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April 16, 2013

Old Photos of Tom Thumb, the First American-Built Steam Locomotive

Tom Thumb was the first American-built steam locomotive used on a common-carrier railroad. Designed and built by Peter Cooper in 1830, it was designed to convince owners of the newly formed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to use steam engines. It is especially remembered as a participant in an impromptu race with a horse-drawn car; the “Tom Thumb” led the race until a belt slipped off a pulley and the engine lost power. The demonstration was successful, however, and in the next year the railroad, committed to the use of steam locomotion, held trials for a working engine.













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