The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Home Lands

November 28, 2010

Johnstown's Inclined Plane designed by Hungarian immigrant

Johnstown’s famed Inclined Plane has a Hungarian connection.

The world’s steepest vehicular funicular was designed by Samuel Diescher, a highly regarded engineer who was born in 1839 in Budapest, Hungary.

Diescher was educated in Germany and Switzerland and arrived in the United States in the mid-1860s, settling first in Cincinnati. He later moved to Pittsburgh.

Diescher became an internationally known expert in creating inclines – he is credited with designing eight in Pittsburgh and designing the first incline in Ohio.

Johnstown’s Inclined Plane opened in 1891.

Diescher also designed machinery for the first Ferris wheel, which was unveiled in Chicago in 1893.

He retired in 1908 and died in 1915.


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