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STEM GLAM GALLERY: George Stephenson

This week, we are going back in time to rediscover a talented engineer, George Stephenson, the ‘Father of Railways.’ While Stephenson did not invent the steam locomotive, he was the first person to build a fully-functioning steam locomotive, and made significant improvements to the designs of the steam locomotive throughout his career. He also built the first railway that was solely machine-powered, invented a safety lamp for minors, and created the standard rail gauge that is still used worldwide today.

Here are three interesting facts to see why he’s admirable.

1. He had no formal education.

Stephenson was born as the second child of a working class family, to Robert and Mabel. His parents had no money to send him to school; and at the age of 17, he started working at a coal mine to operate a Newcomen atmospheric-steam engine that was used to pump out a coal mine at Newcastle upon Tyne. His curiosity aroused by the Napoleonic war news, Stephenson enrolled in night school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic.