In a recent search in my library of old text books for steam engines to model in Meccano I came across a patent drawn in 1802 of Trevithick and Vivien’s steam carriage. It looked possible so I started immediately.
Patent drawing only show what the designer wants to protect.
hen I found the informative site of Steam Car Club of Great Britain where the genius Richard Trevithick is revered. Additional layers of information were revealed on the club site to add to where I found how the engine works in Vol.2 of Luke Hebert’s “Engineer’s and Mechanic’s Encyclopӕdia,”. In 1836 Hebert described the two Cornish engineer’s invention as the “most simple and effective ever known.” By adopting high pressure steam they were able to dispense with a burdensome condenser which impeded Watt’s engines similarly to Newcomen’s in the quest for steam locomotion.
The 1802 London Steam carriage is regarded as the first road locomotive. It came well ahead of rail locomotives.
When a full-scale replica was built for the 200th anniversary, passengers had to use the driver’s seat to step up to the door of the coach compartment.
Driving the carriage required a fireman tending the boiler which enclosed the steam cylinder and a furnace divided by an ash grate. The cost of two men, a bag of coal and wrought iron was more expensive than building and running a horse-drawn coach over the same period so Trevithick moved on to inventing steam locomotives for mines.
Meccano adapts well to illustrate the features of the London Steam Carriage. It had a top speed of 13 km/hr and could carry 8 passengers 15km on 180L of water.
A boiler feed pump is driven off the cross head. A sprung cradle carries the coach body.
Each drive wheel was engaged with the engine by dog clutch operated by levers on each side of the Driver . This assisted steering. There was no reverse and a single block levered on to the flywheel was not the most effective brake