The idea of using steam to modernize transport dates back to the 17th century. But the first attempts left much to be desired: they tried to adapt steam engines to ordinary carts or carts. The first steam carriage was designed in 1763 by the French engineer Conyu. It was designed to travel on a straight road without rails.
The situation changed dramatically in the early 19th century when the English inventor Richard Trevithick received a patent for a steam locomotive on March 24, 1802. Having proved empirically that the friction force of the smooth wheels of a steam locomotive on smooth rails is completely sufficient for the movement of the locomotive even if it has to drag a train of loaded wagons behind it, he made a revolution in the transport industry.
In 1803, Trevithick designs a steam locomotive for a rail track, and already in February 1804 he conducts its first test. An English newspaper described the event as follows:
“The long-awaited test of Mr. Trevithick’s newly invented steam engine took place the day before yesterday …
The ordeal surpassed, to everyone’s amazement, what its most ardent supporters expected of it. In this case … the vehicle was used to transport up to 10 tons of strip iron over a distance of over 9 miles; It should be noted that the weight of the cargo quickly increased from 10 to 15 tons, thanks to at least 70 people who climbed onto the carts.
Prompted by an invincible curiosity, they were eager to ride, taking advantage of the first success of the inventor’s talents … The machine made its journey without refilling the boiler with water and moved freely at a speed of 5 miles per hour.