The measurement we use to mark distances – a mile – has a very interesting history.
In some areas of Europe, the mile could have been as long as 10 Kilometers – more than six miles. There are several other lengths, some of which we still use today. A statute mile measures out at 5280 feet, yet a nautical mile equals 6076 feet. Thus, you get different measurements when looking at speeds. A boat traveling at 50 miles per hour is hitting 43 knots. Confusing, eh?
The origin of the term came from the days when the Roman armies marched through Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa as they built their Empire. As those soldiers marched to far away battlefields, commanders needed a way to gauge how far they were from home base, and how much more they had to travel to get to their new posts. So, as the solders marched, each thousandth pace was noted as one mile (think millimeter.. 1,000 of those suckers make up a meter). Since the average Roman soldier’s pace was about five feet, a mile measured out to about 5,000 feet. The Romans were also excellent record keepers, and this distance became a standard in the ancient world, helping guide travelers for the past 2,000 plus years.
Today,I am posting my thousandth post on Tom’s Workbench. What seemed like a goal waaaaaay off in the distance back in August of 2007 is now here, and I often wonder how I have made it this far.
No doubt, you have read enough of the early days of the blog. I have spent the past two months throwing bouquets to the folks who have helped make the blog what it is today. I have meant every word of those articles. Sincerely. There were several times during the early days when I asked myself, “Why keep going?” Each of those people at one time has helped me put one foot in front of the other, keeping the blog’s slow and steady pace.
There is another group of folks that I didn’t have a chance to thank yet – the most important ones. Each of you. Sure, if I had no readers every day, I’d still probably be out there putting up post after post for my own personal enjoyment. But, sharing this journey with each of you has helped to make this a far more enjoyable trip. I have had folks walk up to me at woodworking shows and energetically shake my hand, happy to have met a ‘celebrity.’
In reality, it’s me who is far more excited to meet you! I mean, you suffer through what passes for content on this site, and you do it willingly! There’s a sainthood in it for you somewhere!
While today’s post is a big milestone, it’s not the end of anything. I’m reminded of a question my friend Scott Morton asked me at Allan Lindsey’s dining table near the end of Woodworking in America 2011: What are your goals for the blog?
Talk about your loaded questions! Of course, I would love for my blog to make a million dollars for me so I could quit my day job and woodwork full time. Yeah. That will happen about when Iggy gets his PhD and takes a rocket to the Moon. Instead, I want to keep offering my quirky insights into this somewhat maddening yet incredibly rewarding craft. I’m sure I will still make mistakes. And, yes, I’ll make decisions that you will look at and wonder if I have possibly lost my mind. I might even build some nice looking furniture and have you gawk in amazement that all of the pieces actually came together.
Regardless of what the next posts have in store, I’m glad to have each of you along for the ride.
Thank you for everything you have done.
Now, what to write about for Wednesday..