Trevithick's high-presure steam engine, 1803.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Trevithick's high-presure steam engine used with a dredging machine on the River Thames. Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) was an English engineer and inventor who, unlike James Watt (1736-1819), favoured higher presure steam engines which gave greater power from smaller engines. From 1800 to 1825 he built several steam road carriages, the first steam railway locomotives and a large number of stationary steam engines. Nothing he did was commercially succesful, however, and he died in debt.