1886 Meigs Elevated Railway: 227 feet of BS

KorbenDallas

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The Meigs Elevated Railway was an experimental steam-powered monorail invented by Josiah V. Meigs of Lowell, Massachusetts. He wrote an extensive explanation of how the railway worked, complete with diagrams and statistics, which was published in 1887. The weight of the train was carried on a 22 inch gauge track. The train was balanced by an additional set of horizontal wheels which operated against a second set of rails 42 inches above the load carrying rails.

Josiah Meigs
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1840-1907

Josiah Vincent Meigs, 1840-1907, was an inventor, widely known for the Meigs Elevated Railway built in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1880s. Josiah Meigs was born and grew up in Tennessee, was an apprentice to his brother James, an engineer; and also served in the Union Army before moving to Massachusetts in 1866.
  • Will appreciate any help finding more info on Mr. Meigs, for this is all I was able to find.
  • The guy died in 1907. Where is his photograph?
  • Joe Meigs built his elevated railway to demonstrate the benefits and capabilities of a monorail under widely varying circumstances. A 227-foot demonstration line was built in 1886 in East Cambridge, Massachusetts on land abutting Bridge Street, now Monsignor O'Brien Highway. Never expanded, it ran until 1894.
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  • The trial road, beginning at the shops of the company on Bridge Street (now Gore and Monsignor O'Brien Highway), East Cambridge, had one curve of 50 feet radius, 165 feet long, on a grade of 120 feet, and on level and curves has grades of 240 feet, 300 feet, and 345 feet. Everything has worked in the most satisfactory manner, the train rounding the exceedingly sharp curves easily, and mounting the steep grades without trouble.
  • A fire, supposedly of an incendiary nature, broke out on the night of Feb. 4, 1887, and destroyed Meigs's car sheds along with the experimental coach and tender and severely damaged the locomotive.
  • KD: This "supposedly incendiary in nature" fire happened in 1887, and destroyed the "experimental" coach. What did run on this 227 foot line until 1894?
  • Meigs Elevated Railway - Tons of details in there
Meigs_Elevated_train.jpg


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Opinions
Does this look like an experimental 1886 system? They even came up with window curtains to experiment with. Scroll up to the very first image showing experimental 227 feet, which look a bit longer than 227 feet to me. What part of those 227 feet is this segment below?

meigs-elevated_philly-city-council003.jpg

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After the Fire
This photo shows the extensive fire damage to a Meigs Elevated train car. Men are seen inside the damaged car, possibly (lol) investigating the incident.

Joe_Meigs'_test_train_after fire damage_1.jpg

Source
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KD: As you can see, we do not really have much info, neither on the monorail, nor on its creator. Most importantly we do not have any evident Research & Development which could lead to the creation of this "experimental" train.

Obviously, I only have my observations of the train photographs, the lack of info on the designer, the totality of circumstances and no proof but... am I the only one who thinks that this train was not an experimental model? In my opinion, this could be a fully developed, and working model created by somebody unknown who belonged to the society we so desperately trying to figure out. In 1887 they considered re-using it, but for whatever reason it did not materialize.
Sources:
Related:
 

jd755

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The after fire picture looks fake to my eyes. Putting people in the caved in bit for example, three to give the viewer the size of the cave in but also they distract the eye because we are built to look for faces first at least our optic processing is.
Looks like an Airstream on rails which is polished aluminium or stainless steel (cannot remember which) was either available to skin this thing?
How did he cool the steam engine as streamlined steam locomotives over worked well enough but were always prone to overheating so if speed wasn't vital the streamlining wasn't used in the designs.
It brings to mind that German steam locomotive at the St Louis Expo, if memory serves, completely enclosed. Were they actually compressed air machines made to appear steam powered?
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Interesting that most of the images in this book, are the ones we have above as photographs. Would be cool to get the remaining photographs.
 

jd755

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Yes saw that track picture and to me it looks drawn in, I really am becoming more cynical by the day, it seems but there it is.
It was called the Cambridge Monorail and these two sites have tales of it.
The Cambridge monorail that wasn’t - The Boston Globe courtesy of duckduckgo
Experimental Monorail at Cambridge, Meigs Elevated Railway News, February 26, 1888 courtesy of giberu

From the former;
At 4 a.m. on the morning of February 4, Meigs wrote at the end of his book, “an incendiary fire burned the greater part of the shed containing my engine, tender, and car. But for the police and fire departments my whole train would have been destroyed by the intensity of the fire built around it. As it was, ‘the most magnificent car ever built’ was melted down by the furnace into which it was thrust. Its metal plates were melted down and the little wood and upholstering burned out.”

Well that rules out stainless and its frankly amazing that all of the wood in the train and the building didn't burn from the dripping metal and even more amazing the wood or coal or possibly oil in the locomotives tender didn't go up as well. Certainly the falling roof didn't seem to do much damage to the thing. I wonder why the tender needed windows down its sides, as for folks sitting or standing inside the locomotives streamlinng cage, fantasy if standing alongside a fired up steam locomotive at a platform is any guide.

