How did passengers keep warm on sail ships?

Long ago, in 16 century they used open fire in fair weather (with all possible precautions) on the deck to cook (ref. Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea). When the sea was rough, only cold food could ...
  • 37.7k
58 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

This is mostly about urban planning, and how much change the local government can or will be able to make to the existing streets. In London, the central parts of the city (Westminster and the City) ...
  • 3,294
49 votes
Accepted

Were there any drunk driving laws before the automobile?

In the UK, the 1872 Licencing Act made it an offence to be: ... drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle, or steam engine, or who is drunk when in ...
  • 76.7k
49 votes
Accepted

Did a significant number of women drive in late 1950s/1960s USA?

Looking at driver's licenses held by women and considering that manufacturers were aiming certain car models specifically at women, female drivers were not uncommon or unusual in the US in the 1950s ...
48 votes
Accepted

What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

The overall answer is that the Soviets were not rich in railways and destroyed much of it as they retreated. The Germans anticipated this, and had railway commandos rebuild much of the Soviet trunk ...
  • 1,708
46 votes
Accepted

Why did early attempts to transport milk to London by rail meet with 'much criticism'?

The Agrarian History of England and Wales E. J. T. Collins, Joan Thirsk Cambridge University Press, 2000 page 993: Retailers complained that railway milk was not as fresh as town milk, and a ...
36 votes
Accepted

How did people deal with ice on the roads during the horse-and-buggy era?

Snow removal takes a lot of effort. It was easier to switch out wheeled carriages for sleighs. Sleighs work better with more snow, so that according to this article: in the 18th and 19th centuries, ...
  • 18k
33 votes
Accepted

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

According to Manuel Moreyra Paz Soldán, El Virreinato de Perú, 1980, p. 79, the coinage embarked on ships corresponded to: Taxes obtained from the provinces and citizens in America: "recaudación para ...
31 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

For New York, the answer is related to real estate value. In New York City, the construction of the metro was performed by real estate developers. The idea was to build homes, then connect them to ...
29 votes

Transatlantic Zeppelin trips usually took > 100 hours. How did they stock enough food, and where did they sleep?

Never look at history with your own 'modern' perceptions! In those days there were only 2 ways to cross the Atlantic: by ship or by zeppelin. A ship took longer than a zeppelin. Everybody crossed by ...
  • 18.5k
27 votes

What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

It was more of a nuisance, than a reason for defeat. The part of a track that is hard to build is the bed. To narrow a track, all you have to do is pull out the spikes, move the rail and drive the ...
  • 37.5k
26 votes
Accepted

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

They were not free. In 1961 there was a currency reform, so the answer is about post-1961 period. A price of ride depended on the mode of transportation. For city public transport the price varied ...
  • 32k
26 votes

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

I'm hoping that this answer will resonate with your "theory of colonial economy", although it is not based on historical sources. Coins shouldn't be viewed as end products manufactured from a raw ...
25 votes
Accepted

What is the oldest road tunnel in the world?

There is a tunnel under a mountain in Samos built around 530 BC. It is described by Herodotus, book III, 60. In 1882 a tunnel which matches Herodotus description has been actually found. It is one ...
  • 37.7k
24 votes

Were there any drunk driving laws before the automobile?

"Causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving" (whether drunk or not) was made illegal by the Offences against the Person Act 1861. It is interpreted as applying to: drivers of horse-drawn ...
22 votes
Accepted

When did covered wagons disappear from America?

The decline of wagons was very gradual. They were displaced for long-distance movement of bulk goods starting in the 1820s and 1830s by the canal building frenzy sparked by the success of the Erie ...
  • 18k
19 votes

How did passengers keep warm on sail ships?

There were several ways to stay warm. Not that any of them were exactly great. First winter travel was rare. Next is the fact that passengers (not crew) would not really go above deck much. They ...
  • 774
17 votes

What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

The Germans changed the gauge from Russian to German and could then use their own equipment. "Die Eisenbahnpioniere" at lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de shows Wehrmacht military railroad engineers changing ...
  • 1,303
17 votes

When did covered wagons disappear from America?

The decline of wagon trains in the United States started in 1869, with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, and wagon trains as a way of migrating essentially ended in the 1890s. ...
  • 8,487
17 votes
Accepted

Were bicycles widespread in the Soviet Union?

I would not say "most" but many people owned them. In the big cities, especially children (I am not talking about rural areas). Streets were NOT crowded with bikes (cannot even compare with Denmark or ...
  • 37.7k
17 votes
Accepted

Which company offered this aircraft interior in the 60s?

It seems that it's a mock-up image produced as publicity for the passenger model of the 747 aircraft by Boeing/Pan-American Airways. It would have to have been from the late 1960s, since the 747 ...
  • 76.7k
17 votes
Accepted

Couldn't Japan have solved the problem of drifting at sea?

I believe this is somewhat overstating the risks and well as the severity of the disasters. A sengokubune (千石船) refers to a ship that can carry 1000 koku of rice (sen = 1000). The actual ship design ...
  • 96.4k
16 votes

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

During the Civil War, the national financial system was in chaos, and there was a drive towards 'revolutionary' and 'communist' practices in everyday life. The ideal economy was commonly understood as ...
  • 617
16 votes

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Many of the coins shipped to Europe were quickly and crudely minted. These were called cobs. According to a page at Notre Dame University, The intention in minting these crude but accurately ...
15 votes
Accepted

In the Soviet Union, how was payment enforced for public transportation?

In metro there were turnstiles (although in many places the turnstiles were only at entrance and you could enter freely via exit). The turnstiles accepted coins and there were also exchange machines ...
  • 32k
15 votes

How did passengers keep warm on sail ships?

Trans-Atlantic passenger travel was not very popular until the advent of the steamer, and yet men and women crossed the ocean periodically, including the affluent. Trans-Atlantic passenger travel ...
  • 18.5k
14 votes

Did a fallen-out red signal lens ever cause a railway accident?

A lot of confusion here, but a kernel of truth. The book Railroad Signaling (2003, pp. 47-49) gives a fairly detailed account of how the color coding of signals evolved over time. It mentions that the ...
  • 17.5k
14 votes

Did a significant number of women drive in late 1950s/1960s USA?

The description reads as authentic. Of course, we need to differentiate quite a bit. The more rural it gets the earlier female adoption of driving automobiles is observed. It seems that by 1940 most ...
  • 79.5k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible