Cugnot's Locomotive, 1771.


One of the earliest attempts in the way of Steam Locomotion was the engine of Nicholas Joseph Cugnot of France; designed to run on common roads. His first carriage was put in motion by the impulsion of two single acting cylinders, the pistons of which acted alternately on the single front wheels. It traveled about 3 or 4 miles an hour and carried 4 persons; but, from the smallness of the boiler, it would not continue to work more than 12 to 15 minutes without stopping to get up steam. Cugnot's Loco. presented a simple and ingenous form of a high pressure engine, and though of rude construction, was a creditable piece of work considering the time. He made a second engine with which several successful trials were made in the streets of Paris, which excited much interest. An accident, however, put an end to the experiments. Turning the corner of the street, one day, near the Madeline, when the machine was running about 3 miles an hour, it upset with a crash, and being considered dangerous, was locked up in the Arsenal. Cugnot's Loco. is still to be seen in the Museum of the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, at Paris. 1 driving wheel, 50" dia., 7" wide at tire. 2 - 13" single acting cylinders. Speed, 2_ miles per hour, carrying 4 persons. actual horse power, 5. weight in working order, 12 tons.

A further description of Cugnot’s engine is given in A History Of The Growth Of The Steam-Engine by Robert H. Thurston.