I thought it would be fun to categorize steam locomotives using a method
that I have not seen done before -- by their color.
Before the 1890s, most if not all locomotives, freight and passenger, were
painted in colors. Some like Jupiter, were very bright while others were
more practical greens and browns. Black locomotives became common after
coal burning engines made grime commonplace, beginning in 1880. This was
done so that they didn't show all the dirt and grime that got collected
during normal use. After 1900, when a railroad line wanted to show off
their locomotive(s), perhaps when used exclusively for passenger service,
they would use special paint schemes to make them look more "attractive".
This, of course, necessitated more frequent maintenance and cleaning and
therefore, was not a common practice.
This page (as well as this entire site) is mainly focused on North
American steam locomotives. However, because the British (and a
number of other countries) put more effort into coloring (or in
this case maybe I should say colouring) their steam locomotives,
a number of "foreign" steam locomotives are mentioned here. The LNER
Mallard and the LNER
Flying Scotsman are two good examples of coloured British steam.
Elegant Steam is a web site
devoted to British steam with many coloured examples.
This page shows a number of present day examples of colored steam
locomotives. I'm sure that there are more examples than what I show here.
If you would like to offer other examples, I would be more than happy to
add your information to this page.