Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Life of Richard Trevithick by F. Trevithick: Volume 1: Chapter 9

From Graces Guide


The energy with which Trevithick followed up and made useful his inventions is, if possible, more wonderful than his never-failing faculty of bringing together old things under new and improved forms. It was a saying in Cornwall that Captain Dick would make a capital working steam-engine from the scrap heap or castaways of ordinary engineers.

While busy with the work mentioned in former chapters in Cornwall and London, he carried on other and new designs in South Wales and Shropshire and in August, 1802, the Coalbrookdale Company were building for him a railway carriage or locomotive, though they feared to attempt its construction, or disbelieved Trevithick's promise that such an engine would work well, without the Watt air-pump and condenser.

He therefore designed an engine suitable for locomotion, and at the same time adapted it to force water a certain height, so that its power might be seen and accurately measured by the unbelievers. A 10-inch pump having a 4-feet stroke was attached to the engine, which forced water up a column of pipes 35 feet high.

This engine had all the leading features of the modern locomotive. The boiler was cylindrical, 4 feet in diameter, and gave steam of any pressure from 60 lbs. to 145 lbs, on the square inch. A blast-pipe, with a regulating cock, caused the boiler to give a full supply of steam, and also heated the feed-water.

The cylinder was 7 inches in diameter, with a stroke of 3 feet, and, with its gear-work, was attached to the boiler. The term blast-pipe was then unknown to describe the thing just brought into use. But the expressions, “the steam continued to rise the whole of the time it worked,” until it became unmanageable, and “I was obliged to stop, and put a cock in the mouth of the discharging pipe,” and a small hole in the discharge-pipe to allow some of the blast-steam to escape into the feed-warmer, through which it passed, prove the invention of the blast-pipe, with its regulating cock and transmission of heat from surplus steam into the feed- water, to have been as fully understood and practically applied by Trevithick in 1802 as it is by us in the present age, when innumerable blast-pipes are in use.

Aug. 22nd, 1802.

Sir, — I should have written to you some time since, but not having made sufficient trial of the engine, have deferred it until it is in my power to give you agreeable information of its progress.

The boiler is 4 feet diameter; the cylinder 7 inches diameter, 3-feet stroke. The water-piston is 10 inches in diameter, drawing and forcing 35 feet perpendicular, equal beam. I first set it off with about 50 lbs. on the inch pressure against the steam-valve, without its load, before the pumps were ready, and have since worked it several times with the pumps, for the inspection of the engineers about this neighbourhood.

The steam will get up to 80 lbs: or 90 lbs. to the inch in about one hour after the fire is lighted; the engine will set off when the steam is about 60 lbs. to the inch, about thirty strokes per minute, with it load. There being a great deal of friction on such small engines, the steam continued to rise the whole of the time it worked; it went from 50 lbs. to 145 lbs. to the inch in fair working, forty strokes per minute; it became so unmanageable as the steam increased, that I was obliged to stop and put a cock in the mouth of the discharging pipe, and leave only a small hole open of 1/4 by 3/8 of an inch for the steam to make its escape into the water. The engine will work forty strokes per minute with a pressure of 145 lbs. to the inch against the steam-valve, and keep it constantly swimming when burning 3 cwt. of coal every four hours. I have now a valve making to put on the top of the pumps, to load with a steelyard, to try how many pounds to the inch it will do of real duty when the steam on the valve is 145 lbs. to the inch.

I cannot put many more pumps, as they are very lofty already. The packing stands the heat and pressure without the least injury whatever; enclosed you have some for inspection that has stood the whole of the working. As there is a cock in the discharging pipe which stops the steam after it has done its office on the piston, I judge that it is almost as fair a trial as if the pump-load as equal to the power of the engine. Had the steam been wire-drawn between the boiler and the cylinder it would not have been a fair trial, but being stopped after it has passed the engine, it tells much in its favour for bearing a greater load than it has now on.

The boiler will hold its steam a considerable time after the fire is taken out. We worked the engine three-quarters of an hour after all the fire was taken out from under the boiler. It is also slow in getting up, for after the steam is atmosphere strong it will take half an hour to get it to 80 lbs. or 90 lbs. to the inch. It is very accommodating to the fireman, for fire or not it is not soon felt.

The engineers at this place all said that it was impossible for so small a cylinder to lift water to the top of the pumps, and degraded the principle, though at the same time they spoke highly in favour of the simple and well-contrived engine. They say it a supernatural engine, for it will work without either fire or water, and swore that all the engineers hitherto are the biggest fools in creation. They are constantly calling on me, for they all say they would never believe it unless they saw it and no person here will take his neighbour's word even if lie swears to it. They all say it is an impossibility, and they will never believe it unless they see it. After they had seen the water at the pump-head, they said that it was possible, but that the boiler would not maintain its steam at that pressure for five minutes; but after a short time they went off, with a solid countenance and a silent tongue.

The boiler is 12 inch thick, and I think there will be no danger in putting it still higher. I shall not stop loading the engine until the packing burns or blows out under its pressure.

I will write you again as soon as I have made further trial. If I had fifty engines I could sell them all here in a day, at any price I would ask for them. They are so highly pleased with it that no other engine will pass with them.

The Dale Company have begun a carriage at their own cost for the railroads, and are forcing it with all expedition.

I remain, Sir,
Your humble servant,


Wire-drawing steam was an early term for expansive working, and was familiarly spoken of by Trevithick in 1802, though the engineers who came to see the new principle at work, some of them perhaps from Soho, not many miles distant, where none but low-pressure steam vacuum engines were made, said that this new high-pressure steam-engine, without condenser, “degraded the principle,” because it did not use condensing water, though at the same time they spoke highly in favour of its simplicity, and of the smallness of the fire-place and boiler resulting from the use of the blast-pipe, which produced a white heat and rapidity generated steam of great expansive force.

Within two years from the expiry of Watt's still-born patent, claiming the invention of an engine working by the pressure of steam, Trevithick had carried his vigorous high-pressure puffers from Cornwall to the outskirts of Soho.

Watt disbelieved, after years of deliberation, the propriety of constructing high-pressure steam-engines and so did other engineers living near him, who thought an engine deriving its main power from vacuum better than one that was in no way dependent on it.

They all said it was an impossibility, and they would never believe it unless they saw it but having seen the water at the pump-head, they said that the boiler would not maintain its steam at the pressure for five minutes; and so the sceptics passed from error to error, and were now in the mystery of the blast-pipe, a cause of confusion to many and among them was Watt, who with a full knowledge of the working of Trevithick's high-pressure steam-puffer engines, and the all-powerful authority of the Soho Works, never, during the remaining seventeen years of his life, from the time of this public proof of the power and compactness of the non-condensing engine, constructed an engine with a blast-pipe.

The boiler bearing this high-pressure steam was a cast-iron cylinder, 11 inch in thickness, having a wrought-iron internal return tube, similar to those be had during four or five years supplied, first to the Cornish mines as portable engines, and then in the Camborne common road locomotive.

It required an hour after lighting the fire to raise the steam to 80 or 90 lbs. to the inch but when the engine was at work, and the blast came into play, the steam pressure rapidly increased to 145 lbs. This was a shock of annihilation to the Wattites, whose tongues were silent and countenances changed. Instead of the stock of steam in the small boiler dwindling to nothing in five minutes, it, strange to say, increased more and more in pressure, while the engine at the same time so wonderfully increased in speed and power, that even Trevithick had to stop the supply of steam, until some check could be placed on its startling power, by a vent-hole in the side of the blast-pipe.

The dimensions of this engine correspond very nearly with the locomotive that followed it in Wales, and the Dale Company were so satisfied with its performance, that they at once commenced “a carriage for the rail-roads.”

Unfortunately, there is no further trace of this contemplated railroad of 1802 among his papers.

Trevithick was obliged to leave Coalbrookdale for a time to follow up the common road locomotive trials in Cornwall, and the construction of the locomotive for London, where he and his partners were during the early months of 1803 but this did not prevent his finding time for other applications of the new steam-power. In the beginning of April, 1803, he had put to work high-pressure steam-engines in London working with steam of 40 lbs. to the inch which were approved of by the Admiralty, and burnt less coal than the Boulton and Watt low-pressure steam vacuum engines, that had before driven the same machinery.

In Derbyshire "they were going on with spirit with their engine”. It is not clear if this latter was also a locomotive, for about that time railways or tram-roads were used or proposed at both Coalbrookdale and in Derbyshire.

His neighbours in Cornwall, who scarcely noticed him at home, gave him in London an order for an engine, and the autumn of 1802 promised golden fruit, for London, Derbyshire, Shropshire, Wales, Cornwall, and other places used the high-pressure steam-engines. whose applicability to steam locomotion had been proved, and some one really talked of giving £10,000 for one-quarter of the patent.

May 2nd, 1803.

Mr. Giddy.
Sir,— I set going an engine in London about four weeks since, for boring and turning brass cannon. The cylinder is 11 inches diameter and 3.5 feet stroke; it does the work of ten horses; it consumed five chaldrons of coal in twenty-one days, and works exceedingly well. It works constantly from six in the morning until eight at night, and keeps in the fire over night. It turns and bores four brass cannon at a time, and turns a mill to grind clay at the same time. It requires the steam at a pressure of 40 to 45 lbs. to the inch to do its work-well, working about twenty-six or twenty-seen strokes per minute. It is much admired by everyone that has seen it, and saves a considerable quantity of coal, when compared with a Boulton and Watt. We use but thirty gallons of water in the hour.

I was sent for to explain the engine at the Admiralty Office. They sent to inspect it, and say they are about to erect several for their purposes, and that no other shall be used in the Government service. An engine worked in the place in which this now stands; it was taken down for this to be put up in its place. The proprietor of the gun factory has one other now at work, and has given an order for one more from me, and will take down the other. He was so satisfied with the engine that he paid for it the second day it was at work. There has been no further trial at the Dale. They are going on with spirit at Derbyshire about their engine. The coach-engine did not arrive in London until last Wednesday. The coach is ready to fix to the engine. I expect we shall be ready to start in about a fortnight. We worked the engine before we sent it from home it was perfectly tight, and gave double as much steam as we wanted, without blowing, and the chimney was but 2 feet high. It worked fifty strokes per minute with 30 lbs, of steam to the inch. The cylinder was 52 inches diameter, 22-feet stroke; much more power than we shall want. I will write again soon. I have a prospect before me of doing exceedingly well. I tell you, as a friend, that I have sold to a gentleman of this place, one-quarter part of the patent for £10,000; but this must remain a secret. Mr. Williams, Mr. Robert Fox, Mr. Gould, and Captain William Davey were here, and much liked the engine; they gave me an order for one for Cornwall as a specimen. I was at Treadrea the day before I left home, but did not find you.

I remain, Sir,
Your humble servant,


The engine of the steam-carriage of 1803 was made in Cornwall and it used the steam-blast, for without it a chimney of only 2.5 feet high would not have caused sufficient draught and, moreover, the bellows tried in the Camborne locomotive was no longer used.

Having given a few months to the successful experiments with the London common road engine, and to the erection of high-pressure engines, in rivalry with Watt's low-pressure steam vacuum engines,[1] he was, in October, 1803, busily engaged in constructing at Penydarran, in South Wales, a tramway locomotive, to run on rails not exceeding an elevation of 1 in 50, and of considerable length.

15th February, 1804.

Sir, Last Saturday we lighted the fire in the tram-waggon, and worked it without the wheels to try the engine. On Monday we put it on the tramroad. It worked very well, and ran up hill and down with great ease, and was very manageable. We had plenty of steam and power. I expect to work it again to-morrow. Mr. Homfray and the gentleman I mentioned in my last, will be home to-morrow. The bet will not be determined until the middle of next week, at which time I shall be very happy to see you.

I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,


The first tramroad locomotive in Wales worked in the month of February, 1804, running with facility up and down inclines of 1 in 50, and having a full supply of steam and power.

February 20th, 1804.

Sir, — The tram-waggon has been at work several times. It works exceedingly well, and is much more manageable than horses. We have not tried to draw more than 10 tons at a time, but I doubt not we could draw 40 tons at a time very well; 10 tons stand no chance at all with it. We have been but two miles on the road and back again, and shall not go farther until Mr. Homfray comes home. He is to dine at home to-day, and the engine goes down to meet him. The engineer from the Government is with him.

The engine, with water included, is about 5 tons. It runs up the tramroad of 2 inches in a yard forty strokes per minute with the empty waggons. The engine moves forward 9 feet at every stroke. The public are much taken up with it. The bet of 500 guineas will be decided about the end of this week. Your presence would give me more satisfaction than you can conceive, and I doubt not you will be fully repaid for the toil of the journey by a sight of the engine.

