'The Progres of Steam', 1829.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured etching by Henry Thomas Alken, published by S & J Fuller of London, satirising steam-powered transport. It shows a dandified gentleman driving a steam-powered three-wheeled contraption which is covering two flamboyantly dresed women in exhaust fumes. At this time steam-powered travel still remained an unreliable fad to most people. When Sir Goldsworthy Gurney introduced steam-powered pasenger coaching services in the 1820s, it was very much in the interests of the powerful horse-drawn coach operators to encourage this negative view of steam propulsion. By placing physical obstructions on the roads and persuading the government to impose heavy tolls they drove the steam coach operators out of busines.