10 May 2018

Short History of the Odometer

Your car’s odometer is something you rarely think about. Heck, it something many don’t even actually pay attention to until they need to read their miles for their next oil change.

But the odometer has a pretty cool history given it actually goes all the way back to ancient times! Here are some facts you may have not known about your car’s odometer that’ll get your brain interested in this underrated car accessory.

It’s History Dates Back To Roman and Greek Times

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius invented it back in 15 B.C. This ancient version was created out of a chariot wheel and turned 400 times in a Roman mile as it was mounted in a frame with a 400-tooth cogwheel. With each mile, the cogwheel would drop a pebble in a box and that’s how you knew how many miles you went by counting all the pebbles. Leonard Da Vinci, interested himself in this machine, tried to build a version of this odometer.

Source: Fine Art America

Benjamin Franklin Created His Own Odometer

Benjamin Franklin was a notable statesmen and inventor and actually created his own odometer while he served as Postmaster General in 1775. This is when he analyzed best routes for delivering the mail and made his own simple odometer to measure the mileage of the routes.

Source: Round Museum

National Odometer Day

There is an entire day dedicated to the odometer and that celebration takes place on May 12th.  It’s sort of weird celebration to honor the instrument that indicates how far you’ve traveled in your vehicle, right? But, hey, there’s a celebration for everything and the odometer deserves its own special day, too!

Source: Honda World

Odometers In Different Countries

Some countries associate the odometer as being either a milometer, mileometer or even a tripometer.