The steam that is discharged from the engine is turned up the chimney about 3 feet above the fire, and when the engine works forty strokes per minute, 4.5 feet stroke, 8.25 inches diameter of cylinder, not the smallest particle of steam appears out of the top of the chimney, though it is but 8 feet above where the steam is delivered into it, neither at, a distance from it is steam or water found. I think it is made a fixed air by the heat of the chimney. The fire burns much better when the steam goes up the chimney than when the engine is idle. I intend to make a smaller engine for the road, as this has much more power than is wanted here. This engine is to work a hammer.

The engineer from London will try a great many experiments with these engines, as that is his sole business here, and that is my reason for so much wishing you here. He intends to try the strength of the boiler by a force-pump, and has sent down orders to get long steam-gauges and force-pumps ready for that purpose.

We shall continue our journey on the road to-day with the engine, until we meet Mr. Homfray and the London engineer, and intend to take the horses out of the coach, fasten it to the engine, and draw them home. The other end of the road is 9.75 miles from here. The coach-axles are the same length as the engine-axles, so the coach will run very easily on the tram-road.

There have been several experiments made by Mr. Homfray and this engineer in London, lately, on these engines. I am very much obliged to you for your offer to assist in making out a publication of the duty and advantages of those engines. As soon as I can get proper specimens at work, and you as an eyewitness of their performance, I shall value your kind offer and assistance far beyond any other to be got, as you have been consulted, and have assisted me from the beginning.

I am, Sir,
Your very humble servant,


February 22nd, 1804.

Sir,— Yesterday we proceeded on our journey with the engine; we carried 10 tons of iron, five waggons, and seventy men riding on them the whole of the journey. It is above nine miles, which we performed in four hours and five minutes. We had to cut down some trees and remove some large rocks out of the road. The engine, while working, went nearly five miles per hour; no water was put into the boiler from the time we started until we arrived at our journey's end. The coal consumed was 2 cwt. On our return home, about four miles from the shipping-place of the iron, one of the small bolts that fastened the axle to the boiler broke, and all the water ran out of the boiler, which prevented the return of the engine until this evening. The gentleman that bet 500 guineas against it rode the whole of the journey with us, and is satisfied that he has lost the bet. We shall continue to work on the road, and shall take 40 tons the next journey.

The public until now called me a scheming fellow, but now their tone is much altered. An engine is ordered for the West India Docks, to travel itself from ship to ship, to unload and to take up the goods to the upper floors of the storehouses by the crane, and in case of fire to force water on the storehouses. The fire is to be kept constantly burning in the engine, so as to be ready at all times.

Boulton and Watt have strained every nerve to get a Bill in the House to stop these engines, saying the lives of the public are endangered by them, and I have no doubt they would have carried their point if Mr. Homfray had not gone to London to prevent it; in consequence of which an engineer from Woolwich was ordered down, and one from the Admiralty Office, to inspect and make trial of the strength of the materials, and to prove that the steam-gauges will admit steam through them in case the steam-valve should be fastened down. They are not to come until everything is complete for those experiments. You shall know of our future experiments as fast as we get on with them.

Your humble servant,


Before a week had passed, from the first getting-up of steam, this pioneer of railway-engines had run several times, drawing a load of 10 tons, and was more controllable than horses. Only two miles of road were to be run over during the first trials, but within the week the engine ran a distance of 9.75 miles. The horses were removed from Mr. Homfray's common road coach, the wheels of which were of the same gauge as the tramway, and it was drawn by the engine, together with Mr. Homfray and his companion, a Government engineer, brought down for the purpose of examining and testing Trevithick's engines. This was a Practical proof of how street tramway engines could be made to draw by steam ordinary road carriages.

The engine in working order weighed about 5 tons its cylinder was 8.25 inches in diameter, with a stroke of 4.5 feet. It took empty waggons up an incline of 2 inches in a yard, at forty strokes a minute, progressing 9 feet at each stroke in other words, it took its load up an incline of 1 in 18 at the rate of four miles an hour.

Trevithick's own words solve the blast-pipe riddle:— “The steam that is discharged from the engine is turned up the chimney, about three feet above the fire. The fire burns much better when the steam goes up the chimney than when the engine is idle. ”

It was something like engineering, that within a week of first putting fire in a newly-designed engine for a novel purpose, it took in the morning its luggage-train work up an incline believed by many to be dangerously unmanageable even now, after seventy years of experience, and was prepared for its evening passenger-train work, to bring home the ironmaster and his friend, snugly riding in an ordinary horse-carriage.

Trevithick was anxious that Mr. Davies Gilbert should be near him to observe the drift of events, for he knew the London engineer had been experimenting with his high-pressure engines then at work in London, in competition with Watt and he also hoped that Davies Gilbert would make public a report on the advantages of the new principle of working without a vacuum, and state what he had seen at Penydarran.

Immediately after writing a long letter, giving clear and important facts, during the din and hurry of preparing the tramroad-engine for her first long run, a start was made from Penydarran for the Basin, 9.75 miles distant. Five waggons[2] were attached to the engine, loaded with 10 tons of iron. and seventy men. Four hours and five minutes were required for the journey, though the engine went at the rate of five miles an hour, but was obliged to stop frequently that trees might be cut down and rocks removed that blocked the roadway. How different to the well-prepared level railway on the Liverpool and Manchester line, on which the much-talked-of locomotives ran a quarter of a century later!

The gentleman who bet 500 guineas that the engine would not draw 10 tons of iron over the distance, rode with Trevithick, and admitted the fact. The seventy men and tools taken at 7 tons, made a net load of 17 tons and, including the five waggons, a gross load of 25 tons. During the journey, 2 cwt, of coal were consumed, and Trevithick believed, from that day's experience, that he could take a load of 40 tons.

On the return journey, when four miles had been passed, one of the bolts fastening the axle-boxes to the boiler broke, the water and steam escaped through the bole, and caused the engine to stop for repairs.

This roughly-constructed locomotive performed a comparatively long journey with a heavy load, over the worst possible road, with sharp curves and inclines, and frequently breaking tram-plates; yet such, to other men, insurmountable difficulties are not so much as mentioned in Trevithick's letters.

The writer worked locomotives on those same tram-ways thirty-three years afterwards, in 1837, and it was then necessary to send platelayers to jump from the waggon-trains to replace broken plates.

He at the same time renewed a long-idle early locomotive on Trevithick's plan, that had been built at Neath Abbey. The double or breeches fire-tube in the boiler was removed to make room for thirty small tubes, such as were then coming into use for locomotive boilers. That all-important part of a locomotive, the blast-pipe, brightening the fire, and increasing the supply of steam with greater or less intensity in proportion to the greater or less amount of work performed, and steam puffs accelerating the draught, was retained in its original form and position as used by Trevithick in 1804.

Boulton and Watt still opposed Trevithick's high-pressure steam plans on the plea, that "the lives of the public were endangered,” and tried to get an Act of Parliament to prevent the construction of any more engines on the high-pressure principle. The Government sent engineers from Woolwich and the Admiralty to test those engines, both as to the fact of being able to work a steam-engine without using the vacuum from injection, and also as to the pressure that the boilers would safely bear, and the kind of safety-valves or safeguards against explosion.

At that time he was constructing a travelling steam-crane and fire-engine for the West India Docks in London, to unload ships, convey the merchandise to the storehouses, and then lift it to the required floors; the engine was arranged with pump and hose, and to be in steam night and day.

It seems like a dream that such things were done nearly three-quarters of a century ago for though we now have steam-cranes, and steam fire-engines, and railways into docks, we have not yet so mastered the detail as to combine the three operations in one engine.

March 4th, 1804.

Sir,- We have tried the carriage with 25 tons of iron, and found that we were more than a match for that weight. We are now preparing to get the materials ready for the experiments by the London engineers, who are to be here on Sunday next. We have fixed up 28 feet of 18-inch pumps for the engine to lift water; these engineers particularly requested that they might have a given weight lifted, so as to be able to calculate the real duty done by a bushel of coal.

The waggon-engine is to lift this water, then go by itself from the pump and work a hammer, then to wind coal, and lastly to go the journey on the road with iron. We shall have all the work ready for them by the end of the week. They intend to stay here about seven or eight days, and as the report that they will make on their return will be the standing or the condemning those engines, it is my reason for so anxiously requesting your presence. As they intend to make trial of the duty performed by the coal consumed, they will state it as against the duty performed by Boulton's great engines, which did upwards of twenty-five millions, when their 20-inch cylinders, after being put in the best order possible, did not exceed ten millions.

As you were consulted on all those trials of Boulton's engines your presence would have great weight with those gents, otherwise I shall not have fair play. Let me meet them on fair grounds, and I will soon convince them of the superiority of the 'pressure-of-steam engines.'

The steam is delivered into the chimney above the damper; when the damper is shut the steam makes its appearance at the top of the chimney; but when open none can be seen. It makes the draught much stronger by going up the chimney; no flame appears. The coal here has but very little bitumen in it, therefore but very little smoke comes from it. We never tried a torch at the top of the chimney.

Perhaps there may never be such an opportunity when your assistance in those experiments will be of so great a benefit to me as at this time, therefore I hope you will forgive me for again requesting your attendance on a business that may be of such consequence to me.

I remain, Sir,
Your very humble servant,


The chimney-damper formed a fixed part of this locomotive. There was also a cock for regulating the blast and for heating the feed-water by the waste steam. These three things have exercised the genius of engineers to the present day, and they have not improved on Trevithick's ignored plans of 1804. The engine- driver of to-day removes a temporary damper-plate from the top of the chimney, while Trevithick had it under mechanical control; the same may be said of regulating blast and feed warming.

Within three weeks from lighting the first fire in the boiler, the Welsh tram-engine had drawn 25 tons of iron, net load. An upright column, 28 feet high, of 18-inch pumps, had been erected to test the power exerted by the engine and the coal consumed in raising a known quantity of water, or rather to discover how much water could be lifted a fixed height by the consumption of a bushel of coal. The reader must bear in mind that a bushel of coal was a misunderstood term: Trevithick's bushel was 84 lbs., Watt's bushel seems to have been 112 lbs.

Trevithick, who was not apt to fear, had an instinctive dread of those London gentlemen. His was a small engine, and small engines never did such good duty as larger engines. “Let me meet them on fair grounds, and I will soon convince them of the superiority of the pressure-of-steam engines.”

The unreasonableness of the requirements of the Government engineers proves their ignorance of practical engineering, and almost shows an influence from Soho, judging from the following report by Trevithick:— ”The waggon-engine is to lift this water in the pipes, then go by itself from the pump and work a hammer, then to wind coal, and lastly to go the journey on the road with a load of iron.” By the end of the week everything would be in readiness, and they thought of keeping the engine under those various tests for seven or eight days.

The blast-pipe continued to act well. “The steam is delivered into the chimney above the damper it makes the draught much stronger by going up the chimney.” Mr. Davies Gilbert, who was prepared to stand by the man of genius in this contest with men in authority, left Oxford for Penydarran to be present at the experiments, but meanwhile his friend had written that an accident had made it impossible for Mr. Homfray to receive his friends from London, and the official tests were therefore deferred.

March 9th, 1804.

Sir, I am sorry to inform you that the experiments that were to be exhibited before the London gents are put off on account of an accident which happened to Mr. Homfray on Tuesday last. His horse ran away with the gig, and threw him out, hurt his face, sprained his ankle, and dislocated his arm at the elbow. The experiments will go on as usual; everything is nearly ready. If you come now you will not have Mr. Homfray's company or that of the London gentlemen. Perhaps it will be a month before they come down, and they are the persons I wish you to see.

I hope you will come this way before you go to Cornwall, as we can go through the experiments at any time. I find myself much disappointed on account of the accident, for I was very desirous to make the engine go through its different work, that its effect might be published as early as possible. I should be very happy to see any gentleman you may recommend this way for information, as the more public it is made the sooner the engines will circulate.

We have not made any experiments since I last wrote. I received a letter from home this morning saying they had seen the steam-carriage in the newspapers, but did not believe it to be truth.

Wheal Prosper is condemned; Binner Downs is under water, but was never so good as when it stopped. We are removing Wheal Treasury great engine there.

I cannot see any release for me from this place soon; and intend to go down almost immediately to Cornwall, and bring up my family to spend the next summer here.

I am, Sir,
Your very humble servant,


This letter did not reach Oxford till after I had proceeded to Penydarran. I believe it was never opened till January, 1824. — D. G.

Had Trevithick carried out his wish to remove his family from Cornwall to Wales, that he might give more attention to the locomotive, this country might have had the benefit of railways and locomotives twenty years earlier.

Mr. Homfray thought of becoming a partner in Trevithick's patent, and both of them were at that time full of the wish to extend the general application of the high-pressure steam-engine, causing the partial neglect of the locomotive.

