When was the railroad locomotive invented and what is its use/ importance?

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the United States, the first locomotive, the "Tom Thumb," ran on the first section of track for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The rails were wooden beams with metal affixed to the top; maximum speed, 10 miles per hour. The construction of this first section of track began on July 4, 1828, the fifty-second anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; Charles Carroll, age 91, attended the festivities, stating that this was the greatest event of his life. Charles was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. By 1830, 23 miles of track had been laid. By 1833, merchants financed a 136-mile long run from Charleston, South Carolina into the interior of the state. At the time, it was the longest privately owned railway in the world. By 1840, 3,000 miles of track had been laid; by 1850, 9,000; and by 1860, 30,000. One of the key reasons the North won the Civil War was its ability to move troops and materiel; the South, having a much smaller percentage of the total miles of track was at a strategic disadvantage. During the invasion, General Sherman, in his “March to the Sea” made it a point to destroy what little railway and equipment the South possessed. Once he captured Atlanta, the center of the Southern railway system, Confederate forces could no longer be resupplied. At the peak of railway activity in the 1920's, the United States possessed 250,000 miles of track.

jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The invention of the steam engine was the most important moment in the development of the railroad locomotive.  The first locomotive hauled a load in 1804 and the first commercial railway was begun by the Stockton and Darlington railway company in England in 1825.  The effect of railroads was massive.  No longer was the shipment of goods to be controlled by waterways.  Once railroads were built, goods and people could be transported conveniently and cheaply across large territories.  This had a huge effect on the movement of populations and on the growth of industry.  Now manufacturers could sell their products anywhere a railroad could be built.  Further, especially in the United States, territory that was previously difficult to settle because of the difficulty of getting goods and services, became more accessible as railroads were built to crisscross the country. 

If  you check the website below, you can find information about many other inventions.

nutmegger eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first steam powered railroad locomotive debuted on Feburary 21st, 1804. On that day the engine carried 10 tons of iron, 5 wagons and 70 men nearly 10 miles in 4 hours and 5 minutes, an average speed of nearly 5mph.  Richard Trevithick, an Englishman, was the inventor of the machine.  The locomotive rapidly became a crucial component of the Industrial Revolution, helping to move people and goods further and faster than ever before.  By allowing men and material to be moved easily over great distances the locomotive was key in the development of the American west, and much of the world. 

ufosjt | Student

The "thing" was invented in YOUR MOMMA

revolution | Student

The first railroad locomotive ever built, came into stage in the year 1804, 21st of February, by a Cornish inventor, Richard Trevithick, also an Englishman which was used just as a trial run, to haul up a train along the tracks of the Penydarren ironworks.

The first commercial successful steam locomotive was invented by Matthew Murray in the year 1812.

Later, the first railroad locomotive introduced for public usage was begun by the Stockton and Darlington railway company in 1825.

The benefits of locomotives are huge. It is very easy to replace parts of the locomotive if one part fails. The rest will still be able to function as per normal. Also, they are not as noisy as other type of trains. They also transport public to and fro places quickly, speeding up production and work productivity, and allowing the transportation of goods to be swift, boosting the country's economical structure. It is also cheaper to send goods by locomotives. You can travel to past-inaccessible places, and get products there, and not travel to and fro everywhere, which is not time-consuming and cost-effective. The construction of the locomotives became a bright spark in the Industrial Revolution, kick starting many other cool gadgets to come. Finally, people can visit their relatives quickly and not to be stuck in tightly-congested jam, wasting precious time and money.


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