We say that the world has become a global village today. Transportation has played an important role in shrinking our huge planet into a small world. Places that are thousands of miles apart can be covered in a single day. A look into the transportation timeline highlights man's unrelenting endeavor of minimizing the time and effort involved in traveling great distances.
Origin of Modes of Transport
Archaeologists believe that sometime in 4000 - 3500 BC, man-made the earliest attempts towards inventing means of transport in Mesopotamia or Asia. History of transportation had its beginnings in the discovery of the wheel. The next logical step was the invention of carts and chariots. With this more efficient means of transport, man was able to reach longer distances. His curiosity fueled his desire to see more lands and this led to the evolution of more efficient modes of transport. The result is that man has now ventured into space and is flying over continents in the supersonic Concorde.
- 3500 BC: Mesopotamians are believed to have been the first in the world to make the most important invention in timeline of transportation - the wheeled vehicles. Initially, they used wheels to make wheel-thrown pottery and subsequently they used them in carts.
- 3500 BC: River boats came to be used for transport. River boats were believed to have been used both by the Mesopotamians as well as the Egyptians. Though wood was the obvious choice, Egyptians used reeds to make boats.
- 2000 BC: With their knowledge of how to assemble planks of wood into a ship's hull, the Egyptians are credited with inventing the earliest ships in 2000 BC. They used woven straps to bind the planks together and stuffed reeds or grass in between them to seal the seams. Around the same time, horses were domesticated and used for transportation.
- 181-234 AD: The next major invention was that of the wheelbarrow in China by Chuko Liang. He was a Chinese general who used the earliest two-wheeled wheelbarrows to reach supplies to wounded soldiers.
- 1620 AD: Despite various crude attempts earlier, it was Cornelius Van Drebbel, who in 1620 made the first practical submarine that could be maneuvered 12 to 15 feet under water for a couple of hours. However, it was only in the 19th century that submarines started to be made on a large-scale.
- 1662 AD: Blaise Pascal designed the first horse-drawn public bus that ran on a regular route and schedule, and also had a fare system.
- 1740 AD: Jacques de Vaucanson invented the first clockwork powered carriage.
- 1769 AD: After years of experimentation carried all over the world aimed at the invention of the automobile, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot became the first individual to successfully design the first self-propelled road vehicle using a steam engine.
- 1783 AD: After years of trials and experiments, the French brothers Joseph Montgolfier and Étienne Montgolfier invented the first hot air balloons.
- 1787 AD: John Fitch made the first successful trail of steamboat on the Delaware Rives on August 22.
- 1801 AD: Richard Trevithick ran the first full-sized steam locomotive in England.
- 1807 AD: Isaac de Rivas made the first hydrogen gas powered vehicle.
- 1814 AD: The first practical steam-powered engine was built by George Stephenson.
- 1816 AD: Although there is considerable amount of dispute about who invented the bicycle, it is most widely agreed that it was Baron Karl von Drais of Germany who is the originator of the bicycle.
- 1862 AD: The first automobile with a gasoline engine was made by Etienne Lenior.
- 1885 AD: Karl Benz designed the first automobile with an internal combustion engine.
- 1900 AD: The first successful airship was built by Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
- 1903 AD: The Wright brothers are credited with the invention of the airplane.
- 1908 AD: Henry Ford made an improved assembly line for automobile manufacturing.
- 1911 AD: Selandia launched the first ship to sail the ocean run by diesel engines.
- 1926 AD: First liquid-fueled rocket launched by Robert Goddard.
- 1940 AD: Although in 1907, Paul Cornu invented the first piloted helicopter, its design did not work. Modern-day functional helicopters were designed in 1940.
- 1947 AD: First supersonic flight was launched.
- 1957 AD: Sputnik I became the first man-made satellite to be launched into space.
- 1957 AD: Boeing 707, the first commercial jetliner made its maiden flight on December 20, 1957.
- 1969 AD: Apollo, the first manned mission to the moon was launched. On July 16, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.
- 1976 AD: Concorde became world's first commercial passenger supersonic aircraft.
- 1981 AD: NASA made a comeback in human spaceflight after a six-year break with the launching of the NASA Space Shuttle program.
Man dreamed of flying in the air like a bird. He did it. Reaching the stars has been a fantasy of a child and adult alike. We reached the space and landed on the moon. From wheels to the stars, the transportation timeline is a breathtaking story of man transforming his dreams into reality.