Robert Stephenson & Co.

The first locomotive works in the world were created in June 1823 by George Stephenson with his son Robert and Edward Pease and Michael Longridge. Locomotion No. 1 for the Stockton & Darlington Railway where Pearse's magisterial work (not available in Norfolk Country Library) was the first to be constructed and was followed by Hope, Black Diamond and Diligence. Two six coupled were supplied to the same railway in 1927/8. Lowe estimated that by 1855 over 1000 locomotives had been built, and by 1900 this had grown to 3000.

Sekon (Evolution of the steam locomotive p. 56) notes that Stephenson constructed a 4-2-0 bogie locomotive for the Saratoga and Schenectady Rail Road in the USA where the bogie was needed to be able to cope with sharp curvature.

Late orders (that is post-1920) included thirty five 43XX 2-6-0s for the GWR, thirty 0-6-2Ts for the LNER, five 2-8-0s for the S&DJR and eleven B17 4-6-0s for the LNER. Ten compound 2-8-2s were constructed for the Central Argentine Railway.

In 1937 locomotive manufacture merged with that of R.&W. Hawthorn Leslie and the firm became Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd.. The manufacture of mainline locomotives was concentrated at Darlington leaving the Newcastle works for industrial locomotives. Residual orders to British railways were delivered to British Railways: thirty five L1 2-6-4Ts to the Eastern Region and eighty 0-6-0PTs for the Western Region.

The last steam locomotives to be produced were a fireless locomotive (8082/1959) to the NCB Glasshoughton Coking Plant and the final conventional locomotive was an 0-6-0ST for Stewarts & Lloyd's Hungarford Quarry (8051/1958).

Warren is the pre-eminent source on the firm (up to the end of WW1), the first "locomotive builder" in the world but concluded before the firm ceased to exist. As usual Lowe is an excellent quick reference source for the period post-Warren. The biographical entry to the Stephensons may also be of assistance.

Bywell, E.M. A cradle of the locomotive. (The works of Messrs. Robert Stephenson & Co.). Rly Mag., 1902, 11, 289-301.
Views of the Forth Street Works, specially taken for the article by the North Eastern Railway's photographer in Newcastle, include one of George Stephenson's office and the house where he lived. Includes drawings of some of the early locomotives manufactured at the works.
Bailey, Michael R. Robert Stephenson & Co., 1823-1829. Trans Newcomen Soc., 1875, 50, 109-36. Disc.: 137-8.
Robert Stephenson & Co. was formed in June 1823 as a partnership by George Stephenson, Edward Pease (with Thomas Richardson), Robert Stephenson and Michael Longridge. Notes an error in Thomas concerning speed attained by Rocket at Rainhill. cites George Stephenson's comments on the fallacies of the rotary engine (Proc. Instn mech. Engrs, 1847/9, 1 (page 4). 230 references, majority to unpublished sources, many of which held by Science Museum. An appendix records the steam engines (both locomotive and winding) built between 1823 and 1829, and the industries to which thet were supplied, mainly collieries, but also paper-making.
Hunt, David. Locomotive builders to the Midland Railway. Midland Record, (21), 111-26.
Firm remained a significant supplier of Midland Railway locomotives: Hunt did not cite his sources.

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2007-07-04