Cable cars

cable car – pulled along a fixed track by a moving steel cable. The power to move the cable was normally provided at a “powerhouse” site a distance away from the actual vehicle.

The first practical cable car line was tested in San Francisco, in 1873. Part of its success is attributed to the development of an effective and reliable cable grip mechanism, to grab and release the moving cable without damage.

What’s the problem?
In and around the steep hills of San Fransisco in the late 1800s, it was very difficult for horse-drawn vehicle to get traction and move goods and passengers safely.

  • Ask – How could the vehicles be pulled or pushed by some external source of power that would not be slowed down by steep hills and wet slippery roads.
  • Imagine – Attaching the vehicles to a long continuously moving cable was one solution. With some experimentation and planning, a grip device was invented to use to hang onto the moving cable when the vehicle was traveling down the street. When the vehicles stopped to let someone off, the grip was released so the vehicle was temporarily disconnected from the cable, and the cable continued to move.
  • Design, Build
  • Improve

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