James Dredge, Jr. (July 29, 1840 – August 15, 1906) was born in Bath to an architect father, James Dredge, Sr., a brewer originally, who designed suspension bridges and piers, including the Victoria Bridge in Bath in 1836, and the Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare in 1845, among over 50 others.
Dredge Jr. followed much in his father’s footsteps. A talented and applauded civil engineer, Dredge Jr. worked with British architect and fellow engineer Daniel Kinnear Clark from 1858 to 1861. In 1862, he began work on the Metropolitan District Railway in London, a passenger railway that served London and its neighboring areas from 1868 up until the 1930s.
In January 1866, Dredge Jr. joined the weekly journal Engineering, working primarily as a writer. This shifted in the later 1860s, when he began illustrating for the journal- providing visual graphics, artistic explanations, and drawings and photographs of new buildings, bridges, and railways- all of which elevated the journal. His success landed him a position as co-editor of Engineering in 1870. In 1901, he founded a monthly visual supplement to Engineering, a journal named Traction and Transmission, but it only lasted three years.
These scarce engravings of locomotives and plans were all drawn by Dredge Jr. for the publication Locomotive Engineering and the Mechanism of Railways by Zerah Colburn. Published by William Collins & Co., London, 1871, this important work includes detailed drawings of locomotives and cars for passenger, goods, and special-purpose trains. While most of the prints show equipment built in England and Scotland, some American engines are illustrated. Frequently, the plates include a cut-away plan, a favorite visual technique of Dredge Jr. to display the interior workings of great machines. The detail, large size and attractiveness of these engravings make them an appealing combination of science and art.