William Wilson (engineer)

Allan C. Purcell

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William Wilson (engineer)
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View attachment 540733
Plaque on Wilson's grave
William Wilson (1809 – 1862) was an English mechanical engineer and first engine driver on the first German railway.

Life
William Wilson was born on 18 May 1809 in Walbottle, Northumberland, England, and in 1829 was engaged by George Stephenson as a mechanic.

The first railway line in Germany was opened on 7 December 1835 between Nuremberg and Fürth. Its first steam locomotive was supplied by Stephenson, because at that time there were no suitable and affordable steam engines available in Germany. At the request of the Ludwig Railway Company (Ludwigs-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft), Stephenson also provided Wilson to act as engine driver and engineer. He was to instruct the locomotive crew and train successors, for which he was given an eight-month contract. Stephenson stipulated a maximum working period of 12 hours per day and Wilson's travel costs were borne by the Ludwig Railway Company. In addition, he took on the fitting out, and later the direction, of a railway workshop. He was given a high salary commensurate with his qualification that exceeded the income of the general manager (Generaldirektor) of the railway company.[1] His pay was initially 1,500 gulden per annum; in addition he received a bonus of 240 gulden.

On 7 December 1835 William Wilson finally drove the locomotive, Adler, as the engine driver, on the first German railway on the newly built line operated by the Ludwig Railway. After eight months he made no arrangements to leave. Both as a result of his safe performance during this journey as well as his excellent credentials, his contract was repeatedly extended. The passengers wanted to travel with no-one else but the "tall Englishman". Whenever he was not driving the locomotive himself, income fell.

From 1842 he alternated as engine driver with his assistant, Bockmüller. His health was seriously damaged by his occupation, however, because he would stand on the driver's platform in all weathers in a gentleman's overcoat and top hat, but without any protection from the elements. Not until the winter of 1845/46 were engine drivers given leather coats as protection against the weather. Finally, eight years later, the engines were furnished with protective roofs over the driver's stand. In spite of tempting offers by the Bavarian State Railway, Wilson remained with the Ludwig Railway. In 1859, he was unable to work regularly as a result of his worsening health.[2] At the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Ludwig Railway he was greatly honoured. He died on 17 April 1862 in Nuremberg as a result of his illness.[1] He was buried at St. John's Cemetery in Nuremberg, his funeral being attended by a large section of the population. His grave is still visible today.

References
  • Alois Schmid; Katharina Weigand (2005), Bayern mitten in Europa (in German), C.H.Beck, p. 274, ISBN 9783406528989
  1. Mück, Wolfgang: Deutschlands erste Eisenbahn mit Dampfkraft. Die kgl. priv. Ludwigseisenbahn zwischen Nürnberg und Fürth. (Dissertation an der Universität Würzburg). Fürth 1985 (2nd fully revised ed.), pp. 156-157
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Allan C. Purcell

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Very interesting
Thank you, Allan
I am mainly interested in my country's railways, but I am always interested in other countries railways
I believe there are lots of other people like me in the Forum
Les, you know I love you to bits, but I have to say there is more to come about the German railway and our Scottish train driver. The above was put on here by mistake. (My mistake and I could not delete it).

So here we go;
1-97.jpg 1-96.jpg Yesterday I bought this watch, because I believe it to be, or belonged to the above William Wilson. There are quite a few issues with this watch I need to sort out. It says on the dial Chronometer Watch for starters.
1-94.jpg If it is I will eat my hat. On the dust cover, 22 Jewels and I wonder where they are? That's one for Oliver. The watch is hallmarked Chester1858/59 and was sold in 1859. That too on the dust cap. I think the watch was bought by a third person, who then presented the watch to Wilson. In the piece above, it does not tell the full story of William Wilson, it was in 1859 that he was rewarded for his service to the German Railway company and others, Wilson was well-loved by the Germans, and many of them would not travel in the train if he was not standing upfront in his Frack and Top Hat. The firm found they got less revenue when he was not there. Sorry to say it was this standing upfront in all weathers that killed him. More on that later.

