In its glory, the traction engine was an impressive machine. Powerful and versatile, in its potential seemed endless and it was adapted to many tasks, from ploughing fields to lighting fairgrounds. It is doubtful that we shall ever see machines... Read moreRead less
In its glory, the traction engine was an impressive machine. Powerful and versatile, in its potential seemed endless and it was adapted to many tasks, from ploughing fields to lighting fairgrounds. It is doubtful that we shall ever see machines that combine such beautiful simplicity, elegant decoration and massive strength again. This book celebrates these giants of a bygone age, offering an in-depth and lively study of the development of the traction engine, and an exploration of the political, commercial and technological context in which it evolved.
The development of steam power is charted from its beginnings two centuries ago, following its progression throughout America and Europe as technology responded to the demands of the Industrial Revolution. Agriculture reaped the first benefits of the new technology, but soon these mighty giants were being used for heavy-duty haulage, passenger services and road buildings. Colourful accounts of the spectacular journeys these machines made are recounted here, along with evocative descriptions of the unremittingly hard lives of the drivers and engineers. It is perhaps, however, in the fairground that the traction engine’s particular appeal lies, where it brought the possibility of lights, music and increasingly exciting rides. The colours, noises and atmosphere of the fairground are recreated here, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the snowmen, who exploited the endless diversity of the traction engine, is applauded.
The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with over 100 photographs, creating a work that offers both a celebration of the efforts of those who rebuild and restore the old engines today, and a hopeful glance towards the future for steam power. As engineers search for new applications for this proven technology, perhaps we can look forward to the day when steam power will find a use once more, and when we might hear the hissing of valves and cylinders, as the elemental forces of fire and water are harnessed once again.
Format: 240 x 180mm
Word count: 40,000
Illustrations: 100 colour photographs
There is no Amber trade edition currently available.