Steam’s Last Gasp

Reblogging this post about the end of steam technology’s development. There would be more steam locomotives built, and steam would continue to be used in power plants, but nobody would try to make steam work in airplanes anymore.

The Arts Mechanical

By the 1930’s steam power for transportation was looking at the road to obsolescence. People were still experimenting with it and trying to get the efficiencies up, but with the Diesel and gasoline engines being improved so quickly and so much money was being invested it was obvious where things were going.  Frankly I think that only the Great Depression and World War 2 kept diesel road locomotive from taking over until after the war.  To say nothing of electrification.  So here are some videos of steam technology at it’s limits more or less. Henry Bessler  was an industrialist who was a steam advocate and built several remarkable vehicles including:

A steam airplane:

A steam car:

A self propelled railcar with a Budd body:

And the largest project, converting two New Haven RR passenger cars for the Waterbury  dink, a service that has seen some exotic equipment over the decades and is still run by Metro North:

The Bessler…

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One comment

  1. davidelang · February 8

    California did a pretty extensive series of tests in the ’70s on steam cars and buses. those tests showed what modern steam designs could do and how much more fuel efficient they could be than conventional gas vehicles (not to mention far more flexible in their fuel). External combustion also produces far less pollution (a lot of the pollution of internal combustion engines is caused by not having enough air to fully burn the fuel)

    Like

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