The gyroscopic monorail of Louis Brennan

In the first decade of this century Louis Brennan invented and proved using a full size vehicle a monorail where the rail was laid on the ground and the cars were balanced by gyroscopes. The sad thing is that the British government of the time couldn't see the applicability of the system to matters of war and neither were they quite enthusiastic enough to support its development for use in the far flung Empire where the track would have been cheap to lay over large distances. The railway companies were not going to get embroiled in something that, if successful, would make their existing infrastructure obsolete.

Photograph of full size vehicle (56K bytes)

Louis Brennan was a resident of Gillingham, Kent for many years. The local library have an archive of material such as personal letters and photographs but these are not geared to everyday public access. There are two excellent booklets, now out of print, but the library will photocopy them for you at cost. One is mainly concerned with his dirigible Torpedo, the other with the monorail. Ask for both and find out about helicopters as well!

The Science Museum has an original one eighth scale working model made by Louis Brennan himself. It is not currently on show but there are extensive details about how it operated.

There are patents and technical descriptions and other references which I'll expand on later.

Louis Brennan was a fascinating character with a string of inventions. The page you're looking at now is just the seed for a proper tribute.

A book on Louis Brennan is:
Louis Brennan - Inventor Extrordinaire
Author Norman Tomlinson
ISBN 0905540182
Published by John Halliwell 1980

Thanks to:
Paul Stevenson for the photo above from 'All About Railways' by F.S.Hartnell pub by Cassell and Co. No date, though it seems to be before 1923.

Margaret Warren of Gillingham Libraries.
John Liffen of the Science Museum

My particular interest is in the possibility of building a line for a heritage attraction.

More details on this and more information on the Monorail will appear here shortly. (Allow 28 days for delivery.)

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