Lets us now look at the engraving on this watch. I think the ship on there was to represent the ship that transported the Adler to Germany, and the train is not as thought by the seller the Steavenson Rocket.

1005.jpg Notice the wheel count. On the Rocket and the Adler, 0-0.jpg This is a replica, the original was sold in 1855 and was scraped. Below the only known photograph of the Adler.


0-00.jpg
The Adler c1836

1-97.jpg Now you can compare it with the above.

To be continued...............Allan. liverpool-l8-toxteth-unitarian-chapel-park-road-dingle-c1960.jpg
 
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novicetimekeeper

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great engraving, never seen a ship and a locomotive on the back of a watch before
 

Allan C. Purcell

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The Last photograph above is the old church at Toxteth. On the watch dial, it says 148 Park Road, Liverpool. Park Road leading to the Toxteth Park. I mention this because Richard Horny and Joseph Johnson were both members of the Church among other Liverpool makers in the watch trade.

On the net, there is more information about Wilson, and from one I will quote what they had to say about his health, Look for "William Wilson and the First German Railway"

(Quote) Offers from all over Germany;

Over time, the various countries in Germany started building their own railway systems, which began to connect the corners of Germany together. From 1842 Wilson alternated as engine driver with his assistant, Bockmüller. His health was seriously damaged by his occupation, however, because he would stand on the driver's platform in all weathers in a gentleman's overcoat and top hat, but without any protection from the elements It was not until the winter of 1845/46 were engine drivers given leather coats as protection against the weather. Finally, eight years later, the engines were furnished with protective roofs over the drivers stand. In 1859, he was unable to work regularly as a result of his worsening health. At the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Ludwig Railway, he was greatly honored. William Wilson died on April 17, 1862, in Nurenberg as a result of his illness.

From this, I believe the watch was given to him when they realized how ill he was?? I now need to find some documentation saying who gave him that watch??

4-452.jpg
Wiliam Wilson (1802-1862)

In the background of this picture is the Nuremberg Castle. The tower on the extream right is the Well, it is one of the deepest wells in the world, if you visit Nuremberg it is worthwhile to visit, from the tower the well is aluminated so that you can see down to the water level.

In fact, there is the "Time-Made in Germany" Symposium there from 12th September to 15th September. If you are going I will see you there. Allan

PS: More when the watch arrives.

PPS: Steamship, steam railway engine. Could that be the link in the engraving??
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Could railway or maritime historians come up with the name of the ship?
Different units of measurement were used in Nuremberg and England; the English foot and the bavarian foot were different. The track gauge was predefined to be the same as that of the Stockton and Darlington Railway which was 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). Stephenson persisted with this gauge which meant the existing track had to be relaid, because its track gauge was too narrow by 5/8 inches. The delivery of the locomotive to Nuremberg, together with all its spares comprising over 100 individual components in 19 boxes with a total weight of 177 hundredweight, came to a cost of 1,140 pounds, 19 shillings und 3 pennies. The boxes were shipped late, on 3 September 1835, on the ship Zoar from London to Rotterdam. The freight rate from Rotterdam to Cologne was 700 francs, from Cologne to Offenbach am Main 507 South German gulden and 9 kreuzer and from Offenbach to Nuremberg 653 gulden and 11 kreuzer. The board of directors of the Bavarian Ludwig Railway wanted the purchase to be exempted from import duty. The locomotive was declared as an item of a formerly unknown product which was to be used by factories in the Bavarian interior. After several difficulties the Ministry of Finance approved the tax-free import with Johann Wilhelm Spaeth as the recipient of the consignment.[4]

