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Similar waggon roads were laid down in the colliery districts of Scotland at a comparatively early period. At the time of the Scotch rebellion, in 1745, a railway existed between the Tranent coal pits and the small harbour of Cockenzie in East Lothian ; and a portion of the line had the honour of being selected as a position for General Cope's cannon at the battle of Prestonpans.
In these rude wooden tracks we find the germ of the modern railroad. Improvements were gradually made in them. Thus, at some collieries, thin plates of iron were nailed upon their upper surface, for the purpose of protecting the parts most exposed to friction. Cast-iron rails were also tried, the wooden rails having been found liable to rot. The first iron rails are supposed to have been laid down at Whitehaven as early as 1738. This cast-iron road was denominated a “plate-way,” from the plate-like form in which the rails were cast. In 1767, as appears from the books of the Coalbrookdale Iron Works, in Shropshire, five or six tons of rails were cast, as an experiment, on the suggestion of Mr. Reynolds, one of the partners; and they were shortly after laid down to form a road. In 1776, a cast-iron railway, nailed to wooden sleepers, was laid down at the Duke of Norfolk's colliery near Sheffield. The person who designed and constructed this coal line was Mr. John Curr, whose son has erroneously claimed for him the invention of the cast-iron railway. He certainly adopted it early, and thereby met the fate of men before their age; for his plan was opposed by the labouring people of the colliery, who got up a riot in which they tore up the road and burnt the coal staith, whilst Mr. Curr fled into a neighbouring wood for concealment, and lay there perdu for three days and nights, to escape the fury of the populace. *
• Railway Locomotion and Steam Navigation, their principles and practice. By John Curr, of New South Wales. London, Williams and Co., 1847. The
CHAP. viii.] OUTRAM ROADS - 1800.
63 In 1789, Mr. Wm. Jessop constructed a railway at Loughborough, in Leicestershire, and there introduced the cast-iron edge-rail, with flanches cast upon the tire of the waggon wheels to keep them on the track, instead of having the margin or flanch cast upon the rail itself; and this plan was shortly after adopted in other places. In 1800, Mr. Benjamin Outram, of Little Eaton, in Derbyshire, used stone props instead of timber for supporting the ends and joinings of the rails. As this plan was pretty generally adopted, the roads became known as “Outram roads,” and subsequently, for brevity's sake, “tram-roads." From this time the use of tram-roads rapidly extended, until at length they were generally adopted in the mining districts.
The progress of railways was, indeed, such that the canal interests became somewhat uneasy respecting them. The Duke of Bridgewater, when congratulated by Lord Kenyon on the successful issue of his scheme, made answer, with farsighted shrewdness,—“Yes, we shall do well enough if we can keep clear of these dmd tram-roads—there's mischief in them!” It will be observed, however, that the improvements thus far effected had been confined almost entirely to the road. The railway waggons still continued to be drawn by horses. The gradual improvements made in the rail, by improving the firmness and smoothness of the track, had, indeed, effected considerable economy in horse-power; but that was all. What was further wanted was, the adoption of some mechanical agency applicable to the purpose of railway traction. Unless some such agency could be invented, it was clear that railway improvement had almost reached its limits. Inventors and projectors, however, presented themselves in
author of this book was son of the John Curr of Sheffield, who laid down the above railway, and who also wrote a book, which was printed in 1797, entitled
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1641, tłce de ribes a visi paši to its centrated mabouse in the company of the Esah Marquis of Wireesta:“We were créditz the ovart, and I, bure desi than alire with frisks, kept close to my companionsste, when a frightful fare appeared behind some immense bars, and a hoarse voice Exclaimed, “I am not mad! I am not mad! I have made a disevery that would enrich the country that adopted it.' •What has he discovered?' asked our guide. Oh!' answered the kujur, ziruzging his shoulders, .something trifling ensazh: you would never guess it; it is the use of the steam of broiling water. I began to laugh. “This man,' continued the keeps, “is named Solomon de Caus; he came from Sormandy four years ago, to present to the King a statement of the wonderful effects that might be produced from his invention. To listen to him, you would imagine that
