Many misconceptions exist regarding the Paris moving walkway of 1900, known at the time as “Platforme mobile electrique”. It was invented and built by American civil engineer Max Schmidt and was a magnificent futuristic machine way ahead of its time.
In the 212 days it operated, the high-speed platform (8km/h) traveled 19,000km transporting an average of 31,000 passengers/day and a total of 6.7 million visitors. Equipped with the times latest technologies it worked with a 5000 volts network operating at 25 Hz, distributing power to its 244 electric dynamos (motors) via 42 tonnes of copper conductors. The machine’s sophisticated structure comprised a combination of metals and woods, enabling to support the mechanical loads and yet reduce vibrations and noises.
Train (left) and “Platforme mobile electrique” (right), traveling in opposite directions.
110 years later, it still stands as the longest, fastest and most ambitious moving walkway ever built.
Pictures of electric substation distributing power to the walkway and train