Brennan’s Monorail Car


Louis Brennan (1852-1932) was an Irish-Australian mechanical engineer and inventor who developed several devices for military use. One was a gyroscopic arrangement for balancing a car upon a single rail. The Central Scientific Co. of Chicago made this example of Brennan’s monorail car. Some of the details were worked out by Henry Crew and Robert Tatnall, physicists at Northwestern University.

Ref: Louis Brennan, “Means for Imparting Stability to Unstable Bodies,” U.S. Patent 796,893 (Aug. 8, 1905).

Louis Brennan, “Means for Imparting Stability to Unstable Bodies,” U.S. Patent 1,183,530 (May 16, 1916).

Central Scientific Co., Brennan’s Mono-Rail Car (Chicago, [ca. 1910]).

Norman Tomlinson, Louis Brennan: Inventor Extraordinaire (Chatham, 1980).

Cleveland Moffett, “The Edge of the Future in Science: Transportation and the Gyroscope: Louis Brennan’s Mono-Rail Car,” McClure’s Magazine 30 (Dec. 1907): 163-174.

Date Made: early 20th century

Maker: Central Scientific Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Illinois, Chicago

Subject: Science & Scientific Instruments


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.322967Catalog Number: 322967Accession Number: 249200

Object Name: gyroscope

Measurements: overall: 9 3/4 in x 20 in x 9 5/8 in; 24.765 cm x 50.8 cm x 24.4475 cm


Record Id: nmah_1167224

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