Did You Know? The Odometer Was Invented In Beloit, Wisconsin.
This is a great example of why we need these "stupid" holidays.
So first of all, I highly recommend reading this Atlantic piece about the recent boom in "National ______ Day."
I hope you're sitting down for this. It turns out it's mostly financially motivated.
It started In 1984 with President Ronald Reagan:
[Reagan] declared ice cream a "nutritious and wholesome food" to help the dairy industry, since he was already trying to find a way to get rid of a surplus of 500 million pounds of cheese. In the years since, sales of ice cream have spiked on this day.
That was recognized by the government and is a "real" day. The rest of these like National Avocado Day and National Waffle Day? Pretty much the equivalent of a Hallmark holiday.
None of this is particularly shocking or even untoward. It's pretty cool that random industries around the country are receiving these little mini-bursts of attention and revenue when their turn on the calendar turns up.
Then you get a seemingly random day like "odometer" day and can't figure out why. If you head over to the nationaldaycalendar.com website and check out their odometer page, they'll tell you exactly why there's an odometer day.
National Odometer Day on May 12th each year provides an opportunity to learn a little bit about the odometer.
And they're absolutely right. It is a chance to learn about the odometer and that's exactly what I did when it mentioned later in the article that it was invented in Beloit, Wisconsin.
Arthur P. and Charles H. Warner of Beloit, Wisconsin developed the first odometer for the automobile which appeared in 1903 and was patented as the Aturo-Meter.
I did a little more digging and it turns out that the Warner brothers (no relation, I think) invented more than just the odometer. According to the Henry Ford Museum website, they are also responsible for a much more important instrument, the speedometer:
Brothers Arthur and Charles Warner developed their "auto-meter," or speedometer, in the early years of the 1900s. Speedometers in these first automotive days were optional equipment.
There's no "Speedometer" Day so thankfully "Odometer" Day was here to educate us all.
Random facts. They're pretty cool sometimes.
P.S. Shoutout to my dad's old Mazda 626.
That's not it, but it's exactly what it looked like. He bought it brand new in 1989. I started driving it in the early 2000s when it had around 140,000 miles on it. It eventually died on me with 276,000 about 7 years later. Great car. Power windows. manual transmission, digital radio, sunroof, cruise control. It was loaded. It was eventually donated to the Loves Park Fire Department so they could practice putting out car fires. She went out in a blaze of glory. RIPIP.
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