1812: First Commercial Locomotive
Innovation: First Commercial Locomotive
Location: West Yorkshire, England
By: Matthew Murray
A locomotive is a mobile machine that provides the force needed to push or pull a train. Steam locomotives were first developed in 1804, but were not commercially successful until Matthew Murray created the Salamanca in 1812. The Salamanca was designed for use on the Middleton Railway and was the first locomotive to use the rack and pinion method. The rack and pinion method simply means that the locomotive would power a large gear that connected to a rack running the along the railway. The Salamanca was only in operation for six years, but is considered a historical engineering innovation because it paved the way for the development of other steam engines and locomotives.