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The Lunar Men who shaped the future
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Murdock locomotive

Murdock locomotive | © Thinktank Trust | Come and see it in the Power Up gallery at Thinktank

This miniature locomotive was the very first self-propelled vehicle in England. Steam moved a tiny 20mm piston inside a small cylinder, which gave power for the vehicle to travel. It was designed in about 1784 by William Murdock, a friend and employee of Matthew Boulton and James Watt, members of the famous Lunar Society of Birmingham.
Between about 1760 and 1800, the ‘Lunar Men’ made many experiments, discoveries, innovations and inventions. Because of them industrial Birmingham also became known as an intellectual and scientific centre.
Find out more about the Society and its members... 
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How was it tested?
Drawing of Murdock’s locomotive
William Murdock, (1754 -1839) bust by E. G. Papworth Jnr after Sir Francis L. Chantrey, about 1884


What else did William Murdock do?
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