Horse power becomes a ghost section

Museo nazionale dell'Automobile Torino2011

MAUTO - Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile,Torino

MAUTO - Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile,Torino
Turin, Italy

IT LOOKS LIKECINDERELLA’S COACH, AND YET IT ISN’T: it conceals something far more magic. The magic of a vehicle capable of moving on its own, with the horse replaced by a mechanical heart - the engine. In this case, we see a steam engine, made in 1854 by Turin-born Captain Virginio Bordino (1804-1879) of the Italian Engineer Corps. After a long stay in England, where he studied mechanical locomotion, he returned home and, determined to amuse his gravely ill daughter, he designed two steam-powered vehicles - a threewheel calash and an elegant carriage with a landau body, which has survived to this day. Between 1854 and 1865, this huge vehicle, which consumed 30 kilograms of carbon coke per hour, could be seen travelling around Turin at a top “speed” of 8 km/h, but only on the flat. It was one of the most ingenious attempts to harness steam power - which until that time had been used for industrial purposes or on the railways - for private transport. However, it immediately revealed all the limitations of steam when used on the small scale, for the vehicle was slow, heavy, cumbersome and hard to handle, as well as consuming huge amounts of fuel.


  • Title: Horse power becomes a ghost section
  • Creator: Museo nazionale dell'Automobile Torino
  • Date Created: 2011
  • Location: Italy

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