Engerth, Wilhelm

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b. 26 May 1814 Pless, Prussian Silesia (now Poland)
d. 4 September 1884 Baden, Austria
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German engineer, designer of the Engerth articulated locomotive.
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Engerth was Chairman of the judges for the Semmering Locomotive Trials, held in 1851 to find locomotives suitable for working the sharply curved and steeply graded section of the Vienna-Trieste railway that was being built over the Semmering Pass, the first of the transalpine main lines. When none of the four locomotives entered proved suitable, Engerth designed his own. Six coupled wheels were at the fore part of the locomotive, with the connecting rods driving the rear pair: at the back of the locomotive the frames of the tender were extended forward on either side of the firebox, the front wheels of the tender were ahead of it, and the two parts were connected by a spherical pivot ahead of these. Part of the locomotive's weight was carried by the tender portion, and the two pairs of tender wheels were coupled by rods and powered by a geared drive from the axle of the rear driving-wheels. The powered drive to the tender wheels proved a failure, but the remaining characteristics of the locomotive, namely short rigid wheel-base, large firebox, flexibility and good tracking on curves (as drawbar pull was close behind the driving axle), were sufficient for the type to be a success. It was used on many railways in Europe and examples in modified form were built in Spain as recently as 1956. Engerth became General Manager of the Austro-Hungarian State Railway Company and designed successful flood-prevention works on the Danube at Vienna.
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Principal Honours find Distinctions
Knighted as Ritter von Engerth 1861. Ennobled as Freiherr (Baron) von Engerth 1875.
Further Reading
D.R.Carling, 1985, "Engerth and similar locomotives", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 57 (a good description).
J.B.Snell, 1964, Early Railways, London: Weidenfeld \& Nicolson, pp. 68–73 (for Semmering Trials).
PJGR

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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