Taken in 1876 by Colonel Stuart Wortley, this is one of the earliest known photographs of 'Puffing Billy' which, together with 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 upon Tyne. Hedley was an English inventor who proved that loads could be moved by the traction of smooth wheels on rails. Here, Puffing Billy is shown by the Patent Office Museum, South Kensington, London. The Patent Museum (now the Science Museum) acquired 'Puffing Billy' in 1862, after nearly 50 years of service and several rebuildings.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library