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A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine

That rates of toll have been imposed on steam carriages


Farey, one of the most distinguished mechanical engineers of the time, testified that he considered the practicability of such a system as fully established, and that the result would be its general adoption. Gurney had run his carriage between 20 and 30 miles an hour; Hancock could sustain a speed of 10 miles; Ogle had run his coach 32 to 35 miles an hour, and ascended a hill rising 1 in 6 at the speed of 24-1/2 miles. Summers had traveled up a hill having a gradient of 1 in 12, with 19 passengers, at the rate of speed of 15 miles per hour; he had run 4-1/2 hours at 30 miles an hour. Farey thought that steam-coaches would be found to cost one-third as much as the stage-coaches in use. The steam-carriages were reported to be safer than those drawn by horses, and far more manageable; and the construction of boilers adopted--the "sectional" boiler, as it is now called--completely insured against injury by explosion, and the dangers and inconveniences arising from the frightening of horses had proved to be largely imaginary. The wear and tear of roads were found to be less than with horses, while with broad wheel-tires the carriages acted beneficially as road-rollers. The committee finally concluded:

"1. That carriages can be propelled by steam on common roads at an average rate of 10 miles per hour.

"2. That at this rate they have conveyed upward of 14 passengers.

"3. That their weight, including engine, fuel, water, and attendants, may be under three tons.

"4. That they can ascend and descend hills of considerable inclination with facility and safety.

"5. That they are perfectly safe for passengers.

"6. That they are not (or need not be, if properly constructed) nuisances to the public.

"7. That they will become a speedier and cheaper mode of conveyance than carriages drawn by horses.

"8. That, as they admit of greater breadth of tire than other carriages, and as the roads are not acted on so injuriously as by the feet of horses in common draught, such carriages will cause less wear of roads than coaches drawn by horses.

"9. That rates of toll have been imposed on steam-carriages, which would prohibit their being used on several lines of road, were such charges permitted to remain unaltered."

THE RAILROAD, which now, by the adaptation of steam to the propulsion of its carriages, became the successful rival of the system of transportation of which an account has just been given, was not a new device. It, like all other important changes of method and great inventions, had been growing into form for ages. The ancients were accustomed to lay down blocks of stone as a way upon which their heavily-loaded wagons could be drawn with less resistance than on the common road. This practice was gradually so modified as to result in the adoption of the now universally-practised methods of paving and road-making. The old tracks, bearing the marks of heavy traffic, are still seen in the streets of the unearthed city of Pompeii.

In the early days of mining in Great Britain, the coal or the


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