Transportation by land or river assisted by steam propulsion takes a decisive development in England in the 1820s. The Rainhill Trials of October 1829 are an extraordinary competition organized by the company of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway to select the contractor for the manufacture of its locomotives.
Five candidates compete in the Rainhill Trials. The winner is the company of Stephenson, which is also by far the most experienced in this field and the only at that time to be able to achieve an acceptable endurance. Its best challenger, Braithwaite and Ericsson, could not complete the tests due to a poor control of the boiler.
The US market is promising. The rail actually will have a significant role to spread the civilization on such a vast territory. The number of locomotives prepared by Braithwaite for this export in the 1830s is estimated at 14. It is likely that the pieces were shipped across the Atlantic in containers and assembled in the United States.
The machine for sale is named Mississippi. Its elements were manufactured around 1834 by Braithwaite and Ericsson. It is considered as the oldest locomotive that was operated in the state of Mississippi and had also been back in service during the Civil War, successively for both sides.
Cleverly reconstructed in 1891 around its original engine in a look consistent with the images of the 1830s, it has a great history of exhibitions in Chicago including the very important Columbian Exposition in 1893, the Century of Progress in 1933 and 1934 and its permanent exhibition since 1938 in the collections of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry which deaccessions it now without reserve.
The sale of the Mississippi looks like a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of its class and its estimate is not published. It is a great witness of the past but its remaining degree of authenticity is probably impossible to establish.