James Boydell

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James Boydell (died January 1860) was a British inventor of steam traction engines. His most significant invention was the first practical track-laying vehicle, for which he received British patents in August 1846 and February 1854.[1]


Boydell described his invention as "endless rails" or an "endless railway wheel", later variations became known as Dreadnaught Wheels. In his system flat boards were attached to a wheel loosely at their centres. As the wheels revolved, they were capable of spreading the weight of an engine over the surface of the board. Boydell worked with the steam traction engine manufacturer Charles Burrell & Sons to produce road haulage engines from 1856 that used his continuous track design.[2]

Boydell Glacier[edit]

The United Kingdom Antarctic Place-Names Committee named Boydell Glacier on Trinity Peninsula in northern Graham Land, Antarctica, after him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clarke, John Algernon (1859). Account of the Application of Steam Power to the Cultivation of the Land. Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. 20. Royal Agricultural Society of England. pp. 202–203. Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  2. ^ Lane (1971), p. 23


  • Lane, Michael R. (1971). Burrell Showmans Road Locomotives. Model & Allied Publications Ltd. lane.