Sentinel steam wagon, 1923.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:8). Steam wagons or lorries for carrying freight were very succesful, primarily due to their low running costs, which enabled them to survive the arrival of petrol driven lorries in the early 20th century. However, this changed in Britain in the 1920s, when the introduction of a new regime of road taxes based on the unladen weight of a vehicle put steam wagons at a serious disadvantage compared to the lighter petrol lorries. Sentinel steam wagons were originally built in Glasgow by Alley & Mcleland before a factory was established in Shrewsbury in 1916. They had an excellent reputation, and were able to carry sufficient water for journeys of 40 to 60 miles.