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Taylor Steam Buggy

Model Year: 1867

Location of Manufacture: Stanstead, Quebec

In 1864, Henry Seth Taylor – a jeweller and watchmaker by trade – saw a steam car, built by American Sylvester Roper, when it was displayed in Stanstead as part of a travelling circus. By then, Taylor had already begun to design his own steam car. With the assistance of local workers, construction is believed to have begun in 1865. His car was unveiled at the Stanstead fall fair of 1867.

The car, which weighed only 227 kg (500 lbs), was capable of speeds of up to 24 kph (15 mph). Speed was controlled by a hand throttle, rather than a gas pedal. A horizontal bar called a tiller controlled the car’s direction. The energy needed to move the car came from a coal-fired, steam boiler, able to withstand 60 lbs of pressure.

The one thing missing from the car were the brakes! Taylor crashed the car after losing control while going down a hill. He abandoned the car and it remained in his family’s barn until 1959 when it was sold to an American antique car collector, Richard Stewart. Stewart oversaw the restoration of the car, based on photographs taken in 1867.

The car returned permanently to Canada in 1984 when it was acquired by the Canada Science and Technology Museum.