George Stephenson Facts and Biography

George Stephenson

Biography Summary: George Stephenson (1781 - 1848) was a talented railway engineer and inventor of the early railway locomotive called the 'Rocket'. George Stephenson was a lowly born man who educated and taught himself mechanical engineering. Once he learned how to repair engines it was the next logical step to see how they could be improved and so he did. Although George Stephenson was not responsible for the original locomotive engine his improvements certainly meant that his design would become the template of future designs over the following one hundred and fifty years.

His development of the railway track also meant that the industrial revolution gathered momentum in his lifetime, and George Stephenson would become known as the Father of Railways.

George Stephenson Fact Sheet: Who was George Stephenson? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of George Stephenson.


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George Stephenson Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1781 - 1848 *** Full Name: George Stephenson *** Occupation: English Civil Engineer and Mechanical Engineer *** Date of Birth: George Stephenson was born on June 9th 1781*** Place of Birth: George Stephenson was born in Wylam, Northumberland, England *** Family background: His father was Robert Stephenson and a fireman for the local colliery pumping engine and his mother was Mabel *** Early life and childhood: He grew up Wylam, Northumberland *** Education: George Stephenson began his education at age of 17 when he barely enough money for him to attend night school

George Stephenson Fact 1: George Stephenson was born on June 9th 1781 during the 18th century when great strides were being made in industry, science and inventions.

George Stephenson Fact 2: At the age of seventeen years he became an engineman at Water Row Pit in Newburn.

George Stephenson Fact 3: Having been denied an education because of the lack of money and realizing the importance of being able to read, write and do arithmetic George Stephenson put himself through night school to learn.

George Stephenson Fact 4: The following year in 1802 George Stephenson met and married Frances Henderson and the moved to Willington Quay just east of Newcastle.

George Stephenson Fact 5: George Stephenson found a job as a brakesman while at the same time was able to repair shoes and mend clocks to earn extra money.

George Stephenson Fact 6: With a growing family to feed, they moved to West Moore, where he worked at Killingworth Pit as a brakesman.

George Stephenson Fact 7: His wife died and in order to find work he had to move again, this time he headed for Scotland and found a position in Montrose.

George Stephenson Fact 8: George Stephenson returned home several months later as his father had been invalided and he found employment with High Pit, Killingworth.

George Stephenson Fact 9: In 1881 while working the pumping engine at High Pit was not working properly and he offered to take a look at it.

George Stephenson Fact 10: George Stephenson managed to repair the engine and earned himself a promotion to engine-wright to the collieries becoming responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the colliery engines.

George Stephenson Fact 11: George Stephenson began experimenting with safety lamps in 1815. Because he was not a bona fide scientist his design was rejected and he was accused of copying Davy who was awarded £2,000 for his lamp.

George Stephenson Fact 12: George Stephenson produced his first design for his locomotive in 1814.

George Stephenson Fact 13: He went on to design cast iron rails as wooded ones proved useless.

George Stephenson Fact 14: George Stephenson, together with William Losh, developed a better design for the rails to reduce any breakage. He also found distributing weight by use of increase in wheels solved this issue.

George Stephenson Fact 15: On his next project, an 8-mile railway for Hetton colliery in 1820 George Stephenson was able to utilize downward inclines and for the level and upward sections he used locomotives.

George Stephenson Fact 16: The Stockton and Darlington railway was passed by parliament for building in 1821. Originally horses were to be used for hauling but Edward Pease the company director met with Stephenson and gave permission to change the plans.

George Stephenson Fact 17: Together with Edward Pease a company was created in Newcastle, Robert Stephenson and Company was set up his son would also be managing director and a fourth partner would join, Michael Longridge of Bedlington Ironworks. An early trade card described the venture as “Engineers, Millwrights & Machinists, Brass & Iron Founders”.

George Stephenson Fact 18: 1825 would see the first locomotive engines off of production, the first was re-named Locomotion, followed by Hope, Diligence and Black Diamond.

George Stephenson Fact 19: Following this, it was decided to introduce passenger traffic and another carriage was created, the Experiment.

George Stephenson Fact 20: After completion of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway the directors arranged a competition to determine who would build their locomotives.

George Stephenson Fact 21: Robert was called back from South American to oversee the design and building of Rocket with much input from his father, who was supervising the building of the line, and also included a number of advanced innovations.

George Stephenson Fact 22: George Stephenson's Rocket not only won the competition but would go down in history.

George Stephenson Fact 23: George Stephenson died of pleurisy on August 12th of 1848 at Tapton House in chesterfield, Derbyshire and his body laid to rest at Holy Trinity Church in Chesterfield.

Influence & Legacy:
Not only did George Stephenson build these impressive engines but he would also be responsible for teaching American railroad builders as well as supplying locomotives to be shipped to America. He would also spend time in the United States. Although George Stephenson would never claim to have been the inventor of the locomotive he would nevertheless be remembered for the design improvements he made that meant his design would be used as the template for steam engines for the next one hundred and fifty years.

Important Events of the 18th and 19th century and during the life of George Stephenson include:
The invention of the hot air balloon by the Montgolfier brothers, the gas turbine was invented by John Barber, the smallpox vaccination was created by Edward Jenner and the wrench was patented by Solymon Merrick.

List of Famous Works by George Stephenson:

*** Hetton Railway *** Stockton and Darlington Railway *** Liverpool and Manchester Railway *** Stephenson’s Skew Arch Bridge *** The Rocket steam locamotive ***

Stephenson's Rocket

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