Louden Monorail, Basement, Herpolsheimers Department Store, Grand Rapids, Michigan
This is from : Babuk Report
The Louden Machinery Company of Fairfield, Iowa was a late 19th century leader in the invention and manufacture of farm equipment. A hay bale stacking machine was one of the company’s first patents; one can still find plan books that describe standard “Louden” barn configurations. One of their inventions was for a sliding barn door assembly. Looking at this particular invention in abstract terms: it allowed a heavy object to be suspended off of rollers that glided on a rail… use a bit of imagination, a couple machinery parts and something capable of accommodating people and voila! – one has a type of overhead monorail system that can convey passengers.
After the Second World War, the Louden Company put all of these together and started manufacturing a child sized “kiddie monorail” that was snapped up by large, urban department stores to be a prominent feature in their toy department. Kind of like a toy train one could ride. Apparently, there were more than two dozen kiddie monorails installed. Asides from installation at Sears in Chicago, I know of others at the Kresge store in Newark, NJ; at Wanamakers in Philadelphia, PA; Herpolsheimers in Grand Rapids, Michigan; at the Midtown Plaza in Rochester, NY; and at the Meier and Frank Store in Portland, Oregon; this latter example being the last installation to operate. They must have been absolutely thrilling!
It reminds me of the Alweg Company building the Monorail for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. Operated for a profit, sold at minimal cost to the City after the Fair, it presented a concept of moving people around at a minimal cost. Why can’t we do this nowadays?
This is from :http://babuk.com/?p=483