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Model Trains And Their Attachment To The Past

Aug 12, 2008
There is a deep and flowing tie to the past between model trains and their full size kin. Without the big locomotives of the past the models would have never realized such a long and glorious reign as a popular hobby and pastime. It is hard to imagine a train without a model or a model without a train and it would seem that they are destined to remain hand in hand.

The locomotive first began as an idea to make life easier by carrying heavy loads across the land in such a way that man or beast would not have to struggle as much. The many innovations that came along with rail travel did not come over night nor were they created by one super genius. Much time and thought went into these developments.

The man that is considered the inventor of the very first steam locomotive for use on rail lines was George Stephenson. The world's first locomotive, however, was actually built by Richard Trevithick. An Englishman, Trevithick also operated this steam engine from 1803 to 1804. The father of American railroads is considered to be Colonel John Stevens. George Pullman was the first person to design the sleeping car for the railway making the railroad much more traveler friendly. This car became appropriately known as the Pullman Sleeping Car.

A huge innovation toward making the railroad much safer was the system of air brakes that was invented by Mr. George Westinghouse who held many other patents as well. Railroad Car Couplers were invented by Eli Janney and were named after him and a former slave, Andrew Jackson Beard, created an improvement to the Jenny Coupler. George B. Dorey himself had more that 175 rail transportation patents.

Women have made very significant contributions to the history of the locomotive as well. The safety feature that has saved innumerable lives over countless number of years, the railroad crossing gate, was invented by Mary L. Riggin. In an attempt to reduce the number of derailments Eliza Murfey created a lubricating system to use on railroad car axles. The infamous L-Trains in New York City also benefited from a woman's touch. Mary Walton created a noise reduction system for them.

These great iron horses though would likely not have enjoyed their birth and subsequent reign either had it not been for the foresight of some of the great minds of the world who once built a model. Great inventors have often made a model before they ever tried their hand at the full sized project and locomotives are no exception. Even the great Leonardo DaVinci drew sketches of great machines that he imagined would one day fill the world. One of these drawings appears to greatly resemble a steam engine. Who knows, it might have been or it might not. All that matters now is the fact that they are here to stay no matter how many changes take place. The railroad as well as model trains are here to stay.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car tricks and tips, model train history, and model race trucks.
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