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GORDON, Alexander

The fitness of turnpike roads and highways for the most expeditious, safe, convenient and economical internal communication.
London, Roake and Varty, 1835

Alexander Gordon was one of the pioneers in the use of steam carriages, closely associated with Goldsworthy Gurney’s work on such vehicles, and giving evidence to the 1831 parliamentary committee.

This brought him to consider the question of wear on road surfaces by carriages and to consider whether transport on improved roads would not be just as effective as on the developing railway network, into which so much capital was then being poured. He has much to say on how friction of carriage axles and boxes might be decreased by a well-made road, which would also reduce surface resistance. He shows that speeds could also be comparable on roads and railways.

The whole paper is accompanied by numerous and copious footnotes, citing reports and parliamentary evidence from the major engineers of the day. These include the great road promoters and builders, such as Rickman, Telford, Donkin, Macneill and Walker, together with major figures in railway construction, notably Robert Stephenson and Nicholas Wood.


8vo. 32pp. Seemly modern cloth. Skempton No.552.



Catalogue No: 5723