The Rudiments of Wisdom in Young Observer

Does anybody remember a very odd weekly cartoon column in The Observer magazine called ‘The Rudiments of Wisdom’.   One week in 1983, the cartoonist Hunkin told us all about escalators.  How they were invented, how they work and how you could calculate their speed.  All done with very basic cartoons.

So….how do you measure the speed of an escalator according to The Rudiments of Wisdom.  Try this one yourself at a London Underground station or department store.

– Walk in the wrong direction up an escalator remaining at the same position

– Count how many steps you take in ten seconds

– Measure the distance between steps

Speed = Distance over Time


(Number of steps) x (Height of step) divided by (Ten Seconds)

Think that’s right.


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