The other site is actually an 1888 newspaper article here it is in full.
Note that in 1888 it is Captain Meigs a title dropped in this century's reportage, just find it interesting and worthy of note.

THE ELEVATED ROAD EXPERIMENT AT CAMBRIDGE.
"If the people of Boston only half appreciated the possibilities of rapid travel between their homes in the suburbs and their places of business, as demonstrated by Captain MEIGS at Cambridge, they would not long be content to put up with their present poor facilities in that respect.

The consolidation of the street railroads has not mended matters much, and in some respects the old regime was better than the new. And this is not saying that the managers of the consolidated lines have not made a square attempt to improve our horse car service. The hard-pan fact will have to be recognized all round before long, for it is already clear to the average citizen, that, whether under consolidated or competing management, the problem of how to run enough horse cars between the center and the suburban circumference of Boston to take all her people in and out as often and as quickly as they want to go is impossible of solution. It cannot be done. There are too many people to be carried over too few tracks, in too few horse cars, and through far too narrow streets, for it ever to be done. You can stop the blockades by lessening the number of cars that you run; but that is no remedy, for the people want about all the cars that were ever run, and every year they are going to want more. You can change routes and say that cars which used to come all the way to Scollay square and Cornhill shall circle instead around Summer street, but that is not carrying thousands of people as far as they want to go; it relieves the streets a little, crowds the other cars that do go further down a great deal, and promotes the general health by making walking compulsory. But that is not accommodating the people.

Before long it will have to be admitted that Boston's only way out is by elevated roads connecting her many populous suburbs with her business center. Development and progress demand that we take this step forward, and the experimental section of elevated railway, built by Captain MEIGS under the very restricted charter given to him by the Legislature of 1884, shows conclusively to every one who has intelligently examined it that we can provide Boston with elevated railroads that will give the people the largest measure of accommodation, quicker travel than is enjoyed by the people of any other city, under far safer conditions, with the smallest obstruction of the streets, and consequently with the least damage to property along the line.

Look for a moment at what has actually been proved to the satisfaction of the highest experts in engineering, including General GEORGE STARK, the expert appointed, under the act of 1884, to examine the MEIGS experimental road for the state of Massachusetts. Out at East Cambridge, on made land, with soft mud 12 feet deep underneath it, a single-post structure, supporting a single line of girders, has been built so strong as to stand the severest tests. One of the longer girders, 46 feet long, and its lower boom, about 18 feet above the surface of the ground, was loaded with a weight equivalent to 60 tons of distributed weight on the girder, greatly in excess of any weight that ever could be put upon it by a moving train, and bore it without the slightest indication of weakness. A side pressure was brought to bear on the girder equal to the force of a hurricane blowing 110 miles an hour, and that it also resisted without being pulled sideways. There is no question that a single post line built on this model would be indestructible by anything short of a great catastrophe in nature.

The track at East Cambridge has been purposely built with very sharp curves, turning at one point almost at right angles, and with steep grades, rising as high as 345 feet to the mile. On an ordinary double track railway no train could climb such grades, nor turn such curves without being derailed and wrecked. Yet hundreds of passengers have been carried over these high grades and round these sharp curves at a speed of over 20 miles an hour. The crowning feature of Captain MEIGS’ railway, however, is yet to be stated. The trucks on which the car rests are made to straddle the girder, so that if every one of the bearing-wheels were to come off, the truck would still remain astride the girder. The train could not by any conceivable accident short of an earthquake or a cyclone, be derailed. The bearing wheels revolve at an angle of 45 degrees from the vertical plane, are grooved so as to bear both downward and inward on the rail, and each wheel turns on its own independent axle, fixed in the iron jaw of the truck, at right angles to the plane of the wheel. The straining of axles and the slipping or wheels on curves are thus entirely prevented. The experimental train has been actually run over the track with one wheel removed, and its absence made no perceptible difference to the motion; the truck with one wheel removed, and its absence made no perceptible difference to the motion; the truck did not tip in the least. A section of the supporting rail was removed, and the train run over the gap; no accident resulted, for none could result there from, as the car simply dropped about two inches, and slid along on the upper boom as securely as if on its wheels. Here then, is an absolutely safe elevated road, on which no accident can occur by breaking down of the girders, derailment of trains, loss of wheels, or any other of the common causes of disaster on such roads.

Add to these signal merits these further advantages: That the whole structure is so slight as to offer very little obstruction to light; that it takes up less room in the street by one-half than the New York L lines; and that it makes far less noise in passing than the same number of horse cars (which is the proven fact). If the MEIGS elevated system was introduced in Boston the people could ride from their homes to the city, a distance of 4-1/2 miles, say from Harvard square to Bowdoin square, or from Dorchester to Scollay square, in 12 minutes.

