The industrial revolution

The industrial revolution started in the early nineteenth century by developing the first steam engine. Until then people traveled by horse caused that the speed was limited. It was impossible to cover long distances for poorer people because they can’t afford a horse.

Suddenly, through the steam locomotive it was possible to cover long distances in a speed never done before. The steam locomotive also enables poorer people to travel.

This development opened a lot of new markets. The engine steam enabled the industrial revolution.
But in the twentieth-century cars and trucks get more popular and a lot of railways lines were decommissioned. Nowadays the steam locomotives were replaced by diesel and electric motor power.

steam engine

“train” out of wood 16th century, hungary

stephenson’s locomotion

The development from the beginning


In ancient times the people used logs to move heavy stocks. But this was really bulky so they started to cut the logs into pieces and fixed them on the containers. This was how the first wheel was invented. The streets in this time were out of sand and if it starts to rain the wheels sink down and left deep ruts. Soon the people created these ruts consciously to direct the vehicles.

In the late 15th century the first rails, out of wood, were found in Europe. They used parallel wood rails in the mines and wheels with flanges. But this solution was really wobbly so that they change the material from wood into iron in 1750. The wheels get iron mountings. This led to less friction loses but the rails were often broke.

The question how to replace horses with a more powerful engine rose in the late 18th century. There was only one solution, the steam engine. But it was too heavy, too big and too weak for mobile vehicles.

At first in 1804 the first useful locomotive was found by Richard Trevithick, a British engineer. He mounted a small but powerful high pressure stem engine on a chassis. The first locomotive was driven in a mine of Wales with five wagons, filled with ten tons iron and 70 workers.

But Trevithick’s locomotive failed because of the fragile rails and missed investors.
The next important and successfully person in the railway history was George Stephenson, also a British engineer. He took the locomotives out of the mines and improved the rails by using rolled iron.

On the 27th of September in 1825 the first railway line was opened between Stockton and Darlington. It was a 40 km long line and the locomotive was called “locomotion”.