Timothy Hackworth

Resource Type: Image | Posted on 24th October 2011 by Liam Physick

One of the images donated to Metal by Eric Shenton. This is a picture of Timothy Hackworth, designer of the Sans Pareil. Born in Wylam near Newcastle in 1786, there he helped William Hedley build the famous locomotive Puffing Billy. As a result of this, in 1824, George Stephenson recruited him as superintendant of locomotive engine production at the newly-formed Robert Stephenson and Company, to make locomotives for the Stockton and Darlington Railway. His work in repairing and maintaing the Stockton and Darlington’s unreliable locomotives did much to save the fledgling Railway from financial ruin, and thus quite possibly save the entire future of rail transport. Hackworth and the elder Stephenson worked to build the Locomotion, the first Stephenson-built locomotive on the Railway, and after its failures, Hackworth built the Royal George to replace it. The Royal George had a 0-6-0 wheel arrangement, used cylinders which were vertical, inverted and outside the boiler, drove its rear wheels using pistons and connecting rods, and featured a correctly-aligned steam blastpipe - a device invented by Hackworth himself. It was thus a major milestone in locomotive design, and the first locomotive fully adapted to regular service: the blastpipe, in particular, would later be used by the Stephensons on the updated Rocket from 1830. Hackworth later became manager of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He decided to enter the Rainhill Trials, but had no factory of his own, and needed local companies to manufacture the various parts. After the failure at the Trials of the Sans Pareil, he repaired it so it would match requirements, and it was thus purchased by the Liverpool and Machester Railway. However, Rainhill also led to bad feeling between him and the Stephensons, as he noticed a crack in a cylinder casting, causing a loss of power. The cylinder had been cast at Robert Stephenson and Co, causing Hackworth to suspect deliberate sabotage, but there is no evidence for this, and cyliners are very difficult to make: the pair on the Sans Pareil took six attempts to manufacture. In 1833, he formed his own Soho locomotive building company at Shildon. Although he was now considered an old fashioned designer (no doubt due to his failure at Rainhill), Hackworth’s new venture was successful, concentrating on building heavy, slow goods locomotives. Among others, he built Russia’s first locomotive, and also Samson, one of the first locomotives to run in Canada. In 1849, he designed the Sans Pareil II, an engine that performed so well that Hackworth, perhaps longing for some revenge for Rainhill, challenged Robert Stephenson to run his own latest locomotive, No. 190, against it in a trial: there is no further record of such a contest. He died in 1850

Timothy Hackworth

Tagged under: steam locomotives, liverpool and manchester railway, eric shenton, rocket, rainhill trials, goods, freight, george stephenson, sans pareil, robert stephenson

Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers

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