The transport boxes containing the locomotive were shipped by the barge van Hees (owned by its captain, van Hees) and pulled upriver by the steamboat Hercules on the Rhine until it reached Cologne.[5] As the waterline in the Rhine was low, Captain van Hees had to use horses to pull the barge instead of the steamboat, as originally planned.[4] On 7 October, the train of barges reached Cologne; the remaining distance to Nuremberg had to be covered by road because the Main was too shallow to be navigable by barge. The transport on land was disrupted by a strike of the freight forwarders in Offenbach am Main, and a different freight forwarder had to be ordered. On 26 October 1835 the transport reached Nuremberg. The steam engine was assembled in the workshops of the Johann Wilhelm Spaeth engineering works, with the assembly being observed by Stephenson's engineer William Wilson, who had travelled with the locomotive to Nuremberg. They used the help of the technical teacher Bauer and local carpenters.

No expert Les, sorry, but I did find the boats.
 
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novicetimekeeper

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The gauge is Roman. No, they did not have trains, but they did have carts. Their carts had this gauge, so when they built roads they had this gauge, so when other people built carts they made them to go on the Roman roads, so long after the Romans went we still had this gauge, so when they built rails to run carts on the used this gauge, so when they made locomotives to pull carts along rails they used this gauge. Then the UK built railways all around the world to use this gauge.

Oh, and our trains drive on the left. Guess where that comes from :)
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Just for you Les. I will call the ship Zoar, and see if I can find a photograph-we know the name of the train.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Sorry Les, no pics of the Zoar-though it could have been an American ship- have you looked up the Zoarites in Ohio or the Zoar Village Ohio-the first page tells it all.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Sorry Les, no pics of the Zoar-though it could have been an American ship- have you looked up the Zoarites in Ohio or the Zoar Village Ohio-the first page tells it all.
We could, of course, change the name to Hess, for that too was a paddle steamer on the Rhein, what do you think Les? While waiting for the watch to arrive I remembered I had another watch signed Park Road, Liverpool. William H. Thompson, in Loomes only 1865, though he must have been around sooner, the watch is hallmarked Chester 1862/63, and on the cap W.B. 1863. (The buyer). The number on Park Road is 148, now that rings a bell,:emoji_alarm_clock: quite loud. Room for speculation there? When you look up William Benton, Loomes has him at London Road, Liverpool 1848. Best wishes, Allan:)


IMG_7371[1].JPG IMG_7373[1].JPG
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Oh, and our trains drive on the left. Guess where that comes from :)
I Googled it, they say it´s because the cars drive on the left, and so do the trains, but if I remember correctly trains were filling up Great Britain with rails eighty years before the motor car?

A photograph of the William Benton pocket watch, with its hallmarks. Sponsors mark HF for Hugh Fishwick, 1843- 65, 9 Tarlton Street, Liverpool. Chester date letter gothic "u" for 1858.
(I have a watch by his father Henry, and cases he made for Richard Hornby)
1-19.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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It's as far back as time, but true of the Romans. If you are right handed as most are (and left handedness was definitely frowned on in Roman times) you mount a horse by putting your left foot into a stirrup and swinging your right leg over the horse. If you just mounted from the pavement or those neat little steps the Romans used you are now facing up the road as if driving on the left. If you are a jouster, or a cavalry man you would be on the left so that your right arm was free to defend or attack.

It's how they decided which way spiral stair cases go in castles.


The King of Denmark at some time insisted his people rode on the right to show they were friendly toward each other I believe, and Napoleon is normally given credit for switching the countries he invaded, I've seen a couple of reasons given, one that he was left handed.
 
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Les harland

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It's as far back as time, but true of the Romans. If you are right handed as most are (and left handedness was definitely frowned on in Roman times) you mount a horse by putting your left foot into a stirrup and swinging your right leg over the horse. If you just mounted from the pavement or those neat little steps the Romans used you are now facing up the road as if driving on the left. If you are a jouster, or a cavalry man you would be on the left so that your right arm was free to defend or attack.

