I have to admit it! In this last period, I have become very passionate about the old steam locomotives and the imposing role they have had in the economic development, and not only, of the entire planet.
The most popular passenger locomotive in the 19th century was the "American" type 4-4-0.
In 1856, B&O ordered two "American" type locomotive from Mason Machine Works, one of which was number 25.
William Mason, the founder of Mason Machine Works, introduces the idea of producing locomotives that are as beautiful to look at as they are functional and innovative from a mechanical point of view.
His ideas and improvements could later be adopted by other locomotive builders of the time. Its influence was exerted on all locomotive builders of the time and later.
The new design was soon praised by engineers and railway operators thanks to the engines, which became known to be easier to repair and manage.
In 1856, he built two locomotives for Cairo and for Alexandria R.R. (Egypt) in which a commentator said that the excellence of the engines was due to the precision of execution achieved by an admirable set of tools and a skilled group of workers.
The N. 25 was used extensively during the Civil War to transport Union troops and supplies.
It was the first B&O locomotive to have a Stephenson linkage motion valve gear and a round smoke box set on a cylinder saddle.
In 1927, the railway named the "William Mason" locomotive to honor its builder.
The "William Mason" follows the general form of the original no. 25 however was rebuilt and modified as a show locomotive.
Only two Mason-built locomotives survive.
25 is one of these and is currently kept at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum.