Seven Wonders of the Age of Steam

We selected seven wonders from the 19th century that represent the most amazing achievements of the age of steam:

The Eiffel Tower - When construction was first started in 1887, it was called "useless and monstrous" as well as a "ghastly dream." Yet this structure has become one of the most beloved icons of a major city and a wonder of the age of steam.

The Brooklyn Bridge - In the 19th century, the booming New York communities of Brooklyn and Manhattan were divided by the East River. A bridge was the answer, but it would require an engineering feat such as the world had never before seen. In the end, a bridge was erected, but at the cost of the death of the chief designer and a life of suffering for the chief engineer, his son.

The Great Eastern - It was the largest ship of its era. So massive it was renamed the Leviathan for its 1858 launch. Though the vessel was a failure at the Far East passenger trade that it was designed for, it later achieved great success as it laid the first fully effective underwater Atlantic cable while operating under its proper name, The Great Eastern.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse- Dozens of ships and thousands of lives had been lost when vessels went down on the treacherous Bell Rock reef. Could a Lighthouse be built on this impossible ocean swept outcrop?

The Trans-Continental Rairoad - As the middle of the 19th century loomed, there was no good, efficient way to cross North America from coast-to-coast. An overland trip using horses and wagons across the Great Plains was long, arduous and dangerous. Going by ship meant a six-month trip around South American's Cape Horn, risking storms and ship wrecks. A combination of the two, a ship to the Isthmus of Panama with a land crossing there of the jungle and another voyage to San Francisco, was fraught with the possibility of contracting malaria or yellow fever. What was needed was to build a railroad across America, but that seemed an impossibility.

The Sewers of London - There were many great works of spectacular engineering in the 19th century such as gigantic steamships, innovative bridges and fantastic buildings. None of them, however, saved as many lives as this immense and complex infrastructure project under the streets of one of the largest cities of the world: The Sewers of London.

The Gotthard Rail Tunnels - On June 1st, 2016, the longest rail tunnel in the world, the 35 mile Gotthard Base Tunnel was, opened. It was a technical achievement that took 17 years to finish and unites northern and southern Europe by allowing passage via high speed trains through some of the most forbidding mountains in the world. What shouldn't be forgotten in this success, however, is that another rail tunnel, also the longest in the world at the time, was dug though these same mountains almost a century and a half earlier. It was an achievement that changed the face of commerce and travel across 19th century Europe and a Wonder of the Age of Steam.