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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > George Stephenson Quotes

Thumbnail of George Stephenson (source)
George Stephenson
(9 Jun 1781 - 12 Aug 1848)

English engineer and inventor.


Science Quotes by George Stephenson (7 quotes)

As regards railways, it is certain that nothing is so profitable, because nothing is so cheaply transported, as passenger traffic. Goods traffic, of whatsoever description, must be more or less costly. Every article conveyed by railway requires handling and conveyance beyond the limit of the railway stations; but passengers take care of themselves, and find their own way.
— George Stephenson
From 'Railway System and its Results' (Jan 1856) read to the Institution of Civil Engineers, reprinted in Samuel Smiles, Life of George Stephenson (1857), 520.
Science quotes on:  |  Care (73)  |  Cheap (9)  |  Convey (10)  |  Conveyance (2)  |  Find (248)  |  Goods (6)  |  Handling (7)  |  Passenger (8)  |  Profit (28)  |  Railway (13)  |  Station (9)  |  Themselves (45)  |  Traffic (5)  |  Transport (10)

At the end of 1854 … the aggregate length of railways opened in Great Britain and Ireland at that time measured about 8,054 miles,—about the diameter of the globe, and nearly 500 miles more than the united lengths of the Thames, the Seine, the Rhone, the Ebro, the Tagus, the Rhine, the Elbe, the Vistula, the Dnieper, and the Danube, or the ten chief rivers of Europe. … the work of only twenty-five years.
— George Stephenson
From 'Railway System and its Results' (Jan 1856) read to the Institution of Civil Engineers, reprinted in Samuel Smiles, Life of George Stephenson (1857), 511-512.
Science quotes on:  |  Danube (2)  |  Diameter (9)  |  Earth (487)  |  Europe (32)  |  Ireland (7)  |  Length (13)  |  Railway (13)  |  Rhine (2)  |  River (68)  |  Thames (4)

It is computed, that no less than 80,000,000 miles are annually traversed on our railways. Now, to run 80,000,000 miles per annum, 2½ miles of railway, at least, must be covered by trains, during every second of time, throughout the entire year.
— George Stephenson
From 'Railway System and its Results' (Jan 1856) read to the Institution of Civil Engineers, reprinted in Samuel Smiles, Life of George Stephenson (1857), 512.
Science quotes on:  |  Mile (24)  |  Railway (13)  |  Train (25)  |  Year (214)

The expenditure [on building railways] of £286,000,000 by the people has secured to us the advantages of internal communication all but perfect,—of progress in science and arts unexampled at any period of the history of the world,—of national progress almost unchecked, and of prosperity and happiness increased beyond all precedent.
— George Stephenson
From 'Railway System and its Results' (Jan 1856) read to the Institution of Civil Engineers, reprinted in Samuel Smiles, Life of George Stephenson (1857), 512.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (42)  |  Communication (58)  |  Expenditure (4)  |  Happiness (82)  |  History (302)  |  Progress (317)  |  Prosperity (15)  |  Railway (13)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  World (667)

The magnitude of the railway works undertaken in this country will be still more clearly exhibited, if you consider the extent of the Earth-Works. Taking them at an average of 70,000 cubic yards to a mile, they will measure 550,000,000 cubic yards. What does this represent? We are accustomed to regard St. Paul’s as a test for height and space; but by the side of the pyramid of earth these works would rear, St. Paul’s would be but as a pigmy by a giant. Imagine a mountain half a mile in diameter at its base, and soaring into the clouds one mile and a half in height;—that would be the size of the mountain of earth which these earth-works would form.
— George Stephenson
From 'Railway System and its Results' (Jan 1856) read to the Institution of Civil Engineers, reprinted in Samuel Smiles, Life of George Stephenson (1857), 512.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (487)  |  Mountain (111)  |  Pyramid (7)  |  Railway (13)

