29¢ Eddy’s #242
Issue Date: July 28, 1994
City: Chama, NM
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 11 horizontally
Public railroads began operating in England during the early 1800s when steam engines were first used to haul wagons loaded with cargo and coaches carrying passengers. The idea soon spread through Europe and eventually to the United States.
In 1830, the famous race between the American-built locomotive Tom Thumb and a horse convinced Baltimore and Ohio Railroad officials to use steam engines rather than horses to pull their trains. The following year, the Best Friend of Charleston became the first locomotive to be used commercially in the U.S., when it began making regular runs between Charleston and Hamburg, South Carolina.
From that point on, the number of railroads expanded rapidly. Originally most lines only ran short distances, but competition for trade encouraged the railroads to go greater distances. By the 1850s several railroads connected the Great Lakes region with the East Coast, and by 1869 the first transcontinental railroad had been completed.
The No. 242 was built in 1874 for the Western Railroad of Massachusetts by Wilson Eddy, whose locomotives’ smooth-running precision earned them the title of “Eddy’s Clocks.”