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Lot 714
1927 Stephenson Rocket Replica

Sold for US$ 48,300 inc. premium

MOTOR CARS

18 Sep 2004, 10:00 PDT

San Francisco

1927 Stephenson Rocket Replica
In 1829 it was unfathomable for a self-propelled vehicle to reach the blazing top speed of 35 mph - the first land speed record. However, 'The Rocket' could, at less than full-speed, chug along at almost 30mph for longer periods of time, and when hitched to a load it could haul a whopping 12.75 tons at a speed of 14mph.

According to the BBC, The Rocket was designed and built by George Stepenson with the help of his son Robert, and Henry Booth, for the 1829 Rainhill Trials sponsored by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company. The object of the trial was to discover which locomotive builder could devise and construct the best steam engine to haul trains between Liverpool and Manchester.

The then incredible speeds attained by 'The Rocket' were a result of a multi-tube boiler and a more efficient draft to the firebox. In 1927, Henry Ford contacted Robert Stephenson and arranged for four replicas to be built to celebrate the centennial of the original Rocket. One went to Science Museum in London, with another to the Museum of Science & Industry in London, with another to the Henry Ford Museum, while the final example was displayed at Rockefeller Center. In the 1950s, the New York example went to William Harrah for his Pony Express Museum. Although built, like the other three, to be a fully-functioning replica, this was the only one of the batch to be cut-away for display.

An amazing example of engineering from the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution, there will probably never be another opportunity to acquire a Stephenson Rocket.
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