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Before the advent of diesel engines, on of the main applications of steam power on the roads was the steamroller – a heavy-duty vehicle that had to be capable of moving a great weight (to compress the road surface), slowly and steadily.

Although steam power tended to involve heavy castings and machinery, switching to diesel power to reduce weight wasn't as much of an advantage for a road-roller as, say, a lorry, because a road-roller needed to be heavy in order to do its job.

As a result, the steamroller was one of the last steam-powered roadgoing vehicles (along with fairground traction engines) that people remember being in regular use.


The first proper commercial steamroller seems to have been launched in the mid-1860s by Aveling & Porter, after which a number of British companies started producing steamrollers, including John Fowler & Co., Marshall, Sons & Co., and Wallis & Steevens. Steamrollers tended to have the same basic body and roof design as traction engines, although the rear wheel designs were different for steamrollers and agricultural traction engines (which tended to have raised angled tread strips to allow them to work in muddy fields).

See also:

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Media in category ‘Steamrollers’

The following 22 files are in this category, out of 22 total.