Serpollet Steam Carriage
See Leon Serpollet
1891 Report. 
The steam carriage was born with the railway locomotive and yet it has not yet got out of its swaddling clothes. The reason is twofold, legislative and physical; though the latter element is largely dependent on the former. If the law did not veto all efforts to introduce steam on common roads no doubt safe and practical steam carriages would be common objects of the highway at the present time; so common that the most frisky and ill-broken horses would not regard them with alarm.
The soundness of this statement is strongly supported by the latest example of steam carriage introduced into this country, which comes to us from France, and which we introduce in Figs. 1, 2, and 3 on the present page. This is the steam plueton of M. Serpollet, of Paris, upon which we had the pleasure of making a very short trip a few days ago, and which is being introduced into this country by M. J. Pierson, of the firm of J. and O. C. Pierson, of 103, Rue La Fayette, Paris, but who is now residing at the Royal Hotel, Blackfriars.
The exigencies of the English law confined our excursion to the limits of Messrs. Bryan Donkin and Sons’ works at Bermondsey, but though we lost an exhibition of speed, which averages 16 to 18 miles an hour, the very remarkable manoeuvring properties of the carriage were most strikingly brought forward.
The illustrations we now publish give a good idea of the carriage itself and the general arrangement. Later on we hope to give more detailed drawings of the motive machinery, and will therefore coniine ourselves for the present to an outline description. The carriage takes the form of a mail phzeton. The boiler is of the Serpollet type, and consists of three rings of flattened steel or iron tube. The engines possess no special features of'novelty. The pro¬ducts of combustion and exhaust steam are carried out at the rear as shown. The exhaust is super¬heated before it escapes so that it is invisible.
In France the prejudices of the authorities against steam on the road have been overcome, and there are several of these carriages in ordinary use in Paris and elsewhere. The speed is, however, restricted to ten miles an hour in the city. The experience is that horses are not frightened at all, as indeed there is no reason they should be. Some horses will shy at anything, others have their pet aversions; but these are ill-broken animals that are a far greater danger to the public than any number of steam carriages. It is, of course, unnecessary to point out to engineers that a decently designed steam carriage is far more under control than a horse-drawn vehicle, both in the matter of turning, stopping, and starting. The gain in space would also be enormous could mechanical appliances take the place of horse traction. In spite of this we have not much hope that the two gallant Frenchmen who are attempting the task will be able to move our authorities. We do so hate anything that is new and strange in this country.
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