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Grenville Steam Carriage

On Display

This unique vehicle represents the pre-history of motoring and is believed to be the oldest self-propelled passenger-carrying road vehicle still in working order.

In the 1870s Robert Neville Grenville developed this steam carriage, with assistance from his friend, railway engineer George Jackson Churchward. The vehicle has a steel chassis with mahogany lagged vertical water tube boiler, as used on period fire engines. The original single-cylinder engine was replaced by a two-cylinder unit after the first trials. The carriage was capable of around 15 – 18mph.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries a number of inventors experimented with steam powered road vehicles. The poor state of the roads did little to encourage development, although steam technology revolutionised transport when it was applied to railways and shipping. A number of engineers continued to experiment with steam powered road carriages whilst heavy traction engines were developed for agricultural and industrial use.

Year1875
CountryBritish
Capacityna
Cylindersna
Valvesna
OutputNot recorded
Performance18mph
Price newna
ManufacturerRobert Neville Grenville
OwnerNational Motor Museum Trust

 

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