Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Edison's Electric Locomotive: 1880

I was unaware that Thomas Edison had built an electric railroad at his Menlo Park, NJ, research lab in 1880. Growing out of his work on electric motors, it ran for 90 rods and presumably contributed to the developments which would make electric traction a competitive technology. This short 1909 article from POPULAR ELECTRICITY, though aimed at children, provides the basic information. I've enlarged the picture of the locomotive itself, so that you can better see its odd configuration. It's interesting to consider that in 1909, the subject of the article was not even thirty years in the past; it's as if we were considering a technology from 1984 as ancient history.

As always, click an image to see a bigger version.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Mountain Trolley Line

The cover of the July, 1908 issue of POPULAR ELECTRICITY. Click for larger.

Many more covers from this magazine online on MagazineArt.org. Bound volume run of the magazine on the Internet Archive.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some Rail Pictures from POPULAR ELECTRICITY 1908

I recently added a large number of cover images from the early tech magazine POPULAR ELECTRICITY to the MagazineArt.org site. Most of these were scanned for the site by Doug Bell at JPL, but I found that the Internet Archive has a complete run of the bound volumes, brought over from Google's book scanning project. You can find them easily at the Archive; good luck (and a dime for good measure) trying to find them in Google's appallingly bad indexing system.

The scans aren't great, but how else are you going to find these old magazines (unless you're Doug Bell)? I did some cleanup in Photoshop, and here are a few, with some more to come. Captions are from the original magazine appearance; filenames list issue and page number. As usual, click to see larger versions (larger dimension 1000 pixels).