Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/281

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miner." When still a child, he exhibited great mechanical talent and unusual love of study.

When set at work about the mines, his attention to duty and his intelligence obtained for him rapid promotion, until, when about seventeen years of age, he was made engineer, and took charge of the pumping-engine at which his father was fireman.

A little later he was made engine-wright at Killingworth, where he soon inspired those who employed him with such confidence in his skill and reliability as to obtain an opportunity to design his first locomotive-engine, Lord Ravensworth, one of the principal proprietors, furnishing the necessary funds.

60. In 1815 he applied the blast-pipe in the chimney, by which the puff of the exhaust steam is made useful in intensifying the draught, and applied it successfully to his second locomotive, here seen in section

PSM V12 D281 Stephenson locomotive 1815.jpg
Fig. 30.—Stephenson's Locomotive, 1815.

(Fig. 30). This is the essential characteristic of the locomotive-engine.

In 1815, therefore, we may say that the modern locomotive steam-engine came into existence, for it is this invention of the blast-pipe that gives it its life, and it is the mechanical adaptation of this and of the other organs of the steam-engine to locomotion that gives George Stephenson his greatest claim to distinction.

61. In 1825 the Stockton & Darlington Railroad was opened, and one of Stephenson's locomotives, in which he employed his "steam-blast," was successfully used, drawing passenger as well as coal trains. Stephenson had at this time become engineer of the road.

The time required to travel the distance of twelve miles was two