10th July, 1804.

I dare say you will think me remiss in not answering your first letter, enclosing one for Mr. Trevithick. In a day or two after I received it I went up to Staffordshire (and likewise Trevithick), and have only returned yesterday, and find your favour of 3rd; both letters I thank you for, and shall at all times be happy to show you or your friends civility at this place.

Our engine is at work at the rolls, and goes on very well. It has rolled this last fortnight upwards of 200 tons of iron, from the balls to the rough bars, which is as much as it was first expected, and I hope it will continue improving. It does much more than our old engine of 32-inch diameter cylinder and this is only 28-inch, same stroke. Trevithick went down the tramroad twice since you left us, with 10 tons each time, and though he took his load down, Mr. Hill does not yet allow the 500 guineas, because he did not return again with the empty trains in the same time the horses usually do, and this was owing to the little forcing pump not being quite right to feed the boiler, and he was obliged to wait and fill with cold water; but this little defect is easily cured, and no doubt but Mr. Hill will be satisfied; but Trevithick would not stay here for the present to make another journey, so that it stands over till his return. He is now, I believe, at the Dale, and will not expect to be here this month again.

Lord Dudley's engine for winding coal is got to work, as well as one at Worcester, for a glover there, which will be applied to various purposes, and show what the engine can do. I beg leave to congratulate you on the honour of a seat in Parliament. Mrs. Homfray and my niece Eliza join me in respectful compliments.

I am, dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,


(Davies Giddy Esq.)

This letter of the 10th July draws attention to one written by Davies Gilbert on the 3rd, thanking Homfray for his hospitality and during the interval the locomotive had gone two journeys over the tramway, with its net load of 10 tons of iron. It commenced work in the early part of February, and continued at work therefore at least five months, and was then in good working order, with the exception of a small bolt to be repaired.

After putting to work a high-pressure whim-engine for Lord Dudley, in Staffordshire, a small engine in Worcester, and a winding engine at Stourbridge, he paid a flying visit to Coalbrookdale, and then to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to work his locomotive, and while on the journey wrote to Davies Gilbert.

"The train-engine has carried two loads of 10 tons of iron to the shipping place since you left this. Mr. Hill says he will not pay the bet, because there were some of the tram-plates in the tunnel removed, so as to get the road into the middle of the arch.

The first objection he started was that one man should go with the engine without any assistance, which I performed myself without help; and now his objection is that the road is not in the same place as when the bet was made. I expect Mr. Homfray will be forced to take steps that will oblige him to pay.

As soon as I return from here there will be another trial, and some person will be called to testify its effects, and then I expect there will be a lawsuit immediately. The travelling engine is now working a hammer."[3]

Trevithick was not like other men. He was alone at various places erecting and working differently-designed engines suitable to the numerous requirements he readily engaged to fulfil. Who constructed the engines? who made the necessary drawings? who kept newly-designed machines in daily work, with steam of 100 lbs. to the inch, more or less? are questions the answer to which is lost in the lapse of a comparatively few years. It is evident that numerous manufacturers and engineers, from Watt downwards, were fully acquainted with those events, and that the latter not only disapproved of the new engine, but actively opposed its use. It may be almost said that every engineer of the time knew of them yet no one seems to have recorded them, except Trevithick, who never dreamt of being an historian.

While at Coalbrookdale, in 1804, he wrote to his friend[4]

At Newcastle I found four engines at work, and four more nearly ready. Six of these were for winding coal, one for lifting water, and one grinding corn the latter, an 11-inch cylinder, driving two pair of 5-feet stones. Below I send you a copy of Mr. Homfray's and Mr. Wood's letters.

Some of these engines were probably for the Gateshead Iron Works of Messrs. Hawks and Crawshay. The latter, I believe, was a brother of the Mr. Crawshay in the Welsh Iron Works. Every move of Trevithick and his engines in Wales was therefore known to the coal-works proprietors and engineers of Newcastle.

Mr. Wood says:—

An engine of this kind was sent to the North, for Mr. Blackett, of Wylam, but was, for some cause or other, never used upon his railroad, but applied to blow a cupola, at an iron foundry in Newcastle.[5]

On the 10th January, 1805,[6] having left Newcastle, he wrote from Soho Foundry, Manchester:-

I shall go to Newcastle-on-Tyne in about four weeks. By that time the little engine will be sent to London for the coal-ships. A great number of my engines are now making in different parts of the kingdom. There are three foundries here making them. I expect there are some of the travelling engines at work at Newcastle. As soon as I get there I will write to you. This day I received a letter from Jane — sad lamentation on account of my absence. I am obliged to promise to return immediately, but shall not be able to fulfil it at this moment. I should be wrong to quit this business, as there are now seventeen or eighteen foundries going on with those engines, and unless I am among them the business will fall to the ground, and after such pains as I have taken I am very sorry to quit it until I get it established.

Having been at Newcastle in September, 1804, to arrange, amongst many other things, for supplying the Wylam Railway with a locomotive, he counted on being there again in February or March, 1805, to see "some of the travelling engines at work."

Numerous small high-pressure engines were being, constructed in seventeen or eighteen different manufactories; and in May, 1805, one of the Newcastle travelling engines was ready for its work on the railway. Mr. Wilson, well known at Newcastle-on-Tyne, has well described it in the following Memorandum, to be seen at the South Kensington Patent Museum:—

Memorandum, May 1st, 1805. (Copy from R. W.'s Memorandums on Steam-Engines.) — I saw an engine this day upon a new plan: it is to draw three waggons of coal upon the Wylam waggon-way; the road is nearly level. The engine is to travel with the waggons. Each waggon with the coal weighs about 3.5 tons, and the engine weighs 4.5 tons. The engine is to work without a vacuum. The cylinder is 7 inches in diameter, 3-feet stroke, and is placed inside the boiler, and the fire is inside also. The speed they expect to travel at is four miles per hour.— ROBERT WILSON.

Mr. Wilson, an experienced mechanic, called this high-pressure engine in 1805 an engine on a new plan, working without a vacuum not knowing that similar engines had been at work for six or seven years.

Having traced the construction of common road, tram, and railway engines up to the year 1805, mainly from Trevithick's letters, it may be necessary to substantiate the facts by disinterested evidence.

May 15th, 1854.

Dear Sir, — I received your letter of last month, and should have answered it sooner, but as yet have not been able to go over to Merthyr to see the men that worked for your late father. I had found out the engine-driver; but my son has found out one of the men who put the locomotive engine together, and he believes he shall be able to make a sketch from their description. It was my father that was at Pennydarran when the engine was made and tried. It made three journeys to the Basin, nine miles below Merthyr, and in coming up the third journey it broke both axles; the road being only common tramroad-plates 3 feet long. The men say it would have done its work well on a good road.

The engine had one cylinder 8 inches in diameter and 2-feet stroke a wrought-iron boiler, with a tube thus, U; the side rods connected to the wheels; and as side coupling rods were not thought of then, it had cog-wheels connecting front and hind axles. To pass the centres it had a fly-wheel. Weight of engine about 7 tons, on four wheels. You shall hear from me as soon as I can obtain all the information I require.

The engines you saw at Tredegar were made by me. We had the original from Stephenson, Newcastle, about 1829; but it had the old tube, the same as marked on the other side. I believe I am the first that turned the steam into the chimney, never thinking it would give me any advantage in getting up steam. It was done to prevent frightening the horses, as we had a turnpike-road fourteen miles by the side of our railway. You may rely on my getting all the information I possibly can as my informants are, one seventy and the other seventy-six years old. No time should be lost.

Dear Sir, yours truly, Thos. Ellis, Sen.

22nd June, 1854.

DEAR Sir, We have not succeeded well yet with the locomotive. The poor old fellow is very feeble; but we have a part of that done also. From what I can understand the engine was made in Cornwall, and put together in Merthyr; and if we can understand the old man, your father adopted the pipe inside the other to warm the water, and also took the steam up the chimney. If so, that was done before I saw the light. Trusting I shall send you the required information, Dear Sir, yours truly, Thos. Ellis (F. TREVITHICK, Esq.)

Mr. Ellis then published a drawing of the Welsh locomotive, with the following particulars:-

Trevithick's high-pressure tram-engine, so designated in the original plan, dated 1803, was constructed partly in Cornwall and partly at Penydarran Works, by Richard Trevithick, Esq., engineer, for Samuel Homfray, Esq., proprietor of the Penydarran Iron Works, Merthyr Tydfil, who, while discussing the principles and feasibility of locomotive steam-engine power with Richard Crawshay, Esq., of the Cyfartha Iron Works, made a bet of 1,000 guineas that he would convey by steam-power a load of iron from his works to the Navigation House (nine miles distant) along the Basin tramroad, which he effected by means of this engine, and won his wager, although the heavy gradients, sharp curves, and frangible nature of the cast-iron track way operated against the return of this ingenious though rudely-constructed machine with the empty trains — hence its discontinuance. As may be perceived, the exhausted steam discharged into the stack and the wheels combined; thus to Trevithick is the credit due for the application of those two principles to locomotive engines.

Rees Jones, who aided in the fitting, and William Richards, its driver, are still alive; the former, when shown the plan, instantly identified it; and the latter, now in his eighty-fifth year, has worked no other than Trevithick's high-pressure engine. To this day portions of the old engine exist in the one he now works at Penydarran, and during a period extending far beyond half a century, never having had an accident with his boiler.

THOS. ELLIS, Engineer, Tymaur Ponty Pridd, Glamorganshire.

Mr. Menelaus also supplied a drawing of the Welsh locomotive, made by Mr. Llewellyn.

24th November, 1855.

DEAR SIR, I regret that I should have forgotten to send you the drawing of the old locomotive engine which you asked me for some time ago. I have had a pretty long search for it but succeeded in finding it at last. I observe that nothing is mentioned upon it of its being the engine constructed by Trevithick; but inasmuch as I am aware that my uncle was engaged with him at Merthyr in the trial made there on the old navigation tramway, and have an impression of hearing my uncle say that it was a rough draft of the original engine, I think there is very little doubt upon the subject. It was drawn by my uncle (very roughly you will see) in the year 1803, which was about the time Trevithick was at Merthyr. You will perhaps be kind enough to get the parties you send the sketch to, to return it when done with. I should tell you that I shall send the drawing in another enclosure.

Dear Sir, yours very truly,

"N.B.— The cylinder was 4.75 inches diameter, and 3-feet stroke.

"’Engineering' for the 27th March, 1868, has the following:—

Trevithick was the real inventor of the locomotive. He was the first to prove the sufficiency of the adhesion of the wheels to the rails for all purposes of traction on lines of ordinary gradient, the first to make the return fine boiler, the first to use the steam-jet in the chimney, and the first to couple all the wheels of the engine.

One of his pupils, John Roe, was not long ago living, and he supplied a correspondent to our pages with many of the particulars of the old engine, as did also Rees Jones, who, at the age of twenty-one, worked on it. The engine made one or more trips from Penydarran to Navigation, but broke a large number of the cast-iron tramway-plates with which the line was laid. After this it worked for two or three years between the blast-furnaces and forges at Homfray’s works at Penydarran.

"The Mining Journal,' Oct. 2nd, 1858:—

"Rees Jones, engine-fitter, Penydarran, says:—Dowlais, Sept. 9, 1858.- I am now eighty-two years old. I came to Penydarran on April 1st, 1794. I was then eighteen years of age. I have been in the employ of the Penydarran Iron Company ever since. I am still able to do a little. I am in the works every day. About the year 1800 Mr. Trevithick came to Penydarran to erect a forge-engine for the company. I was at this time overlooking the engines at Penydarran. I assisted Mr. Trevithick in the erection of the forge-engine. When this engine was finished Mr. Trevithick commenced the construction of a locomotive. Most if not all, the work of this locomotive was made at Penydarran. Richard Brown made the boiler and the smith-work. I did the most of the fitting, and put the engine together. When the engine was finished she was used for bringing down metal from the furnaces to the old forge. She worked very well but frequently from her weight broke the tram-plates, and also the hooks between the trams. After working for some time in this way, she took a journey of iron from Penydarran down the Basin Road, upon which road she was intended to work. On the journey she broke a great many of the tram-plates; and before reaching the Basin she ran off the road, and was brought back to Penydarran by horses. The engine was never used as a locomotive after this; she was used as a stationary engine, and worked in this way several years.

