In the nineteenth century, it became obvious that the UK's road system needed to be improved. Smoother roads were required to allow people to travel faster and more safely, and the engineers went to work to make this possible. In this book, author Anthony Coulls looks at one of the best known ways of doing this: the road roller.
The first road rollers were horse-drawn and these were followed in 1865 by the steam-powered road roller, which was seen on British roads for more than a century. Aveling & Porter of Rochester was the firm that dominated the steam roller market, although several other manufacturers made plenty. As technology improved, rollers began to get lighter and new forms of propulsion came in - petrol and diesel engines. Even though a road roller today will be one of these more modern types, the term `steam roller' is a firm part of the public's imagination. The appeal of the steam roller means that hundreds survive to this day in the hands of enthusiasts, who take them to steam rallies up and down the country, and petrol and diesel rollers have great appeal too.
This book is part of the Britain's Heritage series, which provides definitive introductions to the riches of Britain's past, and is the perfect way to get acquainted with road rollers in all their variety.
Anthony Coulls is Chairman of the National Traction Engine Trust and Senior Curator of Rail Transport and Technology at the National Railway Museum, York. The author of several books and articles, he lives in County Durham with his family and his Steam Roller.