It's how they decided which way spiral stair cases go in castles.
It also had the advantage that one swordsman could hold off an entire army
The width of the stair case meant only one man could fight him at a time and had to use their left hand whilst he could use his right
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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It also had the advantage that one swordsman could hold off an entire army
The width of the stair case meant only one man could fight him at a time and had to use their left hand whilst he could use his right
So they sent up left-handed swordsmen? I noticed train drivers stand on the right, and pull the whistle cord with their left hand-or was that just in old westerns?
 

novicetimekeeper

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It's a very long time since I drove a locomotive and it was only for a few hundred yards. I think helicopter pilots are on the right, which is why you have to keep the port side of your vessel clear as that's the side they drop the chap on the winch.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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So we all agree William Wilson was left-handed. It appears there are documents in Nuremberg I may be able to access when there, the boss man of the DGC will also be there.
 

novicetimekeeper

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So we all agree William Wilson was left-handed. It appears there are documents in Nuremberg I may be able to access when there, the boss man of the DGC will also be there.
Sinister or not, he had a very attractive watch.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Well, the Benton, come Wilson, arrived today and has said it is not a chronometer watch, it is to be expected at that date an STR. From the photographs below you will see it as not been serviced for quite some time, so it's off to the watchmaker, though it will run if wound, I gave it a half turn. The little leather bag came with it, and it appears to have been with the watch for some time,(Could be original) and believe it or not it smells of coal. Being from the "Black Country" I know that smell. Nice little pillars. I was hopeing there would be a clue to the engraver, or initials inside the dust cap, but nothing. So its wait and see what the Museum in Nurberg have to say. Allan

IMG_7374[1].JPG IMG_7375[1].JPG IMG_7376[1].JPG IMG_7377[1].JPG IMG_7378[1].JPG
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Most British steam locos were driven fom the left hand side
The main exception was the Great Western Railway, their locos were right-hand drive
Hi Les, I thought you might be interested in an update. The watch was sent to Karl-Heinz Papenbrock, a member of the DGC, and he was really pleased to have such a watch in his hands. Plus he says it a first-class watch of its period. He took the watch down and each and every part was cleaned, it now looks like new. I brought it home last week, then packed it well in an old cigarette box (A tin case), all ready to take down to Nürnberg, I arrived there Thursday afternoon and has you probably know the INTERNATIONALES SYMPOSIUM 2019 was running there from Friday till Sunday. (Met up with one or two of our members there, great fun). Anyway back to the Wilson Watch, I was met at the DB Museum (Deutsche Bahn) by the Head of Collections Mr Stefan Ebenfeld, (Who by the way is an author on wrist watches) It turns out they have nothing at all that belonged to William Wilson, when working there, and of course they are really pleased to find out about the above. It's now, of course, the tricky bit. They are more than pleased to accept that the watch is genuine, but they would dearly like to have some proof. From my end all I could say I felt the watch was original and was convinced the watch had belonged to Wilson, and that they accept. Their problem is, and I was surprised to hear, Wilson´s family stayed on in Germany after his death, and the descendants are still living in Nürnberg, and they must be informed. It appears there is quite a lot of documents still in the hands of the family, and one of their government departments, and must be checked. On the Museum side, there is the Stiftung, but here there is some hope of getting written prove on the watch, the DB it seems to have all the accounts for that period-and it could be possible to trace something on the watch and find out who could have given Wilson the timekeeper. Stefan Ebenfeld will keep me informed. So the story goes on Les.

x-28.JPG This hangs on the wall when you first enter the Musem (DB) That is Wilson standing in his" Long Jacket and Top Hat" Nürnberg in the background.

x-29.JPG x-30.JPG Two photographs of the second copy of the "Adler"

x-31.JPG The place is full of these modules, you must go there Les.

x-32.JPG They also had this clock, one of those modern electric things from c1895.

