Timothy Hackworth and the Locomotive. By Robert Young, Locomotive Publishing Co. 1923 [ebook]


Hard back book, blue cloth binding, 8.5”x 5.5” pp 406.  Coloured frontispiece, 175 line drawings and half tone B&W photographs.


The Railway Centenary engendered the publication of several books, including “The British Steam Locomotive 1825-1925, by E. L. Ahrons, “Two Essays in Early Locomotive History” by C. F . Dendy Marshall


“A Century of Locomotive Building – Robert Stephenson  and Co. 1823-1923” by J. G. H. Warren and “Timothy Hackworth and the Locomotive” by Robert Young. When this was first published in 1923 it not only filled a gap in the history of the locomotive but drew attention to the work of a hitherto rather neglected engineer, who had rather been overshadowed by the Stephensons. When the Stockton and Darlington Railway was officially opened in 1825 Timothy Hackworth had already been appointed Superintendent of Permanent and Locomotive Engines. In 1826 he took his small staff to Shildon where he set up the first railway workshops.  Perhaps Hackworth’s major achievement was making the steam locomotiv a viable and profitable innovation on a public railway

Young was a descendent of Hackworth, and needs reading with caution, for he tends to veer on the side of hagiography, particularly when dealing with the Rainhill Trials, when Hackworth’s entry “Sans Pareil” was allowed to compete despite not complying with the rules, eventually having to withdraw with a burst cylinder, manufactured by Robert Stephenson & Co. builders of the rival “Rocket”.  Hackworth came very close to slandering the Stephensons, hinting at sabotage.(See the letter on this subject from John Dixon quoted in:-


Young devotes considerable space to a rather futile dispute in the 19th century over the claim that Hackwrth had invented the team locomotive blast pipe, which was plain nonsense. From the earliest steam boilers in the 18th century engineers were aware that exhausting the steam up the furnace chimney, livened up the fire. The subject of dispute was whether the steam should just escape naturally into the flue, or whether it should be forced through a constricted orifice to enhance the effect, and the extent to which this was possible without either throttling the  engine or dragging the fire into the flue.



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