Richard Trevithick was born in nearby Illogan, where his father ran a tin mine, in 1771. As a youngster he became fascinated by the engineering side of the mines. During his career, Trevithick pioneered the introduction of high-pressure steam engines to the mining process, and vastly improved the means of pumping unwanted water from the lower reaches of the mine shafts.
Trevithick’s mind was never still. His ideas ranged from a self-powered road vehicle, and a steam railway engine, to schemes for wreck salvage. He also looked at land reclamation, mechanical refrigeration, agricultural machinery, even tunnelling under the Thames.
But as much as anything, we remember Trevithick through his Puffing Devil engine. On Christmas Eve in 1801 he made a short journey up Camborne Hill with his hissing, clanking machine, carrying a group of friends. The Puffing Devil was one of the world's first passenger-carrying road-going vehicles. The episode gave rise to the Cornish song titled (you've guessed it) 'Going Up Camborne Hill'; today, a replica Devil can often be seen in steam during the festivities.
This year, Trevithick Day's on Saturday 30 April; the fun begins during mid-morning. Enjoy!