1814 Stephenson's Locomotive

Scientific American August 10, 1901 page 84


The accompanying photograph represents the first locomotive built by George Stephenson, which was constructed for the Killingworth Colliery Company, in the year 1814.

After doing its share of useful work as one of the notable pioneer locomotives, it came into the possession of Sir Charles Mark Palmer, who presented it to the mayor and corporation of the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of George Stephenson, which occurred June 9, 1881.

1814 First Locomotive by Stephenson1814 First Locomotive by Stephenson
This curious little engine is preserved as a relic of the past on a platform of the Northeastern Railway Company's Central Station at Newcastle-on-Tyne. It should be noted, how-ever, that the "Billy," as it is called, has been some-what modernized since the day when it first left the hands of its builder. Originally there was no smoke-box, nor were there, as explained below, any coupling rods. The boiler consisted of a cylindrical shell, with a single horizontal, cylindrical flue extending through it. The rear end of the flue constituted the firebox, and at the front end it was connected by an elbow with a vertical smokestack. The sheet-iron side to the foot-plate, on which it will be noticed the figure 1 is printed, is evidently a later addition. Two vertical steam cylinders were carried above the boiler, into which they were built, the lower half of the cylinders being contained within the boiler itself. The piston rods are connected to transverse cross-heads, from the ends of each of which a pair of connecting rods are coupled to the driving wheels.Scientific American August10 1901 page84Scientific American August10 1901 page84

As originally constructed, there were no coupling rods, the desired relative position of the pairs of cranks on each pair of drivers being maintained by a chain-and-sprocket gear between the two axles. On the front driving wheels was a return crank, which, with the coupling rods, served to keep the pistons in quarter position. The coupling rods were substituted in 1825. The frame of the engine is of wood, and the wooden tender is provided with a tank which is carried over the rear axle, as shown in the engraving.