In celebration of transportation month, the team at British Pathé dug through thousands of vintage newsreels to rediscover amazing vehicles that were invented and had the potential to change the world, but were abandoned or forgotten due to limitations or other practical problems.
What amazing vehicles did Pathé unearth?
Here is a quick rundown of the eight innovative vehicles Pathé found in their newsreel archive:
- The Dynasphere (1930) – this mono-wheel vehicle was invented by J.A. Purves and was able to reach a top speed of 25-30 miles per hour. The vehicle was inspired by a Leonardo da Vinci sketch and two prototypes were constructed. One prototype was powered by a gasoline motor and the other by electricity.
- The Zepplin (1874) – these familiar airships were first conceived in 1874 and later patented by Germany in 1895 and in the United States in 1899. The first commercial airship flights were offered Deutsche Lufschiffahrts-AG in 1910. Zepplins remained popular through the 1930s. Though, the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 along with other economic problems brought traveling by airship to an end.
- The Land Yacht (1950s) – these three-wheeled vehicles moved their passengers along using good old fashioned wind power using a sail. Land Yachts were used to transport goods, as well as a racing sport.
- The Flying platform (1950s) – this rotor aircraft vehicle was developed by the US Army. It was intended to provide a way to move it’s operator to remote locations in a direct and efficient way. However, the solution was abandoned due to impracticalities discovered through the testing and development process.
- Denise (1959) – also known as the SP-350, this was the first vehicle designed for underwater research. The vehicle was made famous by its inventor Jacuqes-Yves Costeau who used it to explore extreme ocean depths.
- Flying saucers (1950s) – use of flying discs with modern engines and aviation was explored at length by the army’s of several nations. Though, more streamlined solutions for airplanes won out in the end.
- The Hover Scooter (1959) – this vehicle brought together the ideas of a motor cycle and hover craft. It never was able to raise further beyond the 6″ clearance that is standard for hover craft. Plus, there were safety concerns about the turbine engine—so, the vehicle didn’t see further commercial development.
- The Jet Pack (1950s) – this vehicle has forever been the dream of men young and old. While functional jet packs were developed, the control, fuel, and mobility issues have meant that none of us will be commuting to work via jet pack any time soon.
See these amazing vintage vehicles in action
About British Pathé
British Pathé was a UK-based producer of newsreels and documentaries between 1910 and 1970. It was founded by Charles Pathé and his brothers who all helped to pioneer the development of moving pictures. Theatre goers were able to keep up with the news of the day through the newsreels produced by British Pathé.