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British Industrial History

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Gibbs and Applegarth

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See Joseph Gibbs‎ and Augustus Applegarth‎

Extracted from Steam Locomotion on Common Roads by William Fletcher. Published 1891.

In 1831 Mr. Gibbs gave evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons upon steam locomotion on common roads, in which he stated that he was building a steam carriage, and had travelled more than one hundred miles on Sir Charles Dance's coaches on the Gloucester and Cheltenham Road, in order to gain an experience that would be of service to him in his project, and to note the behaviour of the locomotives in passing over the rough roads and in mounting steep inclines.

In the early part of 1832 Gibbs completed a steam drag. The chief characteristic of this locomotive, which was intended for drawing the passenger carriages behind it, was the boiler, with a spirally descending flue placed behind the driving wheels.

In September, 1832, Gibbs and Applegarth patented a superior steam carriage with a tubular boiler and oscillating engine cylinders. Two spur pinions on the crankshaft of different diameters geared into two wheels on the main axle, either pair of which could be geared together and clutched to the driving axle for running the engine at two speeds. The power from the axle was transmitted to the driving wheels through friction bands, arranged on the bosses of the wheels, so that one or both wheels could be coupled to the axle. Friction driving bands similar to those introduced by Gibbs and Applegarth were used on some traction and steam ploughing engines until quite recently.

Very little is said respecting the trials of the above engines; special mention is made by Gordon in reference to the boiler with the spiral downtake, which was said to be a good steamer.

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