The invention of the steam locomotive

Michael Mosley, Cassie Newland and Mark Miodownik from the BBC series The Genius of Invention describe the scientific achievements of Richard Trevithick. In 1801, he built the first steam locomotive. An explanation of mechanics of this atmospheric steam engine is given.

These were thought by many to be too dangerous due to the high pressures required, but Trevithick’s father-in-law was a master blacksmith and forged a cylindrical boiler. This made Trevithick’s engine more powerful and much smaller, and so could be put on wheels. This heralded the beginning of powered travel.

Release date:

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10 minutes

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