»   The Peanuts characters were first animated in 1957 for a Ford Fairlane automobile commercial. Snoopy stood on two legs for the first time in a 1958 strip. Snoopy and Charlie Brown appeared together on the March 17, 1967 cover of Life magazine. The Apollo X astronauts took the duo into space in 1969. Charlie Brown hit a game-winning home run on March 30, 1998, his first in 43 years. Unfortunately, he NEVER got to kick the football.


»   The rock band REO Speedwagon chose its unusual name from an early 1900s flatbed truck. The letters "REO" are the initials of Ransom Eli Olds, "Father of the Automobile," who invented the Oldsmobile and was president of Reo Motor Vehicle Company from 1904 to 1924. The flatbed truck was high-speed and heavy-duty for its time, and was considered a milestone in transportation history.


»   TV talk show host Jay Leno owns more than 30 classic cars and more than 40 motorcycles. His first automobile was a 1934 Ford V-8 truck which he restored himself at the age of 14.


»   Automobiles use lead-acid batteries, each of which contain approximately 18 pounds of lead and a gallon of sulfuric acid, both hazardous materials.


»   On September 13, 1913, the famous Lincoln Highway, the first paved transamerican highway, was completed from New York to San Francisco. Prior to it being built, there were few good roads in the United States. The relatively few miles of improved road were only around towns and cities. A road was "improved" if it was graded; travelers were lucky to have gravel or brick. Most roads, though, were dirt. The Lincoln Highway was the first major roadway constructed with the automobile in mind. Later in 1928, thousands of Boy Scouts fanned out along the highway. At an average of about one per mile, they installed small concrete markers with a small bust of Lincoln and the inscription, "This highway dedicated to Abraham Lincoln."


»   Long before Detroit became renowned for the production of automobiles, the city had earned a national reputation for the manufacturing of cigars and chewing tobacco. Tobacco companies were among the city's leading employers at the turn of the twentieth century, employing more than 10,000 people. In the mid-1920s, it was estimated that 210 million cigars and 14 million pounds of chewing tobacco were produced in Detroit each year.


»   The wages paid by the Ford auto company were much higher than those paid by other automobile companies. In 1914, Ford paid workers who were age 22 or older $5 per day – double the average wage offered by other car factories.


»   Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. It was the invention of several 19th-century engineers, paramount among them being two Germans: Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz. What Ford did accomplish was to mass-produce automobiles and provide affordable service for them.

»   Karl Benz of Germany is credited with inventing the first automobile in 1885. The automobile had an internal combustion engine and three wheels. In 1926, Benz merged his company with that of fellow German auto creator, Gustave Daimler, to form the Mercedes-Benz.


»   Prior to World War II, soybean oil was used to make enamel, glycerine, soft soaps, paint, linoleum, varnishes, waterproof goods, oilcloth, rubber substitutes, artificial petroleum, and ink. Soybean meal was used as a low-cost plywood adhesive. At Henry Ford's direction, the Ford Motor Company's laboratories discovered many industrial uses for the soybean. By 1935, a full bushel of soybeans went into the manufacture of each Ford automobile.


»   A car uses 1.6 ounces of gas idling for one minute. Half an ounce is used to start the average automobile.


»   Most automobile trips in the United States are under 5 miles.


»   The initials M.G. on the famous British-made automobile stand for "Morris Garage."


»   The U.S. Automobile Association was formed in 1905 for the purpose or providing "scouts" who could warn motorists of hidden police traps.


»   Almost a quarter of the land area of Los Angeles is taken up by automobiles.


»   More Americans have died in automobile accidents than have died in all the wars ever fought by the United States.


»   Seventy-three percent of Americans are willing to wear clothes until the clothes wear out. The poll conducted by Louis Harris and Associates also revealed: 92 percent are willing to eliminate annual model changes in automobiles; 57 percent are willing to see a national policy that would make it cheaper to live in multiple-unit apartments than in single-family homes; 91 percent are willing to eat more vegetables and less meat for protein.


»   The state with the most automobile miles driven per capita is Delaware, racking up an average of 10,165 miles average annually per person.


»   Fiat stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobile Torino, the name of the Italian manufacturer.


»   In years past, spermaceti oil – from the sperm whale – was used as transmission oil in Rolls-Royce automobiles.


