IN view of the interest and importance at the present time of everything which relates to the  development of railroading, it is well  to remember what has been done in  America to lay the foundations of the locomotive industry, and, therefore, we feel that it is desirable to  recall the extent to which the design  of the modern locomotive is indebted  to the work of Joseph Harrison,  Jr., although it is now more  than thirty years since he passed away. 


Joseph Harrison, Jr., was born in  Philadelphia in 1810, and acquired  his mechanical training in the old-fashioned way, for he was indentured  as an apprentice in the art of machine  making at the age of fifteen  years, these indentures being with F. D.  Sanno, who had a small machine  shop in Philadelphia, and with James Flint, who owned a more pretentious  establishment. During his apprenticeship  he attended night schools and  studied assiduously, and after the  expiration of his apprenticeship he  worked in various shops in Philadelphia,  the most important one being  that of Philip Garrett.


The famous run of George Stephenson's "Rocket" was made at  Rainhill, England, in 1829, and it  did not take long for the locomotive- building industry to reach America. By 1833 Col. Long and William  Norris were beginning the  manufacture of locomotives in a  small way in Philadelphia, and young  Harrison entered their shop, which  at that time employed only thirty  men. 


In 1835 Mr. Harrison entered the  employ of Messrs. Garrett & Eastwick, locomotive builders, and became a member of the firm of Garrett, Eastwick & Co. in 1837.


Up to this time all the locomotives built either in Europe or America had but a single pair of driving wheels, and the tractive effort was necessarily very limited. Attempts had been made to use more than one pair of driving wheels, but the difficulty of distributing the load upon the drivers had caused such machines to be unsuccessful. In 1837 Mr. Harrison undertook to design a locomotive with four driving wheels, using a bogie truck in front, and making the first use of the equalizing lever to insure the equal division of the load upon the two axles. The "Hercules," built in 1837, a replica of which was included in the historical railway exhibit made for the Chicago Exposition in 1893, was thus the first successful application of the equalizing lever to the locomotive engine, a feature which is at the present time the means by which the "decapod" and other heavy types of modern locomotives are possible. This invention was patented in 1838, and in 1839 Mr. Garrett retired, and the firm of Eastwick & Harrison continued the construction of locomotive engines of the new design.


In 1840 the remarkable performance of one of the new locomotives, on the Reading Railroad, attracted the attention of a commission of engineers sent from Russia by the Emperor Nicholas I., the object of the visit of the Russian engineers being to secure the most desirable design for the rolling stock of the new railway between St. Petersburg and Moscow, the road-bed of which was then about completed under the supervision 
of Major George Y. 
Whistler, U. S. A., who acted as 
consulting civil engineer for the railway. 
The result of this incident 
was the visit of Mr. Harrison to St. 
Petersburg and the closing of an important 
contract by him with the 
Russian Government for the entire 
equipment of the road with locomotives, 
freight and passenger cars, etc., 
as well as the equipment and organization 
of complete repair and construction 
shops at Alexandroffsky, 
near St. Petersburg. This contract, 
made in 1843, was followed by a second 
one, extending from 1850 to 
1856, and under both of these Mr. 
Harrison acquired a large fortune. 
In addition to these railway contracts, 
Mr. Harrison undertook, and successfully 
completed, the iron arch 
Bridge of the Annunciation across 
the river Neva, this being the first 
permanent structure by which the 
two portions of the city were united, 
and replacing the fragile pontoon 
bridges which had formerly been 
used. For his successful and satisfactory 
completion of these various 
undertakings Mr. Harrison was decorated 
by Nicholas I. with the Order 
of St. Ann, besides receiving numerous 
other tokens of the friendship 
and esteem of the Emperor. The 
second railway contract was ultimately 
extended to 1862, and in this 
portion of the work, including the 
operation of the St. Petersburg & 
Moscow Railway, there were associated 
with Mr. Harrison Messrs. 
Thomas Winans and William Winans, of Baltimore. 


Upon his departure from the United 
States for Russia Mr. Harrison disposed of his American patent for the equalizing lever to Mr. M. W. Baldwin, of Philadelphia, who employed it on all his succeeding locomotives, and thus introduced it into the development of locomotive engineering in America. The engines designed and built by Mr. Harrison in Russia were wholly different in construction from those of the same period in other parts of Europe, resembling very closely those known as the American type, using two or three driving axles and having a swivel truck in front.


In addition to his part in the development of locomotive engineering. Mr. Harrison did much to advance the construction of sectional steam boilers, the multiple-sphere sectional safety boiler bearing his name, and formerly very extensively used, having been patented by him in 1859. The Harrison Boiler Works, founded by him in Philadelphia for the manufacture of this boiler, is now actively engaged in business, manufacturing a number of important and successful steam specialties.


After his return to the United States Mr. Harrison resided in Philadelphia until his death, in 1874, being one of its most eminent citizens, a patron of the fine arts, and interested and active in the welfare of his native city. In addition to his decoration from the Russian Emperor, Mr. Harrison received the Rumford Medal for his efforts to secure safety in the generation of steam, and was also awarded medals at the London International Exhibition of 1862 by the Franklin Institute and other industrial organizations.