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Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Here is the keystone from a decorative arch in the old South Stockton Railway station (now Thornaby station) and it has never before been on display at the NRM. It depicts a face on one side and grapes on the other. Imagine having this guy glaring down at you as you entered the station.

 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson
 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) meets Robert Stephenson (1803-59) Carthagena, Colombia, South America during August 1827

 

Richard Trevithick died on 22 April 1833 almost two years after the completion of Robert Stephenson’s successful Planet engine which ‘determined the main features of the steam locomotive.’ Having obtained Patent No. 6484 on 7 October 1833, Robert publicly acknowledged his debt to Trevithick and explained that both the working drawings and the construction of the Planet were done under his direction. He stated that the locomotive had: ‘a multitubular boiler, the fire being urged by a blast pipe and the cylinders, were fixed inside, or between the frame, because only by such an arrangement that they could be placed within the smokebox where it was considered desirable to fix them, in order to prevent condensation of the steam in the cylinders and the consequent loss of power. This had been resolved upon information given to him by the late Mr Trevithick, who, in the course of some experiments, had built a brick flue around the cylinder and had applied the heat of the fire directly to the metal, with some very beneficial results, as regarding the economical use of steam.’ [Proceedings Inst. Civil Engineers (Proc. ICE) Vol.16. p23]

In his article Railways, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 7th Edition 1836, Peter Lecount confirmed that Robert Stephenson’s adoption of the inside cylinder locomotive Planet which by necessity had a crank axle was ‘suggested by a conversation which Stephenson had with Trevithick when they were on their passage from South America. Trevithick stated there was 40 percent increase in the duty of Watt’s engine (worked expansively) in Cornwall, from putting a jacket on the cylinders.’

Colleagues confirmed …‘the discussions on the steam engine between these original geniuses of such different character, led in the mind of Stephenson, to at closer consideration of the locomotive.’ [Proc.ICE Vol 19 p.177]

And Robert’s biographer also stated ‘there is no doubt that the original and daring views of Trevithick with respect to the capabilities of the locomotive made a deep impression on Robert Stephenson’. [J.C. Jeaffreson The Life of Robert Stephenson 1864, Vol 1. p.105]

 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Just week’s after reporting on the death of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, The Engineer mourned the passing of another giant of British industry: Robert Stephenson.

Son of George Stephenson - who is widely considered the father of the railways - Robert, whose statue can be seen outside London’s Euston station made arguably an equally important contribution to the world of engineering. Indeed,  his iconic “rocket” locomotive is viewed today as one of the key advances in railway technology.

It’s interesting to compare Stephenson’s obituary with that of Brunel. Whilst The Engineer was quick to draw attention to what it viewed as Brunel’s unpleasant personality traits, its tribute to Stephenson throbs with admiration.  ‘The foremost man amongst our engineers has passed away,’ reported the paper, ‘Our great Captain of Industry has departed”.

 

FROM PROCESS ENGINEERING

 

 

 
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