The Meigs Elevated Railway

Occasionally, in my wanderings throughout the internet, I stumble across some piece of weird Victorian technology that upon first glance seems better suited for a science fiction novel of the time. Like, for example, the various steam powered contraptions I featured here a while ago that actually worked. They’re part of the larger “road not taken” as steam power was replaced with electricity and diesel.

One such invention caught me particularly by surprise, The Meigs Elevated Railway was among the first monorails to be created in the United States. An article from Scientific American published on July 10, 1886 features the Meigs Elevated Railway and explains how it was constructed and works.

I was a bit surprised to realize that the history of monorails went so far back. The images associated with this article look like they were pulled straight from a period novel, too.

If you find yourself interested in these old articles, you’ll be facinated to know that this article was pulled from a much larger Catskill Archive which preserves all sorts of information pertaining to the history of the Catskill Mountains. Be sure to visit the archives.

The Victorian Futurist’s Monorail

For all of you with young Steampunks in the home, or for those (like me) who never really grew out of Legos and K’Nex, today’s post is indeed squee-worthy.

Hammacher Schlemmer has put out a Victorian Futurist’s Monorail, a 550 piece train set for your assembly and enjoyment. Putting it together would be fun in and of itself, but it comes with a length of track for it to go buzzing about on. This would be a very impressive addition around the walls of a Steampunk’s study. I imagine it chugging along across the tops of book shelves and cabinets.

The elevated track can run as long as 20 looping feet over a 25′ sq. area, with the included traction tape enabling cars to climb up to 30º grades. Predictably, batteries are not included.

You can order your set of the Victorian Futurist’s Monorail here.