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History locomotive in World

Historical Development of the Locomotive

The first locomotive engine designed to run upon rails was constructed in 1803, under the direction of Richard Trevithick, a Cornish mine captain in South Wales. Though crudely and peculiarly made, it possessed all of the characteristics of the modern locomotive with the exception of the multi-tubular boiler. The locomotive had a return-flue boiler 60 inches long, and two pairs of driving wheels - each 52 inches in diameter. The power was furnished by one cylinder, 54 inches long and 8 inches in diameter. The exhaust steam from the cylinder was conducted to the smoke-stack where it aided in creating a draft on the fire. This engine, shown in Figure 1 (down-left), made several trips of nine miles each, running about five miles per hour and carrying about two tons. Although the machine was a commercial failure, yet from a mechanical standpoint, it was a great success.

Figure 1. The scheme first locomotive Trevithick in 1803
Figure 2. The scheme locomotive Rocket in 1828

After the development of the Trevithick locomotive, numerous experiments were tried out and many engineers were working on a new design. As a consequence, many very crude but interesting locomotives were developed. The principal objection raised against the most of them was in reference to the complicated parts of the mechanism. Having had no previous experience to direct them, they failed to see that the fewer and simpler the parts of the machine, the better. It was not until about 1828, when the Rocket, as shown in Figure 2 (above-right), was built under the supervision of Robert Stephenson, that anything of note was accomplished. The Rocket, in a competition speed test, without carrying any load, ran at the rate of 29½ miles per hour. With a car carrying thirty passengers, it attained a speed of 28 miles per hour. The construction of the Rocket was a step in the right direction, since it contained fewer and simpler parts. It had an appearance similar to the modern locomotive, having a multitubular boiler, induced draft by means of the exhaust steam, and a direct connection between the piston rod and crank pin secured to the driving wheel. The cylinder was inclined and proportions were very peculiar as compared with the modern locomotive, yet much had been gained by this advancement. While these things were being accomplished in England, the fact must be noted that agitation in favor of railroad building in America was being carried on with zeal and success. Much of the machinery for operating the American railroads was being designed and built by American engineers, so it is quite generally believed that railroad and locomotive building in America would not have been very much delayed had there never been a Watt or a Stephenson.

Figure 3. The scheme locomotive The Best Friend of Charleston

The first railroad opened to general traffic was the Baltimore & Ohio, which was chartered in 1827, a portion being opened for business in 1830. About the same time, the South Carolina Road was built. The board of directors of this road were concerned with what kind of power to use, namely, horse-power or steam engines. After much deliberation, it was finally decided to use a steam-propelled locomotive.

The history of this period is interesting. The first steam locomotive built in America was the Best Friend of Charleston, illustrated in Figure 3 (left). One year previous to the building of this locomotive, an English locomotive called Stourbridge Lionwas imported by the Delaware-Hudson Canal Co. It was tried near Homesdale. A celebrated American engineer by the name of Horatio Allen, made a number of trial trips on this locomotive and pronounced it too heavy for the American roadbeds and bridges; so it was that the Best Friend of Charleston, an American locomotive constructed in 1830, gave the first successful service in America.

The Best Friend of Charleston was a four-wheeled engine having two inclined cylinders. The wheels were constructed of iron hubs with wooden spokes and wooden fellows, having iron tires shrunk on in the usual way. A vertical boiler was employed and rested upon an extension of the frame which was placed between the four wheels. The cylinders, two in number, were each 6 inches in diameter and had a common stroke of 16 inches. The wheels were 4½ feet in diameter. The total weight of the locomotive was about 10,000 pounds. Assuming power by present methods, it would develop about 12 horse-power while running at a speed of 20 miles per hour and using a steam pressure of 50 pounds.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was the leader for a number of years in the development of the locomotive. Among the earlier designs brought out by this road was an 8-wheeled engine known as the Camel-Back, so-called from its appearance, and frequently spoken of as the Winans, as its design was developed in 1844 by Ross Winans, a prominent locomotive builder of a half century ago.

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