I understood the reason for discontinuing using her as a locomotive was the weakness of the road. The boiler was made of wrought iron, having a breeches tube also of wrought iron, in which was the fire. The pressure of steam used was about 40 lbs. to the inch. The cylinder was horizontal; it was fixed in the end of the boiler. The diameter of the cylinder was about 4.75 inches. The three-way cock was used as a valve. • The engine had four wheels. These wheels were smooth; they were coupled by cog-wheels. There was no rack-work on the road; the engine progressed simply by the adhesion of the wheels. The steam from the cylinder was discharged into the stack. This statement was made in the presence of the undersigned.


Mr. Menelaus says:-

I would call particular attention to the fact that Trevithick in 1803 had satisfied himself that smooth wheels would have sufficient adhesion to propel a load; that he had hit upon the plan of coupling the wheels; and that he discharged the waste steam into the stack. Boilers of the same type as that used by Trevithick in this engine were used successfully for locomotives twenty years after his invention.

A boiler-plate in the Kensington Patent Museum has the following written on it:—

Piece of S. Homfray's engine that took the load of iron to Navigation House for the £1,000 bet - Trevithick, builder, and with two cylinders. The history of our getting it:— After taking the iron down it was made into a small planishing-hammer engine at Penydarran; brought into the Forest by Mr. Protheroe thirty years ago to sink pits at Castle-rag Colliery; from these to Protheroe's lower pits, and sank them; then to Link's Delight for our old company, and we pulled it down and cut a piece out for you. This is as I copied it from old Broad, our manager. HENRY CRAWSHAY, March 14th, 1850.

Rees' Cyclopedia' of 1819 says:—

The application of steam-engines to driving of carriages.— These are now called locomotive engines, and we may date their introduction with the patent of Messrs. Trevithick and Vivian in 1802.

Mr. Trevithick made a locomotive engine in South Wales in 1804, which was tried upon the railroads at Merthyr Tydfil. The engine was the same as that of which we have given an account of its work in speaking of the high-pressure engine, having an 8-inch cylinder and a 4 feet 6 inch stroke. It drew after it upon the railroad as many carriages as carried 10 tons of bar-iron, for a distance of nine miles; and it performed all that distance without any further supply of water than that contained in the boiler at setting out, travelling at the rate of five miles per hour.

The boiler of cast iron, of a cylindrical form, 6 feet long, and 4 feet 3 inches in diameter, the fire-place being withinside. The cylindrical boiler was mounted horizontally upon four wheels, and the cylinder of the engine was placed vertically in the end of the boiler, having two connecting rods descending from the cross-bar of its piston-rods to two cranks upon an axis extending beneath the boiler and cylinder, and communicating its motion, by means of wheel-work, to the two fore wheels upon which the engine runs, and by this means the alternate ascending and descending motions of the piston-rods act to turn round the crank and wheels, and draw the carriages forward. In this way no fly-wheel was necessary, because the momentum of the carriage to advance itself forward on the road continued the motion of the wheels and cranks sufficiently to make the cranks pass the lines of the centre.

Trevithick's Tramroad Locomotive, South Wales, 1803 (see key below)
Trevithick's Tramroad Locomotive, South Wales, 1803 (see key below)

Mr. Crawshay, who had good means of learning the facts, says the boiler was of wrought iron, and there were two cylinders.

Rees' 'Cyclopedia,' makes the boiler of cast iron and the cylinder vertical. The old Welshmen speak of a wrought-iron boiler, though their drawing rather indicates a cast-iron outer casing, with wrought-iron tube, and the steam-cylinder to have been horizontal.

They all agree on the blast-pipe, which the writer has not shown in the drawing, neither the feed-pump, or water-heating apparatus, because they are not given in the original Welsh drawing. The position of the feed-pump, feed-beating pipe, and blast-pipe, may be readily discovered by a reference to the patent drawing of 1802.

The following particulars are taken from Trevithick's letters where other evidences are conflicting. It is probable that more than one tramroad-engine was constructed in Wales at that time.

Eight years after these events Trevithick wrote the following recollections of them:—

About six years since I turned my thoughts to this subject, and made a travelling steam-engine at my own expense, to try the experiment. I chained four waggons to the engine, each loaded with 2.5 tons of iron, besides seventy men riding in the waggons, making altogether about 25 tons, and drew it on the road from Merthyr to the Quaker's Yard, in South Wales, a distance of 9.75 miles, at the rate of four miles per hour, without the assistance of either man or beast; and then without the load drove the engine on the road sixteen miles per hour. I thought this experiment showed to the public quite enough to recommend it to general use but though a thing that promised to be of so much consequence, has so far remained buried, which discourages me from again trying its practice at my own expense.[7]

We have no account of the railway work done by the Coalbrookdale travelling engine of 1802. The Welsh tramroad-engine of 1803 took a gross load of 25 tons, at the rate of four miles an hour, over a bad road, with sharp curves and stiff inclines, and without load ran at a speed of sixteen miles an hour.

The Newcastle locomotive of 1804 was, in general outline, similar to the Welsh locomotive, but in detail superior. The wheels were to run on rails instead of tram-plates, and were 9 inches farther apart than the Welsh locomotive, giving increased steadiness. The boiler and return tube were wholly of wrought iron; the fire-door and chimney were at one end of the boiler, and the cylinder and guide-rods at the other end, giving more room to the engineman than on the Welsh locomotive, which had all those things at one end of the boiler.

The cylinder of the Newcastle locomotive was of the same size as the Coalbrookdale engine of 1802, being 7 inches in diameter, with a 3-feet stroke, and therefore was probably made at Coalbrookdale, from Trevithick's drawings and patterns of 1802, with its regulating blast-pipe and steam of from 60 to 145 lbs. on the square inch.

The first Newcastle locomotive is thus mentioned:—

The death of Mr. John Whinfield, who was concerned in the manufacture of some of the earlier locomotives, has revived the question as to who was the first to apply the power of steam to locomotive purposes; and it has, we think, been well established that the honour is due to Mr. Richard Trevithick of Camborne, who, more than fifty years since, ran a locomotive through the High Street of his native town, and employed a locomotive to draw a load of bar-iron from the Penydarran Iron Works to the Basin. An attempt having been made by the North-countrymen to prove that John Steel, an employee of Mr. Whinfield, was the first inventor of a locomotive, a correspondent of the Gateshead Observer (in continuation of correspondence on the subject) states that-

"Trevithick's steam-engine was a patent; and Mr. John Whinfield, who had a small foundry in Pipewellgate, and whom I well knew, was a sort of agent of his. The plans to which you refer, and probably also some portions of the engine, may have come from Trevithick; Steel, an old acquaintance of mine, being the local engineer. Steel came, I believe, from somewhere about Colliery Dikes. He was at one time in Wales, where (at Merthyr Tydfil) Trevithick tried his locomotive engine on a tramroad. Whether it was before or after “our first engine“ was made that Steel went to Wales I cannot say. These were the primitive days of steam. The appliances and facilities of the present day were then unknown. Everything was comparatively rude; the boiler was of cast iron. Well do I remember “Tommy Waters,” who had a small foundry on the Pipewellgate slope, behind the Blue Bell in Bridge Street, and who was employed, under Trevithick's patent, to make a locomotive engine for Mr. Blackett, between forty and fifty years ago. Tommy's steam-engines wouldn't always go and when they were obstinate, he would take hold of the lever of the safety-valve, and declare, in his desperation, “that either she or he should go! Poor Steel! both he and the engine went in France — as you stated in your columns of last week.[8]

Trevithick's letters show how readily he taught un-trained men in numerous small mechanical workshops to construct his engines for certainly Tommy Waters' locomotive with a cast-iron boiler was a copy, though a bad one, of that made by Trevithick in Wales.

19th April, 1870.

MY DEAR SIR, I am in receipt of your letter as to the engine sent to Wilam in 1804, and have, as your son has informed you, a drawing of it, from which I will have a tracing made and sent to you. I got this drawing made from a tracing which was lent to me by one of my brothers, who resides in Sunderland, and I understood from him that the engine itself was in existence up to a few years ago, and that it was driving a fan at a foundry either in Newcastle or Gateshead; but in order that I may be able to give you more accurate information, I will endeavour to get the particulars of the engine, dates, &c., and will then write you again.
I am, my dear Sir, Yours truly,


May 10th, 1870.

DEAR SIR, By this post I have forwarded a tracing of the old locomotive for Mr. Trevithick, and likewise some copies of an extract from the Gateshead Observer. They would have been sent ere now, but I have had some difficulty in procuring an original from which to get a tracing, and have also spent time in hunting up this extract, and having it reprinted.
Yours truly,

(JOSEPH ARMSTRONG, Esq., Swindon.)


From the Gateshead Observer. 

The engine erected by Mr. Trevithick had one cylinder only, with a fly-wheel to secure a rotatory motion in the crank at the end of each stroke. An engine of this kind was sent to the North, for Mr. Blackett of Wylam, but was, for some cause or other, never used upon his railroad, but was applied to blow a cupola at an iron foundry in Newcastle. - Nicholas Wood On Railroads' (third edition, page 281).

Mr. Blackett was the first colliery owner in the North who took an interest in the locomotive engine. He went so far as to order one direct from Trevithick, to work his waggon-way, about the year 1811. The engine came down to Newcastle; but for some reason or other (perhaps because of the imperfect construction of the waggon-way as compared with the weight of the engine) it was never put upon the road. Mr. Blackett eventually sold it to a Mr. Whinfield, of Gateshead, by whom it was employed for many years in blowing the cupola of his iron foundry. - Smiles ”Life of Stephenson' (first edition, page 74).

The story told by Mr. Wood and Mr. Smiles, with some little variation in their versions, has been current on the Tyne for a number of years; and it was not till lately that we were led to doubt its accuracy.

Mr. Robert Wylie, an iron-founder in the Close, Newcastle, having seen a reference, in the Gateshead Observer, to a locomotive engine having been sent to Mr. Blackett by Mr. Trevithick, and afterwards sold to Mr. Whinfield, called upon us with a correction of the statement. He served his apprenticeship with Mr. Whinfield in Pipewellgate, where Price's Glass Works now stand, and remembers the engine. It was made prior to his time, but he can positively say, from what he learned on the spot, that it did not come from Trevithick, or from any other person it was manufactured on the premises, about the year 1804, by Mr. Whinfield — the engineer of the works being John Steel, a man with a wooden leg (subsequently blown up, by the explosion of an engine in France, and killed). So far Mr. Wylie.

John Turnbull, of Eighton Banks, aged 80, whom we afterwards made out, informed us that he, too, served his apprenticeship with Mr. Whinfield. He was older than usual when he was bound — turned of 16 — and it was some time in the present century before he closed his apprenticeship — he could not say when, his memory being now defective but he perfectly remembered the making of the locomotive engine for Mr. Blackett. It was all made at his master's. The engineer was John Steel, who was regularly employed at the works, and ‘a very clever fellow’. When she was finished, a temporary way was laid down in the works, ‘to let the quality see her run.’ There were several gentlemen present, and she ran backwards and forwards quite well. Mr. Blackett, however, did not take her;— ‘ there was some disagreemency between him and the master, and she never left the works, but was used in the foundry as a fixed engine, to blow the iron down.’ He (Turnbull) left Mr. Whinfield when his time was out, and the engine was made long before he left.

Turnbull's statement, if correct as to his age, &c., would carry back the date of the manufacture of the engine beyond 1804 — which, we have reason to believe, was about the year; and we therefore asked him if he could refer us to any other living witness. He at once named John Henderson, a fellow-apprentice, still working as a founder at Messrs. Hawks and Crawshay's, the Gateshead Iron Works. Henderson we found at his work — a hale, intelligent man of 70 — with all his faculties in full vigour. He was unusually young (he said) when he went to trade. He could not give the date, but he would be about twelve years old. He remembered the engine. It was made at the works long before he was out of his time, when he and Turnbull were apprentices together; and John Steel was the engineer.

Thus, then, we have the evidence of more than one living witness, that the engine made for Mr. Blackett, and afterwards used as a fixed engine, was not ‘sent to the North,’ but was of Gateshead manufacture.

We have also other evidence. The plans are still extant. They are the property of Mr. Smith, of the Gateshead Park Iron Works (Messrs. Abbot and Co.'s), and have been placed in our hands by Mr. Wylie. They comprise:- 1. Well-executed perspective views of the engine from various points. 2. 'Drawing of waggon-engine, October 3, 1804.’ 3, Regulating and throttle cocks for engine, No. 1, September 17, 1804.' She had friction, (not cogged) wheels, and was driven by spur-gear, working with a three-way cock, instead of a slide.

Our case, we think, is now complete. It was in Gateshead, without doubt, that the first locomotive engine was planned and made; — the date being 1804 — (the year in which Trevithick was trying his engine in Merthyr Tydfil) the engineer, John Steel, and the manufacturer, John Whinfield.

Can any correspondent supply us with facts in corroboration or correction of our statements? If so, we shall be much obliged by the kindness.