The rage for railroads is so great that many will be laid in parts where they will not pay.
— George Stephenson
Letter to Mr. Sanders, one of the founders of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (12 Dec 1824). As quoted in 'Beginnings of Railway Enterprise', The Railway News (8 Dec 1866), 6, 579.
Science quotes on:  |  Pay (30)  |  Rage (4)  |  Railroad (10)

To work our railways, even to their present extent, there must be at least 5,000 locomotive engines; and supposing an engine with its tender to measure only 35 feet, it will be seen, that the whole number required to work our railway system would extend, in one straight line, over 30 miles, or the whole distance from London to Chatham.
— George Stephenson
From 'Railway System and its Results' (Jan 1856) read to the Institution of Civil Engineers, reprinted in Samuel Smiles, Life of George Stephenson (1857), 512.
Science quotes on:  |  Locomotive (7)  |  Mile (24)  |  Railway (13)  |  Straight Line (7)



Quotes by others about George Stephenson (3)

George Stephenson, with a sagacity of mind in advance of the science of his day, answered, when asked what was the ultimate cause of motion of his locomotive engine, ‘that it went by the bottled-up rays of the sun.’
From 'Fuel', Lecture delivered to the British Association at Bradford, printed in Nature (25 Sep 1873), 8, 443.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (123)  |  Answer (201)  |  Cause (231)  |  Engine (25)  |  Locomotive (7)  |  Motion (127)  |  Ray (32)  |  Sagacity (5)  |  Solar Energy (17)  |  Sun (211)  |  Ultimate (61)

When we look back beyond one hundred years over the long trails of history, we see immediately why the age we live in differs from all other ages in human annals. … It remained stationary in India and in China for thousands of years. But now it is moving very fast. … A priest from Thebes would probably have felt more at home at the council of Trent, two thousand years after Thebes had vanished, than Sir Isaac Newton at a modern undergraduate physical society, or George Stephenson in the Institute of Electrical Engineers. The changes have have been so sudden and so gigantic, that no period in history can be compared with the last century. The past no longer enables us even dimly to measure the future.
From 'Fifty Years Hence', Strand Magazine (Dec 1931). Reprinted in Popular Mechanics (Mar 1932), 57, No. 3, 393.
Science quotes on:  |  19th Century (21)  |  20th Century (25)  |  Age (137)  |  Annal (3)  |  Back (55)  |  Century (95)  |  Change (291)  |  China (17)  |  Compared (8)  |  Council (3)  |  Differ (13)  |  Dimly (4)  |  Electrical (10)  |  Electrical Engineering (9)  |  Enable (25)  |  Engineer (72)  |  Fast (24)  |  Future (229)  |  Gigantic (16)  |  History (302)  |  Home (58)  |  Human (445)  |  Hundred (46)  |  India (15)  |  Institute (7)  |  Live (186)  |  Long (95)  |  Measure (70)  |  Modern (104)  |  Moving (11)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Past (109)  |  Period (49)  |  Physical (94)  |  Priest (16)  |  Probably (21)  |  Remained (2)  |  See (197)  |  Society (188)  |  Stationary (3)  |  Sudden (21)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Trail (8)  |  Undergraduate (8)  |  Vanished (3)  |  Year (214)

[In 18th-century Britain] engineers for the most began as simple workmen, skilful and ambitious but usually illiterate and self-taught. They were either millwrights like Bramah, mechanics like Murdoch and George Stephenson, or smiths like Newcomen and Maudslay.
In Science in History (1969), Vol. 2, 591.
Science quotes on:  |  18th Century (17)  |  Ambition (25)  |  Britain (14)  |  Engineer (72)  |  Illiterate (3)  |  Henry Maudslay (4)  |  Mechanic (13)  |  Thomas Newcomen (2)  |  Self-Taught (5)  |  Simple (111)  |  Skillful (3)  |  Smith (2)  |  Usual (2)  |  Workman (9)


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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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