William Hedley 1779 - 1843

Steam locomotive maker
born in:
Newburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England, United Kingdom
Wylam Colliery

Educated at a school at Wylam, Hedley was appointed viewer at Walbottle colliery in Northumberland when he was 21, after which he held the same position at Wylam colliery. He became a colliery manager at the age of 22 and went on to become one of the early pioneers of railway transport. William Hedley developed a system of coupling of wheels which gave locomotives with smooth wheels sufficient adhesion, even on smooth rails, to haul a train of loaded wagons. This he patented in 1813, the year in which he also unveiled his famous locomotive, Puffing Billy, with a revolutionary and reliable design to carry power to the coupled wheels.