Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/421

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

but as coal was used for fuel and the engines were of large capacity, it is probable that the smoke, exhaust steam and noise of the machinery were decidedly objectionable features. A line of these coaches was put in commission in Glasgow in 1846, each one having a seating capacity of twenty-six, six inside and twenty on the top. After several months of successful operation, the line was withdrawn on account of the opposition of the authorities and of the general public.

These few examples of the early attempts to solve the problem of mechanical propulsion of vehicles are sufficient to show that the automobile is not entirely a creation of the progressive mind of the latter part of the nineteenth century, but thai it engrossed the attention

PSM V57 D421 Dr church steam coach on the road.png
Fig. Dr. Church's steam Coach on the Road.

of inventors more than one hundred and thirty years ago. The success attained by the workers in this field at different periods was directly in proportion to the degree to which the form of power used had been perfected at the time. The first inventors attained but slight success, owing to the fact that, in their time, the steam engine was in a crude form, but as the construction of the latter improved, so did that of the vehicles operated by it.

Before the days of steam, the power of wind mills was utilized to propel vehicles, and with such success that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries wind-propelled wagons or 'Charvolants,' as they were called, were very numerous upon the flat plains of the Netherlands.