George Stephenson (1781-1848)

George Stephenson

1781 George Stephenson was born at Wyland, near Newcastle, England. He is considered the father of modern railways. Because his family was very poor, he started to work since he was 7 years old and until 18 he was an illiterate. But cars fascinated him so much that George read and learnt so much that he became an engineer, building engines from 1814. He increased the fire triage in locomotive’s firebox, directing the eliminated steam toward a chimney. The new steam-engine was used for the first time inside a mine, replacing the horses which carried the mechanism. The success made him lodge to the Parliament a project regarding the railway.

1821 When he found out about a plan of a railway in the N-E of England, George convinced the designers to use his new steam-train.

1825 The railway was inaugurated on the 27th of September when Stephenson drove his first locomotive from Stockton to Darlington on a distance of 32 km. Then, the railways evolved quickly. In England and Europe, they facilitated the cargo transport and in USA the possibility to people of colonizing in far areas. British Stephenson’s amazing invention had 12 horsepower.

The great merit of his locomotive was represented by the fact that principle of operation, the main mechanisms and their arrangement were processed in all future achievements. The improvements of the boiler, engine and running gear made steam-locomotive dominate transportation on railways more than a century, almost without competition.

At the beginning of XX century, their exclusivity began to be prejudiced by vehicles with electric traction, firstly on metropolitan, urban and mountain lines, and later on major rail lines, starting with the European ones.

1848 On the 12th of August, George Stephenson died.

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