Fine photos of America's first monorail, 1910


17 Responses to “Fine photos of America's first monorail, 1910”

  1. bjacques says:


    First I need a really big yard…

  2. InsertFingerHere says:

    As construction continues for a 2nd summer on our only link of Bus Rapid Transit here in Winnipeg. It leads from (almost)
    Downtown to an area about half-way where it SHOULD go (our large university). The Mayor had blank cheques from the province and Feds, but he’s pissed that away on his own pet projects. Then he says rail is what we should be building, not Bus roads. We had such an opportunity here and now not even City planners know what comes next.

    Good for Burbank, at least they had something tangible.

  3. muteboy says:

    Boondoggle! Pork! Reason Foundation!

  4. Baron Karza says:

    Seems to me that’s a hanging gondola car, not a monorail. Monorails, well they ride on a big single rail, don’t they?

  5. LILemming says:

    1910? First? Third, maybe.

    Boynton ran “bicycle railroads” in Coney Island and Patchogue in the 1890s.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As others have noted this is far from the first monorail. For the first I submit the Meigs Elevated Railway which was an experimental steam-powered monorail invented by Joe V. Meigs of Lowell, Massachusetts, built in 1886 in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was built on land abutting Bridge Street, now Monsignor O’Brien Highway. A nice image on Wikipedia here:

  7. Ironic Sans says:

    As others have noted, monorails predated this example. In fact the May 29, 1910 edition of the New York Times Sunday Magazine ran an article about the world’s existing “monorail-roads” which they describe as falling into four classes:

    1) Cars in single file suspended from a single overhead rail
    2) Pairs of cars suspended side-by-side over a single rail like saddlebags
    3) Cars run on a single rail on the ground, like half a railroad, and have wide arms attached to horses for power and stability
    4) Cars run on a single rail on the ground, and are stabilized by gyroscopes

    You can find the article at

  8. Jake0748 says:

    From the closer pictures it looks like it runs about 3 feet off the ground, and is pulled (or pushed) along by a spinning propeller. What could go wrong?

  9. brian rutherford says:

    Back in the 1930s we had the less glamorous Bennie Railplane in my hometown.

  10. grandmapucker says:

    the ring came off my pudding can

  11. Lyle Lanley says:

    Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth
    Like a genuine,
    Bona fide,
    What’d I say?


  12. Michael says:

    Not really a new concept by 1911. The suspended Wuppertal Schwebebahn was in operation by 1900

  13. Square says:

    Wasn’t Philadelphia the site of America’s first monorail? The 1876 Centennial Exposition had one.

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