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Richard Trevithick

Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) was an English inventor, who was born in Cornwall.

Richard Trevithick was the son of a mine engineer, and as a child would watch steam engines pump water out of the deep tin and copper mines which were common in Cornwall.

As an adult, he set about improving upon the design of steam engines, by making smaller and lighter engines which had stronger boilers, which would generate higher steam pressures and therefore generate more power.

In 1801, he put one of his new compact steam engines on wheels. This "road locomotive" was the world's first road vehicle to move under its own power and carry passengers, and was an early forerunner to the car.

In 1803 he built the "London Steam Carriage" which was basically a stagecoach fitted with a steam engine.

The following year, Trevithick built the world's first railway steam locomotive. Trevithick's locomotive had no name and was used at the Pennydarren ironworks in Wales, and pulled up to 10 wagons at speeds of around 5 mph (8 km/h). Although it worked, it was not financially successful as it was too heavy for, and kept breaking the rails (which were designed for animal propelled trains).

Trevithick also built Steamboats, River Dredgers[?] and Threshing machines.

Despite his inventive genius and world first achivements, Trevithick died in poverty and obscurity, with his achievements being largely unrecognised.

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