Its invention is generally credited to Levi Bissell, who devised one in 1857 and patented it the following year. Hence the term Bissel bogie (spelt with one 'l') or axle is used in continental Europe. In the UK, the term is Bissell truck with two 'l's .
Conservative locomotive builders in Bissell's native United States did not take to the design, and it was not implemented until the Eastern Counties Railway in the United Kingdom fitted one to their No. 248 in 1859. Pony trucks of similar design became very popular on British locomotives thereafter.
John H. Whetstone of Cincinnati, working for Niles and Company, was the next to devise a method for equalizing; in this scheme, the truck frame was itself the equalizing beam as well. Niles went bankrupt before the patent was granted, and no locomotive was ever fitted with this design.
A more successful scheme for equalizing the pony truck to the drivers was invented by William S. Hudson, superintendent of the Rogers Locomotive Works, and patented in 1864. In this design, a large equalizing lever linked the front truck with a transverse bar connected to the front spring hangers of the driving wheels. This design was an immediate success and was used on American-built locomotives until the end of steam building.