The Inventors

British & American Railroads

Although the idea of wooden-railed wagonways originated in Germany, the first use of steam locomotives was in Britain. The first railways were completely straight. Th first local railways were built as local rails links operated as small private railways companies.

The development of Railroads was one of the most important phenomena of the Industrial Revolution. With their formation, construction and operation, they brought profound social, economic and political change to a country only 50 years old. Over the next 50 years, America would come to see magnificent bridges and other structures on which trains would run, awesome depots, ruthless rail magnates and the majesty of rail locomotives crossing the country.The railroad was first developed in Great Britain. A man named George Stephenson successfully applied the steam technology of the day and created the world's first successful locomotive. The first engines used in the United States were purchased from the Stephenson Works in England. Even rails were largely imported from England until the Civil War. Americans who had visited England to see new Steam Locomotives were impressed that railroads dropped the cost of shipping by carriage by 60-70%.

Wagon to Locomotive

A wagon is a horse drawn carriage topped with an arched canvas-covered framework. Covered wagons were the common transport for the western moving North American pioneers of the 19th century. A train is a series of railroad cars moved as a unit by a locomotive or by integral motors. A train is very different than a wagon. A wagon is a lot more uncomfortable than a nice train. It took much longer to travel by wagon across the country versus traveling by train. When the Transcontinental railroad was built, it put the wagons out of the way. Most people started using the railroad to travel instead of wagons.

Growth in the Railroad Industry

Between 1840 & 1860, new advances were made to the railroad industry. They were beginning to make the trains safer, and more effective. They also curved the tracks. Common people could casually ride on a train to & from where they wanted to go.