From the velocipede (pictured above) to buses, vehicles powered by steam were being beta-tested throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The results were pretty weird, and hint at a steam-powered future that never happened.
The Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede from 1867-1869
A small steam engine was attached to a velocipede – it was the first motorcycle.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
A Sentinel Steam Bus, built by the British Sentinel Waggon Works Ltd. in the 1920s
(via John Burke/Flickr)
Steam trucks and tractors from the early 20th century
The colorful steam trucks and tractors were common in the first years of the 20th century.
(via monoblog.su, Hanks Truck Pictures, Nick's Steam Page)
Woggle Bug, by Louis Ross, 1904
The twin-engines (by Stanley Steamer) weren't syncronized, so the driver, Louis Ross himself had to operate two throttles simultaneously.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
Hornsby chain tractor from 1905
The world's first fully-tracked vehicle was built in the first years of the 20th Century. Later the company has sold its patent rights of the "chain track" to the American Holt Tractor Co., which is now called Caterpillar.
(via Ray Hooley's Ruston-Hornsby Engine Pages)
Steam Wheel Tank, 1916-1917
The three-wheeled steam tank with a Doble 2-cylinder 75 hp steam engine was built by the Holt Manufacturing Company (now Caterpillar), based on the British "Big Wheel" Landship concept. Only one prototípe was built.
(via Wikimedia Commons and WWI Artwork)
Steam car for the children – the Olds' Mobile, 1930
(via Modern Mechanics/Feb. 1930)
The Besler steam biplane prototype, 1933
The biplane based on a Travel Air 2000 flew several times at Oakland airport in 1933. Had a two-cylinder, 150 hp Doble engine.
(via Stewart Archive and Wow! Really?)
Chevrolet Chevelle SE-124, 1969
In 1969, the company developed a concept vehicle with a 50hp Bresler steam engine, which was based on the 1920 Dober steam engine concept. The original small block Chevy 305 engine was sawed in half to make place to the boiler and the other new parts. The modified car had a two minute warm up time: it took 30 seconds to make steam and another 90 seconds to warm up the other parts.
This steam-propelled Batmobile-like car holds the World Land Speed Record for a steam powered vehicle with a 148 mph (239 km/h) record. It broke a 103 years old record. The Inspiration is powered by a two stage turbine, which receives the steam from 12 boilers full with distilled water.
(via British Steam Car)