Nicholas Wood, colliery manager, c 1830s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Whilst manager of the Killingworth Colliery, Nicholas Wood (1795-1865) met George Stephenson (1781-1848) and together they started work on the 'Blutcher' in 1814. The 'Blutcher' was a steam-powered locomotive that was capable of pulling 30 tons up a hill at 4 mph (6.5 kpm). In 1825 Wood wrote the highly influentual 'A Practical Treatise on Railroads' in which he argued the benefits of steam locomotives over stationary engines on railroads. Wood was also an advocate of improving mine safety and was instrumental in the 1851 Mines Inspection Act.