Bray’s traction engine

#Picture Number TR150

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Victorian illustration to download showing Bray’s traction engine being demonstrated in the streets of London, 1858. With a steersman in front and a stoker and brake man behind, the steam engine hauls a heavy load. Wiliam Bray (c1813-80) founded Bray’s Traction Engine Co. The development of traction engines in the 1850s and 60s revolutionised road haulage in the Victorian era. The Illustrated London News of 14 August 1858 points out that heavy loads ‘had to be drawn by ten, twelve, fourteen and sometimes sixteen horses. Now, here is a motive force, occupying no more room than a van … performing the same work with an economy of space most desirable in crowded thoroughfares’.