Researchers have been unable to pinpoint the precise calendar origin of automotive brakes, but the best evidence suggests the Stone Age, which spans nearly 3.5 million years. Fortunately, a series of 166 22-minute animated documentaries that aired on national television from 1960 to 1966 provided a detailed account of how those first automotive brakes worked.
The series spotlighted the daily life of Fred Flintstone, the primary driver, who—en route to and from his daily job at Slate Rock and Gravel—drove an open-air, open-floor four-passenger vehicle that used large rolling cylindrical rocks front and rear. When he needed to stop, Flintstone simply lowered his heels to the ground, and the car halted, often in a cloud of dust and frequently preceded or followed by a call of “Yabba dabba doo!” Decades of linguists have been unable to accurately translate this, but it could be taken to mean, “Ouch! When is someone going to invent an automotive brake that doesn’t take
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