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The History of the First
Locomotives in America

William H. Brown

The History of the First Locomotives in America by William H. Brown provides a rare, insightful look at life for those who witnessed the advent of the steam locomotive. Originally published in 1874, it was written from the perspective of those who lived during the development of this “great mechanical blessing” and evokes the spirit of the 19th century as seldom experienced in other historical works.


Narrated through firsthand accounts — from the traveler to engineer, private citizen to political activist — this book explores the locomotive’s evolutionary development. It traces its early struggles for acceptance, problems and advances, great debates (train vs. canal), competitions, earliest railroads, experimental locomotives, and first trains such as the “Tom Thumb,” “DeWitt Clinton,” and “Best Friend” all beautifully written in period vernacular.

One of the most delightful features of this book is its charming artwork and illustrations. The author’s artistic skills were greatly respected, as evidenced in the compilation of extensive reviews at the end of the book. Best known for his style of profile cutting called “portraiture” (accomplished by cutting out black paper with scissors) and widely praised, he received accolades from such renowned luminaries as Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun as well as other members of Congress and the Cabinet.

The book is a “must have” in any historian’s library, whether novice or seasoned professor, and a wonderful book for the railroad historian, researcher, history lover and student of American culture.

304 pages, Paperback, B&W, 6" x 9", © 2003
Order Number: AP12X............ $27.50 $19.95

"First hand accounts trace the locomotive's early struggles and advances. Reprints of original advertisements add to its charm." — Scale Rails
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