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The Iron Horse
Each Metal Earth model is laser etched in meticulous detail on one, two, or three 11 cm (4.33") metal sheets. Pop out the pieces by hand (or use wire cutters to get especially crisp lines), bend the tabs using needle-nose pliers, and fit them together as shown in the simple pictorial instructions. Metal Earth models are a little less challenging than our 3D wooden puzzles, but you do need some patience and dexterity because they're also much smaller. For maximum dramatic effect, display your model on the LED Display Base or the Solar Spinner (sold separately, see the Related Products tab).
The Steam Locomotive is an easy Metal Earth model. It consists of just 22 pieces on two sheets of metal.
Please note that Metal Earth models have sharp edges and are not suitable for children under 14.
Are you curious...?
The British developed the first workable steam railroad in the early 1800s. That first engine design rapidly evolved to produce more power with less weight. The earliest locomotives had names like Catch Me Who Can, Locomotion, Salamanca, and The Rocket. The young US didn't develop a locomotive until 1829's Tom Thumb, and that was more of a prototype than a working engine. A locomotive is basically a big boiler that pushes a piston that drives the wheels. Classifying steam engines by their wheel arrangement -- the number of unpowered leading wheels, then the number of powered drive wheels, and then unpowered trailing wheels -- brought some consistency to the naming conventions, so railway buffs refer to both a name and a number (like the iconic American 4-4-0 that you so often see in movies about the Old West).
The Age of Steam started to decline when more economical diesel-electric engines came on the scene in the 1930s. World War II interrupted the transition, but by the 1950s it was nearly complete. A few steam engines persisted into the 1960s, and the rising cost of diesel fuel has prompted sporadic attempts at reviving steam, but none of them have caught on in a major way.