Model of the 1829 Steam Locomotive, Rocket

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This is a 1/2 inch scale model of the Robert Stephenson's steam locomotive Rocket which won the locomotive trials at Rainhill England in 1829. The model shows a four wheel locomotive with front leading wheels, inclined cylinders, firebox, boiler and stack with a four wheel tender.
The Rocket attracted worldwide attention for its superior performance. Its multi-tube boiler was the basis of its success. To this time, most locomotive boilers contained only one or two tubes that carried hot gases from the fire through the boiler, which was filled with water, to make steam. The Rocket, however, employed 25 copper tubes that doubled the heating surface of the older, single-tube boiler engines. The large heating surface not only generated an abundant supply of steam, but also resulted in a remarkable fuel economy; the new engine consumed only a third of the fuel that the older style engines required. In light of such obvious advantages, the multi-tube boiler became a standard feature in subsequent steam locomotive design.
The Rocket hauled trains on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway until 1836, when it was deemed too light for regular service. Its second owner altered the machine and operated it until 1844. In 1862, the locomotive was placed on exhibit at the Science Museum in London, where it can still be seen today.
Currently on loan
date made
Rocket locomotive constructed
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 7 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in x 11 3/4 in; 19.05 cm x 8.89 cm x 29.845 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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