'The Coal Viewer and Engine Builder's Practical Companion by John Curr of Sheffield. Agent to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk 1795'. Written in copperplate cursive script with 5 hand drawn and hand coloured plates. It is the manuscript version of a text published in 1797. This manuscript volume led to the earliest known printed account of an iron railway, giving details of iron plates, sleepers and points, and the wagons running on them, and detailed instructions on how to manufacture them. It describes the various kinds of 'jinney' used at pits to wind laden wagons to the surface. The major part of the work is an illustrated account of the steam engines used instead of 'jinneys' to pump water or to raise wagons, giving detailed specifications, tables of proportions and estimates of costs.
Curr claimed that he introduced rail-roads and corves at the Sheffield Colliery 21 years before the coal Viewer was written. If this is true it would give him precedence over Benjamin Outram, who is usually credited with having introduced the first iron railway at Butterley Ironworks in 1793.
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