The people of Boston need this advance in their travelling facilities. It means the saving of millions of wasted hours for them, and "time is money" in this age of the world, as it never was before. But they cannot get it until the Legislature gives the MEIGS constructors a fair and reasonable charter, under which the necessary capital can be secured. At present the absurdly restricted charter of 1884 blocks the way. Why not start a popular movement by public meetings and petitions, to make the Legislature understand that Boston is in earnest for rapid transit? Twelve minutes from the city to any of its suburbs for a five-cent fare! We can have it if we insist upon it."

— C.K. Earl
— Boston Globe, February 8, 1888


And more piccies on here and engravings of pictures, wonder which came first?
A Genuine, Bonafide, Non-Electrified Monorail!

Ooops forgot the engraving!
meigs4-1.png

Turns out our rapid transit entrepreneur was a former gunsmith: Joe Vincent Meigs

Yet another example of characters who seem to completely change direction during their lives, like the street cable car system designer who was a former wine producer in France, his name escapes me, and some of the reformation mapmakers. Was Julius a grocer before he was made emperor?

Just read through this thread again and the following leapt off of the page, nothing to do with the subject matter really but my god it is a revelation.

The people of Boston need this advance in their travelling facilities. It means the saving of millions of wasted hours for them, and "time is money" in this age of the world, as it never was before.
 
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Onijunbei

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just hike this one up to another "energy barron" getting rid of more efficient technology.
 

ISeenItFirst

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Yes saw that track picture and to me it looks drawn in, I really am becoming more cynical by the day, it seems but there it is.
It was called the Cambridge Monorail and these two sites have tales of it.
The Cambridge monorail that wasn’t - The Boston Globe courtesy of duckduckgo
Experimental Monorail at Cambridge, Meigs Elevated Railway News, February 26, 1888 courtesy of giberu

From the former;
At 4 a.m. on the morning of February 4, Meigs wrote at the end of his book, “an incendiary fire burned the greater part of the shed containing my engine, tender, and car. But for the police and fire departments my whole train would have been destroyed by the intensity of the fire built around it. As it was, ‘the most magnificent car ever built’ was melted down by the furnace into which it was thrust. Its metal plates were melted down and the little wood and upholstering burned out.”

Well that rules out stainless and its frankly amazing that all of the wood in the train and the building didn't burn from the dripping metal and even more amazing the wood or coal or possibly oil in the locomotives tender didn't go up as well. Certainly the falling roof didn't seem to do much damage to the thing. I wonder why the tender needed windows down its sides, as for folks sitting or standing inside the locomotives streamlinng cage, fantasy if standing alongside a fired up steam locomotive at a platform is any guide.

The other site is actually an 1888 newspaper article here it is in full.
Note that in 1888 it is Captain Meigs a title dropped in this century's reportage, just find it interesting and worthy of note.

THE ELEVATED ROAD EXPERIMENT AT CAMBRIDGE.
"If the people of Boston only half appreciated the possibilities of rapid travel between their homes in the suburbs and their places of business, as demonstrated by Captain MEIGS at Cambridge, they would not long be content to put up with their present poor facilities in that respect.

The consolidation of the street railroads has not mended matters much, and in some respects the old regime was better than the new. And this is not saying that the managers of the consolidated lines have not made a square attempt to improve our horse car service. The hard-pan fact will have to be recognized all round before long, for it is already clear to the average citizen, that, whether under consolidated or competing management, the problem of how to run enough horse cars between the center and the suburban circumference of Boston to take all her people in and out as often and as quickly as they want to go is impossible of solution. It cannot be done. There are too many people to be carried over too few tracks, in too few horse cars, and through far too narrow streets, for it ever to be done. You can stop the blockades by lessening the number of cars that you run; but that is no remedy, for the people want about all the cars that were ever run, and every year they are going to want more. You can change routes and say that cars which used to come all the way to Scollay square and Cornhill shall circle instead around Summer street, but that is not carrying thousands of people as far as they want to go; it relieves the streets a little, crowds the other cars that do go further down a great deal, and promotes the general health by making walking compulsory. But that is not accommodating the people.

Before long it will have to be admitted that Boston's only way out is by elevated roads connecting her many populous suburbs with her business center. Development and progress demand that we take this step forward, and the experimental section of elevated railway, built by Captain MEIGS under the very restricted charter given to him by the Legislature of 1884, shows conclusively to every one who has intelligently examined it that we can provide Boston with elevated railroads that will give the people the largest measure of accommodation, quicker travel than is enjoyed by the people of any other city, under far safer conditions, with the smallest obstruction of the streets, and consequently with the least damage to property along the line.

