When steam power was young, over a century ago, men speculated
in many ways on the manners in which steam could be used.
Some of the ideas were proven to be practical. Many others were
shown to be nothing but wild dreaming.
Artists had a particularly happy hey day dreaming up ideas. As a
Briggs, in his book ‘The Power of Steam’, comments that
‘Among terse engineering prose and mechanical diagrams, cherubs
fire to the moon on chariots of fire, babies rocked in patent steam
cradles, steam cannon were fired and bottoms were burnt by steam
from boiling kettles’.
Briggs reproduces drawings of cherubs operating fantastic steam
Odd ideas kept popping up for years. These included bicycles,
steam flying machines and even a steam car which had a fake
horse’s head on it (so real horses would not be
IMA has a number of steel engravings of early inventions
available, often in books which tell the history. If you are
interested in seeing more on this, let us know.