Model of the 1857 Steam Locomotive Phantom

This is a model of the Phantom, a locomotive built in 1857 by William Mason for the Toledo and Illinois Railroad.
By the mid 1850s, the American locomotive had developed into a remarkably well-proportioned and graceful machine. Some of the most elegant engines were those built by William Mason of Taunton, Massachusetts. Mason made a fortune as a textile machinery manufacturer and later turned to locomotive production in 1853. More than utilitarian workhorses, he intended to build locomotives that were both mechanically successful and visually appealing. Mason machines were characterized by symmetrical design, clean lines and pleasing proportions. Although Mason enjoyed a favorable reputation, his total production remained small; between 1853 and 1890, his firm built only 754 locomotives.
Steam locomotives are often classified by wheel arrangement, in the order of leading, driving, and trailing wheels. The Phantom has four leading wheels, four driving wheels, and no trailing wheels. It is therefore classified as a 4-4-0 locomotive, which is also known as the American type. Based on the 4-4-0 designed by Thomas Rogers several years earlier, the Phantom was the fifty-ninth engine built by Mason. For the next twenty-five years, locomotives continued to be built to this general plan.
Currently on loan
Object Name
model, locomotive
date made
Lawrence, B. F.
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 7 1/4 in x 4 in x 24 in; 18.415 cm x 10.16 cm x 60.96 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Baltimore
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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