Today on Days to remember we celebrate how on May 12TH 1847, a fellow by the name of William Clayton invented the odometer.
What is an odometer?
An odometer or odograph is an instrument that indicates distance traveled by a vehicle, such as a bicycle or automobile. The device may be electronic, mechanical, or a combination of the two. The noun derives from the Greek words hodós (“path” or “gateway”) and métron (“measure”).
The odometer believe it or not has been around for centuries, from as far back as Alexander the Great.
However William Clayton is credited with inventing a version of the modern odometer, during this trip across the plains from Missouri to Utah, with the help of apostle and mathematician Orson Pratt.
Clayton was assigned to record the number of miles the company traveled each day.
This was accomplished by tying a red flag onto one of the wagon wheels, and counting the revolutions.
After three weeks, Clayton tired of personally counting the revolutions of a wagon wheel and computing the day’s distance by multiplying the count by the wheel’s circumference.
After consulting with Pratt, he developed a design consisting of a set of wooden cog wheels attached to the hub of a wagon wheel, with the mechanism “counting” or recording by position the revolutions of the wheel.
The apparatus was built by the company’s carpenter Appleton Milo Harmon. Clayton’s journal records: “About noon today Brother Appleton Harmon completed the machinery on the wagon called a ‘roadometer’ by adding a wheel to revolve once in ten miles, showing each mile and also each quarter mile we travel, and then casing the whole over so as to secure it from the weather.” The “roadometer” was first used on the morning of May 12, 1847.
Who was William Clayton?
William H. Clayton was born on July 17, 1814 and died on December 4, 1879) he was an early leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and acted as a clerk and scribe to the Mormon religious leader Joseph Smith.
Clayton, born in England, is recognized as an American pioneer journalist, scribe, inventor, lyricist and musician, but is best known for his invention of the odometer.
As we celebrate how on May 12TH 1847, a fellow by the name of William Clayton invented the odometer.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell