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- Baldwin Locomotive Works
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Upon arrival the locomotives were found to weigh almost seven tons instead of their estimated three tons. All four locomotives eventually disappeared, the other three apparently never being set on rails. Then in the boiler and other parts of the celebrated Stourbridge Lion were collected in various parts, sent to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. Cooper a chance at building a locomotive. Peter, who owned a foundry and was handy with tools, journeyed to New York and bought a little steam engine with a cylinder three and one-quarter inches by fourteen and one-half inches and, returning to Baltimore, got some iron and built a boiler about as big as an ordinary wash boiler of that day.
He wanted some iron pipes for boiler flues but none were obtainable so he used two old musket barrels. Peter went into a coachmakers shop and made his locomotive which he called Tom Thumb because it was so small. He meant to show two things: first, that short turns could be made; and, secondly, that he could get rotary motion without use of a crank.
He changed the engines reciprocating movement to a rotary motion by using two gears. To emphasize the fact that the Tom Thumb was developed entirely independent of the English we note the prior invention by Mr. Cooper of two fundamental features later used on all steam locomotives—the multi-tubular boiler and the artificial draft.
The air blast by which he secured a forced draft was obtained by a blower fan worked by a belt from the axle of the engine. Then, later, Stephenson hit upon the correct principle of a forced draft, quite by accident.
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The exhaust from his first locomotive frightened horses and he was notified by the police that if he kept on with his noisy engines he would be arrested. He turned the exhaust into the smoke-stack to muffle the noise and found to his joy that he had provided a forced draft. Finally the little locomotive was finished, then one Saturday night steam was got up; the president of the road and two or three gentlemen had been anxiously standing by so they and Peter climbed onto Tom Thumb and went out two or three miles towards the west.
Came Monday and what was their grief and chagrin to find that some scamp had been there and chopped off all the copper from the engine and carried it away. The copper lines that conveyed the steam to the piston was gone. It took Mr. Cooper a week or more to repair the locomotive, which, you may be sure, was placed under guard each night, and then on Saturday, August 28, , with six men on the engine and thirty-six men in an attached car, the Tom Thumb began the first trip by an American-built locomotive. It was an interesting trip. The shortest of curves were traversed without materially slackening a speed of fifteen miles an hour.
The day was fine, the company in the highest spirits and some excited gentlemen of the party, when the train was at its highest speed, eighteen miles an hour, pulled out their note books and wrote connected sentences just to show that such a thing was possible! Then Tom Thumb and its gay load of passengers arrived at Relay House, the halfway home point, where it was known the little locomotive would be refueled. They and their cohorts jeered and coaxed for a race and Peter Cooper was not unwilling for he felt his little engine to be the master of any horse.
The start being even away went horse and engine, the snort of one and the puff of the other keeping time and tune. At first the grey had the best of it, for his power was applied to the greatest advantage on the instant, while the engine had to wait until rotation of the wheels set the blower to work. The horse was perhaps a quarter of a mile ahead when the safety-valve of the engine lifted and the thin blue vapor issuing from it showed an excess of steam.
9 Best Railway locos images | Locomotive, Steam locomotive, Steam engine
The blower whistled, the steam blew off in vapory clouds, the pace increased, the passengers shouted. Soon the race was neck and neck, then the engine passed the horse and a great hurrah hailed the victory. The safety-valve ceased to scream and the engine, for want of breath, began to wheeze and pant. In vain Mr. On November 8, , Tatem Parsons, the John Bull 's first engineer who was also noted as being the nation's oldest locomotive engineer, died.
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Baldwin Locomotive Works
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Current status: Featured article A fact from this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the On this day section on September 15, , September 15, , September 15, , September 15, , September 15, , and September 15, Culture portal. Categories : Wikipedia featured articles Featured articles that have appeared on the main page Featured articles that have appeared on the main page once Selected anniversaries September Selected anniversaries September Selected anniversaries September Selected anniversaries September Selected anniversaries September Selected anniversaries September FA-Class rail transport articles Mid-importance rail transport articles Locomotives task force articles FA-Class Smithsonian Institution-related articles Mid-importance Smithsonian Institution-related articles WikiProject Smithsonian Institution-related articles.
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