The Puffing Devil (1801) : Richard Trevithick

Richard Trevithick a pioneer in steam technology made world's 1st ever steam power locomotive.

Richard Trevithick (April 13, 1771 – April 22 1833) born in Cornwall, was one of the remarkable figure of the industrial revolution. He was a British inventor, Versatile engineer and maker of the first working steam locomotive. He was the son of mine captain and as a child he watches steam engine pump water from the deep tin and copper mines in Cornwall, for a time he was neighbour to William Murdoch, the steam carriage pioneer, no wonder why he was influenced in steam power locomotives.

With the new improvements in boiler technology which now possibly permits the safer formation of high pressure steam, which could move a piston in a steam engine on its own account, instead of using pressure near to atmospheric, in a condensing engine. Trevithick was not the first one to think of so called strong steam concept or steam above 30psi, William Murdoch, Oliver Evans or Arthur Woolf are the early pioneers in steam technology and using it with transportation but none of them had made this idea commercial success unlike Trevithick.

Trevithick built a full-size steam road carriage on a site near the present day Fore Street at Camborne, which was also known as Camborne Hill. He named the carriage ‘Puffing Devil’. The engine was erected by John Tyack at Camborne.

1801 December 24th. On Christmas Eve that year, he demonstrated it by successfully carrying several men up Camborne Hill and then continuing on to the nearby village of Beacon with his cousin and associate, Andrew Vivian, steering. This event is believed by many to be the first demonstration of transportation by (steam) auto-motive power.

1801 December 28th. During further tests, Trevithick’s carriage broke down 3 days later after passing over a gully in the road. The carriage was left under some shelter with the fire still burning whilst the operators retired to a nearby public house for a meal of roast goose and drinks. Meanwhile the water boiled off, the engine overheated and the whole carriage burnt out, completely destroying it. Trevithick however did not consider this episode a serious setback but more a case of operator error.

Some of the pictures used here are the replica of orignal Puffing devil made by Trevithick, these are added here on purpose to add more visual portray of the Article.

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