Follow this link for a wonderful illustrated 1891 history on the topic of the history of steam powered devices for road use – there are over 100 period images of early road “carriages” here – great stuff for anyone interested in the history of transport, for modeling, or for steam punk storylines/ gaming, art, etc.
Archive for the Steam Carriages Category
The March 15, 1863 Times Picayune carried this notice of a steam carriage: “ Mr. Sylvestor H. Roper, of Roxbury, Mass., has invented and completed a steam carriage … ” the article recounted a trial of the device, describing it as “sucessful.” “It passed through Boston, and meeting a car on the horse railroad turned off from the track and went around the car with as much ease as if drawn by a horse.” The device was usable on rails or on smooth roads and with 60 lbs of steam -”the usual amount” it could make 20 miles and hour. The carriage was said to weigh 600 pounds.
“Mr. J.K. Fisher’s steam wagon made a short trip yesterday afternoon, for the Jersey City Locomotive works to Hudson City, running over beds of road metal in its ascent of the hill,” said the New York Herald on May 18, 1861. During this trial the speed of the wagon was held back so as not to alarm horses, the paper noted. During the trial a chamber used to contain steam noises ruptured due to pressure, leaving the boiler to work with “natural draft.” – in spite of this “the carriage returned to the works at about a speed equal to that of a common carriage.” The article went on to say that “it is claimed that steam wagons may be advantageously used for transporting army supplies and troops, and one was built last year, and another is not being built for the purpose the plans being different from that of Mr. Fisher.”
I will be sharing more notes on steam carriages from the 1860s as time permits – apparently Mr. Fisher was far from alone in the endeavor.”
In the early days of the 19th Century English inventor Richard Trevithick was working on steam powered road carriages – see this site for the details of a modern working recreation of his 1803 vehicle – http://www.brooklands.org.uk/Goodwood/g9828.htm