August 06, 2008
"C"able Car -- it's ABC Wednesday !
click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney
Hope everybody is having a great ABC Wednesday.
In 1873 Andrew Smith Hallidie put his experience with wire-rope to good use pulling the now famous cable cars up and down the steep streets of San Francisco. It is told that he witnessed the trouble horse-drawn street cars were having on fog moistened slippery streets, often resulting in terrible accidents.
Hallidie's father just happened to be the inventor of wire-rope, and before son Andrew put it to use pulling cable cars, he found new uses for his dad's invention in the California gold mines. He also promoted wire-rope as an economic method for building suspension bridges.
In the late 1800's cable cars had to compete with the more economical electric street cars, but I suppose that by that time the cable cars had gained so much charm -- becoming an identifiable trademark -- that the City decided to keep them running. And yes, I suppose the long-running television commercial for Rice-A-Roni helped too...
You can read more about the San Francisco cable cars over at Wikipedia.
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