George Stephenson was a Civil Engineer from England and has been world renowned as a pioneer of railway construction. Many of the world’s railways today use the “Stephenson gauge” which is a standard that is derived from the rail Gauge designed by George Stephenson. The 4ft 6 and a half inch design can be seen in many places globally but it was Stephenson that used it first.
Stephenson was born in 1781 and came from Wylam in Northumberland, near Newcastle upon Thyne. His background could be said to be not as privileged as some and the family income could not spare any funds for Stephen’s schooling fees. Stephenson would eventually take his first job as an engineman and realise the value of education, his ambition was spurred from this very point and he saved his funds to pay for night school. This is perhaps one of the most admiring things I have come to learn about George Stephenson. His courage and hunger to educate himself and create a better version of his own self is an exemplary model in itself.
As time went on, Stephenson would move between jobs and work diligently to support himself and his family. He lived a rather tragic life as his second daughter would pass away after just a few weeks from birth. A while after this his wife, Frances would be stricken ill with tuberculosis and pass away. Stephenson remaind strong and pressed forward, developing his career and caring for his son, Robert.
His position as an engine wright would then see him develop his expertise in steam-driven technology. His success continued and he would eventually go on to develop some of the most exciting inventions of our time. The first locomotive came about through his diligence and this is what came to be known as the “Blucher”. Stephenson would consciously seeks to improve and fix breakdowns and his inventions were far from done. He developed the first miners lamp also known as the Geordie lamp, a creation that spurred from Stephenson’s own observations of mine explosions.
A few years later, Stephenson would go on to develop the first machine powered rail and go head to head with the famous Isambard Brunel. The railway battles is a very interesting bit of history but will be covered in another post. George Stephenson was an intelligent man that worked diligently to reach heights he believed in and will be remembered as the Father of Railways.