FOONOTES On Steam History

| January/February 1990

We believe that steam traction engine collectors are interested in all historic applications of steam, whether the efforts proved successful or not.

With that in mind, we offer a few findings toward a time when we can put them all together for an interesting volume on steam.

In London, England, we recently saw a handsomely fabricated vehicle, metal and wood with an appropriate gauge, in an exhibit on the Heritage of England which presented many other displays.

This one was a three-wheeled steam tricycle called 'The Craigievar Express', dated 1895. It was a machine built by the local postman, Postie Lawson, to help him get around for his deliveries. It has modern descendants in the three-wheel motor carriers now used by some post persons of the U. S. Postal Service.

The tricycle, in excellent condition, is owned by the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford, Aberdeenshire. It was on loan to the exhibit we saw, at the British Museum. Postcards were available.

On another aspect of transportation with steam supplying the power, let's turn to aviation. The world is so accustomed to the fact that the Wright brothers depended on a gas engine, that it may seem strange to recall that steam had been considered for aerial flight by prior inventors.