Model railroads - model railways and trains > Railroad steam locomotive history > American locomotive company

American locomotive company

American locomotive companyIn this country the development of the locomotive was already well under way. In the latter part of 1827 the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company began construction of a line from Honesdale to Carbondale, a distance of twenty seven miles, and in 1829 the road was opened. Here the imported Stourbridge Lion, the first locomotive in America, was operated. It was built under the direction of Horatio Allen, and was of the grasshopper type, with a, boiler pierced by riveted flues. On August 29, 1829, Allen ran it for the first time, although he had never run one before, and never ran one afterwards.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was under construction, and in May, 1830, the first section of fifteen miles was opened. In addition, the South Carolina line was building, and railroad enterprise was gathering way in America. It was at first a question what power should be used, but the success of the Rocket set that at rest.

In 1829 Peter Cooper began experimenting with an engine of his own design, and at the same time the Carolina road built a locomotive at the West Point Foundry in New York. Cooper's machine was fashioned of a boiler hardly bigger than a water barrel, four wheels, a direct acting engine, and a fixed frame. He had difficulty in beating the gait of a horse. In 1831 the West Point Foundry turned out the South Carolina, the first engine with movable trucks.

At this time there was a feverish activity in railroad enterprise. The Mohawk & Hudson Railroad built the De Witt Clinton, and the Baltimore & Ohio offered a prize of thirty five hundred dollars for the best machine delivered for trial before June 1, 1831. The York, an engine of the grasshopper type, was brought forward in answer to this call. In August the Camden & Amboy brought over from England the John Bull, the self same locomotive that was exhibited at the World's Fair in Chicago.

The De Witt Clinton is often spoken of as having hauled the first train in America, but the fact is that the Baltimore & Ohio and South Carolina roads were in operation before its completion. Some of these roads had wooden rails; others the "fish backed" cast iron rails; Forged or rolled rails did not come into use until years afterwards.