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The Puffing Devil comes to Kew. Member Login

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Photographer: © Vince Hawthorn (Gallery)(21st November 2010)

The Puffing Devil comes to Kew.

Taken at Kew Bridge Pumping Station Museum. I attended a seminar here in July 2002 - a full day given to the life and work of Richard Trevithick (1771-1833). As well as a well balanced presentation of various papers, and hosted by Professor Heinz Wolff. The highlight was the demonstration of the "Puffing Devil". This road locomotive was the first ever successful journey of a self propelled vehicle carrying passengers, the worlds first car. This achievment was the work of Richard Trevithick.The first time this took place was on December 24th 1801 at Camborne, Cornwall. Another journey took place a few days later but unfortuntely the roads being so rough in those days the locomotive was unstable and toppled over. Having righted the machine it was left in the stables of a local inn where all involved took " roast goose and proper drinks" that is until the still lit boiler boiled dry and the resulting fire destoyed both the locomotive and the stables! The Trevithick Society built this replica almost to the original design apart from a few health and safety requirements for today's world. The replica was built in time to perform a bi-centenial run up Camborne Hill in celebration of this monumental event. A superb demonstration took place after the lunch break, with the devil running back and forth in the car park (how it missed all the parked cars I don't know as it is a brute to handle and power steering was still nearly 200 years away).

This picture also appears in the following picture tours:
Kew, Greater London

ImageID:1128277, Image size: 3392 x 2240 pixels

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