The Fascinating History of Locomotives

Bet you didn't know that America's first-ever locomotive lost a race to a horse.

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Locomotives have a fascinating history and it's no surprise considering their invention changed the world. The vehicles were icons for the industrial revolution as they considerably transformed the way people and goods travel.

These are all well-known facts. We are here to share some lesser-known facts about locomotives. For instance, America's first-ever locomotive lost a race to a horse. It happened in 1830.

It was Peter Cooper’s train, dubbed “Tom Thumb”, that took on the race with a team of horses, both pulling railroad cars. Cooper had been challenged by stagecoach operators.

When the signal was given to start the race, the horse pulled ahead to a half-mile lead while Tom Thumb worked to build up a head of steam. The train did eventually pass the horse, but then misfortune struck!


The train's leather blower belt slipped off a wheel causing the engine to stop. By the time Cooper got around to fixing his train, the horses had won! What a race and what a fun fact!

If this information made you curious, well there is plenty more. Just watch our video on the fascinating history of locomotives for more lesser-known facts about these ingenious methods of transportation.

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