Gateshead may claim to have had a hand in putting together a Newcastle locomotive, and also in hiding the usefulness of Trevithick's' high-pressure locomotive engine, then a reality of four or five years' standing; but his foreman, John Steel, who had worked on the Welsh locomotive, superintended its erection. The late Mrs. Trevithick said "about the time her husband was occupied with the engines in Wales, he went several times to Newcastle.[9] John Steel, whom she found as foreman in the workshops in London in 1808, was a Newcastle man, with a wooden leg."

Trevithick's beautifully-designed Newcastle locomotive was perfectly manageable in Whinfield's small, cramped yard, on a temporary railway. The North- countrymen came in crowds to examine and see it work in the presence “of the quality of Newcastle,” probably including Mr. Blackett of the Wylam Colliery, for whom the locomotive was made, and his agent, Mr. Hedley, who five or six years afterwards patented a very similar one. Mr. Wood and George Stephenson, with Mr. Wilson, the engineer, and Timothy Hackworth, then a blacksmith, working for Mr. Blackett, afterwards the engineer on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and maker of the Sanspareil locomotive that, a quarter of a century later, competed on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

Robert Hawthorne, then residing near Newcastle, who had employed George Stephenson as engine-boy at Caperton, was also probably one of the lookers-on and a few years afterwards the two great engineering and locomotive-building establishments in Newcastle, known as Hawthorne's and Stephenson's, began to grow into importance.

The Newcastle drawing shows that Trevithick had made the detail of his locomotive engine fully known to the engineers of Newcastle in 1804, for it illustrates that sent to Blackett's Wylam waggon-way; and its form and date agree with Mr. Wilson's Memorandum of having seen the locomotive at Newcastle, in May, 1805, when Trevithick paid his second or third visit to superintend its use on the railway. Nicholas Wood says, “an engine of this kind was sent to the North for Mr. Blackett.” Had it been constructed in Newcastle, he would probably have mentioned it.

John Henderson, working for Messrs. Hawks and Crawshay, at the Gateshead Iron Works, recollected an engine. Crawshay, the Welsh ironmaster, and user of Trevithick's engines, and Homfray, his friend, also a large ironmaster, certainly informed Crawshay of Newcastle, and Blackett, of all that was doing at Merthyr Tydfil. Steel, a Newcastle mechanic, was chosen to learn under. Trevithick in Wales, that he might become an agent in superintending the use of the high-pressure engine and locomotive in the iron and coal works of the North of England.

The Newcastle locomotive was a smaller but a better engine than the one than had worked so well in Wales; its boiler was wholly of wrought iron. The four driving wheels were constructed to run on rails in place of tram-plates. The cylinder was reduced to a diameter of 7 inches, and its stroke to 3 feet. The gross weight was reduced to 4.5 tons.

The men of the North must know why that locomotive, seen by so many, was not allowed to work on the railway and scarcely to be spoken of in public, though it remained in work as a stationary engine almost up to the present time. The not showing the blast-pipe in former drawings nor in this drawing, and the strange perversion or facts hearing on its introduction, are among the mysteries of locomotive history.

In 1854 the writer revisited the Welsh works to inquire more particularly about the blast-pipe. Mr. Ellis's relative, while standing in one of Mr. Homfray's Tredegar workshops, remarked that pieces of Trevithick's early engines had remained for many years in the old scrap-heap, in the corner of the shop; on turning over the surface pieces, and directing Mr. Ellis's attention to one in particular, he replied, “That is Trevithick's first blast-pipe, or a copy of it.” In shape and size it was just like the blast-pipe then in use, except that Trevithick’s had a casing pipe for heating the feed-water.

Smiles thus describes the invention:—

The locomotive might have been condemned as useless had not Mr. Stephenson at this juncture applied the steam-blast, and thus at once doubled the power of the engine.

Although Trevithick, in the engine constructed by him in 1804, allowed the waste steam to escape into the chimney, there was no object in the arrangement beyond getting rid of a nuisance.

It is remarkable that a man so ingenious as Trevithick should not have discerned its advantages; but it is clear that be could not have done so, for as late as 1815, after George Stephenson had discovered and successfully adopted the steam-blast, Trevithick took out a patent, the principal object of which was to produce a current of air, in the manner of a winnowing machine, to blow the fire.”[10]

Trevithick's patent in 1815 was for an engine so constructed that the waste steam could not possibly be used as blast, and therefore he was obliged in that particular engine to omit the blast-pipe, but this did not annul his former acts.[11]

Goldsworthy Gurney[12] saw Trevithick's locomotive in Cornwall and in Wales, admits the use of the blast-pipe by Trevithick, and yet claims for himself the credit of the invention.

The last sentences in his pamphlet state,

Mr. Smiles has been sadly misinformed as to the invention of the steam-jet, and also with regard to the locomotive engine. All the facts on record, and the testimony of living witnesses, show that Mr. Richard Trevithick was the inventor of the locomotive engine; and that Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney was the inventor of the steam jet.

But those sentences were preceded by the following -

Mr. Gurney saw Trevithick's first steam-carriage in 1801, and all his experiments on locomotion; and remembers, too, the contemptuous way in which he was treated by the engineers of the day. His views were described as wild theories, and his plans ridiculed. Mr. Davies Gilbert, however, thought differently. He aided Trevithick in his calculations, and encouraged him to go on, and Richard Trevithick became the inventor of the locomotive as well as of the high-pressure engine.

The eduction-pipe at this time entered the chimney halfway up the funnel, and Trevithick, in order that the vapour might more effectually meet and mix with the hot air coming from the furnace, turned it downwards. This did not succeed, as may be supposed. The pipe was then turned upwards, as the most ready way for its escape. Thus the waste steam from the engine was thrown upwards into the chimney by Trevithick in 1804, long before any other person was engaged in the subject, exactly in the same way as was afterwards done by all who followed him.

Many modifications, but very few improvements, if any, were made on Trevithick's engine for many years during ins absence in Peru.

From the close of 1801 to May, or 1805 Trevithick constructed two Camborne and one London common road locomotives, a Coalbrookdale engine suitable for a railway, a Welsh tramroad-engine, and a Newcastle-on-Tyne railway-engine, all having a blast-pipe.

Locomotive history now makes a jump of three years, when in 1808, Trevithick constructed, not only a locomotive engine, but also a railway, that the London public might see with their own eyes what the new high-pressure steam-engine could effect, and how greatly superior a railway was to a common road for locomotion.

July 28, 1808.

Mr. Giddy,
Sir, I have yours of the 24th, and intend to put the inscription on the engine which you sent to me.

About four or five days ago I tried the engine, which worked exceedingly well; but the ground was very soft, and the engine (about 8 tons) sank the timber under the rails, and broke a great number of them. I have now taken up the whole of the timber and iron, and have laid balk of from 12 to 14 inches square down on the ground, and have nearly all the road laid again, which now appears very firm. We prove every part as we lay it down, by running the engine over it by hand. I hope it will all be complete by the end of this week. The tunnel is at a stand.
Your very humble servant,


Catch-me-who-can, 1808

The sister of Davies Gilbert named this engine ‘Catch-me-who-can’, and her Memorandum “My ride with Trevithick, in the year 1808, in an open carriage, propelled by the steam-engine, of which the enclosed is a print, took place on a waste piece, now Torrington Square,[13] enclosed an engraving of the engine on Trevithick's visiting cards.

The wonderful simplicity of this engine exceeds that of the Newcastle locomotive; Trevithick in those early days knew that the friction of one pair of driving wheels was sufficient for his work, enabling him to do away with the gear coupling wheels of his earlier locomotives, and also that the puffs of the steam-blast had so increased the quantity of steam given by the boiler, that a damper in the chimney was necessary. The following interesting account was given by an engineer well known in his day.

Mr. Trevithick's New Road Experiments in 1808.

SIR, Observing that it is stated in your last number (No. 1232, dated the 20th instant, page 269), under the head of Twenty-one Years' Retrospect of the Railway System,' that the greatest speed of Trevithick's engine was five miles an hour, I think it due to the memory of that extraordinary man to declare that about the year 1808 he laid down a circular railway in a field adjoining the New Road, near or at the spot now forming the southern half of Euston Square; that he placed a locomotive engine, weighing about 10 tons, on that railway — on which I rode, with my watch in hand — at the rate of twelve miles an hour; that Mr. Trevithick then gave his opinion that it would go twenty miles an hour, or more, on a straight railway; that the engine was exhibited at one shilling admittance, including a ride for the few who were not too timid; that it ran for some weeks, when a rail broke and occasioned the engine to fly off in a tangent and overturn, the ground being very soft at the time.

Mr. Trevithick having expended all his means in erecting the works and enclosure, and the shillings not having come in fast enough to pay current expenses, the engine was not again set on the rail.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Civil Engineer, London."[14]

Trevithick's London Railway and Locomotive of 1808

On this experiment Mr. Albinus Martin gives the following:—

I am sorry to be unable to give you any useful information about the engine exhibited in London more than half a century ago. I cannot even fix the time but from comparison with other dates, it could not have been in 1803. William Rastrick (sic) was resident engineer on the works of the driftway under the Thames, and he was very kind to me as a boy. I think it must have been to him that I was indebted for a sight of the engine exhibited, for I know I got in without payment, and felt myself thereby recognized as belonging to the craft. The place was at the rear of what were then florists' or nursery gardens, in the New Road, very near if not on the site of the North-Western Railway station.

There was a circular railway of about — I can't tell the gauge or the diameter—but perhaps a hundred feet. The engine itself was to me an entire novelty, but not differing in general appearance from that on the Merthyr tramroad, and of which an engraving has been published.

"The space in which this circular railroad was enclosed was surrounded by a fence, made of close-fitting 12 or 15 feet deals. When I saw it the engine was out of steam, and there were no spectators. Trevithick was not there, nor can I recollect who was.

From my recollection of events it was about 1806.[15]

This London railway of 1808 was near Euston Square, and the site of the present London and North Western Railway station, and on it the public were carried at twelve or fifteen miles an hour around curves of 50 or 100 feet radius.

At the end of September, 1808, Mr. Homfray wrote to a friend in London, "I wish you likewise to say if there is anything in the report of the Racing Engine being carried into effect, and if so at what time, and the particulars of the bet, &c., as if it is to take place, shall be very much inclined to see it."

Trevithick's note of 28th July said that four or five days before he had run very well. This railway experiment, therefore, must have been in operation more or less for two or three months, and during that time his occupations at the Thames Driftway brought numerous engineers around him,[16] and amongst them, Messrs. Stobart and Buddle, from the North, interested in coal works.

In the year 1805 the late Mr. William Hedley was appointed mining engineer at Wylam Colliery. At that time a railway, five miles in length, communicated with a depot on the river Tyne. The railway was a wooden one, subject to great undulations. It was worked by the old method, one horse being employed for each waggon. But about the year 1808 the wooden rails were taken up and cast-iron plate-rails substituted.

Mr. Blackett, in the year 1809, wrote to the celebrated Trevithick on the subject of an engine; his reply stated that he was engaged in other pursuits, and having declined the business, he could render no assistance."[17]

It was at this period that the Thames Driftway failed, and patent law proceedings and bankruptcy, and ill-health drove Trevithick from London, and for a time from active life but not until after he had achieved the great work of conveying the London public on a railway constructed of longitudinal timbers supporting a rail of iron. A passenger-carriage ran for hire, drawn by a locomotive engine on four wheels, two of them being driving wheels made to revolve by crank-pins in their spokes. The waste-steam pipe from the cylinder to the chimney gave its puffs as in the present day.

The cylinder, instead of being horizontal as in the two, former railway-engines, was now again vertical, as in the first Camborne common road engine; its weight was 8 or 10 tons.

Mr. Bendy, who had before worked for Trevithick, says, “The engine used in the dredger[18] was of the same size as that fixed in London to run round the circle at the speed of fourteen or fifteen miles an hour — the cylinder was 14.5 inches in diameter, with a stroke of 4 feet.[19] The 'The Catch-me-who-can', or Racing Steam-Horse, was to run against a flesh-and-blood race-horse for a fair day's work, the one performing the greatest number of miles to be the winner. Probably the difficulty of settling preliminaries caused the contest to be deferred and forgotten for there is no record of the race having been run.

Mr. Bendy, who worked as a foreman mechanic on Trevithick's dredger-engine of 1803, and was a spectator, if not an assistant, in the railway experiment in 1808, says the two engines were alike, and this link gives an accurate knowledge of the detail of the engines; remove the fly-wheel and crank-shaft from the drawing of the dredger-engine, attach the two side rods to crank-pins in two driving wheels, place a damper in the chimney, and we have the counterpart of the locomotive on Trevithick's card of 1808.

