TELPHERAGE, aerial transportation, as in a cable or elevated railway, by electric power, arranged for automatic operation. Both the system and the word "telpherage,* which means carrying," were introduced by the late Fleeming Jenkin. He recognized the ease with which the electric motor could be adapted to automatic transportation of mate rials and he devised a system which when put into service gave satisfaction.. This consisted of two overhead cables, mounted on stout poles, along which light carriers were hauled by means of one or more electric motors. To transmit current to the motors the cables were cut into sections, adjacent sections of one cable being insulated from each other, but cross converted with sections of the other cable so as to form two continuous conductors, each lying alternately on the right and on the left of the system. The trains were somewhat longer than the sections of cable so that one end rested on one conductor while the other was on the second, thus completing the electric circuit.
Modern telpherage systems are more elab orate than Jenkins'. As usually constructed, a light steel framework supports a system of light elevated rails, from which buckets or carriers are suspended, hanging on wheels on the rail or rails. Small electric motors are placed on the carriers. The current is transmitted to the motors by means of a small trolley wire erected over the running cable or rail. Sometimes a double trolley system is adopted. The telpher or towing vehicle is usually equipped with two motors. These may be placed on opposite sides
of the cable or side by side. The driving wheels are mounted directly on the motor shafts, as gearings are not used. The carrier way is attached to the telpher or to a trailer and is often fitted with a third motor for hoist ing the load. When heavy loads are to be carried two supports may be used, each having one or more running wheels. When the sys tem is not automatic it is controlled from one station or an operator is carried with the train. Where the weights to be transported are light, wire cable is employed, and often the cable is supported between the posts by a sus pension cable. In any case a rail is used in stead of a cable when a corner is to be turned and in running through buildings where the cable construction would he difficult, or where the weight and traffic is sufficient to warrant the cost.
The advantages claimed for the telpherage system are economy in cost of transporting and a capacity for moving large quantities of material with a low cost of construction as compared with a railway. Further. the system may be erected overhead and out of the way. Telpherage systems are now used in industrial works of all kinds for carrying materials in a building as well as outside. The system may also be adapted to other work, such as excavat ing trenches, canal construction, etc. Consult Clark, Chas. M., (Telpherage ;