I'm not sure whether or not this was an April Fool's Day joke. I found it in the Mar 31, 1934 issue of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung
, which contained quite a few April Fool spoof articles, such as the "Loch Ness Monster Captured"
article that I posted about recently.
But this feature about a new starting gate for sprinters... I just don't know.
I've never heard of such a thing before. But on the other hand, it sounds kinda plausible. In fact, some googling revealed that the Ancient Greeks used a starting gate for sprinters, which they called a husplex.
However, I can't find any references to this 1934 invention other than this story in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung
. So I'm posting it here in the hope that others might weigh in with an opinion.
Here's a transcription of the German text:
Startmaschine jetzt auch für Menschen.
Bein den Kurzstrecken entscheiden Bruchteile von Sekunden. Um eine Kontrolle über gleichmäßigen Start zu haben, hat man jetzt in Stamford Bridge in England eine Bänderstartmaschine konstruiert. Im Augenblick des Startschusses schnellen die Bänder hoch... die Bahn ist frei. Geht ein Läufer zu früh vom Start, dann fängt er sich in den Bändern.
And my rough translation (with some help from Google translate):
Starting machine now also for people.
Short sprinting races can be decided by fractions of seconds. In order to ensure an even start, there has now been created a tape-start machine in Stamford Bridge, England. At the moment of the starting shot, the tape rises high ... the path is clear. If a runner starts too early, then he catches himself in the tape.