Look for a moment at what has actually been proved to the satisfaction of the highest experts in engineering, including General GEORGE STARK, the expert appointed, under the act of 1884, to examine the MEIGS experimental road for the state of Massachusetts. Out at East Cambridge, on made land, with soft mud 12 feet deep underneath it, a single-post structure, supporting a single line of girders, has been built so strong as to stand the severest tests. One of the longer girders, 46 feet long, and its lower boom, about 18 feet above the surface of the ground, was loaded with a weight equivalent to 60 tons of distributed weight on the girder, greatly in excess of any weight that ever could be put upon it by a moving train, and bore it without the slightest indication of weakness. A side pressure was brought to bear on the girder equal to the force of a hurricane blowing 110 miles an hour, and that it also resisted without being pulled sideways. There is no question that a single post line built on this model would be indestructible by anything short of a great catastrophe in nature.

The track at East Cambridge has been purposely built with very sharp curves, turning at one point almost at right angles, and with steep grades, rising as high as 345 feet to the mile. On an ordinary double track railway no train could climb such grades, nor turn such curves without being derailed and wrecked. Yet hundreds of passengers have been carried over these high grades and round these sharp curves at a speed of over 20 miles an hour. The crowning feature of Captain MEIGS’ railway, however, is yet to be stated. The trucks on which the car rests are made to straddle the girder, so that if every one of the bearing-wheels were to come off, the truck would still remain astride the girder. The train could not by any conceivable accident short of an earthquake or a cyclone, be derailed. The bearing wheels revolve at an angle of 45 degrees from the vertical plane, are grooved so as to bear both downward and inward on the rail, and each wheel turns on its own independent axle, fixed in the iron jaw of the truck, at right angles to the plane of the wheel. The straining of axles and the slipping or wheels on curves are thus entirely prevented. The experimental train has been actually run over the track with one wheel removed, and its absence made no perceptible difference to the motion; the truck with one wheel removed, and its absence made no perceptible difference to the motion; the truck did not tip in the least. A section of the supporting rail was removed, and the train run over the gap; no accident resulted, for none could result there from, as the car simply dropped about two inches, and slid along on the upper boom as securely as if on its wheels. Here then, is an absolutely safe elevated road, on which no accident can occur by breaking down of the girders, derailment of trains, loss of wheels, or any other of the common causes of disaster on such roads.

Add to these signal merits these further advantages: That the whole structure is so slight as to offer very little obstruction to light; that it takes up less room in the street by one-half than the New York L lines; and that it makes far less noise in passing than the same number of horse cars (which is the proven fact). If the MEIGS elevated system was introduced in Boston the people could ride from their homes to the city, a distance of 4-1/2 miles, say from Harvard square to Bowdoin square, or from Dorchester to Scollay square, in 12 minutes.

The people of Boston need this advance in their travelling facilities. It means the saving of millions of wasted hours for them, and "time is money" in this age of the world, as it never was before. But they cannot get it until the Legislature gives the MEIGS constructors a fair and reasonable charter, under which the necessary capital can be secured. At present the absurdly restricted charter of 1884 blocks the way. Why not start a popular movement by public meetings and petitions, to make the Legislature understand that Boston is in earnest for rapid transit? Twelve minutes from the city to any of its suburbs for a five-cent fare! We can have it if we insist upon it."

— C.K. Earl
— Boston Globe, February 8, 1888


And more piccies on here and engravings of pictures, wonder which came first?
A Genuine, Bonafide, Non-Electrified Monorail!

Ooops forgot the engraving!
View attachment 22627

Turns out our rapid transit entrepreneur was a former gunsmith: Joe Vincent Meigs

Yet another example of characters who seem to completely change direction during their lives, like the street cable car system designer who was a former wine producer in France, his name escapes me, and some of the reformation mapmakers. Was Julius a grocer before he was made emperor?
Post automatically merged:

Just read through this thread again and the following leapt off of the page, nothing to do with the subject matter really but my god it is a revelation.

The people of Boston need this advance in their travelling facilities. It means the saving of millions of wasted hours for them, and "time is money" in this age of the world, as it never was before.
That jumped out at me as well. But right before that, the "L" train in New York was mentioned. What new York L train are they talking about in 1888? The new York "L" line we have now was built in the 1920s, and I can't find a line referred to as the "L" line prior to that, although I didn't look too hard.
 

jd755

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Quite a guy this Meigs character.
Here's an account of his life up to 1883
Joe V. Meigs Biography, Meigs Elevated Railway News, February 4, 1883

Here's a tale of his civil war days.
Josiah Meigs and the 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery, Battery “A”

1873 found him in Vienna where he produced a report on the Vienna Exposition of the same year. General report upon the Exposition at Vienna .. : Meigs, Joe V. [from old catalog] : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Korben will love this site which came up when trying to find a usable version of that book on gallica.