»   It took Henry Ford's Motor Company seven years to manufacture 1 million automobiles. One hundred thirty-two working days after this figure was reached (in 1924), the company had made 9 million more cars.

»   Nevada’s National Automobile Museum's oldest car is an 1892 Philion Road Carriage with a 2-cylinder steam (slide valve) engine. The Road Carriage is one of the oldest, existing American-built automobiles.


»   The first automobile to cross the United States took 52 days in 1903 to travel from San Francisco to New Yor»   Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to ride in an automobile.


»   Warren G. Harding was the first president to ride to his inauguration in an automobile. While in office, he was the first president to visit both Canada and Alaska.


»   Old firehouses have circular staircases because, in the days when horses pulled fire engines and were stabled on the ground floor of fire houses, they figured out how to walk up straight staircases.


»   Pigs are exceedingly loud creatures. A University of Illinois study measured average pig squeals that ranged from 100 to 115 decibels. The supersonic Concorde jet, by comparison, was originally banned from New York when its engines exceeded 112 decibels at takeoff.


»   The enormous livers of basking sharks, which can account for up to one-third of their body weight, produce a valuable oil used to lubricate engines and manufacture cosmetics.


»   U.S. Patent #D219,584 was issued in 1970 to veteran movie actor Steve McQueen. He was famous not only for his movies but also for racing cars and working on engines off-camera as well. A byproduct of his racing hobby was the invention of a bucket seat.


»   No two-cycle engines are allowed in Singapore. The license fee for a new car is small, about $5, but as the vehicle grows older, the fee increases. When the auto reaches 8 years old, it is no longer allowed on the streets. This is opposite of the license-fee structure in the United States. While strict, Singapore's auto law has virtually wiped out air pollution in the country.


»   Gasoline has no specific freezing point – it freezes at any temperature between -180 and -240 degrees Fahrenheit. When gasoline freezes, it never solidifies totally, but resembles gum or wax.


»   The world’s largest oil storage facility is at Ju’aymah in Saudi Arabia, the site of five giant oil tanks that can hold up to 81,232,890 gallons of oil each. If all that oil was gasoline, each tank would have enough fuel for the average car to take 6,000 round trips to the moon.


»   Early models of vacuum cleaners were powered by gasoline.


»   Excluding gasoline, the four basic fluids in a car are motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and wiper fluid.


»   Cats purr at 26 cycles per second, the same as an idling diesel engine.


»   The classic toy wagon was designed by Antonio Pasin, who founded his company in 1918. Pasin wanted to give his wagons a modern flair, and chose the word "radio" for what was then a new form of communication, and "flyer" for the wonder of flight – hence, "Radio Flyer."


»   In every hour that one listens to the radio in the United States, one hears approximately 11,000 spoken words.


»   According to a recent survey, 75 percent of people who play the car radio while driving also sing along with it.


»   Rubber is one of the ingredients of bubble gum. It is the substance that allows the chewer to blow a bubble.


»   Rubber bands were first made by Perry and Co. of London in 1845.


»   Silly Putty started as a mistake in a New Haven laboratory, and turned into a consumer hit in the 1960s by sheer chance. According to engineers, Silly Putty is a self-contradiction. Chemically, it is a liquid, but it resembles a solid. The molecular structure will stretch if the structure is slowly pulled. But if tugged, it snaps apart. The toy has a rebound capacity of 75 to 80 percent, whereas a rubber ball has only about a 50-percent bounce-back. A silicon derivative, Silly Putty won't rot; it can withstand temperatures from -70o F to hundreds degrees above zero. On top of all that, it picks up newsprint, often sharper than the original.


»   The Super Ball® was born in 1965, and it became America's most popular plaything that year. By Christmas time, only six months after it was introduced by Wham-O, 7 million balls had been sold at 98 cents apiece. Norman Stingley, a California chemist, invented the bouncing gray ball. In his spare time, he had compressed a synthetic rubber material under 3,500 pounds of pressure per square inch, and eventually created the remarkable ball. It had a resiliency of 92 percent, about three times that of a tennis ball, and could bounce for long periods. It was reported that presidential aide McGeorge Bundy had five dozen Super Balls® shipped to the White House for the amusement of staffers.


»   The world's first elastic bands made from vulcanized rubber were patented on March 17, 1845, by Stephen Perry of Messrs Perry & Company, London rubber manufacturers.


