The Baltimore and Ohio railroad had been using horses, and was just about broke. The English engineer George Stevenson said that you can’t put steam engines on the Baltimore and Ohio, the curves are too steep. It just won’t work. And that’s when Peter Cooper said, y’know “nonsense”. And he built what was later called the Tom Thumb, after P.T. Barnum’s famous midget.
(* photo credits below)
“So he put his little engine together and took it out. And they took a trip to Ellicott City. And then on the way back they decided to have a race with the horse cars that were being used for the most part on the B&O at that time.”
* Left to right: Photo credit Dennis Townes, Courtesy of the B&O Railroad Muesum, Dennis Townes.
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Photo credit Dennis Townes