Rail, road and river: steam in 1829

Four news items, all in the Varieties section of the Hampshire Chronicle on 19 October 1829.

Rail

The trial of the locomotive carriages near Liverpool was continued on Saturday, when Mr Stephenson’s engine, the Rocket, disencumbered of every weight, shot along the road at the almost incredible rate of 32 miles in the hour! So astonishing was the celerity with which the engine, without its apparatus, darted past the spectators, that it could be compared to nothing but the rapidity with which the swallow darts through the air.

Road 1

Mr Gurney’s steam carriage can be stopped dead within the space of two yards, though going at the rate of from 18 to 20 miles an hour, and this without any inconvenient shock to the machinery or passengers. It is capable of dragging a carriage, weighing three tons and containing 100 passengers, over a level road, at the rate of eight, nine, or ten miles an hour: will drag the same carriage, containing 25 passengers, up the steepest road in England, at the same rate. On ascending hills, for every cwt that is shifted from the front to the hind wheels, the carriage requires an additional drawing power of 4 cwt and on level ground an additional power of half a ton. The contrivance by which the carriage may be retarded at pleasure on descending hills, acts independently of the wheels, so that the sliding and cutting effect of the ordinary drags is entirely avoided.

Road 2

Sir James Anderson has entered into a contract with the Irish Post Office, by which he undertakes to convey the mails throughout Ireland at the rate of 12 miles an hour, in coaches impelled by steam, calculated to carry two or three passengers, in addition to the coachman and guard. This invention of Sir James Anderson, for which he has obtained a patent, has seldom been exhibited out of the yard in which it was constructed; but it is said to bear very little resemblance to the drag-coach of Mr Gurney. The contract is understood to be for 14 years, and the only pecuniary stipulation made by Sir James is, that he shall receive half the money which the Government shall save by adopting his system. He will shortly commence carrying the mails between Howth and Dublin. The road is level and good, and the distance not more than nine or ten miles.

[Note: an 1841 proposal by Sir James Anderson is covered here. And here is a longer piece about Sir James and the Steam Carriage and Waggon Company of Ireland.]

River

An iron steam boat of a peculiar construction, and having the paddles in the centre, has been built at Liverpool, by Messrs Fawcell and Co for the Irish Inland Steam Navigation Company. This vessel was tried in the Mersey on Monday, and the result was highly satisfactory. Another iron vessel, of 60 tons burden, was launched on Tuesday from Messrs Wm Laird and Son’s yard, on the banks of Wallasey Pool.

[Note: the Fawcett steamer and the 60-ton barge were destined for the Shannon. The barge was the first iron vessel built by Lairds.]

3 responses to “Rail, road and river: steam in 1829

  1. I have, in my possession, an offprint (of what I don’t know) containing a paper by a gentleman called “Surgeon Lover” about Sir James’s steam boiler.

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