Best wishes, Allan.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Lloyd, the photographs are at posts three and twenty-two, notice the compensated balance wheel? (Swiss) Or is there something else you would like to see if so let me know, and I will put them on here. (The watch as cleaned and oiled since post-twenty-two).
Regards, Allan.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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v-3.JPG v-4.JPG v-5.JPG v-6.JPG v-7.JPG v-8.JPG v-9.JPG This is how it looks after cleaning. On photograph five the red glöw on the ship was not taken at sunset, no-one was down below smoking, it is just at the angle of the photograph it reflects the light from the ruby stones. Allan.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Cheers, I wondered if more photos were taken
of the parts and during reassembly?
I am afraid, no photographs were taken-it is in fact just a nice STR, not a chronometer escapement. If I still have it next year, I might just get it photographed? Allan.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Cheers, I wondered if more photos were taken
of the parts and during reassembly?

Hi Lloyd, Hi Les and Nick. I can now end the story. The Deutsche Bahn decided to buy the watch. The documents as to who gave him the watch could not be found, but there is the chance that someone out there might know, and I am quite sure there will some advertising is done when it arrives in Nurnburg. (I only charged them what I paid for it).

Regards,

Allan
 
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Lychnobius

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Somehow I have missed this thread until now. I am glad that the Germans have decided to accept the connection between this watch and their William Wilson; the name is not uncommon of course (is there not an Edgar Allan Poe story entitled 'William Wilson'?), but the engraving of cap and back-plate surely indicates that this watch was a special presentation to a special person with railway connections. I cannot account for the 22 jewels; usually the number of jewels is an odd one because of the single impulse-pin, although it is possible that the escapement here has two pins (Allan, did you see any sign of this?) The images suggest that the lever pivots are capped as well as jewelled; if this is so, and the centre wheel is jewelled, and the impulse-pin is doubled, then the total count of 22 could just conceivably be genuine after all.

Oliver Mundy.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Thank you, Oliver, sorry to say the watch was packed and ready for the post. More than likely it will be on its way to Nurnburg tomorrow. I asked about the jewelling because it says Chronometer on the dial, which is not true. (STR) That the watch is something special as regards the engraving is obvious, a real eye blender. I have never seen a Liverpool watch before, so engraved.

Thanks again,

Allan.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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THE END. (AHS BLOGG).




19-Verdana-Poldhu.jpg
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The engineer’s chronometer. William Wilson and the Adler.
Posted on April 16, 2020 by Blog Coordinator


dial-227x300.jpg

Last Summer I bought on eBay this fusee chain driven watch with detent escapement, dia 50mm, hallmarked Chester 1858, signed on the movement ‘William Benton of Liverpool, No. 5115’, and on the dial ‘Chronometer watch by William Benton 148 Park Road Liverpool’.

In the description of the watch, the seller had written ‘Opening below to reveal a highly decorated dust cover “Stephenson’s Rocket, Steam Train”, and clean fully working highly decorated “Steam Paddle Ship”.’

What the seller failed to point out is that the watch is inscribed on the dustcap ‘WILLM WILSON / LIVERPOOL / AD 1859’. It is my belief that this was the English engineer William Wilson (1809-1862), and that the locomotive illustrated on the watch is not the Rocket but the Adler (German for: Eagle),
the first locomotive successfully used commercially for the rail transport of passengers and goods in Germany.

Adler_Originalfoto1-300x179.jpg
The only known photograph of the Adler, built in 1835 and sold to a scrap dealer in 1850.

In 1835, George & Robert Stephenson in Newcastle were contracted by the Bavarian Ludwig railway company to build an engine for their first railway to run from Nuremberg to Furth. They sent the new locomotive packed in boxes, and their engineer William Wilson was contracted to rebuild it there. The train was a huge success and Wilson stayed with the Ludwig railway company for another twenty-five years, driving the train in all weathers. In 1859, William was covered in glory by the German railway company. In 1862 he died and was buried in Nuremberg, where his descendants are still living.

