By the mid-nineteenth century the steamroller was crying out to be invented. To compact a macadamised road the limit of effort available was a 5-ton roller drawn by 6 horses; a bigger team, even if efficiently controllable, would do more damage to the surface than could be repaired by the roller. The steamroller pictured was manufactured by Aveling and Porter, and is shown at work in Hyde Park, London. The engine was of 12 hp and the rollers were 3 feet broad and 7 feet in diameter, bearing with a weight of 3 tons on each square foot of road. The illustration appeared in the Illustrated London News, 15 December 1866.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library