The world of the very small is a fascinating one. Some things are created small through circumstance, they’re tiny because they have to be. Others are small for the novelty of it or to break records. Others still are tiny purely by chance. Did you know you can get a gun as small as a house key, or a twin engine plane that weighs as much as an adult man? Let’s take a look at a variety of the world’s smallest stuff.
World's Smallest Park
The world’s tiniest park is located in the middle of a road in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. It's name is Mills Ends Park and it was created in 1948, affectionately nicknamed ‘the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland’. Originally built for a light pole, weeds began to appear, so some flowers were planted in the circular opening instead. As the local legend goes, a man saw a leprechaun digging a hole in the park, grabbed it and made a wish. That wish being for a park of his very own. The park has gone through various changes over the years, as well as hosting little green army figures as part of the ‘Occupy Portland’ movement. The park has a diameter of just 61cm (2 feet) and would fit comfortably on most stove tops.
World's Smallest Gun
Created by the Austrian company Gerhard Gobharter, the world’s smallest pistol is 4cm long and 2cm high, roughly the size of a house key. First created in 1905, the guns are put together from fifteen tiny parts and are commonly called Berloque pistols. The gun won’t pack enough punch to kill however, it is designed purely to fire either blanks or flares during celebrations and festivals.
World's Smallest Hotel
The smallest hotel in the world currently is the Eh'hausl Hotel in Amberg, Germany. It measures just 8 feet (2.4m) wide and has a total floor area of 53 square meters. It has a maximum capacity of just two guests at any one time, so won’t be hosting any conferences any time soon. The original building was built in 1728 as a piece of real estate that could be purchased by a couple in order to get married (you had to own property to be wed in those days). Despite its miniscule width, its height allows a bedroom, sitting room, bathroom and a fireplace. There are no permanent staff and the hotel is considered luxurious.
World's Smallest Roadworthy Car
The Wind Up is currently the world’s smallest roadworthy car. It measures just over 1m high, 1.3m long and 66cm wide. Created by Peter Watkins from Buckinghamshire, U.K., the car looks strikingly similar to Postman Pat’s famous postal van and boasts an impressive 150cc engine. It also includes windscreen wipers, seatbelts, front and rear lights and a mini steering wheel. While it is entirely drivable, it is made mainly for children as a normal sized adult barely fits inside.
World's Smallest Tree
The smallest known tree is the Dwarf Willow, which grows mainly in the arctic and subarctic regions of the world. It is biologically a species of creeping willow, and appears as little more than a cluster of leaves around a small stem. It is dioecious, which means there are both males and females, as such the appearance of the tree can vary widely in colour. The Dwarf Willow will grow no taller than 6cm (2.3 inches), about the height of a match stick standing vertically.
World's Smallest Horse
What do you get when you combine dwarfism with an already miniature version of a horse? Thumbelina is what – the world’s smallest horse at just 43cm tall, not much bigger than a large cat. Born in St Louis, Missouri in 2001, Thumbelina lives out her days on a farm called Goose Creek with other tiny horses. Her parents were also miniature horses but did not suffer from dwarfism. Generally, dwarf animals suffer from a number of medical ailments, but Thumbelina is 13 years old at the time of writing and remains perfectly healthy.
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World's Smallest Twin Engine Aircraft
The Cri-cri created by French engineer Michel Colomban is the tiniest twin engine plane in the world. First built in 1973, it is now available as a buildable kit (called the Zenair Cricket), though there are barely more than 100 airworthy planes in the world. It features a bubble canopy, three-wheel landing gear, a stock top speed of 220km/h and a flying range of 750km (speed and range depend on the varying models). Some of the planes have been modified with jet or electric engines to increase speed as high as 262km/h. The empty Cri-cri weighs just 78 kilograms, has a length of just 3.9m and a wingspan of 4.9m.
World's Smallest Dog
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the world’s smallest dog is a Chihuahua and her name is Miracle Milly. Born in Puerto Rico in 2011, the three year old dog is just 9.65cm (3.8 inches) tall and weighs 500 grams. She can be held comfortably in one hand and could fit in a teaspoon when she was born. In fact, she was so small at birth she had to be fed with an eyedropper – her mouth was too small for the mother’s teat. She enjoys salmon and chicken, and thrives on the attention of people. Remarkably, Milly is not the smallest dog of all time – that honour goes to a Yorkshire terrier named Sylvia who died in 1945. Sylvia stood just 6.3cm (2.8 inches) high when fully grown, shorter than a pack of cigarettes.
World's Smallest Cannon
Joseph Brooks from Florida created the world’s smallest cannon in 2006. It measures just 3.2 cm (1.3 in) in length, 2.2 cm (0.86 in) in width and 1.6 cm (0.62 in) in height and is entirely functional. Built from wood, iron, steel and brass, it fires tiny steel balls using black powder as a propellant. The cannon packs quite a punch for its size, capable of firing through CDs, bottles of vodka and computer monitors. The entire cannon and ammunition could just about fit inside a matchbox.
World's Smallest Guided Missile
The Spike missile created by the US Navy is the world’s tiniest guided missile. Designed for use in handheld launchers, it found its home in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Spike weighs just 2.3kg (5 pounds) and comes with a fully functioning electro-optical imaging sensor and laser guidance. Each missile costs $50,000 USD and has a diameter of just 2.5 inches. While its top speed and firing range are classified, it can hit a target as small as a bicycle from miles away – standard UAV practice. It is ideally suited for destroying small targets with minimal collateral damage.