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Taylor Steam Buggy

Model Year: 1867

Location of Manufacture: Stanstead, Quebec

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Taylor Steam Buggy

Henry Seth Taylor loved to build things. Born in Stanstead in 1833, he loved to experiment with different machines. In his lifetime, he is known to have created many inventions, including the very first sofa-bed, and a precursor to the talking machine. However, Mr. Taylor’s main claim to fame is to have built the first steam car in Canada, which he unveiled at the Stanstead Exhibition of 1867. Other self-propelled automobiles already existed at the time Mr. Taylor displayed his model for public view.

In France, for instance, Joseph Cugnot had built a rather heavy three-wheeled vehicle in 1789, which carried a large steam boiler at its front, and could attain a maximum speed of 5 km\h. More recently, in the 1860’s, American Sylvester Roper had built many four wheeled horseless carriages. One day, Mr. Taylor and his automobile were involved in what could be described as the very first car accident in Canadian history. As he was making his way down a particularly steep hill, his vehicle started to take on speed and began swerving uncontrollably, crashing at the bottom of the hill. Thankfully, Mr. Taylor, who hadn’t thought of installing breaks on the car, jumped out of it just before the crash. The car was a total loss. Frustrated, the inventor abandoned the idea, and turned his efforts to building a steam yacht.

After recovering the steam boiler for his new yacht, Mr. Taylor stored his car away in the barn. Upon the death of Henry Seth Taylor, in 1887, the invention had long been forgotten. Over one hundred years later, the car was discovered and brought to the United States. Once restored and equipped with proper brakes, it was returned to Canada, where it is now owned by the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology.

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Automobile 2010
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