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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

19th Century American Bullet Train

Rev. Calthrop's Air-Resisting Train
The Rev. Dr. Samuel R. Calthrop was a Unitarian minister and amateur scientist born in Lincolnshire, England who moved to the United States in 1851. In 1865, while living in Roxbury, Massachusetts, he took out a patent for an "air-resisting train" capable of high speeds. This train was to be completely covered in a streamlined casing, which would be supplemented by diaphragms connecting the coaches. According to the B&O Railroad Museum, this was an extremely accurate prediction of 20th-century streamliners and modern bullet trains, so it is unfortunate that the Rev. Calthrop had to sell his patents to support his family, and that his death in 1917 caused him to miss the post-WWI Art Deco streamlining movement in train design. This sketch at the B&O Railroad Museum shows the streamliner speeding through a western landscape. -  rlkitterman
I don't recall ever seeing a streamlined anything from the 19th Century. Dr. Calthrop was definitely ahead of his time.

Dr. Calthrop's obituary from The Southern Workman
Via Posthip Scott.

Update April 5, 2017, added link and obituary.

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