The development of steamcars
Nicolas Josef Cugnot
When the locomotive was being developed, some engineers also tried to build cars using steam power, which could be used on normal streets. In France, the first attempts were done. The artillery officer, Josef Cugnot, was allowed to build a steamcar, which was paid by the government.
Although the first version of his car was very unpractical - after a quater of an hour of ride, the boiler had to be heated up for the same time -, Cugnot was commissioned to build a bigger style of his car that was able to transport artillery guns. After the first car accident in history Cugnot stopped his work, also because of missing financial support of the government.
The leading engineer in the development of steam cars in England was Richard Trevithick. But he had no luck, either, and he had to stop his project because of money problems.
After Trevithick, the boom engineers hoped to arrived. Light boilers, which were not less powerful than others, were used. A boiler, built by Hancock, had big success. He used many flat chambers, connected through pipes.
The twins Francis and Freelan Stanley built up a steamcar enterprise in the first two decades of the XX century. In those years, they participated in some challenges. In 1906, they succeeded in building the fastest and never beaten steam car so far. They reached a speed of 205 km/h with it. At the moment, some english steam scientists try to break this old record. You cam find more Information about this on the homepage of the British Steam Car Challenge
Many steam cars were built to be utilized in agriculture. Even today some of them are still working. Steam fans often meet in England at steam car meetings, where they present their devices to interested people. Have a look at the link collection of the "Steam Fair" at the bottom of this page.
Special collection of links about steam force in agriculture: Harrolds' Antique Tractor and Engine Links.
Conrad Matschoss - Die Entwicklung der Dampfmaschine
Richard v. Frankenberg / Marco Matteucci - Geschichte des Automobils
Robert H. Thurston - The growth of the steam-engine (online)
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