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British Industrial History

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Engineers and Mechanics Encyclopedia 1839: Railways: James Neville

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Amongst those individuals who were taught to believe that the adhesion of plain wheels to the surface of the common road, was insufficient to propel a locomotive carriage, was James Neville, an engineer of Shad Thames, London, who took out a patent on the 15th January, 1827, for a "new-invented improved carriage," to be worked by stream; the chief object of which appears to have been to provide wheels adapted to take a firm hold of the ground.

He proposed to make each of the spokes of the wheels by means of two rods of iron, coming nearly together at the nave, but diverging considerably apart to their other ends, where they were fastened to an iron felly-ring of the breadth of the tire; and this tire was to be so provided with numerous pointed studs about half an inch long, as to stick it into the ground to prevent the wheel from slipping round.

A second method devised by the patentees, of preventing this effect, has, we believe, been patented more than once. This is to fasten upon the tire a series of flat springing plates, each of them forming a tangent to the circumference: so that, as the wheels roll forward, each plate shall be bent against the tire, and recover its tangential position as it leaves the ground in its revolution. By this arrangement it was considered, that if there was any disposition to slip, the increased bearing surface of the plate, anal the resistance of its farthest edge, would infallibly prevent it.

Mr. Neville does not explain how he would prevent the road-stuff from getting between the plates and the tire, and forcing them off the latter, or at the least bending them so as to change the circular periphery into an irregular polygon.

For propelling the carriage, Mr. Neville proposes to use an horizontal vibrating cylinder, to give motion direct to the crank axis, by means of the compound motion of the piston rod, as invented by Trevithick; the motion to the running wheels to be communicated through geer of different velocities; the boiler and blowing apparatus to be according to former patents of 1823 and 1826.

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