First published in 1907, this work remains the best single source on the development of steam locomotives for those interested in their inner workings and technical specifications. Most of the more recent offerings on the subject are primarily nostalgic picture books celebrating the outward design of the great engines of the past. Sinclair spent half a lifetime operating locomotives before beginning a new career as a railway journalist which brought him in contact with the prime movers of the golden age of railroading. The author's lively storytelling style remains fresh, and the scholarly value of the book has been much enhanced by the inclusion of some 650 notes provided by his editor, who is the chairman of the Department of Industries of the U.S. National Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution. These notes provide further information and correct errors brought to light by more recent research. The editor has also provided an afterword, summarizing the final developments and the last years of the steam locomotive in the twentieth century.
This new edition retains all the numerous illustrations of the original – some 200 historic locomotives are pictured, plus numerous portraits of their designers and owners, and line drawings or mechanical configurations.