Timeline

Key events in and around the life of Richard Trevithick

1769 James Watt’s separate condenser patent.
Cugnot’s steam carriage (in France) .
1771 Richard Trevithick born at Tregajorran (13th April)
1777Boulton & Watt’s separate condenser engine introduced to Cornwall.
Abraham Darby begins casting his ‘Iron Bridge’.
1781 Hornblower’s patent .
1784 Murdoch’s model locomotive in Redruth.
James Sadler, Oxford, makes ascent in a hot air balloon.
1787 Symmington exhibs a model steam carriage in Edinburgh.
1789 Riots in Redruth.
Wesley preaches in the area, reputed to have stayed with Trevithick snr. who was a Methodist leader.
1790Trevithick becomes engineer at Stray Park Mine.
J. Hornblower and A. Woolfe (mine engineers) help Francis Basset put in a “water-closet” at his house at Tehidy .
1792Trevithick reports on performance of Tincroft Mine engine.
Mary Wollanscroft publishes ‘Vindication of the Rights of Women’.
1793 War with France.
1796Trevithick meets Davies Giddy (Gilbert), who becomes a mentor.
Boulton & Watt open Soho Foundry at Smethwick.
Edward Bull and Trevithick visit Soho Foundry.
Trevithick expresses interest in work for the Soho Foundry.
Trevithick visits Coalbrookdale Foundry.
Francis Basset puts down Food Riots in Redruth .
1797 William West (Trevithick’s colleague and brother-in-law) makes model engines to show in Cornish Engineers v Boulton & Watt court case about restrictive patents and business practise.
Trevithick refuses terms offered by Soho Foundry to put up engines.
Richard Trevithick Senior dies.
Richard Trevithick marries Jane Harvey. They go to live at Moreton House, Plain an Gwarry, Redruth.
1798 First high-pressure “puffers” built by Trevithick.
Jane & Richard move to Camborne Churchtown.
Lady Basset sees Trevithick’s model of a road locomotive run in the kitchen of Trevithick’s home.
Richard Trevithick (son) born.
1799 Humphry Davey discovers laughing gas (Penzance).
1800 Expiry of Watt patent.
Anne Trevithick (daughter) born.
1801 Trevithick’s creation of Camborne road locomotive. On a wet Christmas Eve, Trevithick, his cousin Andrew Vivian, plus friends, steam up Camborne Hill on the Puffing Devil which had been made in a blacksmiths workshop at Weeth.
Francis Basset starts Camborne Market House & Clock Tower.
1802Elizabeth Trevithick (daughter) born.
1803Trevithick’s London Road Locomotive.
High Pressure Boiler explosion at Greenwich.
1804Trevithick’s Pennydaren Locomotive.
Frances Basset (Lord DeDunstanville) forms troop of Cornish
Volunteers in case of invasion by Napoleon.
1805Newcastle-upon-Tyne locomotive built to Trevithick’s instructions
– drives barge by steam engine & paddle wheels.
1806Trevithick’s Steam-dredger used on the Thames.
John Harvey Trevithick (son) born.
1807Trevithick appointed Engineer to Thames Archway Company.
1808Jane and children join Richard in London.
Trevithick’s “Catch me who Can” circular track steam train at Euston.
1809Trevithick raises a sunken ship off Margate.
Williams family build Portreath Tramway.
1810Trevithick contracts Typhus and returns to Cornwall (treated by Dr Rosewarne).
His mother dies- takes his family to live at her property in Penponds.
1811Trevithick declared bankrupt.
Trevithick installs first Cornish Engine & Boiler: Plunger Pole engine.
1812Trevithick applies high pressure engine to agricultural machinery & creates a rock-boring machine for Plymouth Breakwater & Screw Propeller.
Luddites attack machinery in Midlands.
Francis Trevithick (son) born.
1813Uville arrives to see Trevithick from Peru.
1814Trevithick arranges for nine engines to be shipped to Peru.
1815Humphry Davy invents miners safety lamp.
1816Frederick Henry Trevithick (son) born.
Trevithick sails for Peru. He rents a house for family in Penzance, but Jane goes to Hayle, becoming landlady of the White Hart Inn.
1821Trevithick works to salvage ships cargo near Callao.
1823The explorer, Gurnard, meets Trevithick in Ecuador.
1825Brunel begins his Thames Tunnel.
1827Trevithick arrives in Cartagena after pioneer crossing of Isthmus of Nicaragua.
Civil war in South America – Trevithick creates recoil gun carriage for Bolivar.
Robert Stephenson meets Trevithick and lends him his fare home to Britain.
1828Trevithick visits Holland, engine & pump made in Hayle for Zyder Zee.
1829Robert Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials.
1831William Bickford invents the safety fuse in Tuckingmill, Camborne.
1832Trevithick designs Reform Bill column.
1833William Cobbet’s bill to reduce working hours of children defeated.
Trevithick dies of pneumonia at the Bull Hotel, Dartford while working for John Hall Engineering (22nd April). He is penniless and is buried in an unmarked grave in St Edmund’s Burial Ground, East Hill, Dartford, Kent.