Trevithick's model locomotive, c 1797.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This is a working test model made by Richard Trevithick (1771-1833), constructor of the world's first steam railway locomotive. It was designed to operate on roads rather than rails. Trevithick had developed a compact high-presure steam engine to provide Cornish ore mines with a more fuel-efficient pumping engine than the standard Watt type, and soon turned his attentions to self-moving engines. The succes of this model encouraged him to manufacture full-sized road and rail locomotives. The first railway locomotive ran in 1803.