George Stephenson; on Hungary 2697 (Scott)

George Stephenson on a stamp from HungaryGeorge Stephenson (June 9, 1781 - August 12, 1848) is sometimes considered to be the "Father of Railways" for his pioneering work on British railway lines in the early 19th century. On this 2 forint stamp from Hungary (Scott catalog number 2697), issued on June 12, 1981, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth, Stephenson is pictured with a plan drawing of a locomotive of his design. The locomotive is similar in appearance to Rocket, which he designed in 1829 to participate in the Rainhill Trials. The Scott catalog says that the locomotive pictured is Nonpareil, but it also bears a strong resemblance to Stourbridge Lion, built by Foster, Rastrick and Company in 1828. Stourbridge Lion should be familiar to US rail historians as it is cited as not only the first locomotive to operate in the United States but the first locomotive to operate anywhere outside of England. Although Stephenson didn't work on Stourbridge Lion, John Rastrick (the Rastrick part of the company name) was a judge at the Rainhill Trials, where Stephenson displayed Rocket. Stephenson's first locomotive, Blücher, built in 1814, also looks very similar to the locomotive pictured here. After building his first locomotives, Stephenson met with the owner of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. The railway was originally planned to use horse-drawn wagons, but opened on September 27, 1825, using a steam locomotive remarkably similar to the one pictured on this stamp named Locomotion. That locomotive is preserved and on static display at the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum in England. Shortly before his death, Stephenson became the first president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1847. George Stephenson's son Robert (1803-1859) followed in his footsteps forging his own place in railroad history.