»   While the bladders of animals had been used as balloons for centuries, the first rubber balloons were made in 1824. Professor Michael Faraday used them in his experiments with hydrogen at London's Royal Institution.


»   Pieces of bread were used to erase lead pencil before rubber came into use.


»   The piece that protrudes from the top end of an umbrella is called a "ferrule." The word "ferrule" is also used to describe the piece of metal that holds a rubber eraser on a pencil.


»   A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber. A ball of solid steel will bounce higher than one made entirely of glass.


»   Henry McKinney, an advertising agent for N.W. Ayer & Son, coined the word "sneaker." The unique-for-the-time term was significant because the shoe's rubber sole made it quiet when worn. All other shoes, except moccasins, were noisy when their wearers walked.


What is Rubber? Bouncy.

What, you ask, is rubber? It is a sticky, elastic solid produced from a milky liquid called "latex," which has different properties than the sap found in trees. Although latex is found in the bark, roots, and stems, branches, leaves, and fruit of over 400 different plants and trees, the bulk is found, and extracted, from the inner bark of the branches, and from the trunk, of the rubber tree. Quite simply, it would not be cost-effective to extract the latex from rubber producing plants, such as the dandelion, the milkweed, and the sagebrush. Just visualize some poor soul laboring over one of these with a syringe!


Rubber, derived from the gum of a tree, has existed since prehistoric times. For example, fossils of rubber-producing plants date back almost 3,000,000 years. Crude rubber balls, discovered in ruins of ancient Incan and Mayan civilizations in Central and in South America, are, at very least, 900 years old. Natives of Southeastern Asia used rubber, prepared from the "juice" of trees to waterproof their baskets and jars. Even Columbus, on his second voyage to the New World, observed Haitian natives playing with balls made from "the gum of a tree."


Latex consists of tiny particles of liquid, solid, or semi-fluid material, that appears in the form of a watery liquor, not to be drunk! The breakdown on this watery liquid is only about 33% rubber, with the remainder being, not surprisingly, water! When the rubber particles in the latex join together, they form a ball of rubber.


Rubber producing plants grow best within 10 degrees of the Equator, where the climate is hot and moist, and the soil is deep and rich. For this reason, the area of about 700 miles on each side of the Equator is known as the "Rubber Belt." Brazil, from whence the best, and top-producing rubber tree hails, is firmly planted within the Rubber Belt. This Latino tree with a Latin name, Hevea brasiliensis, produces approximately 96% of the world's supply of natural rubber, and now is cultivated in other Rubber Belt countries.


Most likely, the French, prior to the 1800s, were the first white men to take advantage of rubbers' elasticity. They manufactured "rubber bands" for use with their garters and their suspenders, to help to keep their pants up. Rubber belts did not exist at that time.


»   The expression "the whole nine yards" comes from WWII aircraft whose ammunition belts were 27 feet long. When a soldier used his entire ammo belt on a target, he exhausted "the whole nine yards."


»   The state of New York instituted the nation's first mandatory seat-belt law on July 12, 1984.


»   The word "grease monkey" comes from the person (usually a young boy) that would crawl up in the rafters to grease all of the pulleys and belts that ran all of the equipment in a blacksmith shop or machine shop.


»   Take a look under the hood? Before they became famous, some entertainers worked as auto mechanics, including Clark Gable, Jay Leno, Sebastian Cabot, and George Peppard.


»   Four-wheel roller skates were invented by James L. Plimpton in 1863.


»   In 1966, Elliot Handler, one of the co-founders of Mattel, Inc. and part of the Barbie® doll empire, was the inventor of Hot Wheels®. Handler experimented with axles and rotating wheels being attached to tiny model cars. The innovative gravity-powered car he developed had special low-friction styrene wheels. Hot Wheels® have been clocked at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.


»   Karl Benz of Germany is credited with inventing the first automobile in 1885. The automobile had an internal combustion engine and three wheels. In 1926, Benz merged his company with that of fellow German auto creator, Gustave Daimler, to form the Mercedes-Benz.


»   The bicycle evolved from a tiny wooden horse with a front wheel that was invented in France in the 1790s. The design was improved in 1817, by Baron Karl von Drais, who developed the steerable front wheel. In 1839, Kirkpatrick Macmillan added pedals.


»   Because of heavy traffic congestion, Julius Caesar banned all wheeled vehicles from Rome during daylight hours.