The other day, I ran across some photos of Fawkes' Aerial Swallow, a circa-1910 monorail built on a ranch in what is now Burbank, California. The site where I found the photos, and a couple of others, referred to the Aerial Swallow as America's first monorail. But, in the comments on that post, several people noted earlier examples that put the Swallow to shame.
The photo above, for instance, is a stereoscope image of General LeRoy Stone's Centennial Monorail, which ferried attendees of the 1876 Centennial Exposition between the Agricultural Hall and the Horticultural Hall. (Thanks to Square for linking me to that one!)
Ten years later, another monorail was operating, this time in the Boston area. And unlike the Centennial Monorail or the Swallow, this one really looked like the Fantasy Steampunk Monorail of Dreams.
Look at the wheel configuration! How badass is that?
Invented by Joe V. Meigs, the Boston monorail was designed for a top speed of 20 miles per hour, and to be able round tight corners without disturbing the passengers inside. The train cars themselves were sleek and rounded. The Scientific American article describing Meigs' monorail goes into a lot of explanation about why the rounded shape was clearly mechanically and practically superior, but you kind of get the impression that, even then, everybody just knew that shape made it look more futuristic and awesome.
According to a 1992 article in The Boston Globe, the Meigs monorail failed not because of technical problems, but because of some literally heated competition—Meigs' test line was the victim of arson and vandalism before it was finally shut down in 1894. (Thanks to Rus Gant!)
If you want more info on early monorails in America, I'd recommend checking out this New York Times Magazine story from May 29, 1910. Suggested by Ironic Sans, the article uses several (mostly European) monorails as examples of the different types of monorail one can build.
In conclusion: MONORAIL!
A group of tech firms will meet today to plan the filing of an amicus brief in support of lawsuit to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban.” Trump’s order was issued on Friday, and restricts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries in which Trump has no business interests. Adjacent Muslim-majority nations in which Trump does […]
The World Economic Forum asked “leaders from business, government, academia and nongovernmental and international organizations” to take a survey on the potential risks and benefits of different emerging technologies. They seemed to think the space technologies will have little benefit and pose little risk. Energy capture, storage, and transmission has the great promise and little […]
The graphene temporary tattoo seen here is the thinnest epidermal electronic device ever and according to the University of Texas at Austin researchers who developed it, the device can take some medical measurements as accurately as bulky wearable sensors like EKG monitors. From IEEE Spectrum: Graphene’s conformity to the skin might be what enables the […]
DJI is the world’s leading designer and producer of easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems. If you’re a drone enthusiast, you want a DJI. If you know absolutely nothing about drones and think they’re weird, if you win a DJI you’re going to become a drone enthusiast.Enter this giveaway (for free, yes) and you’ll get a […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]