Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ
Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ
Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ
Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ
Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ

Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ

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Iron Horse, The America's Steam Locomotives A Pictorial by Comstock W / DJ
The Iron Horse Americas Steam Locomotives A Pictorial History By Henry Comstock 228 Pages Dust Jacket.  Copyright 1971
This magnificently illustrated volume portrays the evolution of the steam locomotive, from Richard Trevithick's five-and-a-half-ton engine, which opened the railway age in 1804 by clanking down a nine-mile track in Wales, to the building of such marvelous machines as the New York Central's long-legged 999 and the most majestic steam engines ever constructed, the Union Pacific's 604-ton "Big Boys," of which an engineer once said, "If those brutes can't go over a mountain, they'll go through it."
Author-illustrator Henry B. Comstock opens his account with a short history of the development of locomotives before they reached American shores. Although a toy that made use of steam power was described by Hero of Alexandria nearly two thousand years ago, it was not until 1705 that a resourceful English blacksmith, Thomas Newcomen, built a steam engine capable of performing useful work. Nearly two stories high, it pumped water from mine shafts.
Focusing on the personalities of the inventors, as well as the details of their inventions, Comstock tells about the contributions of James Watt, who greatly improved Newcomen's engine yet insisted that steam-powered carriages would never work ; of William Murdock, Watt's assistant, who proved his master wrong by building one; and of Nicholas Cugnot, who constructed steam engines to haul artillery pieces for Louis XV. Here, too, are the early locomotive designers: Trevithick, a giant of a man who might have bent iron bars in a circus but who had the brains to match his size; John Blenkinsop, inventor of the cog system still used on inclined railways throughout the world; William Medley and Timothy Hackworth, who combined the best features of all previous designs in their Puffing Billy; Marc Seguin, the first to realize that engine power would be greatly increased if many small hot-air tubes, instead of one large duct, ran through the boiler; and George Stephenson, whose dependable Rocket helped establish him as England's premier locomotive designer.
The first American locomotive was a midget -hardly more than a toy by British standards-which Colonel John Stevens built and operated on his Hoboken, N. J. estate in 1825. After some false starts, such as the Aeolus, equipped with mast and sail, and the curious design for an engine powered by a horse on a treadmill, which actually won a prize from the South Carolina Railroad, American inventors quickly caught up to their British counterparts.
Rendered here in all their glory are such famed locomotives as Peter Cooper's Toni Thumb, which convinced Baltimore & Ohio directors of the advantages of steam though it had come in second in its race with a horsecar, thus losing a battle but winning a war; the Best Friend of Charleston, which exploded-one of the crewmen, bothered by the noise of escaping steam, apparently tied down the safety valve!-and was later resurrected as the Phoenix; the diminutive DeWitt Clinton; John Jervis's amazing Brother Jonathan, the first engine with a suspension system, enabling it to cruise nonchalantly over the bumpy rails of the time; the Camden & Amboy's aptly named Monster; Old lronsides, the progenitor of a long and distinguished line of Baldwin locomotives; the rugged George Washington, which prepared the way for railroad expansion by demonstrating that steam engines could haul freight up grades; the Hercules, the first successful eight-wheeler, so popular that the design became known as "the American type"; the John Stevens, with its huge eight-foot wheels; "the Mighty Moguls," first built in Russia by American expatriates employed by the Czar; the" Camels" and "Mud Diggers" of Ross Winans; the Mau H. Shay, a 430-ton "Triplex"; and a host of others-all depicted in vivid detail that will delight the eye of railroad huff and general reader alike.
Henry B. Comstock, one of America's foremost technical illustrators, has contributed articles and drawings to Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and many other publications. For ten years he was associate editor of Popular Science and, for another decade, editor of Railroad Magazine.

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