An Engineer’s Tour of winter

Next time you go skiing, pause to appreciate the fact that you aren’t grabbing hold of an ore bucket tied to a rope and pulley system. Chair lifts made their debut at the Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho in 1936 and became the standard in just a few decades.  Of course nature doesn’t always provide enough snow, but thanks to engineers and the invention of artificial snow, skiing, sledding, tubing and snowboarding are still possible. And if you really want to go old-school, head out to the frozen pond or the rink and put on some skates.  People have been engineering those since 3000 BC.  For a look at inventions that weren’t so successful, check out these 10 failed attempts at winter fun. When the occasion calls for less ice and snow, not more, we call in the snowplows, which have been clearing a path since 1862; though back then, the horsepower came from actual horses. Of course, one invention we all may be grateful for during the winter is indoor heat, and for that, we can thank the Romans — radiators are mentioned in texts from 15AD — and a handful of inventors who are credited with creating versions of the heating radiator in the 1800s.

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