What a feeling, and most likely how scary they must have felt the people who saw those iron creatures in the early 800’s to slip through the platforms, puffing without a stop along the iron way.
What an achievement it was for mankind to develop the steam locomotive, an “iron horse” like the native Americans used to call the so hated trains which were running all across their hunting areas, which quickly substituted the slower animal-drawn wagons.
And like any other machine started by an engine, to the steam locomotives it could occur bad accidents, due to a multitude of reasons.
The explosion of the boiler was one of these, maybe as a consequence of a faulty safety valve, or for the corrosion of certain elements, or even just for the low level of the water, or again for the explosion in the oven in which the fuel would burn, generally coal or wood.
Even the initial scarce training of the stokers was cause of many accidents most likely, but in reality, by checking the inspective registers of the American and European railways of the end 800’s and early 900’s, it seems that it was more common to have an explosion due to simple plain rust.
It was not to exclude a bad design and the use of bad quality materials.
An alarming frequency of malfunction in the boiler room, cause of mortal accidents, led the government of the US to create in 1908 some laws for the respect of the norms of safety in the production and use of boilers.
These types of steam boilers were used not only inside locomotives but also for heating purposes as well as for other machines used in other sectors: deforestation, extraction, fixed engines inside the factories, and so on.
Like for any other new invention, the setup of the steam boilers took its time as well as a tribute of stolen lives, which became part of that anonym list of the many victims fallen along the way to the “wonderful and progressive ways” of humanity, sadly chanted by many writers one being the Italian poet Leopardi.
Below: Steam Locomotives #10
Below: Steam Locomotives #11
Below: Steam Locomotives #12
Below: Steam Locomotives #13
Below: Steam Locomotives #14
Below: Steam Locomotives #15
All pictures are in the public domain