World Fair of Paris 1889

Centenary of the French Revolution

May 6, 1889 - October 31, 1889


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Overhead cranes

Overhead cranes at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889

The Galerie des Machines is more than 400 metres long, so it can be considered a rather tiring walk from one end to the other. But one can save oneself this fatigue and walk without moving one's legs, if not all, at least a good part of the way.

Two travelling bridges, operating parallel to each other, cover a length of 300 metres, and each of them is equipped with a
and each of them can carry a load of 150 to 200 people.

The movement of these devices is very curious, in that nothing or almost nothing of the motor system is visible.

The bridges essentially consist of a gizmo, rolling on rollers and supported lengthwise by two rows of metal beams.

The mechanism is located outside the gizmo, and is not the same in the two bridges. One, built by Mégy Echeverria and Bazan, is geared. The other, by Messrs Bon and Lustrement, is operated by friction alone.

Under the influence of the electric force, which conductors bring from the courtyard situated between the Palais and the Avenue de la Bourdonnais, to the system of beams, the thing moves forward in the direction of its long sides; the width is 18 metres by 4.25 metres in length.

For fifty centimes you can take this aerial walk which lasts about ten minutes. It is to say that the bridges are very slow moving; it is to be believed that these machines were intended as types of translation and not as types of speed, because this would give a rather poor idea of the speed of electric locomotion.

However, this ten-minute journey is too long for a simple journey, and too short for a visit to the machines which, seen from above, appear crushed and deformed.

The manoeuvring of these aircraft is very simple and requires only a mechanic and two helpers. Moreover, from the opening, we had personnel fully trained for this service, since these bridges, before being used for the transport of passengers, had been used to put in place the numerous machines which furnish the Palais des Machines, just as after the closing of the Exhibition they will be used to move the same palace from its heavy cast iron, copper and steel furniture.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition