Few forms of transportation have satisfied the needs of America like the railroad. The locomotive has been around for over 200 years, and still today, completes a large part of our transportation tasks. The invention of the train is one of the most momentous events in our history and still bewilders historians to this day.
The first steam locomotive engine, made its appearance on February 13 1804 at the Penydarren Ironworks company in South Wales. The person responsible for this invention was Richard Trevithick, an engineer from Cornwall England. The engine hauled ten tons of iron, seventy men, and five extra wagons at about 5 miles per hour. The journey took about two hours. The engine consisted of a cylinder with the piston, both arranged vertically. After the steam operated, it escaped by a chimney located at eh mouth of the firebox. The pressure of the steam was about forty pounds by square inch, and was regulated by a safety valve that prevented excessive pressure in the boiler. Although the locomotive preformed well, it did not produce the economic results predicted.
The next successful attempt to construct a steam locomotive was done by Blekinsop in 1812. the machine had two cylinders of 203 millimeters of diameter each. Both were set up vertically, similarly to Trevithick's engine. The connecting bars, acted on axes with pinions that rotated a large dented wheel, designed for support not steering. After Blekinsop's machine, “Puffing Billy” was devised by Blacklett that used the same system as Blekinsop but added the effect of traction by supporting wheels, like the locomotive invented by Trevithick
Trevithick, Blekinsop, and Blacklett all designed machines for the road, not the railroad. It was George Stephenson who created the first steam locomotive engine for railways. Born on June 9, 1781in Wylam England, Stephenson was raised in a poor family who were forced to live on twelve shillings a week. Although he receive little education, George...