William and Edward Walton Chapman

William Chapman was born in Whitby on 7 March 1749 into a Quaker shipowning and mariner family. He died on 29 May 1832. He is the subject of an ODNB biography by Anita McConnell. Forward (Trans. Newcomen Soc., 28, 1, and a key reference) considered that Chapman may have been involved with experiments involving locomotives as early as 1805, with the Trevithick "Tyneside locomotive". According to Lowe and to Warren, William Chapman was the inventor of the bogie and of the articulated locomotive. A competent civil engineer, in 1812 he devised a locomotive that would haul itself along on a chain between the rails. The basic idea failed, but in order to distribute the weight Chapman supported his machine on a primitive form of swivelling truck, or bogie. In 1814 at Lambton Colliery in Northumberland such a locomotive on two four-wheeled trucks was hauling 54 ton loads without the assistance of any chain. The gearing which transmitted the drive to the wheels allowed the latter a degree of sideplay. With this eight-wheel machine, it was possible to use steam haulage without the laying of heavier rails.

Involved with John Buddle: recent research by Guy Early Railways 1 p. 117 et seq , but especially p. 132 et seq and Rees (page 145 et seq) has shown that both Buddle and Chapman were far more inflential in early locomotive development than had been appreciated earlier

Rutherford's Heroes, villains and ordinary men. BackTrack 9, 528. noted that William Chapman was a well-educated, established consulting engineer who had designed coal drops which minimized coal breakage and was responsible for the harbour at Seaham Colliery.

Skempton records that William Chapman was a major civil engineer involved in canals in Ireland, improvements to river navigations (the Orwell in 1806), major land drainage schemes in Holderness and the Vale of Pickering and in the consruction of bridges. He was involved in the early stages of the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway. His brother Edward Walton and William were involved in improving rope-making machinery and Edward ran a successful rope manufactory at Willington. The Chapmans invented self-acting machinery or loweing coal waggons from staiths into ships.

Lowe states that the later locomotive was built by Phineas Crowther. He also refers to C.F. Dendy Marshall's contribution to The Engineer (14 September 1936) and to his Early British Locomotives concerning Chapman's six-wheel bogie engines and to R.N. Appleby-Miller's contribution to The Engineer (18 September 1931) concerning a second Chapman locomotive with eight wheels.


[Bogie] 3,632 21 April 1812. Forward gives the date as 30 December 1812 and Edward Walton Chapman as co-inventor.

See: Forward. Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 28, page 1 and C.F. Dendy Marshall.
Skempton, A.W. William Chapman (1749-1832), Civil Engineer (Eleventh Dickinson Memorial Lecture). Trans Newcomen Soc., 1973, 46, 45-82.

Crowther, Phineas
C.F. Dendy Marshall noted that the Chapman locomotive was constructed by Crowther at the Ouseburn Foundry.