In 1870 the writer saw in a foundry at Bridgenorth, where those engines were made, one of the original cross-head guide-rods, precisely as shown at K K.

The drawing of the dredger in Rees' Cyclopaedia was by Mr. J. Farey. The detail description, omitted by him, is supplied by the writer.

Trevithick's Dredger Engine of 1803 and Locomotive of 1808. (See key below)

The following description from Rees was probably written by Robison or Farey, both of them intimately connected with Watt:—

The high-pressure engines at present in use were introduced by Mr. Trevithick, in conjunction with Mr. Vivian, who obtained a patent for the same in 1802 this was principally for their application of the engine to the purpose of driving of carriages upon railroads. This engine containing no material parts which are not used in other engines, and before described, it may be explained without a drawing. The boiler consists of a large cylinder of cast iron, made very strong, with a flanch at one of its ends to screw on the end or cover, which has the requisite openings for the tire-door, the man-hole, the exit for the smoke, and the gauge-cocks.

The fire is contained within the boiler, in a cylindrical tube of wrought iron, which is surrounded with water on all sides, in the same manner as the fire in Mr. Smeaton's portable engines; but there is a little difference in the application: one end of this tube is flanched to the end or cover of the boiler, and is divided into two parts by having the fire-grate extended across it; the tube extends nearly to the end of the boiler, where it is reduced in size, then doubles, and returns back in a direction parallel to the first tube or tire-place to form the flue or chimney. On one side of the cylinder, just above the flanch which fixes it into the boiler, and beneath the top flanch, which fastens down its lid, is a protuberance of cast iron, to contain the four passages and the cock (one passage rises directly from the boiler and brings steam to the cock at one side, to be distributed either to the top or bottom of the cylinder, according to the position in which the cock stands). The boiler is supplied with water as fast as it evaporates, by means of a small force-pump worked by the engine; but as it would be a great loss of heat to inject cold water at once into the boiler, it is first rendered nearly or quite boiling by a very simple contrivance. The waste-pipe, which conveys the steam away from the cylinder after having performed its office, is enclosed within an external pipe or jacket leaving a space of about an inch all round; through this space the cold water is forced to enter at one end by the small force-pump, and the boiler is supplied with water by a branch from its other extremity. The velocity of the engine is regulated, or its motion can be entirely stopped if required, by a cock situated in the first passage from the boiler to the four-passaged cock.

Several very terrible accidents have occurred from the bursting of high-pressure boilers, either from their being made too weak to resist the force they are intended to bear, or from some mismanagement, as loading the safety-valve too much. Some years ago an engine that was employed to drain water from the tide mills while building between Woolwich and Greenwich, was blown up by overloading the safety-valve, when several people were killed.

This description, published in 1819, shows that up to that time Trevithick's patent engine of 1802 was looked on as especially suitable for driving carriages on rail-ways, and though parts are spoken of as not new, no statement is made of who had used them before, except “a similarity to a boiler made by Smeaton with a little difference.” The several terrible accidents are not particularized, except that at Greenwich, which was not caused by any defect in the engine or boiler, but by the fastening down of the safety-valve. The bias of the statement is evident, the exploded boiler having been a globular cast-iron boiler enclosed in brickwork, with external fire in contact with the cast iron, while the condemnation is applied to a cylindrical boiler with internal fire in a wrought-iron tube, proving the truth of Trevithick's statement made at the time that Boulton and Watt had made false reports on the explosion.[20] The waste-steam blast-pipe is shown in connection with the chimney, but the writers in 1819 seem not to have comprehended its value, though it had been in operation for eighteen years.

The compactness, perfection, and beautiful simplicity of Trevithick's engines of sixty-five years past are by this drawing made manifest to engineers of the present day, while the written description makes it equally evident that it was incorrectly spoken of.

An important evidence of the rapid advance of locomotive mechanism under Trevithick's guidance is in the use of but two driving wheels in the 1808 loco- motive, while former ones had four wheels coupled together, making them all drivers. In all probability Mr. Blackett and Mr. Hedley, his agent, rode on this engine, for they were at that time in frequent communication with Trevithick on the subject of railways and locomotives, and yet failed to see the lesson so plainly taught, for shortly afterwards these two gentlemen patented the discovery of sufficient adhesion from smooth wheels.

Mr. Hedley was appointed engineer of the Wylam Colliery about 1805, when Trevithick's locomotive was sent to Mr. Blackett, and was not ignorant of the succeeding trials and improvements by Trevithick, for shortly after the public proof in 1808 of what could be done Mr. Blackett again solicited Trevithick's help, either by engines or drawings yet in 1813 he patented the invention as his own.

To operate by mere friction or gravity had not as yet occurred to anyone, until the late William Hedley, Esq., viewer, who had the direction of Wylam Colliery, conceived the idea; and having satisfied himself by a variety of experiments with the waggon-way carriages, he took out a patent for the invention, which bears date March 13th, 1813.

In 1814 Mr. George Stephenson, having given his attention to the subject, fitted up an engine at Killingworth Colliery.[21][20]

This is strong evidence of the inability of the intelligent public of that day to comprehend Trevithick or his engines; but it is still more strange that fifty years have failed to entirely remove the mist. Evidences had been given through the length and breadth of England of the sufficiency of grip on common roads, on tram-plates, and on rails. Many years afterwards Dr. Lardner, in a lecture on the locomotive, spoke of George Stephenson as "the father of the locomotive engine.

Mr. Hedley wrote the following letter in refutation of Lardner's statement:—

December 10, 1836.

SIR, I respectfully beg to call your attention to the following circumstances connected with the establishment of the locomotive engine in this district:-

In October, 1812, I had the direction of Wylam Colliery. At that period I was requested by the proprietor (the late Mr. Blackett) to undertake the construction of a locomotive engine. The celebrated Trevithick had previously been applied to for one; in reply, he stated that he had declined the business. Amongst the many obstacles to locomotion at that period was the idea entertained by practical men, and which was acted upon, viz. that an engine would only draw after it, on a level road, a weight equal to its own.

Mr. Blenkinsop, in 1811, effected the locomotion by a toothed or rack rail in December, 1812, W. and E. Chapman, by means of a chain; and in May, 1813, Mr. Brunton, of Butterley, by movable legs. I was, however, forcibly impressed with the idea, and which was strengthened by some small preliminary experiments, that the weight of an engine was sufficient for the purpose of enabling it to draw a train of loaded waggons. An engine was then constructed, the boiler was of cast iron, the tube containing the fire went longitudinally through the boiler into the chimney. The engine had one cylinder and a fly-wheel: it went badly, the obvious defect being want of steam. Another engine was then constructed, the boiler was of malleable iron; the tube containing the fire was enlarged, and, in place of passing directly through the boiler into the chimney, it was made to return again through the boiler into the chimney, now at the same end of the boiler as the fire-place. This was a most important improvement. The engine was placed upon four wheels, and went well. A short time after it commenced, it regularly drew eight loaded coal-waggons after it, at the rate of from four to five miles per hour, on Wylam Railroad, which was in a very bad state in addition to this, there was a great rise in the direction of the load in some parts of it; the road itself was of that kind termed the plate-rail.

In conclusion, I beg to say that I am the individual who established the principle of locomotion by the friction or adhesion of the wheels upon the rails; and, further, that it was the engines on the Wylam Railroad that established the character of the locomotive engine in this district.

I trust you will see the propriety in your future lectures of not designating Mr. Stephenson the father of the locomotive engine.

I beg to subscribe myself, Sir,
Your obedient servant,


About ten years after the date of Mr. Hedley's letter, at the opening of the Trent Valley Railway, Sir Robert Peel, then Prime Minister, proposed the health of George Stephenson, as the "father of the locomotive engine.” Mr. Stephenson, in reply, swallowed to himself the whole compliment, causing the writer to leave his seat with the intention of putting in a claim for the memory of Trevithick the late Mr. Thomas Brassey noticed the intention and pointed out its inconvenience at a convivial meeting.

Mr. Hedley's letter, while it shows the injustice of the patent laws, gives the strongest corroborative proof of Trevithick's prior claim as the inventor of the locomotive. It states that in 1812 practical men believed that a locomotive on smooth wheels would only draw after it a weight equal to its own. Mr. Wilson wrote in 1805 that Trevithick's locomotive, weighing 4.5 tons, was to pull on the Wylam Railway 10.5 tons, at four miles an hour. This was a prudently-careful engagement on Trevithick's part, for he knew that his Welsh locomotive of 5 tons, on smooth wheels, had drawn 24 tons, a load nearly five times its own weight.

Mr. Hedley constructed a second locomotive, which, from his own account, was a closer copy of Trevithick’s locomotive, having a wrought-iron boiler and return tube, upon four wheels, and drawing eight loaded coal-waggons, at the rate of from four to five miles an hour, on the Wylam Railroad: the engine had one cylinder and a fly-wheel. This description is very like that by Mr. Wilson, in 1805, of the locomotive sent by Trevithick to the Wylam Railway. At the time that Mr. Hedley was taking a patent for “the principle of locomotion by the friction or adhesion of the wheels upon the rails,“ Trevithick was writing of his patent engine,— ”I am convinced to a certainty that the engine at Hayle will draw above 100 tons of stone from the quarries, and put them into the ship's hold, in one day."[23] And in the preceding year,— ”I am now building a portable steam-whim on the same plan, to go itself from shaft to shaft. He may see this at work in a month, which will prove to him the advantage of a portable engine to travel from one plantation to another: the price complete is £105."[24]

It may never ho known how many of Trevithick’s locomotives really worked, or how many of them readied Newcastle.

Catch-me-who-can' proved the feasibility of steam locomotion on rails of iron resting on longitudinal timbers, and caused Mr. Blackett to write to Trevithick, soliciting another locomotive for the North.

Smiles says:-

Mr. Blackett had taken up the wooden road in 1808, and laid down a plate-way of cast iron; he went so far as to order a locomotive direct from Trevithick to work his waggon-way, about the year 1811.

While Mr. Blackett was thus experimenting and building locomotives at Wylam, George Stephenson was anxiously brooding over the same subject at Killingworth.

Mr. Blackett's engines were working daily at Wylam, past the cottage in which he had been born. After mastering its arrangements and observing the working of the machine, he did not hesitate to declare to Jonathan Foster on the spot his firm conviction that he could make a much better engine than Trevithick. The steam-blast in the chimney was never properly understood, until George Stephenson, adopting it with a preconceived design and purpose, demonstrated its importance and value, as being in fact, the very life-blood of the locomotive engine."[25]

This account of the blast-pipe, and bungling attempt to copy Trevithick's locomotive, may go into the waste-paper basket, with the many other erroneous demonstrations on the same subject; but the lessons taught by comparing the slow progress of the locomotive in the North about 1813, when Stephenson took it in hand, up to the Liverpool and Manchester trials in 1829 with what Trevithick had done, standing by himself, between 1801 and 1813, are melancholy proofs of the neglects individual genius has to submit to, and of the insurmountable difficulties placed in the path of progress by ignorance and self-interest.

It has been said that Cugnot, as early as 1769, tried to make a low-pressure locomotive, but failed to accomplish it; and that Watt made a similar futile attempt fifteen years afterwards.

Hebert[26] says:-

From all the information that we can glean in tracing out the early history of locomotion, this remarkable circumstance constantly presents itself: that when Trevithick's carriages with smooth wheels were employed upon levels, or slightly-inclined planes, invidious comparisons with others having cogs were made against the former, because, as was asserted, they slipped, and could not ascend such acclivities as the latter; and this, notwithstanding Trevithick first suggested, by his ‘cross-grooves and fittings to railroads,' the very principle of the cogs, in a less objectionable form, and ‘all other appliances to boot,' of the engine and boiler, contained in the said locomotive! Thus Trevithick lost many orders, and they were given to those who adopted all the essentials of his plans, without acknowledgment, and employed them as the basis of their structures; and when, after the lapse of years, it was found out by these gentlemen that smooth wheels had sufficient ‘bite’ of the rail in most circumstances, they made that fact appear to be their own discovery, notwithstanding it is stated in Trevithick's specification of 1802, and was confirmed by his practice which practice they at first condemned with one general voice; and when at last they were compelled to practise it also, they endeavoured to make it appear as vastly superior to Trevithick's mode of surrounding his wheels 'with heads of nails, bolts, and claws,' which he never used at all! These ungenerous proceedings against the most eminent mechanic of his time, appear to have been going on unchecked from 1802 up to the present time - 1836.