* "Cyanın umg errent of iron railway, in an open country, carriages properly news t hat make, profitable voyages from time to time with sails instead A luat lux thingh a constant or regular intercourse could not be thus Currim , yet goods of a certain sort, that are saleable at any time, might Ime muid till wind and weather were favourable.” — Memoirs of R. L. Edgewurth, vol. I, p. 153. Mr. Edgeworth made several experiments with a sailing Curriage of his invention on Hare Hatch Common, but the experiments were mimundotud in consequence of the dangerous results which threatened to attend
with steam you could navigate ships, move carriages; in fact, there is no end to the miracles which, he insists upon it, could be performed. The Cardinal sent the madman away without listening to him. Solomon de Caus, far from being discouraged, followed the Cardinal wherever he went with the most determined perseverance, who, tired of finding him for ever in his path, and annoyed at his folly, shut him up in the Bicêtre. He has even written a book about it, which I have here.""* It appears that the Marquis of Worcester was greatly struck by the appearance of De Caus, and afterwards studied his book, portions of which he embodied in his “ Century of Inventions.” The Marquis is also said to have entertained the idea of moving carriages by steam power, but never embodied it in any practical form.
Savery, the Cornish miner and engineer, who did so much to develope the powers of the high-pressure engine, also proposed it as a method of propelling carriages along ordinary roads. But he took no practical measures with the view of carrying out his suggestion. The subject was shortly after, in 1759, introduced to the powerful mind of James Watt, by Dr. Robison, then a young man studying at Glasgow College. “He threw out,” says Watt,“ the idea of applying the power of the steam-engine to the moving of wheelcarriages, and to other purposes; but the scheme was not matured, and was soon abandoned, on his going abroad.” † Watt, however, afterwards, in the specification of his patent of 1769, gave a description of an engine of the kind suggested by his friend Robison, in which the expansive force of steam
* The book is entitled “ Les Raisons des Forces Mouvantes, avec diverses machines tant utiles que puissantes.” Paris, 1615.
† Narrative of James Watt's Invention, in Robison's Mechanical Philo
es troposed as the motive power. It also appears that other isrentors were in the field about the same time; for in a Jetter written by Dr. Small to Mr. Watt, on the 18th of April, 1769, it is stated that “one Moore, a linendraper of London, had taken out a patent for moving wheel-carriages by steam;** but no steps were taken to reduce the intention to practice. Watt again, in his patent of 1784, described a similar engine to that indicated in his first patent, specifying the mode of applying steam to the moving of wheel-carriages. The plan proposed by Watt, although a curiosity at the present day, bears the impress of his original mind. The boiler was to be of wooden staves hooped together with iron; the iron furnace inside the boiler, and almost entirely surrounded with water; the whole being placed on a carriage, the wheels of which were to be worked by a piston, the reciprocatory action being converted into a rotatory one by toothed wheels and a sun and planet motion. The cylinder was to be seven inches in diameter, the number of strokes sixty per minute, and their length one foot. The carriage was to carry two persons. But no such carriage was ever built, Watt being too busily occupied with the perfecting of his condensing engine to proceed further with his proposed locomotive.
The first actual model of a steam-carriage, of which we have any written account, was constructed by a Frenchman named Cugnot, who exhibited it before the Marshal de Saxe in 1763.1 lle afterwards built an engine on the same model, at the cost of the French monarch. But when set in motion, it projected itself onward with such force, that it knocked down a wall
h stood in its way; and its power being considered too for ordinary use, it was put aside as being a dangerous
the Mechanical Inventions of James Watt, by J. P. Muirhead, M. A. Stuart's Historical and Descriptive Anecdotes of Steam Engines, and of wir Inventors and Improvers, pp. 208, 209.