Forsyth's Compendium of Curious Contraptions

And now we get to the melting metal skin, just what the hell was it as Aluminium wasn't available 'back then', apparently.
From here Aluminum Applications - Aluminum Smelting Process

The first electrolysis attempt was made using a clay crucible, but the result was the production of silicon from the crucible material. Then, recognizing this, the clay crucible was lined with graphite, it was added some aluminum fluoride to the cryolite in order to lower the melting point and the experiment was repeated. After several hours of electrolysis, he cooled the melt and broke it open, finding small silvery globules that Jewett confirmed to be aluminum. It was February, 23rd 1886.

After some troubles, in 1888 a group of investors, organized by Captain Alfred Hunt, provided Hall with enough fund to establish the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, the Alcoa predecessor.


I know of no other metal that could react the way Meigs said it did in that fire other than 'pot metal' which is an alloy which comprises of lead and zinc and is used for castings not plating, and of course lead itself which can be beaten and shaped easily but is heavy and will melt readily at low temperatures.

If the shed at ground level was the one that burnt down then why didn't the adjacent wooden fence and the house behind it get burnt down as well, in a fire hot enough to melt some but not all metal?
Why does the colour of the carriage change shade when the locomotive and tender don't?
Where in any of the photographs barring the 'fire' aftermath one are those telegraph poles?
Curiouser and curioser.
 

ISeenItFirst

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After further looking, new York it seems did have an elevated train in the 1880s. The histories were intersting to read as there were several mentions of the pneumatic subway.

Also, there are other metals and alloys that both melt at low temperatures and were available. Gallium comes to mind, I don't think that was nearly as hard to come by as aluminum. In this context though, it sounds like we are dealing with a fire set with the intention of destroying the metal cars, in which case, it was not really a success. The photo is not convincing of anything as it looks half drawn. So to me it's really just a story. Although if I give the picture credence, it looked to me like the bulk of the fire was perhaps under, but mostly inside the carriage. Most damage near the door to the carriage, where the arsonists would have lit the fuel they loaded it with.
 

jd755

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Never seen or heard of galium plating. Hardly matters as Captain Joe gives this account to the newspaper of the day The Daily Evening Transcript in which he alludes to it being sheathed in copper, so definitely not melting in a wood fire.
From here Passenger Car Destroyed by Fire, Meigs Elevated Railway News, February 4, 1887 Bolded bits my emphasis
An Incendiary's Work at the Shop of the Meigs Car Company small—The Superb Passenger Car Greatly Damaged


"An incendiary succeeded in causing a loss of about $10,000 to the Meigs Elevated Railroad Company early this morning. The fire took place at about four o'clock at the car and construction house on Bridge street, East Cambridge, which contained the elevated train. The building, which was simply a low shed, was partially destroyed, but the splendid car, worth about ten thousand dollars, which the building contained, was greatly damaged. This is the car with a rounded roof, designed to present the least possible resistance to the wind. It was fifty-one feet long, with seats for seventy-two passengers, and was not only upholstered in the richest manner, but also was supplied with a variety of conveniences invented by Captain Meigs. The engine and the tender were not materially damaged. The fire was probably set through a crack in the roof of the building. A reward will be offered for the detection of the incendiary. The loss will not greatly impede the work of the company.



The following, which was received this afternoon from Captain Meigs, is of considerable interest:


To the Public—The destruction of our car at 4 A.M. this morning was from the burning of the sheds over the car. The burned upholstering and the slight amount of wood used to attach it to, was all the wood used in the car save the floor. The walls of the car were built of iron and copper, and were unburnable, but not unmeltable. I had supposed when I first heard of the fire that it had originated from a temporary stove which we used under the floor of the car by which to heat it just before we used it, the steam pipes being not yet connected. This stove had no pipe except one which was put on at the time of using, and when the car was warmed the pipe was removed and the fire drawn.


At 6 P.M. of yesterday the master machinist made his inspection of the whole train, and at quarter past six the chief engineer made his inspection, both as usual. The firemen and watchmen visited all parts of the train house and train many times during the night, the watchman keeping fires in the tender and engine so as to prevent freezing of the pipes. These fires were kept all right as usual, showing that the watchman must have made is inspection.


At 4 A.M. he report[ed] that he saw flames issuing from the end of the car, and that the whole end of the building was in flames. A casual inspection of the building, which I have had photographed, proves that his statement is correct, and it is corroborated by the neighbors, and I am thus pained to be obliged to state that I believe the fire to be of incendiary character, as do others who have seen it. I am justified in saying this, because the building No. 89 Court street, in Boston, which held my models had also been set on fire, and the fire proved to be incendiary. I had not made the demonstrations and had not secured the approval of the State engineer there might have been said to be a motive for my having burned it; but I have no further use for the car in the world except to use it at demonstrations, and as its wheels and floors were not roasted, this afternoon, at 3 P.M. temporary seats will be placed upon the floor, and the engine, tender and car will ascend the grade to keep an engagement which I had made with certain capitalists. We are fully insured, and I trust the losses of the insurance company will be very little.

My thanks are due to the Cambridge fire and police departments for their promptness and efficiency in holding the fire in check."


