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Charles Harper wrote "In June 1831 the philosophical boiler of one of Gurney steam-carriages, warrented not to burst disastrously, exploded at Glasgow seriously injuring two boys." and suggested that Thomas Hood wrote this poem in response to that event.

Reference:
Charles Harper Stage-coach and mail in days of yore : a picturesque history of the coaching age (London, Chapman Hall, 1903) p262

 

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