Brennan’s Monorail Car

Brennan’s Monorail Car

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
early 20th century
Central Scientific Company
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
overall: 9 3/4 in x 20 in x 9 5/8 in; 24.765 cm x 50.8 cm x 24.4475 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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