Wed Jan 4th, 2006 at 07:02:19 AM EST
back from the front page
A fitting theme for just after New Year's Day. Two weeks ago, I diaried in defence of steam locomotive designs that look crazy today, showing why it made sense back then to try them. But, there were some locomotives that should have never been built – for example, the Holman locomotive:
What looks like a schoolboy's idea of a perpeetum mobile was actually built – as part of a stock-market scam in 1887. Incredibly, the ruse could be pulled off a second time – with a second locomotive built ten years later. (Above is the second locomotive, below the fold the even stranger first.)
An account from 1907 is on-line.
The Brennan Gyro-Monorail, a vehicle kept upright with two gyroscopes, was built by Louis Brennan in 1909 for the British War Office. It was a working design – only it didn't make any sense. For, how do you pull any cars? You'd need (motor-driven) gyroscopes on each car! And what happens if one gyro fails on just one car?...
Change the gauge!
This utter idiocy was built in Geneva some 150 years ago. The Laferrère locomotive is a normal metre-gauge locomotive, which, instead of just replacing the axles and moving the cylinders, was lifted on an extra frame with three standard-gauge wheelsets. Note that two of the original wheelsets aren't driven, while the third functions as part of a silly mechanical transmission system...
All of these oddities were taken from Douglas Self's Extreme Steam site, which showcases a lot of other oddities – some more crazed designs, many more failed designs, some just silly designs, and a lot of rarities that worked but weren't widespread. A slight warning – as NeutralObserver commented two weeks ago:
DoDo Don't ever do this again
well not this year. I've just spent four hours exploring Douglas Self's website on retro-technology.
What amazing, outstanding and totally nutty ideas we overevolved apes have come up with over the years.
Previous Monday Train Bloggings:
- (Premiere/ modern Austrian trains & locos)
- Fast Steam
- Heavy Haul
- Forgotten Colorado
- The Hardest Job
- Highest Speed
- New England Autumn
- Bigger Than Big Boy
- Failed Designs