'Puffing Billy', 1813.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This locomotive and its sister locomotive 'Wylam Dilly' are the earliest surviving locomotives in the world. Both were built by William Hedley (1779-1843) in 1813, for use at Wylam Colliery near Newcastle. Hedley was an English inventor who proved that loads could be moved by the traction of smooth wheels on rails. The two locomotives were photographed in 1862, when they were finally taken out of service on the conversion of Wylam Railway from five foot to a narrower guage. Puffing Billy was then acquired by the Science Museum in London.