While Stephenson’s Rocket has only four wheels, the Adler had six wheels (wheel arrangement 2-2-2 in Whyte notation or 1A1 in UIC classification). The engraving on the watch shows a locomotive with six wheels. The image of the ship engraved on the watch may refer to the steamboat Hercules which in September 1835 had been used to transport the boxes containing the locomotive from Rotterdam on the Rhine to Cologne.

When in September last year I went to Nuremberg for the Ward Francillon Time Symposium, I arranged an appointment with Stefan Ebenfeld, the director of artefacts and library at the Museum of the German Railway (Deutsche Bahn Museum) in Nuremberg. It turned out that the museum had no personal artefacts of Wilson’s, and we agreed that the museum would buy the watch from me for the price I paid for it.

For anyone interested in more details, there are entries on William Wilson and the Adler on Wikipedia.

Allan C. Purcell

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Screwloose

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William Wilson (engineer)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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View attachment 540733
Plaque on Wilson's grave
William Wilson (1809 – 1862) was an English mechanical engineer and first engine driver on the first German railway.

Life
William Wilson was born on 18 May 1809 in Walbottle, Northumberland, England, and in 1829 was engaged by George Stephenson as a mechanic.

The first railway line in Germany was opened on 7 December 1835 between Nuremberg and Fürth. Its first steam locomotive was supplied by Stephenson, because at that time there were no suitable and affordable steam engines available in Germany. At the request of the Ludwig Railway Company (Ludwigs-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft), Stephenson also provided Wilson to act as engine driver and engineer. He was to instruct the locomotive crew and train successors, for which he was given an eight-month contract. Stephenson stipulated a maximum working period of 12 hours per day and Wilson's travel costs were borne by the Ludwig Railway Company. In addition, he took on the fitting out, and later the direction, of a railway workshop. He was given a high salary commensurate with his qualification that exceeded the income of the general manager (Generaldirektor) of the railway company.[1] His pay was initially 1,500 gulden per annum; in addition he received a bonus of 240 gulden.

On 7 December 1835 William Wilson finally drove the locomotive, Adler, as the engine driver, on the first German railway on the newly built line operated by the Ludwig Railway. After eight months he made no arrangements to leave. Both as a result of his safe performance during this journey as well as his excellent credentials, his contract was repeatedly extended. The passengers wanted to travel with no-one else but the "tall Englishman". Whenever he was not driving the locomotive himself, income fell.

From 1842 he alternated as engine driver with his assistant, Bockmüller. His health was seriously damaged by his occupation, however, because he would stand on the driver's platform in all weathers in a gentleman's overcoat and top hat, but without any protection from the elements. Not until the winter of 1845/46 were engine drivers given leather coats as protection against the weather. Finally, eight years later, the engines were furnished with protective roofs over the driver's stand. In spite of tempting offers by the Bavarian State Railway, Wilson remained with the Ludwig Railway. In 1859, he was unable to work regularly as a result of his worsening health.[2] At the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Ludwig Railway he was greatly honoured. He died on 17 April 1862 in Nuremberg as a result of his illness.[1] He was buried at St. John's Cemetery in Nuremberg, his funeral being attended by a large section of the population. His grave is still visible today.

References
  • Alois Schmid; Katharina Weigand (2005), Bayern mitten in Europa (in German), C.H.Beck, p. 274, ISBN 9783406528989
  1. Mück, Wolfgang: Deutschlands erste Eisenbahn mit Dampfkraft. Die kgl. priv. Ludwigseisenbahn zwischen Nürnberg und Fürth. (Dissertation an der Universität Würzburg). Fürth 1985 (2nd fully revised ed.), pp. 156-157
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I read this too around the engineering at this time, I've read this myself on own study, but I've studied before.. Must have been through nursing in soliological he always rr name frl
 
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