Richard Trevithick was an Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century inventor of steam engines
When and Where was he born?
13th April 1771, Illogan, Cornwall, England.
Richard Trevithick was the son of the Manager of Dolcoath Mine in Cornwall.
Village school at Illogan, Cornwall where he was described as “slow and obstinate”.
Chronology/Biography of Richard Trevithick:
1789: Riots in Redruth and Camborne in Cornwall. John Wesley is reputed to have stayed with his father who was a Methodist leader whilst preaching tin the area.
1790: Becomes engineer at Stray Park Mine.
1792: Writes a report on the performance of the Tincroft Mine Engine
1796: Meets Davies Giddy who becomes his mentor. Visits Boulton and Watt’s Soho Foundry, in Birmingham. Also visits Coalbrookdale. His steam carriage began to run from Camborne to Tuckingmill until 1801.
1797: His brother in law, William West makes model engines to show in the case of the Cornish Engineers versus Boulton and Watt. Trevitihick refuses terms by Soho Foundry to put up his engines. Death of his father. After his marriage the couple go to live at Moreton House, Plain an Gwarry in Redruth, Cornwall.
1798: Moves to Camborne. Model of his road locomotive shown off in his kitchen to Lady Bassett. Birth of his son, Richard.
1800: Expiry of the James Watt steam engine patent. Birth of daughter Anne.
1801: First high pressure “Puffing Devil” built by Trevithick.
1802: Trevithick Patent on the construction of steam engines to drive steam carriages and other purposes. Birth of daughter Elizabeth. Richard Trevithick builds his London Road Locomotive which runs between Leather Lane and Paddington via Oxford Street.
1804: Builds his Pennydaren Locomotive.
1808: Patent for machinery for towing, driving or discharging ships or other vessels with Robert Dickinson.
1805: The Wylam locomotive is built to his instructions at Newcastle-upon-Tyne to to drive a paddle wheel barge.
1806: First use of his steam dredger on the River Thames in London. Birth of his son John Harvey.
1807: Richard Trevithick appointed engineer to the Thames Archway Company.
1808: Joined by his wife and children in London. Designs first containers for ships. Trials of his “Catch me who can” circular track steam train at Euston. The public were entitled to travel on buying a One Shilling ticket.
1809: Trevithick Patents on floating docks, iron ships, iron masts, iron buoys, steam engines for ships.
1810: New Trevithick patents for propulsion of sea vessels. Contracts typhus and returns to Cornwall.
1811: Declared bankrupt. Installs first Cornish Engine and boiler.
1812: Applies his high-pressure machine to agricultural machinery for the first time. Creates a rock boring machine for the Plymouth Breakwater and Screw Propeller company. Birth of his son Francis.
1814: Arranges for nine of his engines to be shipped to Peru.
1815: Richard Trevithick Patents on the high pressure steam engine, the plunger pole steam engine the Reaction turbine and the Screw propeller.
1816: Birth of his son Frederick Henry. Rents a house for the family in Penzance but Jane lives at Hayle becoming the landlady of the White Hart Inn.
1818: First steam boat fitted with a Trevithick puffer.
1821: Works on salvaging ships near Callao.
1823: Travels to Ecuador on business.
1827: Trevithick Patent on new methods for centring ordnance on pivots. Arrives in Nicaragua. Invents a recoil gun carriage for Simon Bolivar one of the leaders in the civil war in South America. Meets Robert Stephenson who lends him his fare back to Britain.
1828: Trevithick Patent on discharging ship’s cargoes. Travels to Holland to see the Zuyder Zee project.
1829: Trevithick Patent on new improved steam engine.
1831: Trevithick Patent on boiler and condenser. Portable stove.
1832: Trevithick Patent on super heater for locomotion. jet propulsion of vessels. Trevithick designs a thousand feet high iron column to commemorate the Reform Bill which is passed by parliament. Needless to say it is never built.
1833: Taken ill whilst working for John Hall Engineering in Dartford, Kent.
1797 to Jane Harvey.
When and Where did he Die?
22nd April 1833, Dartford, Kent, England. His funeral had to be paid for by a subscription raised by the employees at his Dartford workshop, as he died penniless.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Buried in unmarked pauper’s grave, Dartford, Kent.
Places of Interest:
Home at Camborne.
East Pool Mine, Camborne.
Holman’s Museum, Camborne.
South Crofty Mine, Camborne.
Levant Mine, St. Just.
Road Carriage at Hayle.
Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford.
Cyfartha Castle Museum, Merthyr Tidfyl, Mid Glamorgan.