National Odometer Day | May 12
(Last Updated On: May 9, 2023)


National Odometer Day on May 12th each year provides an opportunity to learn a little bit about the odometer.


An odometer is an instrument that indicates the distance traveled by a vehicle. It may be electronic, mechanical or a combination of both. The word odometer comes from the Greek words hodos meaning path or gateway and metron, meaning measure. In some countries, an odometer is called a mileometer, kilometer, or tripometer.

Odometers were first developed in the 1600s for wagons and other horse-drawn vehicles to measure distances traveled. Arthur P. and Charles H. Warner of Beloit, Wisconsin developed the first odometer for the automobile which appeared in 1903 and was patented as the Auto-Meter.

The brothers would also patent other items including a tachometer, paper making machine, electric brake, and power clutch. At one point their business, Stewart-Warner Speedometer corporation developed a thermometer for the motor. However, they faced a lawsuit for patent infringement which they ultimately lost.

Arthur Warner was one of the earliest pilots in America. His engineering curiosity led him to assemble and eventually fly a Curtiss Pusher airplane.

While technology has changed greatly since 1903, the odometer continues to track how far we have traveled. It also tells us how far we go in a single trip. Other gauges monitor fuel consumption and oil pressure, speed, and RPMs.


Whether your odometer is at 0 or 999,999, this day is for new and classic car enthusiasts, too. Use #NationalOdometerDay to post on social media.


While National Day Calendar continues to research this technology related holiday, we’ll check the tires and look under the hood for more information to share.


May 12th Celebrated History


The infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh is found dead ten weeks after being abducted from his home.


The United States Patent Office issued patent No. 2,040,248 for the Dvorak typewriter keyboard. According to its inventors, August Dvorak and William Dealey, the arrangement of the keys allowed for an increase in efficiency over the QWERTY keyboard design. However, the Dvorak keyboard never replaced the QWERTY keyboard despite many studies that support an increase (if minimal) in speed and efficiency.


King George VI’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey, London.


Former President Jimmy Carter visited Cuba. He was the first U.S. president in or out of office to visit the Caribbean country since the 1959 revolution.

May 12th Celebrated History

Florence Nightingale – 1820

Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English, social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She became well-known while taking care of the wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Nightingale was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” because of her habit of making rounds at night.

Baron Clemens von Pirquet – 1874

In 1908, the Austrian physician published his diagnostic skin test for identifying the presence of tuberculosis.

Katherine Hepburn – 1907

Katharine Hepburn shunned the traditional starlet roles of Hollywood. Her bold attitude and strong will stole the stage. At a time when women rarely held the reins in Hollywood, Hepburn steered a prolific career with twelve Academy Award nominations and four wins.

Yogi Berra – 1925

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” ~ Yogi Berra

Born Lawrence Peter Berra, the American professional catcher played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball. As a player, Berra spent most of his career with the New York Yankees shifting into a management position. In 1965, he joined the Mets, temporarily coming out of retirement to play once more. His phenomenal career is highlight by 13 World Series championships as a player, manager, and coach.

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