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British Industrial History

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Engineers and Mechanics Encyclopedia 1839: Railways: R. W. Brandling

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As it is indispensable that carriages which have to run upon edge railways should be provided with wheels that have lateral flanges upon their peripheries to prevent them from running off it; and as such projecting flanges render them inapplicable to carriages on the common road, into which they would make deep destructive incision, if drawn or propelled over them, it necessarily became of importance to contrive such a wheel, or periphery of a wheel, as would run without detriment on either road or rail.

In rummaging over the dusty parchment-rolls of Chancery, we think we have noticed several methods of providing for this object; but that which appertains to our present chronological position is the subject of a patent granted to R. W. Brandling, Esq. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on the 12th of April, 1825.

The wheels he uses for his purpose have tires, provided, as it were, with two peripheries or external circles of different diameters. Thus, upon an edge rail, the periphery of the smaller diameter of the tire runs upon it, and the larger diameter becomes the guiding flange to keep the carriage in its course. And when the same are run upon a common road, the larger diameter only comes into operation, keeping the smaller diameter clear of the ground, unless the latter should be in a soft state, when it will tend to keep the wheel from sinking deeper in the road.

This patentee has likewise included in his specification some plans for making turns or curves in the roads, by means of projecting ribs on the surface of the rail of different elevations, with wheels designed to correspond thereto; but as in these contrivances Mr. Brandling was anticipated a few weeks prior by Mr. W. H. James (already described), we shall not here enlarge on the subject.

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