and using the left on the lever of the throttle valve, that lever on which all force and safety depends, and you will be answered by a blank stare of wonder at such a question, or there will be something said about the wagon-driver sitting on the right of the seat, about the use of the strong right hand ready for the application of brakes, for whistling, for the reversing lever, for bell-ringing, etc. All of which is most wide of the mark.
In the beginning of engine building, there was no "cab" and even in England to-day there is none; and also no seat for the engineer to sit upon. He simply looks out in the face of the wind and storm along the right hand side of his boiler, at the track in front of him. The very earliest machines, The Newton, 1680; The Cugnot, 1769; The Murdoch, 1784; The Symington, 1786; were directed by the engineer or driver in front of the boiler, and by both hands. But as early as 1790, with The Read, the engineer had learned that he must stand behind his boiler, although the older method of operating from the front of the boiler reappeared as late as 1803, The Trevicks, in 1821; The Griffith, and even in 1821, The James, etc. In some cases, as in The Killingworth, 1825, the location of the engineer is doubtful. It is interesting and instructive to watch the struggle from 1790 onward between the conflicting unconscious tendencies and demands of the right-handed and right-eyed engineers (an occasional left-eyed engineer may have obscured and lengthened the progress) and the engine-makers who were still more oblivious of right-eyedness. In The Read, of 1790, both hands were used on the throttle and there is no intimation as to right-eyedness or the side of the engine whence the outlook was made. In 1801 in the First Trevicks engine, and in 1803 the Second Trevicks, the throttle lever was held in the right hand, and the engineer looked along the left side of the boiler. In the 1808 Trevicks this was also the rule. In the 1805 Trevicks both hands seem to have been used, and so if, as appears from the picture, the right eye looking past the right side of the boiler was the custom. The dominant influence of the right hand is steadily shown in The Blankincop, 1812; Stevens' America, 1829; Puffing Billy, 1813; Blucher, 1814; Locomotice, 1825; Seguin, 1827; Royal George, 1827; Stephenson's Twin Sisters, 1827; Hackworch's Globe, 1830; Bury, 1830. In all these, probably or surely, the driver stood upon the left side of the boiler and watched the track in front from his side. He naturally wanted to use the right hand as the throttle-hand, and had not yet discovered the ocular problem. From 1829, with The Rocket, The Costello, 1831; The Lafayette, 1837; The Hector, 1839; Hinkley's Lion; Gooch's Great Western, and all subsequent machines, the necessity of looking with the right eye along the right hand side of the boiler at the track and signals, became dominant, and dictated the placing and direction of the throttle-valve