Design for a locomotive, circa 1840

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Description

Pen and grey ink, signed ‘John Haveron’ (upper left). Wove paper, watermark ‘J Whatman’. Sheet size: 14 7/8 x 20 inches. Provenance: E.S.K. (perforated ownership stamp at lower left). An early locomotive such as the one in the present watercolour, was also known as a ‘Portable Engine’, and was used mostly by farmers for agricultural tasks such as ploughing and threshing. The difference between a Portable Engine and a so-called ‘Traction Engine’ is that the latter is self-propelled. From the 1850s and 1860s onwards the Traction Engine replaced the Portable Engine for many jobs, but there were still instances where the simplicity and efficiency of the older design won out, and they were built up until the 1960s. “Apart from threshing work, portable engines were used to drive corn-mills, centrifugal pumps, stone-crushers, dynamos, chaff-cutters and hay-balers. They were even used to generate electricity for floodlighting at football matches, the first instance being at Bramall Lane, Sheffield in 1878. In general, the portable engine is hauled to the work area, often a farmyard or field, and a long drive belt is fitted between the engine’s flywheel and the driving wheel of the equipment to be powered. In a number of cases, rather than being towed from site-to-site, the portable engine was semi-permanently installed in a building as a stationary steam engine, although the wheels were not necessarily removed. A more extreme use occurs where the engine is removed from the boiler and is re-used as a stationary engine. Often, the boiler is also re-used (without its wheels) to provide the steam. As of 2007, there are still examples of such dismantled portable engines working commercially in small rice mills in Burma.” (wikipedia).

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