Cornish Genius Richard Trevithick

240 years ago, on April 13th 1771, a Cornish Genius was born, Richard Trevithick, the engineer and inventor of The First Steam Locomotive in the world.

In 1801 Richard Trevithick produced a large steam road locomotive, the Puffing Devil. On Christmas Eve, 1801, his new locomotive took him and some friends on a short journey. Although the results were positive, Puffing Devil could not hold steam for long, which made its use impractical.

Despite that, proud Cornish folk and choirs all over the planet are still singing “Goin’ up Camborne Hill comin’ down”.

To honour his 240th anniversary we have produced a set of add-on stamps showing Penydarren , the first Steam Locomotive, built in 1804 by Richard Trevithick. It successfully run on rails and made three journeys between the Penydarren ironworks near Merthyr Tydfil and the Merthyr-Cardiff Canal.

Like many inventors and artists he died as a fairly poor, but justifiable proud man.

“However much I may be straitened in pecuniary circumstances, the great honour of being a useful subject can never be taken from me which, to me, far exceeds riches.”

Relatives of Richard Trevithick can be found all over the world including Japan. These Eastern descendants of Richard Trevithick presented Camborne on Trevithick Day 2004 with a golden replica of this very first Steam Locomotive in the world which can be admired in the Camborne Town Council Chambers.

Richard Trevithick advocated the use of high-pressure steam, and his experiments paved the way for all subsequent developments in railway engines with Stevenson being one of them, but Cornishman Richard Trevithick was first, make no mistake!

Richard Trevithick 13th April 1771 – 22nd April 1833

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