“A subterranean railway in London is now in an advanced state of construction, running about four and a half miles under the city. It commences at Victoria Street, a common center for the Great Northern, the London, Chatham and Dover, and the Metropolitan lines. On the occasion of a recent trip made through a portion of its length, the air was found to be perfectly sweet, and free from all unpleasantness or dampness. The locomotives condense their steam and consume their own smoke, so that neither gas nor vapor is perceptible.”

Scientific American, May 1862

More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our shiny anniversary page.