Horizontal semi-portable steam engine, 1881.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The idea of a portable steam engine became practicable with the introduction of high-presure non-condensing engines, pioneered by the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) in 1802. This type of engine was quite easily transported (being self-contained) and needed practically no foundations. However, not being mounted on wheels it was intended for more permanent situations than the fully portable engine. Plate from 'Stationary engine driving: a practical manual for engineers in charge of stationary engines' by Michael Reynolds, published in London in 1881.