I am, very truly, Joe V. Meigs.


— Daily Evening Transcript, February 4, 1887


Cynical as I am I'm wondering if it's a cover up job or an insurance scam, yes another. Very little use for 'the car'!

Your New York elevated railway gets a mention on this page. True Rapid Transit by Joe V. Meigs (c.1893)
 
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Recognition

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Jd755: "As it was, ‘the most magnificent car ever built’ was melted down by the furnace into which it was thrust. Its metal plates were melted down and the little wood and upholstering burned out.”

These 2 photos and above quote. You do not trick out an experimental bit of tech with this luxury. If I am seeing this correctly, the velvet paneling continues all the way to the ceiling in very beautiful 'art deco' or even futuristic incarnation of art deco style. Also, what's with the paneled lights? Pretty sure the tech for that wasn't supposed to exist. The drawing shows hanging gas lamps but the photos say different. Gorgeous😍

IMG_5563.JPG
 

jd755

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Jd755: "As it was, ‘the most magnificent car ever built’ was melted down by the furnace into which it was thrust. Its metal plates were melted down and the little wood and upholstering burned out.”

These 2 photos and above quote. You do not trick out an experimental bit of tech with this luxury. If I am seeing this correctly, the velvet paneling continues all the way to the ceiling in very beautiful 'art deco' or even futuristic incarnation of art deco style. Also, what's with the paneled lights? Pretty sure the tech for that wasn't supposed to exist. The drawing shows hanging gas lamps but the photos say different. Gorgeous😍
The interior finish depend entirely on who you are trying to impress as in 'get some money out of' and what your guess on their expectations is, to me always to me. Cannot see any artificial lighting in the photographs just wall windows and roof windows. The circles in the ceiling look like vents to me.

Wouldn't you just know it!
I lazily typed into duckduck go building the meigs elevated railway car and out came this site Oddities - MEIGS ELEVATED RAILWAY

From the Scientific American July 10 1866

The cars possess many novel features, both outside and inside. The circular section and rounded ends admit of the strongest possible construction without an overweight of material. The floor consists of a platform made of 5 inch channel beams, and is 7½ feet wide by 51 feet 2 inches long. The framing of the body is of light T iron ribs, bent in a circle, filled in by panels covered with rich upholstering, which covers all the interior; the exterior is sheathed with paper and copper. The cylindrical portion is 10 feet 8½ inches in diameter. While adding to the strength, this form is expected to diminish the wind resistance fully one-third. The interior of the car, as shown in Fig. 1, is light, roomy, and pleasing to the eye. The seats are upholstered like the rest of the car, and comfort and luxury have been carefully studied in every detail. At each window is a specially designed device for securing ventilation without the annoyance caused by dust. There is an entire absence of sharp corners, so that, in case of a serious accident, the liability of the passenger being greatly injured is largely avoided.

Must have been a bit cold in winter.
 
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KorbenDallas

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I’m with @Recognition on this one. Those do look like illumination with “o” shaped lights lit up equally. A glare of the vent rim would look totally different. Besides, on the drawing they do show lights, albeit more conventional, but they do.

As far as impressing somebody with spending a butt load of money on covering the entire car with velvet panels, and the rest of the stuff in there. Pretty sure hypothetically it is possible. It looks like everything was possible in the 19th century.

Just like I said before, somehow we always end up with fully working finished products passed for prototypes. If this is their first running model, common sense says they should be more worried with this thing actually running.

The interior of the car looks well thought out, at the time when they are trying to develop and promote the locomotive portion first, for cars they had plenty of back then, and some of those were way way more impressive than this one. I doubt the interior would have been any part of their selling point, therefore spending a chunk of their budget on it does not really make sense to me.

It’s like with that pneumatic NYC train, which was also supposed to be a prototype, yet on one of the pictures they have a tube attendant looking guy in uniform sitting on a chair, looking like a part of the running budiness.

This is what they were trying to impress with in 1902.

AFF0AA35-B0AF-425C-80A2-EAF872174B23.jpeg

Recommend this thread for getting a full picture:
 

jd755

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To each their own. The engraving shows vents and gas or oil lamps in the middle of the roof, to me always to me, the photo's are both missing the lamps.
I've stood in brick buildings just like the one in your bottom picture so I know that part of the picture is accurate, no idea of the date obviously, but the architecture matches. As for it being 1902, the dress looks earlier, much earlier more like mid 1840's to 50's around old Isambards time and what we see of the locomotive and tender lends weight to this guess as it isn't very big.
Odd that there are no uniformed people in any of the Meigs train. The various descriptions of the Meigs track do all suggest it didn't actually go anywhere just back and forwards in and out of its wooden shed and whatever was at the high end which we never get to see in these pictures.

