Who invented the world's first steam locomotive and when?

The history of the invention of the steam locomotive has many controversial points. It is known that the first attempts to create self-propelled steam machines were a cart on a wooden frame. It was set in motion by a simple steam boiler and an engine with vertical cylinders, thanks to which the wheels rotated. Despite the fact that Joseph Cugno is considered the author of the first machines, he did not have to put his invention on the rails.

Richard Trevithick

The first who invented the steam locomotive was Richard Trevithick, an engineer from England, who in 1801 first thought about the design of new steam boilers - light and practical, and then patented the world's first steam locomotive "Puffing Devil". A distinctive feature of this model was good technical characteristics, but its production was also discontinued due to a lack of steel, from which it was necessary to make rails, because the cast-iron rails simply could not cope with the huge weight of the vehicle and sagged.

"Puffing Devil"

7 years later, Trevithick developed a more advanced design of the car, capable of moving at speeds up to 30 km / h. The name "Catch Me Who Can" was given to this model for a reason: in London, a whole competition was held in the speed of a car with horses.

"Catch Me Who Can"

Followers of Trevithick

The first steam locomotives in the world were heavy and could not always move on rails that were too smooth. Therefore, inventors after Trevithick sought to come up with various means that would improve the grip of the wheels to the rails. So, in 1811, William Burton built a new steam engine with three pairs of wheels. An innovation in his approach was the cogs that were fitted to the middle wheels. They were needed to grip the rack teeth along the tracks. Of course, the vehicle moved smoothly along the rails, but it made such a noise that it had to be abandoned, and the teeth were replaced with levers on hinges. However, this solution did not take root either.

Another version of the steam locomotive was created by the mechanic Forster and the blacksmith Hackworth - their car was named "Puffing Billy", which was explained by the loud noise when the steam was released. The design turned out to be successful, since most of the elements were recreated by analogy with the first Trevithick model.

"Puffing Billy"

In 1813, the Blucher steam locomotive was built, which was invented by George Stephenson. True, he had to work hard to make his vehicle perfect, and it acquired perfection only by 1816, when the third version was released, capable of carrying trains weighing up to 50 tons, developing a speed of 10 km / h.


While steam locomotives were already starting to run in the world, in Russia people were moved between cities on horse-drawn stagecoaches. The history of steam locomotive construction in our country was started by Efim and Miron Cherepanov, the creators of the first Russian steam locomotive. As early as 1830, they started working on their car. "Steamship Dilijan" - this is how the Cherepanovs called their creation - was ready in 1834. The "iron miracle", frightening those around, moved along cast-iron rails, was designed to transport ore, and developed a speed of up to 15 km / h.

Cherepanovs steam locomotive model

The Cherepanovs were the first to create a steam locomotive in Russia, but their car was not in demand, and most of the models were purchased abroad. By 1880, the number of steam units in our country increased significantly, although their production occupied only a third of the market. But it is believed that it was our engineers who were able to destroy England's monopoly on their production. The era of steam locomotives lasted until the 50s of the XX century, and the vehicles created were operated back in the 70s. Today, the first steam locomotives can be seen only in museums.