Tag Archive for: Cable car

Andrew Smith Hallidie


Another famous inventor to have worked at the Miners Foundry in the 1800s is Andrew Smith Hallidie.  Best known as the inventor of San Francisco’s cable car system, he is believed to have spent time at the Nevada Iron & Brass Foundry Machine Shop (known today as the Miners Foundry) from October of 1861 to May of 1862.

Born in London in 1836 as Andrew Smith, Hallidie was apprenticed to a machine shop and and drawing office.  In 1852, Hallidie sailed for California, where he became a gold miner, blacksmith, surveyor, and builder of bridges.  While working on a mine at American Bar, Hallidie invented wire rope, solving the problem of rapid rope deterioration in mining.

The Clay Street Hill Railway cable car line began service in September of 1873.  Accounts differ as to the extent of Hallidie’s involvement in the design, building, and implementation of the cable car service, however he was the primary patent holder and is generally considered the inventor of the cable car.