Chasis of Gardner-Serpollet steam car, 1903.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Shown with condenser fittings. In the early 1900s, an American named Frank Gardner collaborated with Leon Serpollet, a well-known French engineer, in setting up a factory to produce steam cars. Serpollet had devised an oil-fired multi-tube flash boiler in 1888, which raised steam relatively quickly by means of immediate evaporation via heated tubes. Serpollet's invention was succesful enough that he was able to break the world land speed record in 1902 driving a steam-powered car known as the 'oeuf de Paques' (Easter Egg) at 75.06 mph at Nice. Gardner and Serpollet's cars were built in six and eight-cylinder versions until 1907, when Serpollet's death and the growing popularity of petrol-engined cars brought an end to the venture.