Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stepped Platform Railway (1890)

These images of a moving sidewalk of the future ran in an 1890 issue of Scientific American. A moving sidewalk very similar to this was actually built for the 1900 Paris Exposition. You can even watch film of the sidewalk in action, shot by Thomas Edison. The images below can also be found in the excellent book Victorian Inventions by Leonard De Vries.

See also:
Moving Sidewalk (1900)
Moving Sidewalk Mechanics (1900)
Gardens of Glowing Electrical Flowers (1900)


Anonymous said...

I first read about this idea in a sci-fi story, sort of a Polish version of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". Or one-man version of "1634", if you prefer.

Anyway, the idea sounded great to me at the time -- no waiting for a subway car, for instance. But the power that would be required for even a small system must be enormous -- having to keep all that infrastructure continuously moving.

Matt said...

Heinlein wrote a great short story called "The Roads Must Roll" that takes this idea to the extreme.

Well worth reading.

Janet said...

Asimov's Caves of Steel also had moving sidewalks as the main form of mass transportation. As well as an android that Star Trek copied shamelessly for Data.

Will Cubbedge said...


That story was turned into an episode of either "X Minus One" or "Dimension X" back in the day.