Not that anything about this train and track tale makes any sort of sense. Wooden shed fire melting some of the copper burning velvet, the padding in seats and panels, the paper between panel and metal possibly taking out the wooden floor but leaving both tender and locomotive untouched not to mention the adjacent houses/hotel also made of wood and no pictures of the interior damage with the one we do have obviously having the left hand side partially painted in.

If memory serves the pneumatic train had paying passengers so it would be probable that the staff were in uniform, to me always to me.
I don't know obviously cos I am not that old but the 'oldies' seemed to have great confidence in their individual abilities and no 'computer aids/phones/machines/protocols etc' which are shackling us 'not so oldies' to a techy electronic world that is out of whack, out of harmony with the way things should be and this is why invention has been throttled.
Not sure if I could phrase it any better than saying individually more people knew how to do things than individuals alive today.
As kids we often took things apart to see how they worked or fix the buggers, people today fix next to nothing and are more interested in having rather than knowing. Just my take on it, apologies if they are needed for the slight digression.

Maybe not as unique as Meigs said.
Here's the Lartigue monorail of 1888 in Ireland. Not as streamlined, though why streamlining mattered to Meigs when it wasn't going that fast I cannot fathom, but a similar though much slighter track and a different track gripping system for sure, no inclines either as far as I can tell but similar nontheless.

One other thing I don't fathom is the twin rows of toothed rail and matching toothed wheels. Furnicular railways and the Snowdon railway (if memory serves) use toothed track/chains to give them extra traction going up inclines and equally good braking coming down, so the toothing provides greater friction so they go slowly along as the engine has to work harder to overcome the friction of the teeth yet in Capt Meigs design there are four toothed rails and 48 toothed wheels making contact with each other. Its a wonder it got moving at all, if it ever did. Perhaps it was a failure?
 
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Recognition

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I’m with @Recognition on this one. Those do look like illumination with “o” shaped lights lit up equally. A glare of the vent rim would look totally different. Besides, on the drawing they do show lights, albeit more conventional, but they do.

As far as impressing somebody with spending a butt load of money on covering the entire car with velvet panels, and the rest of the stuff in there. Pretty sure hypothetically it is possible. It looks like everything was possible in the 19th century.

Just like I said before, somehow we always end up with fully working finished products passed for prototypes. If this is their first running model, common sense says they should be more worried with this thing actually running.

The interior of the car looks well thought out, at the time when they are trying to develop and promote the locomotive portion first, for cars they had plenty of back then, and some of those were way way more impressive than this one. I doubt the interior would have been any part of their selling point, therefore spending a chunk of their budget on it does not really make sense to me.

It’s like with that pneumatic NYC train, which was also supposed to be a prototype, yet on one of the pictures they have a tube attendant looking guy in uniform sitting on a chair, looking like a part of the running budiness.

This is what they were trying to impress with in 1902.


Recommend this thread for getting a full picture:

I agree with everything KD said; beautifully said btw
 

jd755

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Okay I admit it I was wrong. Its a wheel for a roof vent. An entire row of them in truth. Fancy that. Beautifully said though.

From here cropped and sharpened one step in gimp.

meigsfan.png
 

Recognition

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Okay I admit it I was wrong. Its a wheel for a roof vent. An entire row of them in truth. Fancy that. Beautifully said though.

From here cropped and sharpened one step in gimp.

View attachment 23104
That's certainly one idea for an explanation. I'm interested in any and all theories, though. like to keep my horizons, open, interesting, and filled with possibilities. Hope that was also beautifully said 😂
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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You are absolutely right about the Brunel's time image. I need to correct the other thread to 1862. What a weird closing fashion transformation they went in a span of some 20 years though.
Okay I admit it I was wrong. Its a wheel for a roof vent. An entire row of them in truth. Fancy that. Beautifully said though.
Looks like you are absolutely correct here, they do look like vent wheels.

Now we are facing a simple question why they put at least 10 of those vent wheels in the roof of an alleged prototype car.

This is exactly the problem of the common issue with the majority of this questionable 19th century tech. There is no design paperwork, which would have allowed us to see how much of a prototype it was.
 

jd755

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Well it was cheeky of me not to put the explanation in with the enlargement but twas late here when I posted.
The reason why the roof vents are built into the cars roof becomes clear when you accept the evidence from the engraving that the lamps are oil lamps. As mentioned in the magazine article the windows have a device on them to allow air in but not dust (most likely what is today called a trickle vent but obviously that is a guess). Take these two pieces of evidence together and on the balance of probabilities is to me, always to me, the roof vents are there to let the oil lamps soot and fumes escape and to create a through flow of air conditioning that requires nothing more than the movement of the car.

Yes the missing bits and the weird surviving bits create a conundrum for us today used to finding the entire process laid before us by aunty google and uncle wikiwaki or weird cousin utube. We are always working with a fraction of the story or so it seems to me.
This tale has big holes in it. No pictures of this bloke or his family even on the Meigs family website. Sparse information about his life, no pictures of him in uniform in the civil war despite him forming up something unique, no pictures of him with his many invention, no engravings, no pictures of him with his sponsor General Butler.
There are photos of him but it looks at first glance that the younger general and the older general are different people.

