Richard Trevithick
Fictional Character
A Different Flesh
POD: C. 2.5-1.3 million years ago;
Relevant POD: c. 1492
Appearance(s): "The Iron Elephant"
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: Federated Commonwealths of America
Date of Death: Unrevealed
Occupation: Inventor
Relatives: Unnamed brother

Richard Trevithick (b. ca. 1750?) was an inventor from Boston, Plymouth Commonwealth. He and his brother developed a steam-powered Iron Elephant, a device designed to replace the teams of hairy elephants that made the railroads of the Federated Commonwealths of America run.

In 1782, Trevithick visited the town of Springfield to show his Iron Elephant off. There he was challenged to a race by elephant-driver Prem Chand. The finish line was Carthage.

While Chand and his team of hairy elephants maintained a lead for the first day, Trevithick overtook Chand when the team stopped to rest for the night. However, on the second day, the Iron Elephant fell into a trap laid by a band of wild sims. The sims did not understand that the Iron Elephant was not suitable prey, but they were able to kill some of the crew. Trevithick survived with a broken arm. Chand and his team arrived just in time, helping to drive the sims off. Trevithick conceded victory to Chand, although Chand realized Trevithick's engine was the way of the future.

Literary comment

While this Trevithick shares a name with the historical inventor of the steam engine, Turtledove's version is probably not the historical figure, but an analog.