First Steam Locomotive verse Horse Race 1829
Tom Thumb was the first American built steam locomotive to operate on a common carrier railroad. It was designed and constructed by Peter Cooper in 1829 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, which the horse won after Tom Thumb suffered a mechanical failure. On August 28, 1830, the famous legendary race was held. Two tracks had been constructed, which led the owners of Stockton and Company, a local stagecoach passenger and freight service to challenge the revolutionary new locomotive to a race.
Tom Thumb was easily able to pull away from the horse until the belt slipped off the blower pulley. Without the blower, the boiler did not draw adequately and the locomotive lost power, allowing the horse to pass and win the race.
Extra Note: The demonstration was successful, and the railroad committed to the use of steam locomotion and held trials in the following year for a working engine.
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