The ‘Penny Cyclopedia' has the following:—

1805 Locomotive (See key below)

The possibility of applying the steam-engine to purposes of locomotion was conceived by several of its earliest improvers; and in 1784 a plan was suggested in one of the patents of Watt; but it does not appear that either he or any other inventor carried their ideas into practice until about 1802, when Messrs. Trevithick and Vivian patented a high-pressure engine, which, by its simplicity and compactness, was admirably adapted for locomotive purposes. Within a few years they built several carriages, one of which, at least, was for use on a common road. In 1805 they made some interesting experiments with a machine similar to that represented by the annexed cuts, on a tramway near Merthyr Tydfil, and thereby proved the practicability of their plans. It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the extreme simplicity of this machine, it possessed almost all the essential arrangements of the modern engines; and the ideas of its inventors were so complete that subsequent engineers have had little to do beyond improving, and carrying into effect the suggestions of their specification.

And the admirable arrangement of throwing the waste steam into the chimney, has been almost invariably followed; as it affords a blast always proportionate to the speed of the engine, and the consequent demand for the evolution of steam.

A supplementary carriage followed the engine, to carry a supply of fuel and water, and a small force-pump, worked by the machine itself, maintained the requisite supply of water in the boiler.

Being otherwise occupied himself, he did not proceed with his locomotive experiments; but many others entered the field, though they produced few useful contrivances that were not either used or suggested by him.

Mr. Blenkinsop in. 1811 patented a locomotive engine, in which the power was applied to a large cogged wheel, the teeth of which entered a rack laid down beside the ordinary rails. Blenkinsop's engine was in other respects very similar to that of Trevithick; but two cylinders and pistons were employed, working separate cranks at an angle of 90°, so that one was exerting its full force, while the other passed its dead point

In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened.

As the Liverpool line approached completion, the directors took great pains to ascertain the best method of working it. They were soon convinced that horse-power was ineligible as it was intended to aim at considerable velocity; and the expense of animal power when applied at a speed of eight or ten miles per hour is very great. It was not so easy to decide on the comparative merits of stationary and locomotive engines. Various suggestions were made for the application of fixed engines at intervals of a mile or two along the line, to draw trains by ropes from station to station; but it was eventually determined to use locomotives, and to offer a premium of £500 for the best to be produced, which would fulfil certain conditions, of which some were — that it should not emit smoke; should draw three times its own weight at the rate of ten miles per hour; should be supported on springs; not to exceed 6 tons in weight, or 4.5 tons if only four wheels; and should not cost more than £550. The trial was fixed for October, 1829, when four locomotives were produced, one of which was withdrawn at the commencement of the experiment.

This description of work performed by a locomotive at Merthyr Tydfil in 1805, may lead to the conclusion that the Welsh tramroad-engine of 1803 was not the only one worked in Wales about that time but in the absence of sufficient identity, the writer views this drawing as showing the London railway locomotive of 1808. The mention of several steam-carriages having been tried within a few years of 1802, one at least of which was on a common road, and one on a tramway, throwing the waste steam into the chimney, thereby enabling the boiler to give the required steam supply, is confirmatory of similar statements in Trevithick's letters. The fire-bridge shown in the fire-tube, and the statement that a tender was attached to the engine for carrying water and coke, are both omitted by other commentators yet we know that all Trevithick's locomotives had the fire-bridge, and if all had not tenders on their experimental trials they would of necessity have had them when in regular work. All the drawings of the early locomotives show the exhaust-steam pipe connected with the chimney, but none give the up-turned part yet it must have been so, because the several locomotives could not have worked without an effective blast. The writer having built and. worked numerous locomotives, ventures to make this statement, though in direct opposition to opinions written and expressed by many.

Though the outline of this locomotive is very like the 1803 Dredger-engine, it evidently is not the same one; for the Dredger has a taper tube in the boiler, while the locomotive has the bottle-neck tube, with the fire-bridge placed at some distance from the contracted part of the fire-tube, and supposing it allowed of the passage of a little air is very like modern patent smoke- burners.

Mr. Rastrick's evidence on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Bill in 1825 mentions that a locomotive was made for Trevithick in 1807 or 1808 at Hazeldine and Rastrick's works at Bridgenorth, and was in the latter year run on a circular railway in London. “It was stated that this engine was to run against a horse, and that whichever went a certain number of miles was to win.” Probably the same engine is described in the Penny Cyclopedia' as "generating steam with great rapidity and of a high degree of elasticity; the waste steam, after propelling the piston, passes by the eduction-pipe into the chimney, where its emission causes a strong draught."

The 'Rocket' and 'Sanpareil'

A year or two prior to the all-England competition, in 1829, Trevithick had returned, after an eleven years' absence from his native country, to find that what he had performed on bad tramways with sharp curves and inclines twenty-five years before, it was thought unreasonable to expect on a carefully-made railway with easy curves and gradients. The Liverpool and Manchester directors seem to have been guided in their limit of work by Trevithick's 1803 engine, which took more than three times its own weight at a less speed but when light, moved at a greater speed. The weight of that engine was also their limit; while his 1808 engine was double the weight of the former, and took passengers at twelve or fifteen miles an hour. Sketches of the Rocket and the Sanspareil, the two best engines of 1829,[27] show the latter to have been very like the Catch-me-who-can of 1808; while the former is more like the Newcastle engine of 1804. Each of the 1829 locomotives had two cylinders. The Rocket, whose boiler was much improved by small tubes, averaged a speed of fourteen miles an hour, with 10 or 11 tons of load, its greatest velocity being at the rate of twenty-four miles an hour, or double the speed required by the terms of the race.

It was Trevithick's high pressure that enabled the steam-engine to be used for such purposes, and even the improved tubular boiler enabling the 'Rocket' to win the prize, had in principle been used and patented by him long before.

His patent of 1802 recommends the use of two cylinders, and shows a boiler with three tubes. The difficulty of manufacture confined him in practice to one cylinder and two tubes, called the return tubes. But he patented in 1815 a boiler made of small tubes, and applied it in that or the following year to his screw-propeller engine. There was this difference, — his patent shows the water in the small tubes with the fire around them; the Rocket had the fire through the tubes and the water around them.

The reader will judge of the similarity of the locomotives by Stephenson and Hackworth to Trevithick's earlier locomotives which they had seen. The 'Novelty,' by Messrs. Braithwaite and Ericsson, one of the three best of the competing locomotives, in its outline was not so much like a copy of Trevithick's as the other two; but a closer examination reveals the same family likeness. It has been said that the drawings for the Novelty were made by the late Mr. John Hosking, who had been a pupil of Captain Samuel Grose when he erected Trevithick's engines in Cornwall, and while so engaged was also a fellow-draughtsman with the writer, and was afterwards employed in Stephenson's works at Newcastle.

To Trevithick and his never-ceasing practical exertions, in Cornwall, London, Shropshire, South Wales, and in Newcastle-on-Tyne, are we indebted for the first practical and real evidences of steam locomotion. Yet though lie had returned to his native country a year or two before those locomotive competitions on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, he was not consulted by the competing engineers, all of whom may be said to have taken their first lessons from him. His labours for the locomotive had ceased, but for the general history of its further progress we may trace it for a few years under its modern name of outside-cylinder engine.

In 1840 the directors of the Liverpool and Manchester and Grand Junction Railways, ten years having elapsed since the public locomotive trials, with the assistance of George and Robert Stephenson, and Joseph Locke, came to the conclusion that a new and improved locomotive should be designed, on which, as far as possible, all succeeding ones should be built; this was shortly after the time that Robert Stephenson withdrew from direct interference on the Grand Junction Railway, Joseph Locke having become the engineer-in-chief, whose report to the directors on the engine stock, written on the last day of 1839, states:—

If a substantial improvement can be made, let it be applied to new engines, or to those already worn out which require to be renewed. This is a field sufficiently wide for the most inventive mind, without permitting it to range over the whole list of engines that are in daily use. In making this suggestion I know that it may be said that ‘there is an end to improvements;' but so convinced am I of the folly and expense of perpetually altering the engines for the sake of some trifling gain, that I would rather submit to this imputation than see those changes so often made. It would be well also to have in view the advantages of making as many parts of the different engines similar to each other as possible. To give you an illustration, I find that notwithstanding the great number of engines and tenders, there is sometimes a want of tenders, arising from the connecting pipes being of different sizes. I lately found an engine standing idle for the want of a valve to the pump, a small piece of brass not more than 3 lbs. in weight, and although there are ten engines of the same class on the line (with two pumps to each engine), there was not one duplicate valve on the establishment. The enginemen should be under the locomotive superintendent, and should take their orders from him. In concluding this report I would take the liberty of pressing on your attention the necessity of preserving with the engines a more uniform rate of speed. All the improvements that experience has suggested, and will suggest, must give way under the effect of overrunning. The only way of avoiding this expense is to make a stand at some given speed, I care not how high it is, so long as the present engines can do it.

The writer was in communication with Mr. Locke prior to sending this report, and during the following seventeen years acted on the advice, though of necessity the strict letter had to be varied with the change of time and circumstance.

Engines were constructed, weighing about 10 tons, with two outside cylinders, each 12.5 inches in diameter, supported on six wheels, the two driving wheels being 5 feet in diameter: the average load of a passenger-engine between Liverpool and Birmingham was ten carriages.

In the following year the trains averaged twelve carriages: engines were made to suit the increased work by giving a cylinder of half an inch more in diameter. Again, in 1843 the trains increased to fifteen coaches another quarter of an inch was added to the diameter of the cylinder, demanding a little more boiler space, and a little more weight on the driving wheels, the more so as the writer was allowed to risk an increase of steam pressure from 50 to 60 lbs, on the inch, to meet the increased size of the driving wheels to 5 feet 6 inches, that the speed might be increased. This improved locomotive had a 13.25 inch cylinder, weighed 12 tons, on six wheels, and would take a train of sixteen passenger-carriages between Birmingham and Liverpool, with the precision of clockwork, at a speed, including stoppages, of thirty miles an hour. In 1844 the driving wheels were again increased to 6 feet; and in 1845, with increasing traffic and speed, and to surmount the Lancaster and Carlisle sharp incline of 1 in 75 for three or four miles, the cylinders were increased to 14.625 inches diameter, 20-inch stroke, 6-feet driving wheels, and steam or 75 lbs, on the inch; this engine was not much heavier, neither did it work with a higher pressure of steam than Trevithick's London locomotive of 1808, which ran on sharper curves at fifteen or twenty miles an hour, worked by one outside cylinder 14.5 inches in diameter, 4-feet stroke, and steam of 100 lbs. on the inch. Such was the slow progress of the locomotive engine.

One of these good little engines of 1845 gave special proof of efficiency. About the year 1846, on a rainy, blowing, autumnal Saturday night, the writer was summoned, from nursing an influenza cold, to the railway station. Her Majesty, Prince Albert, and the rest of the Royal family, had unexpectedly arrived, and desired to be in London by ten the following morning. Continued rain had caused the line to be unsafe in places, except at comparatively slow speeds. Saturday night is proverbially a bad time for finding people wanted in a hurry. However, at six the next morning, in dim light and blinding rain, the Royal train was in readiness, and Her Majesty punctual to the minute, when, after a little animated delay for the lady in waiting, a start was made, and the required speed of forty miles an hour steadily run, until a providential disobedience of orders by the pilot-engine man caused the steam to be instantly shut off, the brakes applied, and the speed reduced to one-half; fog signals exploded in close proximity to the danger; red flags were hurriedly unfurled, and in a moment the engine rolled as a ship in a storm through an alarmed group of a hundred navvies, who, thinking it a quiet day, had raised the rails and sleepers a foot above their bed of soft clay, that a thick layer of ballast might be shovelled under them. For a quarter of a mile did the precious freight pass safely over this bridge of rails supported on brickbats, the only injury being a bent driving axle and broken bearing-brasses, with which the engine kept time to the next relieving station, and then broke down. I believe it was in the same year that the writer, with one of the same engines, took Sir Robert Peel safely over the same railway, before it was completed or open to the public, on his way from Tamworth to Liverpool to deliver his memorable speech on the Corn Laws. That class and size of outside-cylinder engine remained in use for ten years, when in 1856 the growing demand for greater speed caused the driving wheels to be increased to 7 feet and the cylinder to 15.25 inches in diameter, retaining the old stroke of 20 inches, but increasing the size of the boiler, using 150 tubes, and giving steam of increased pressure to 100 lbs. on the inch: the gross weight was 20 tons.

Plate VI. London and North Western Railway Locomotive
Plate VII. London and North Western Railway Locomotive

Plates VI. and VII. show London and North Western Railway outside-cylinder passenger locomotive, 1856.

