SH Archive Moving sidewalks at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris OP Username
KorbenDallas OP Date
2018-04-07 04:27:36 Reaction Score
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KD Archive

Not actually KorbenDallas
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Sep 22, 2020
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This is amazing how one thing leads to another. Looking into the so-called achievements of the 19th century, I keep on running into one too many of those "ahead of its time" inventions. This time it is moving sidewalks. These sidewalks I am about to present were powered by electricity (Le trottoir roulant et le chemin de fer électrique, pendant l'Exposition Universelle de 1900 ). I will add some oil to the fire by stating the following: atmospheric wireless electricity was the power source. The electricity part deserves a separate topic, and will be covered some time later.

It is of the utmost significance to note, that these so-called Expositions, and Exhibitions are clearly meant to be forgotten. It is mind boggling what inventions were on display there. You also will not find any of those architectural wonders which used to host these events. All of them were destroyed. I guess, the chosen way to erase something from memory was to eliminate the sites of those Expositions, and Exhibitions. Below you can see several of those sites: Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and Paris.


Going back to the topic of the moving sidewalks, I will allow myself to quote Wikipedia, "The first moving walkway debuted at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It had two different divisions: one where passengers were seated, and one where riders could stand or walk. It ran in a loop down the length of a lakefront pier to a casino. Six years later a moving walkway was also presented to the public at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. The walkway consisted of three elevated platforms, the first was stationary, the second moved at a moderate speed, and the third at about six miles per hour."

Funny thing to notice would be that "the first commercial moving walkway in the United States was installed in 1954 in Jersey City, NJ, inside the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Erie station at the Pavonia Terminal." I see a "time delay" pattern here. The exact same thing happened with Electric Cars, and Pneumatic Trains.

1893 Chicago

The moving sidewalk presented in Chicago was broken into two parts: walking/standing, and the one where passengers were seated, as was noted above. Unfortunately we have no video of this sidewalk in motion (which is not the case with the Paris one). I will simply present a few images, and you can do additional research yourself, if you wish.


1900 Paris
The one from Paris has a few videos, and multiple photos. Just like it was said before, "The walkway consisted of three elevated platforms, the first was stationary, the second moved at a moderate speed, and the third at about six miles per hour." It was two and a quarter mile long. Some pictures and several videos are below.


This walkway was obviously far from being the main purpose of the 1900 Exposition in Paris. In general, the inventions presented during various expositions between 1791 and approximately 1917, contained technology beyond anything we think was possible back then. It is very easy to spot when the expositions of the "forgotten" past got replaced with the "next generation" ones. The organizers simply stopped using Ancient Greek and Roman architecture.

Throughout the following years there was a slow but deliberate "renovation" of the Unified "One Nation" World architectural style. Along with this renovation we acquired this new technological direction. Most of the "beyond its time" inventions were set aside to be re-invented at a later date, when it would be more appropriate.
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