Sentinel Standard steam wagon, 1917.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Steam wagons 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. The Sentinel was the most succesful type of undertype steam wagon, more than 8000 being produced from 1906 to 1950. The Standard type was in production from 1906 to 1923 and carried a payload of 5/6 ton. This particular wagon was purchased new in 1917 by the Brown Bayley Steel Company of Sheffield with whom it was still working in 1965.