In 1867, a similar locomotive in the Paris Exhibition, from the French engineering, works at Creuzot, was labelled Schneider's prize engine. An exceptional engine was built in 1847 to refute a dogma of the broad-gauge advocates that the narrow gauge had reached its limit of speed, because the driving wheels could not be safely increased in diameter. A narrow-gauge engine was therefore constructed by the writer with 8 feet 6 inches driving wheels, being 6 inches more than the largest broad-gauge wheels. This engine still continues to run express trains, the only change being in a more modern boiler. It was sent to the London Exhibition of 1851, and some years afterwards the late Mr. Fairbairn congratulated the writer on the medal awarded for it, and accounted for its non-presentation from the question having arisen or whether the medal should be awarded to the Railway Secretary, whose name was officially attached, or to the designer, whose name was not officially attached.

Having slightly traced the outside-cylinder locomotive engine from its starting into life in Camborne in 1801 through its chrysalis stages of common road, tram- road, and railway engine up to 1808, then through twenty years of restless sleep to the Liverpool and Manchester period of outburst into general usefulness in 1829, with the prize Rocket, weighing 41 tons, on four wheels, having outside cylinders 8 inches diameter, 18-inch stroke, 2 feet 7 inch driving wheels, twenty-five tubes in the boiler, giving steam of 50 lbs. on the inch. Then came during sixteen years a time of steady growth up to 1845, when it scarcely exceeded its weight, size of cylinder, or steam pressure of thirty-seven years before, while the improved form of 1856 is still in use. Shortly after the Rocket period, cranked-axle engines came into use on many railways, but as the Trevithick locomotives were all outside cylinders, that kind alone has been spoken of.

The clear practical understanding of giving motion to a carriage by the friction or grip of its wheels on the road, and of the best construction of a road for such a carriage, was almost as slow in growth as that of the more complicated locomotive engine. In 1801 Trevithick and Davies Gilbert tried experiments on the grip of a wheel on common roads;[28] this was immediately followed by two or three years of comparatively successful experiments with common road locomotives. In 1802 Trevithick wrote, “The Dale Company have begun a carriage at their own cost for the railroads."[29] In 1804 the tram-plate locomotive road was well tested in Wales. “I doubt not we could draw 40 tons at a time very well; 10 tons stand no chance at all with it. It runs up the tramroad of 2 inches in a Yard, forty strokes per minute with the empty waggons."[30] In 1808 the London locomotive on a railway passed around curves of 50 or 100 feet radius, at fifteen miles per hour: such gradients and curves, manageable with Trevithick's locomotives, were thought impossible thirty or forty years after by engineers of ability.

Tramways and railways for horse-draught were in use before Trevithick placed his locomotive on them, yet he took the improvement of the road in hand, for he says in 1808,[31] “the ground was very soft, and the engine sank the timbers under the rails and broke a great number of them. I have now taken up the whole of the timber and iron, and have laid balk of from 12 to 14 inches square down on the ground.” This Trevithick’s railway of 1808 is somewhat like the Great Western Railway of the present day. In 1838 the late Mr. Brunel gave the writer a sketch of the permanent way, desiring him to construct a piece of about half a mile in length near Wormwood Scrubs, as a sample of the intended form of construction for the Great Western Railway; the timbers and rails of which remind one of those used thirty years before by Trevithick, except that Brunel attached his longitudinal timbers to piles and cross-timbers, which latter were after a short time removed.

Practical men are toot to leave facts unrecorded. Some twenty years ago, railway competition caused an increased speed in the express trains between London and the North. Frequent notes from the manager urged the locomotive superintendent to actively carry out the wishes of the directors. To do this, the superintendent stood by his engine and fire men on a journey south from Carlisle. At the Lancaster station, when the engineman tested the state of the bearings by a slight touch of the fingers, the leading axle-box caused them to emit a smell of burnt skin: buckets of cold water and some grease were hurriedly applied, and, at the guard's whistle, the train proceeded. Before many miles had been run, the sounds of grinding friction have warning of danger, followed by spurts of blue and white flame, with fizzing sparks from the axle-box. Holding out a little longer would bring the train to the Preston station without loss of time, where another engine was in waiting; the fireman instinctively stood near his brake-handle the engine-man, with his hand on the steam-regulator, watched anxiously the course of events; time had been kept; the innocent passengers went on rejoicing;; and the directors, almost as ignorant as the public, pursued their policy of hard running. The superintendent, on examining the engine, found that the bearing of the leading axle had been raised by friction to a welding heat, causing it to be wrenched from the axle, close to the shoulder or nave of the leading wheel a small roundish knot, projecting from the shoulder, alone retained it in its place, while the torn-off bearing was imbedded as a solid mass with the fused brass and iron of the axle-box.

About that time, the broad and narrow gauge competition on the extension of the broad gauge to Cheltenham, caused the Great Western Railway directors to travel from Paddington to Cheltenham and back in a special train drawn by their new 8-feet wheel engine. The broad-gauge superintendent invited a narrow-gauge superintendent to ride on the engine with him. On the journey to Cheltenham, on a glorious day, a rate of fifty-five miles an hour was run with comparative ease, sixty miles an hour with difficulty, and sixty-three miles an hour was the extreme limit. The dinner and speeches at Cheltenham were highly approved of, and the specials started on their rapid home journey. On rushing toward the West Drayton station, through blinding darkness, the broad-gauge superintendent hurriedly said, “What's that?” and closed the steam-regulator. A brief reply caused it to lie again opened, and a sound, as from compressed space, together with a momentary glimpse of station-lights, indicated that a station had been passed. On inquiry the next day, it appeared that on the approach of the special train, a truck was being removed from the main line to a siding; as it cleared the points, the red signal was turned off; at the instant it had been seen as a confused sensation by those on the flying engine, which in another thirty seconds of time thundered by within an inch of the truck pushed by the station-men, who gazed on the receding tail-lights as scared men reprieved from annihilation.

Many such hairbreadth escapes could be told by those who live on locomotives, and their narration might have checked the headlong race for speed, even when railway accounts were jobbed to cover the growing wear and tear of permanent way and stock from the ever-increasing weight and speed of the engines; not, as the public suppose, for their comfort in saving an hour in a day's travel, but rather that profit may be made by successful competition. There has been a departure from Trevithick’s story; we must again seek him with his favourite high-pressures.

Foot Notes

  1. Letter, October 1st, 1803, chap. xx.
  2. See Trevithick’s letter, 26th April, 1812, Chap. xviii.
  3. See letter, 5th July, 1804, chap. xx.
  4. See letter, 23rd September, 1804, Chap. xvii.
  5. Wood 'On Railroads,' p. 130; published 1825.
  6. Letter of Trevithick, 10th January, 1805, chap. xv., p. 325.
  7. See Trevithick’s letter, 26th April, 1812, chap. xviii.
  8. From the 'Mining Journal,' Saturday, October 2nd, 1858.
  9. See Trevithick's letter, 23rd September, 1804, chap. xvii.
  10. Life of George Stephenson, by Smiles.
  11. See patent, chap. xvi.
  12. Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney's account of the invention of the steam jet or blast, published 1859.
  13. Mem. of Mrs. Guilmard, 1808
  14. Mechanics' Magazine, 27th March, 1847.
  15. Extract from letter of Mr. Albinus Martin in 1868
  16. See chap. xii.
  17. Who Invented the Locomotive?' by O. D. Healey, published 1858.
  18. See drawing of dredger-engine, chap. xi.
  19. See Mr. Bendy's letter, chap. xi.
  20. See Trevithick's letter, October 1st, 1803, chap. xx.
  21. Who invented the Locomotive? By O. D. Hedley, 1858
  22. Who Invented the Locomotive? by 0. D. Hedley, 1858 p35.
  23. See Trevithick's letter, 4th February, 1813, chap. xvii.
  24. See Trevithick's letter, 10th March, 1812, chap. xvii.
  25. See Smiles’ Life of George Stephenson, pp 74-81
  26. See Luke Hebert's practical treatise on Railroads and Locomotion, p.30 published 1837.
  27. See Luke Hebert 'On Railways.'
  28. See Davies Gilbert letter, April, 1839, chap. vii
  29. See Trevithick's letter, August 22nd, 1802, chap. ix.
  30. See Trevithick's letter, February 20th, 1804, chap. ix.
  31. See Trevithick's letter, July 28th, 1808, chap. ix.

    • a, the cylinder, 8.25-inch in diameter, 4 ft. 6 in. stroke, fixed in the boiler;
    • b, the piston-rod, fastened to the cross-head;
    • c, the cross-head;
    • d, guides for cross-head;
    • e, stays for the guides;
    • f, the connecting rods from ends of cross-head to cranks;
    • g, the two cranks;
    • h, the driving axle;
    • i, the flywheel;
    • j, the gear-wheels, connecting the driving axle with the driving wheels;
    • k, the four driving wheels, 3 ft. 9 in. in diameter, 4 ft. 1 in. from centre to centre; ** l, the four-way cock;
    • m, the cock lever;
    • n, the rod and tappets for working the four-way cock;
    • o, lever from cross-head for striking the tappets;
    • p, regulating cock and handle;
    • q, stay and screws for tightening the three-way cock and the regulator cock;
    • r, the cylindrical boiler of wrought or cast iron, 4 ft. 3 in. in diameter, 6 ft. long;
    • s, the internal fire-place and wrought-iron return tube;
    • t, the chimney;
    • u, the fire-door;
    • v, the tramroad-plates;
    • w, the tramroad-sleepers.
    • Weight in working order, 5 tons.
Plate V. Newcastle-upon-Tyne Locomotive
  • Plate V.,
    • a is a steam-cylinder 7 inches diameter, 3-feet stroke, fixed in the boiler;
    • b, piston-rod
    • c, cross-head;
    • d, guides;
    • e, stay;
    • f, connecting rod
    • g, crank
    • h, driving axle
    • i, fly-wheel
    • j, gear-wheels
    • k, four driving wheels, 3 feet 1 inch diameter, 4 feet 81 inches from centre to centre
    • l, four-way cock;
    • m, lever for working cock;
    • n, plug-rod
    • o, cylindrical wrought-iron boiler, 4 feet diameter, 6 feet 6 inches long;
    • p, fire-grate;
    • q, return fire-tube of wrought iron, 2 feet 3 inches diameter at the fire-door end, 1 foot diameter at the chimney end.;
    • r, chimney;
    • s, fire-door
    • t, railway of longitudinal timbers, 3.5 inches wide, 41 inches deep;
    • u cross-sleepers, 4.5 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep 1 foot 1.5 inch apart; gauge between wood rails, 4 feet 10 inches;
    • weight of engine in working order, 4.5 tons.
  • 1805 Locomotive
    • a is the boiler, which is of a cylindrical form, with flat ends. The fire is contained in a large tube within, and on one side of the boiler; one end of this is seen at b, and the form is indicated by dotted lines. This tube extends nearly to the opposite end of the boiler, and then being diminished in size, it is turned round and brought out to the chimney at c. The fire-tube is completely surrounded by the water, by which arrangement steam is generated with great rapidity, and of a high degree of elasticity. The steam-cylinder is placed vertically at d, being immersed nearly to the bottom of the boiler, as shown by the dotted lines. The steam is admitted alternately above and below the piston, by means of a four-way cock in a valve-box at the top of the cylinder, and the waste steam, after propelling the piston, passes by the eduction-pipe e into the chimney, where its emission causes a strong draught. The upper end of the piston-rod is attached to a cross-head f, which slides up and down on vertical guides, and from the ends of which connecting rods g y descend to cramps fixed en axles of the fore wheels, which are thus caused to revolve, like the fly-wheel of a stationary engine: h is a safety-valve on the upper part of the boiler. The immersion of the working cylinder in the boiler is happily contrived for compactness and economy of heat, and has been frequently imitated in subsequent engine:,
    • D, steam-cylinder, 14 in. diameter, 4-ft. stroke, fixed in the boiler;
    • N, piston-rod;
    • I, cross-head;
    • K, guides;
    • E, stay
    • L, connecting rods;
    • 0, crank;
    • Q, driving axle and gear-wheel
    • M, fly-wheel;
    • f, four-way cock;
    • m, lever for working cock
    • P, plug-rod;
    • A, cylindrical cast-iron boiler, 4 ft. 10 in. diameter, 8 ft. long;
    • B, fire-grate;
    • C, return fire-tube of wrought iron, 2 ft. diameter at the fire-door, and 1 ft. 2 in. at the chimney end;
    • T, chimney; weight of engine in working order, 8 or 10 tons;
    • Z, hole for cleaning fire-tube;
    • Y, hole for cleaning bottom of boiler;
    • n, safety-valve;
    • v, safety-valve lever;
    • p, safety-valve weight
    • i, escape-steam pipe, or feed-heating pipe;
    • t, feed-pipe;
    • r, rod working feed-pump;
    • S, lever working feed-pump.

See Also



A number of drawings to be inserted