April 19, 1884 The first funicular railway serving Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon made its official debut. This railway, which is best known as the Elevador do Lavra, was built to carry people up and down a steep incline called Calçada do Lavra. This section of Lisbon currently straddles the border of Santo António and... Continue Reading →

April 5, 1941 Nigel Gresley, a railway engineer who made major contributions to the development of high-powered steam locomotives, died at his home in Hertford, England, at the age of 64. He was born in 1876 in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh and raised in the English village and civil parish of Netherseal. After attending... Continue Reading →

March 28, 1918 A milestone in the short but eventful U.S. Navy service of the vessel USS Aphrodite took place when she was assigned to convoy escort duty with a higher-than-average risk along the French coast during World War I. Aphrodite had made her debut a couple of decades earlier in decidedly more luxurious circumstances.... Continue Reading →

March 14, 1908 Motorcycle designer and manufacturer Philip Vincent was born in London, England. It was during his time as a student at Harrow School, a London-based boarding school for boys, that Vincent was introduced to motorcycles. His interest in this means of mobility steadily grew. He bought his first motorcycle, which was a second-hand... Continue Reading →

January 30, 1826 The Menai Suspension Bridge connecting the island of Anglesey with the mainland of Wales was opened to a great deal of fanfare. This structure, which crosses over the Menai Straits, is widely considered to be the world’s first modern suspension bridge. Prior to the bridge’s opening, the only options for traveling between... Continue Reading →

January 28, 1896 The first known speeding infraction that involved a motor vehicle took place in the village of Paddock Wood in southeastern England. Walter Arnold of the nearby village of East Peckham was caught driving a Benz automobile at eight miles (13 kilometers) per hour in a two-mile (3.2-kilometer)-per-hour zone. A constable riding a bicycle... Continue Reading →

January 23, 1745 Civil engineer William Jessop – best known today for his prodigious work on canals, harbors, and railways – was born in the settlement of Plymouth Dock (now Devenport) in southwestern England. The significant engineering projects that Jessop helped bring to fruition include the Grand Canal of Ireland, a pair of canals connecting... Continue Reading →

January 11, 1913 In France, a transportation milestone in Paris took place when the last of the city’s horse-drawn omnibuses (horse-buses) made its final run. This means of transit first became a major part of daily life in France’s capital in 1828, when horse-buses began running on a regular basis between the right bank of... Continue Reading →

January 8, 2004 Queen Elizabeth II christened the transatlantic ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2 in Southampton, England. Queen Mary 2 was the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, and she succeeded that earlier vessel as the Cunard Line’s flagship. “A steel-hulled behemoth, the Queen Mary 2 is the largest... Continue Reading →

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