From Trevithick to Sentinel: 150 Years of Design and Development
Author: Anthony Burton
Publisher: Pen & Sword Transport
This is the story of how for more than a hundred years steam power played a vital role in the development of road transport. It all began with tentative attempts to build steam carriages by pioneers such as Cugnot in France and Trevithick in Britain, and in the early part of the nineteenth century there were significant attempts to develop steam carriages and omnibuses. That these attempts ultimately failed was largely due to opposition by road authorities and draconian legislation. Steam power did, however, find a real purpose in agriculture, where the traction engine was used for a variety of tasks from towing and working threshing machines, to ploughing. Once the value of the traction engine had been established, it soon found a use in many parts of the world for heavy haulage work and appeared in an exotic guise as the showman's engine. The latter was not only used to haul rides to fairgrounds but also powered a dynamo that could light up the fair at night. By the end of the nineteenth century, steam on the road took on a new life with the development of steam cars and trucks. For a time they vied the new internal combustion engine for supremacy on the road. The American Doble Company even developed a 100mph steam sports car. Ultimately steam lost the war, but steam vehicles survive and delight us still thanks to enthusiastic owners and restorers.
Goldsworthy Gurney trained as a surgeon in Cornwall but moved to London in 1820 to participate in the chemistry revolution led by Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday. Successful as an inventor of laboratory equipment, lighting fixtures, and ventilating systems, he failed to convert his pioneering designs for steam locomotion into commercial success. His career illuminates the social and scientific communities that flourished alongside or under the shadow of Davy, Faraday, and Stephenson.
My initial interest in the Yates lineage and Fred C. Yates specifically, began at an early age when my mother, Edith Jane (Yates) Riffe, introduced me to the shoebox. I have always thought of it as a shoebox, because it is about that size, but it is actually more of an all purpose box. Mother kept her most prized possessions in it, letters from her father, Fred C. Yates, and a handful of notebooks and documents that had been passed down from him.
Most books about Britain's transport history have concentrated upon canals and railways. It is now clear that a great deal of traffic went by road even before turnpikes, and that goods as well as passenger services were much more highly developed than used to be supposed. This book is an important survey of road transport over the past three centuries. The authors summarise the new evidence and arguments and explain why we need to take a longer view of the subject. They shed new light on the importance of horse-drawn freight in the eighteenth century before the introduction of turnpikes, offset the undue attention paid to the railways in the nineteenth century, and stress that motor transport's present great importance only dates from the 1950s. A full bibliography is provided for more extended study.
Jack Hampshire grew up in the early years of the 20th Century in Sussex, where his father owned a threshing and haulage business. From an early age he was looking after steam traction engines, and driving them on the road when barely in his teens. This is his memoirs of this time in his life, which lasted until the firm shut in 1928, and is an almost unique telling of what it was really like to work with road steam on a commercial basis.
The Transportation Experience explores the historical evolution of transportation modes and technologies. The book traces how systems are innovated, planned and adapted, deployed and expanded, and reach maturity, where they may either be maintained in a polished obsolesce often propped up by subsidies, be displaced by competitors, or be reorganized and renewed. An array of examples supports the idea that modern policies are built from past experiences. William Garrison and David Levinson assert that the planning (and control) of nonlinear, unstable processes is today's central transportation problem, and that this is universal and true of all modes. Modes are similar, in that they all have a triad structure of network, vehicles, and operations; but this framework counters conventional wisdom. Most think of each mode as having a unique history and status, and each is regarded as the private playground of experts and agencies holding unique knowledge, operating in isolated silos. However, this book argues that while modes have an appearance of uniqueness, the same patterns repeat: systems policies, structures, and behaviors are a generic design on varying modal cloth. In the end, the illusion of uniqueness proves to be myopic. While it is true that knowledge has accumulated from past experiences, the heavy hand of these experiences places boundaries on current knowledge; especially on the ways professionals define problems and think about processes. The Transportation Experience provides perspective for the collections of models and techniques that are the essence of transportation science, and also expands the boundaries of current knowledge of the field.
Britains favourite steeplejack and industrial enthusiastic, the late Fred Dibnah, takes us back to the 18th century when the invention of the steam engine gave an enormous impetus to the development of machinery of all types. He reveals how the steam engine provided the first practical means of generating power from heat to augment the old sources of power (from muscle, wind and water) and provided the main source of power for the Industrial Revolution. In Fred Dibnahs Age of Steam Fred shares his passion for steam and meets some of the characters who devote their lives to finding, preserving and restoring steam locomotives, traction engines and stationary engines, mill workings and pumps. Combined with this will be the stories of central figures of the time, including James Watts - inventor of the steam engine - and Richard Trevithick who played a key role in the expansion of industrial Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries.