The design behind the Hyperloop dates back long before Elon Musk - take a look at its evolution


1974 vacuum train sci fi


A 1974 concept painting of a vacuum train.

In 2013, Elon Musk, the famed entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla and Space X, came up with an idea for a vacuum-and-maglev-powered super-fast train that would travel through a tube. It would be called the Hyperloop.

In a research paper, he outlined its potential and challenged other tech companies to develop it for commercialization. Two startups, Shervin Pishevar's Hyperloop One and Dirk Ahlborn's Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, are perhaps the closest to making the Hyperloop a reality. (Musk hinted in July that he is working on his own system, tweeting that he "received verbal government approval" to build stops in Washington, DC and New York City.)

But Musk is not the first person to suggest air pressure-driven transportation. As io9 notes, the concept behind the Hyperloop originated in the late 17th century with the invention of the world's first artificial vacuum, which led to designs for "underground rapid transit systems" powered by pneumatics (i.e. pressurized air) in the decades that followed.


Take a look at a brief history of the technology that led to Musk's Hyperloop.