Hallidie ropeway

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In mining history, a Hallidie ropeway is a cable system used to haul ore from a mine, a type of ropeway conveyor.

History[edit]

Andrew Smith Hallidie was a Scot who came to America to seek his fortune, with his father, in the goldfields of California. His father had been a blacksmith and an inventor, and had worked with iron rope in Scotland. Not finding much gold, Andrew Hallidie went into the blacksmithing business.

He soon was contracted to build suspension bridges. In the course of his travels around the west, Hallidie noticed that manila hemp rope was being used to haul ore buckets from the depths, with little success as it was subject to weathering and wear. Hallidie turned his bridge experience to building flat, woven iron ropes. These were servicable and sold well, particularly in the silver mines of the Comstock Lode of Virginia City, Nevada.

About 1867 Hallidie devised an aerial tram to haul ore down mountain sides. An early one was built in Vallejo, Utah. Hallidie's system used one cable to support and haul the buckets, "Curule chair" type towers, bolted brackets and small cubic buckets.

Hundreds of Hallidie Tramways were built in the next 30 years in the US, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Japan. Remnants of Hallidie systems can still be found in the Western US.

Edgar Myron Kahn (1940). California Historical Society Quarterly - Andrew Smith Hallidie