Today, it's hard to imagine how exciting the 1890s were: The first electrical grids sputtered to life. The first gas-powered car races roared around cities. The first skyscrapers began to climb. As all this progress was blooming across the world, a strange new type of bridge began to spring up across industrial cities in Europe. It looked spider-like, with spindly steel legs that sometimes stretched higher into the sky than the tallest buildings of the day. Webs of cables held up a platform that hung over the water, moving back and forth from shore to shore, shuttling workers across busy waterways and dodging the tall-masted ships that could pass below its long legs.
It was called a transporter bridge, and for a few decades at the turn of the century, it was the epitome of progress and modernism. But today, there are only about a dozen left.