A steamer was motorised road vehicle whose power plant was a steam engine. Steamers burned kerosene to heat water in a boiler which turned to steam and was used to propel the vehicle. If the vehicle was parked for a short period of time, the burner was left on at a low level in order to maintain steam pressure in the boiler. Otherwise, it was shut off and it required an 8-10 minute wait for pressure to build up before the steamer could be driven.
Steamers were a popular mode of personal transportation in the North American Union. They competed with electrics which were generally considered suitable for only in-town travel.
Some common brands of steamer, by nationality:
- British: Rolls, Supermarine
- French: Peugeot
- American: Washington, Wrightmobile, Lightning, Henry, Reliable, Morse