Transport - Steam Engines and machines

Steam Power

In the middle of the 1820s the great era of road steamers began. They were the first serious challenge to horse-drawn vehicles. However, railway development and heavy tolls ended their development as a viable means of transport.

The final blow came when the Locomotive Act of 1865 restricted all mechanical road vehicles to a speed of 4 mph on country roads and 2 mph in towns; there had to be 3 persons in charge of the machine and a man with a red flag had to walk in front of it.

This law held up the development of other road machines - including cars - in Great Britain. However steam was used in working vehicles, in the steam rollers which worked on the county's roads, and in traction engines.


The Pride of Pembroke

The firms of J & A Stephens, and later Colleys, used steam rollers and constructed many of Pembrokeshire's roads.

Steam Lorries

Miss Joyce Colley reported that in the late 1920s her family firm employed steam lorries. Before this date horses were used; but in 1927 a Foden steam lorry (no photo available) was purchased, and gradually horses were replaced.

Below is a photo of a steam lorry used by J & A Stephens, parked by their East Back works.