As for the technology. He built brand new style of steam engine with no experience of building steam engines apparently. So this suggests someone else who did have the knowledge actually designed it and another party built it. Same goes for the cylinder shaped train. He didn't forge those ribs and he didn't bend them or cast them into the round shapes. He my have come up with the design, fair enough but point is ever mind the missing paperwork/drawings etc where are all the names of the companies and people who took part in this great adventure?

He is supposed to have put models of his elevated railroad train in prominent local business premises so where are the drawings/engravings/photographs models and where are he businesses pushing their connection with Meigs?

Copper does not melt in a wood fire. It doesn't get hot enough so why lie in print?
Was the carriage torched by lighting an oil lamp and chucking it in and running away?
There is no evidence of burnt down shed and the total lack of damage to the locomotive and tender suggests there was no burnt down shed just deliberate torching of the interior of the carriage. As for how bad that was in reality Capt Joe plonked some temporary seats in it and took on board another round of business investors for their short run around the track so not very damaged inside at all, surely the smell alone would have been enough to put them off and no damage to the running gear.

More holes than a colander and a helluva lot about this story seems fake but there is too much missing to go much further. Thee my be more in physical documents stashed in some museum vault or warehouse but online there are only these bits that I find to add to this meagre total.

From here http://trainnet.org/Libraries/Lib003/MEIGS.TXT

66 to work for a legendary pol named Gen. Ben
Butler (in those days, to "Butlerize" was to make off with everything in sight). With Butler's patronage, Meigs spent virtually the rest of his life perfecting one of the world's first monorails. In 1886 he built this 227-foot demonstration line in Cambridge, crossing Bridge Street (today's McGrath Highway) near Fourth (today's Sciarappa) at the Somerville line.

The Meigs Railway was amazingly sophisticated. The track consisted of two rails, one above the other, supported by a single line of posts. Wheels were angled at 45 degrees, gripping the lower track like a clenched fist. Instead of a rigid cowcatcher, the locomotive was protected by an air-spring buffer, Cars were rounded for streamlining, and their seats revolved and folded up. Speed was an impressive 20 miles per hour. The state Board of Railroad Commissioners examined the Meigs system and found it practical and
safe.



A much shorter track length than the one discussed from the get go on this thread. Another anomaly with this story.

From here; MEIGS ELEVATED RAILROAD. | News | The Harvard Crimson


NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED
April 12, 1884

Work on the proposed Meigs Elevated Railroad Will be begun in a short time and vigorously pushed forward. An association has been formed and most of the required capital has been subscribed. The road, which is to be located between Bowdoin square in Boston and some point in Cambridge, is to be divided into two sections. The first section is to be 1 1-2 miles in length, commencing at a spot one-half mile from Harvard square, Cambridge, to be constructed upon a route yet to be decided upon by the board of aldermen of Cambridge, to the dividing line between Cambridge and Boston. It has been decided to capitalize this first section of 1 1-2 miles at $200,000, the bill granted by the Legislature stipulating that the road shall be capitalized at an amount not less than $100,000 per mile. Upon the completion of the first 1 1-2 miles, the second section will be commenced and finished as rapidly as may be.



So plans were afoot it seems but the length and destination seems a bit flaky so what was really going on? Did the bloody thing work?

From here; https://www.soonishpodcast.org/extras/2018/11/13/episode-302-the-track-not-taken-full-transcript

THE PEOPLE WANT ELEVATED ROADS. We sent out many, many thousand circulars, attempting to instruct the people of the city as to my invention and its effects upon property. The result was that sixty-four thousand citizens of Boston signed petitions in favor of permitting me to try my system.
In the 1880s the population of Boston was only about 360,000, which means that if Meigs’s figure is correct, more than one in six residents signed Meigs’s petitions.



Does that level of participation in signing petitions sound right for America of the day?


But one of the strange things about this whole story is that nobody really knows much about Joe Meigs the man, or where he got his monorail idea.

Charlie Sullivan: Yeah, well, Joe Meigs is still pretty much a mystery. He comes out of Tennessee born in the eighteen forties served in the Civil War had been a railroad mechanic ended up in Boston…in the 1870s, and had this concept for urban mass transport



And he still is today.
Well this shows what happened to the models, and possibly the drawings allegedly, seems as convenient as the other fire in this story to me, always to me.

Joe Meigs: This is the last of a series of attempts of a like nature to hinder my progress. First, out of pure malice, my models were mutilated and broken, at the State House. Then the building, No. 89 Courts Street, where my lecture-room and models were placed, was set on fire...They have mutilated the car at East Cambridge by cutting, and other petty annoyances. These criminal acts are merely futile, and grieve me, but do not hinder the enterprise in the least.
 
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