Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT): New York Subway, 1902

For tens of thousands of years, there were four ways to move through cities: on foot, by horse, by boat or in rickshaws – each averaging no more than a few miles an hour. This 1902 book on the (much faster) New York subway was published two years before the system became operational. It depicts the massive and new set of power stations, switches and other components that were all being built in order to make possible the first form of inner city rapid transit. These massive industrial-scale infrastructure projects were unlike anything the western world had seen, though China had built non-industrial canals and ports on this scale for centuries. Many of the elements of this New York City subway system are still in daily operation more than 100 years after being built.