One invention of the month:
Posted by gislena on 21 July 2008
Back in the 1700s, several types of steam engines were being developed and numerous attempts were made to modify them for use on railroads. In 1804, Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian built the earliest steam locomotive. It ran with some success on the “Penydarren” tramway in Wales. 1812 saw a twin cylinder steam locomotive built by Matthew Murray and Stephenson’s Rocket became the first viable mainline locomotive in 1829.
The first steam locomotive constructed and run in America was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Tom Thumb back in 1829. It was primarily a steam potential demonstration and not intended for commercial use. The South Carolina Railroad was the first successful steam railway in the US and began operation on December of 1830. In these early days of railroad development, many of the steam locomotives were imported from England but with the increased needs of a growing nation, a national manufacturing industry was established that produced such locomotives as the renowned DeWitt Clinton. With the advent of mainline diesel-electric locomotives starting with commercial use on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1935, steam locomotive became a relic of the past. This was due to the fact that diesel power was able to significantly reduce maintenance costs.