A stunning circa 1910 vertical view of the Wetterhorn Elevator (Wetterhorn Aufzug), Switzerland’s first aerial cable car and generally considered to be the world’s first modern aerial cable car. An engineering marvel at the time, it was renowned for its popularity and safety but closed due to the outbreak of World War I and never reopened.
The view displays the elevator’s two stations, one at the base of the Upper Grindelwald Glacier (Oberer Grindelwaldgletscher) and the other built into the rock on the side of the mountain. From the mountainside station, passengers could walk to the nearby Wetterhorn Hotel and, if they so chose, attempt to climb to the summit of Wetterhorn (an additional elevator to the summit was conceived but never built).
The elevator opened in July 1908 and proved to be popular. It was designed with safety in mind, employing two sets of cables and braking systems in case one of them failed. However, the outbreak of the First World War drastically cut the number of visitors to the mountain, and it closed permanently in 1915. Today, the remnants of the mountainside station sit where they were built over a century ago, the only physical reminder of the groundbreaking aerial cable car. However, the Wetterhorn Elevator left an important legacy, setting standards and practices used by nearly all modern aerial cable cars.
This view was drawn by A. Gugger and printed by Hubacher & Co. in Bern. It is undated but likely was produced soon after the opening of the elevator in 1908. The only known example of the view in institutional collections is at the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne (Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire).