Andrew Smith Hallidie Patented The "Endless Wire Ropeway"

On January 17, 1871, San Franciscan Andrew Smith Hallidie patented an improved "Endless Wire Ropeway", a key component in the construction of the first cable car system that ultimately spared many horses the excruciating work of moving people over San Francisco's steep roadways. Hallidie devised a mechanism by which cars were drawn along the endless cable running in a slot between rails that passed over the steam-driven mechanism.

Andrew Smith Hallidie (March 16th, 1836 – April 24, 1900) was the promoter of the Clay Street Hill Railroad in San Francisco, USA. This was the world's first practical cable car system, and Hallidie is often therefore regarded as the inventor of the cable car and father of the present day San Francisco cable car system, although both claims are open to dispute. He also introduced the manufacture of wire rope to California, and at an early age was a prolific builder of bridges in the Californian interior.

Here we come to a new and peculiar street railway…There is no steam on board. You ask how is this train propelled? Between the track and under ground is a cable running upon rollers for the length of the road…”

— Edward D. Holton