John Speller's Web Pages Stephenson-Howe 3-Cylinder Locomotive

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Stephenson-Howe 3-Cylinder Locomotive Untitled Untitled
William Howe (1814-1879) was the employee of George and Robert Stephenson who was primarily responsible for the Stephenson Link Motion. On 18 April 1846 George Stephenson and William Howe obtained British Patent No. 11086 for "Improvements in Locomotive Engines" for designing the world's first three-cylinder locomotive. The larger inside cylinder (16 in. 18 in.) was more or less equal in volume to sum of the volumes of the two outer ones (10 in. 22 in.). The idea was that the balance between the inside and outside cylinders would result in a locomotive that would be considerably more stable at high speeds than a conventional two-cylinder locomotive, as indeed was the case. A better balance would have been produced by making the cross-sectional areas of the two outside cylinders equal to that of the inside cylinder. The driving wheels were 6 ft. 6 in. in diameter. One of these locomotives worked on the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway and was said to have given complete satisfaction. Clement E. Stretton not always the most reliable of witnesses claimed that they were the only locomotives of their day capable of higher speeds than the broad gauge locomotives of Gooch. It would be interesting to know the data on which this claim was based. The weak point of the design was that in 1846 very little was known about the balancing of reciprocating masses, and under these circumstances such a locomotive would probably have put an intolerable strain on the crank anxle. That only two locomotives were built and the design was not perpetuated suggests that this may well have been the case.
Side elevation of the Stephenson-Howe 3-cylinder engine
Plan of the motion and cylinders of the Stephenson-Howe locomotive
Front end of the Stephenson-Howe locomotive
William Howe (1814-1879)
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