Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Henry James: 1829 Carriage Description

From Graces Guide

Note: This is a sub-section of William Henry James

Patent steam carriage of Sir James C. Anderson, Bt. and W. H. James, Esq. Vauxhall.

Having been professionally engaged, from time to time, in making drawings for the above-mentioned house, frequent opportunities have been afforded us of witnessing their experiments in locomotion, which are chiefly made within their own premises, round a circle of 160 feet in diameter; and it affords us sincere pleasure acquaint our readers, that every thing which is essential towards perfecting safe and rapid travelling by the power of steam is on the eve of accomplishment. In some trips recently made on the Croydon road, the speed of the carriage averaged full twelve miles per hour; and, although arrangements had been made for increasing the speed to twenty or more miles, it is not the wish of the proprietors to go beyond twelve, considering that velocity to be as great as is consistent with personal safety on the thronged public roads. (It would be easy matter to run twenty or thirty miles per hour on the common road, or even one hundred miles per hour on a good railway, by the introduction of a blast to the fuel; a blowing machine is, however, not only unnecessary, but very injurious in its effects upon the metal of which the boiler is composed.) The total weight of the carriage, including the and fuel, not more than 26 cwt. The supply of fuel carried sufficient for 50 miles; and of water, about 20 miles.

The boiler is formed entirely of tubes, three quarters of inch in diameter, made of the best iron, and proved a steam and water pressure to be capable of sustaining a force of 4000lbs upon every inch, which is more than twenty times the strength required, as the steam is suffered to escape when the pressure exceeds 200lbs. The length of the tubes of the boiler is, altogether, 430 feet 5 inches.

The working cylinders are four in number, which are set together, or separately, upon cranks, right angles, and therefore are justly regarded as four complete steam-engines, occupying space between the hind-wheels of only one foot in breadth two feet in height. The compactness and simplicity which the steam engine has been reduced in this carriage is truly extraordinary.

Although each of these engines may be considered as of two horses power, we would undertake to put one in each of our coat pockets. The speed of the engines varies from 200 to 400 strokes per minute, and the steam worked expansively. The work is applied independently to both the hind wheels, whereby the friction is rendered constant upon the road, whether the carriage be running along straight lines, or making every variety of curve — an arrangement which is also of the utmost utility in ascending hills. The steering apparatus is one of great power and effect, and gives the driver infinitely more control over the movements of the vehicle than can possibly be obtained by the most skilful Jehu with horses. We have seen the carriage repeatedly make turns of less than ten feet radius; and the driver can at pleasure take off the power instantaneously, and apply a drag without any exertion, the superior safely as a carriage propelled by steam must be evident, especially when it is considered that the bursting of the boiler is rendered absolutely impossible in this carriage, there being no steam chambers more than one inch in diameter, which, were it possible burst, would not effect the slightest injury.'[1]


See Also

Loading...

Sources of Information

  1. Berkshire Chronicle - Saturday 07 November 1829