Rocket designed by Robert Stephenson. 1829. Collection: The Science Museum, London. Photography and formatting by George P. Landow. Courtesy of the Science Museum. [Click on images to enlarge them.]


A three-quarter rear view showing the firebox and base on which engineer and fireman stood.

According to the museum, “Rocket marks one of history's key advances in technology — the first modern steam locomotive. Built to compete in the 1829 Rainhill Trials, Rocket beat its competitors with its top speed of 29 miles per hour and better reliability. It also confirmed Rocket's designer, Robert Stephenson, as one of the premiere engineers of his age. . . . . During its short working life, it was modified several times. As a result the locomotive looks rather different from its more familiar appearance than now.”

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Last modified 10 May 2014