The Rhino: An Inventor’s Visionary Solution for Off-Road and Highway Transportation From The 1950s

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

Back in 1954, inventor Elie Aghnides was struck by an idea that would revolutionize the way we think about off-road vehicles. As he watched a caterpillar tractor muscling dirt around in New York City’s Central Park, he couldn’t help but wonder why such a powerful machine was limited to a maximum speed of 25 mph and plagued by frequent tread breaks.


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.

Aghnides, best known for his Aerator water faucet attachment, set out to combine the best features of tracked and wheeled vehicles into one machine. The result was the Rhino, a rugged mechanical beast of burden capable of going just about anywhere – through swamps, mud, snow, mountains, and forests where trucks would be hopelessly entangled.

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.

But the Rhino wasn’t just a specialized off-road vehicle. Thanks to its ingeniously designed wheels, it could travel on highways at speeds of up to 45 mph, making it a versatile transportation solution for a variety of industries.

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

Although the Rhino was a major breakthrough in vehicle design, Aghnides never stopped dreaming of even greater possibilities. He envisioned the Rhino one day reaching speeds of 70 mph, a feat that was once considered impossible for a vehicle of its size and capabilities.

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.

Today, the Rhino continues to be a symbol of innovation and progress, inspiring inventors and engineers to push the boundaries of what’s possible. It stands as a testament to the power of imagination and the endless potential of human creativity.

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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