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March 31, 2023

Wheels WITHOUT Wheels, 1954

Wheels whirred wonderingly in the fertile imagination of Greek inventor Elie Aghnides, 14 years ago, as he contemplated the bull-like tactics of a caterpillar tractor muscling dirt around in New York City’s Central Park. Inventor Aghnides, best known for his Aerator water faucet attachment, was unhappy as he thought about the tremendous horsepower that was wasted by these tracked vehicles. They lumbered down the highways at a relatively slow 25 mph and even then their rubber treads broke easily. Wheeled vehicles, on the other hand, whizzed over the roads but bogged down in mud or on rocks.

Aghnides wondered why he couldn’t combine in one vehicle the best features of track and wheel. The result, in 1954, was the amazing Rhino. This rugged mechanical beast of burden can go just about anywhere— through swamps, mud or snow, over mountains, into forests where trucks would be hopelessly entangled. On the highway, thanks to its ingeniously designed wheels, it can bowl along at 45 mph. Someday, thinks inventor Aghnides, it may even clip along at 70.

Rhino’s tilting hemispheroidal wheels adjust to variable heights on uneven terrain.

Aghnides displays early models of his five-ton creation. Small one is his first model. Large one is more like the present full-size prototype.

Huge and powerful prototype Rhino weighs about 10,000 pounds. It is powered by a six-cylinder Ford industrial engine of 110 hp at 3.000 rpm.

Rugged vehicle charges through thick river bot-tom ooze. Its watertight body, hemispheroidal wheels permit easy passage through shoal waters.

In deep water it is propelled and steered by a Kermath Hydrojet unit which enables it to turn in its own length. It floats on hollow wheels.

Engineers discovered that even at 75 degree angle, Rhino wouldn’t tip over. Stability is due to low center of gravity and shape of its wheels.

Rubber cleats set at right angles to main rubber driving tread for optimum traction have been put on both the front and rear spheres.


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