'Locomotion Plate 2nd', c 1835.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured engraving by Shortshanks after a drawing by Robert Seymour, published by Thomas McLean of 26 Haymarket, London. A satirical sketch describing the perils of steam-powered transport inscribed: 'A few small inconveniences. There's nothing perfect'. Steam-powered road transport was first attempted by Nicholas Joseph Cugnot, a French military engineer, who constructed a form of steam carriage in 1770. The French government were sufficiently impresed to order a version to be constructed for the transportation of artillery. By the 1830s steam pasenger carriages had been succesfully introduced on Britain's roads, but were driven out of busines by the powerful operators of horse-drawn pasenger coaching services.