Richard Trevithick, British inventor of the first functioning steam locomotive, received a Google Doodle on Google UK for his 240th birthday. Trevithick was born in 13 April 1771 and died 22 April 1833.
Trevithick was the first to build a functioning steam locomotive engine using high pressure steam – which many were working on at the time. Motivated by the royalties being paid to James Watts for his steam engine used in mining, he worked on the engines at the Cornwall mine he worked at when he first joined the work force.
“Trevithick started building his first models of high pressure (meaning a few atmospheres) steam engines, initially a stationary one and then one attached to a road carriage. A double-acting cylinder was used, with steam distribution by means of a four-way valve. Exhaust steam was vented via a vertical pipe or chimney straight into the atmosphere, thus avoiding a condenser and any possible infringements of Watt’s patent. The linear motion was directly converted into circular motion via a crank instead of using a cumbersome beam,” Wikipedia noted.
He patented his steam engine in 1802 and by 1804 he had designed the first railroad locomotive. The British honored his work with a commemorative 2 pound coin with his locomotive on it.