NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1867 __ Pneumatic transportation in New York
Alfred Ely Beach (1826-1896)
Comment : In 1867 at the American Institute exhibition in New York, Alfred Ely Beach demonstrated a 107 foot long, 6 foot diameter pipe that was capable of moving 12 passengers plus conductor. In 1869, the Beach Pneumatic Transit Company of New York constructed in secret a 312 foot long, 9 foot diameter pneumatic subway line under Broadway. The line only operated for a few months, closing after Beach was unsuccessful in getting permission to extend it. The demonstration system (by Alfred Beach) was a 107 foot long, 6 foot diameter pipe, in which a capsule containing 12 passengers plus conductor (Mr John D. Gilbert) was propelled. The system was powered by a 'Æolors' blowing wheel, itself powered by a small Root trunk engine. The Æolors wheel "is 10 feet diameter, made of wood, has eight blades, and revolves at the mouth of the tube opposite to that at which the car enters. When the screw turns in one direction it sucks the air through the tube and the car is drawn in". In 1869 the Beach Pneumatic Transit Company of New York constructed a 312 foot long system for the transport of passengers. It ran under Broadway from Warren Street to just beyond Murray Street, using a single tunnel of 9 foot diameter and was accessed via a station with a grand piano. (Biederman)Though widely believed to have been demolished to make way for the current subway system, some think the system may still exist buried beneath the city. An old pneumatic tunnel is seen in the movie Ghostbusters 2.
Source : Biederman, M., (1998), “This Old Technology Hasn't Gone Down the Tubes”, New York Times. Sunday, July 5.
Urls : http://www.deadmedia.org/notes/36/369.html (last visited ) http://www.atlantic-cable.com/Books/GNT/ (last visited )

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