Jan162012

Behind the Magic ~ More on Calculating Victorian Travel Times

Calculating travel times, and the weird corners we authors write ourselves into. So, Gentle Reader, I wrote an original post for 1874 all about travel times, train vs. werewolf vs. dirigible vs. horseback. Now I’m in 1852 and technology is much more primitive.

My original post concerned London to Glasgow, a little over 400 miles. Now I’m calculating Exeter to London or there abouts, which is 200 miles driving in modern times (because there it no direct route, as the crow flies it’s more like 160).

So in 1874 it took 4 days (96 hrs) get 400 miles by dirigible (c. 4 mph). Ugh, that’s slow. Why did I write myself into that corner? Oh yes, Alexia had to be on board for a while.

“Giffard’s first flight took place on September 24, 1852. He traveled almost 17 miles (27 kilometers) from the Paris racecourse to Trappes moving approximately 6 miles per hour (10 kilometers/hour).” (From an online source that is no longer available.) But that was with the wind and untroubled by weather.

Now my tech is advanced in Alexia’s world, Giffard is flying the first aetherographic dirigible in the spring of 1852 instead of the first working dirigible ever. But before he came along, flight had to be worse. So I’m making my old school dirigible fly at 2 mph. That’s about 80 hours, plus some extras for shilly-shallying. So . . . 4 days. Its amazing how much time it took me to figure this out.

Just goes to show, pay attention in math, you never know when you are going to need it.

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Posted by Gail Carriger

 

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