Trains and Technology: The American Railroad in the Nineteenth Century - Vol. 1

By Anthony J. Bianculli | Go to book overview

2
Motive Power Infancy, 1830–1850

With the swiftness of the swallow, and the color of the crow,
… rapidly I sail along, with full and flowing sheet
Of iron, like a fire-ship, though single I'm the fleet;
… Then swear to follow in my train, and for that promise votive,
What stronger motive can you have, than one good loco-motive.

—from the Lay of the Locomotive by Henry J. Finn

In the early 1830s, locomotive design was in its infancy in America; machines were simple and dissimilar; many had vertical boilers and few had appurtenances such as cabs or cowcatchers. Their frames were made of wood until middecade when the first American-built locomotive with an iron frame, the Comet, was built at the West Point Foundry for the Tuscumbia, Cortland and Decatur Railroad. (George Sellers also made claim to the first iron-frame locomotive but his offering was completed eight months after the Comet. Matthias Baldwin, who substituted iron frames in 1837, also claimed a first but the honor obviously went to the Comet. On the other hand, Baldwin asserted that he was the last builder to construct wooden-frame locomotives, in the year 1839, but some New England builders continued to use outside wooden frames in the 1850s, while supporting the drive wheels on iron frames.) The period 1830 to 1850 was notable for several inventions that were extremely important to railroad development in America. First, the pilot truck made railroad travel safer and faster on the far-from-perfect American tracks. Next, the introduction of the four-coupled locomotive allowed the weight of heavier locomotives to be distributed on the weak roadway superstucture. The equalizer guaranteed that engine weight would be distributed evenly. The difficult hook motion, necessary for manipulating the steam valves, was supplanted by link motion. There were also a number of lesser but important inventions made in this twenty year period that contributed to safer, more reliable, and more powerful locomotives.1

There were no locomotives that were characteristic of the early part of the period (1830–40), because development and construction was generally undertaken by widely separated local industries (or, more accurately, by individualistic inventors) that exhibited differing opinions concerning locomotive design. That this was a formative and experimental period was manifested by the diversity of machines. American-built locomotives of the 1830s included such drastically different conceptions as the West Point Foundry Association's Best Friend of Charleston and DeWitt Clinton, Jervis's Experiment, Norris's Lafayette, Ross Winans's “grasshopper” and “crab” locomotives, and Hinkley's Lion. Some of these machines are described below and depicted in accompanying illustrations and a table giving a few pertinent facts about the earliest Americanmade locomotives is provided in table 1. Toward the end of the period (1840–50) a more distinctive locomotive form, with horizontal boiler and four-coupled driving wheels, emerged and represented a standard of sorts for the remainder of the century.

Preceding the Camden and Amboy Railroad, construction began on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1828 and it was planned that its first trains would be horse drawn. In that same year, William Howard, a member of the Engineer

-38-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Trains and Technology: The American Railroad in the Nineteenth Century - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface: Comments from the Cab 9
  • Acknowledgements 13
  • Introduction 15
  • Locomotives 25
  • General Description of the American Steam Locomotive 27
  • 1: Introduction to Motive Power 33
  • 2: Motive Power Infancy, 1830–1850 38
  • 3: Motive Power Adolescence, 1850–1875 104
  • 4: Motive Power Maturity, 1875–1900 135
  • 5: Locomotive Appliances and Appurtenances 205
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliography 230
  • Index 237
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 250

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.