A Steam Carriage

by Edward Graf
 Short Sketches on Passaic County History, 1935

In England from 1830 to 1841 several attempts to establish steam carriages were made, but they were all unsuccessful.  Later several types of steam carriages to operate on the common roads and some especially built for crossing the plains of the west were the product of our Paterson machine shops.  One of the first of these carriages was built for J. K. Fisher, the inventor and the preserving advocate of steam locomotion on common roads.  In April 1859, after four months of work, Danforth, Cooke & Co., were about finished with Mr. Fisher’s carriage.

It was not till the night of May 23, 1859, that the carriage was moved out of the shop and went as far as Congress Hall where it ran foul of an awning post with out damage.  Arrangements for the test were not quite complete but Mr. Fisher wanted the change to observe how it worked on the road.  It was turned around and pushed back to the shop.

After being provided with a new boiler, on Saturday, August 20, 1859, a short trip was made through some of the streets of Paterson.  Along Market street it attained a speed of ten miles an hour and climbed moderate grades without difficulty and its performance declared satisfactory.  It was again moved from the shop on September 6, 1859, steamed up and went to Acquackannock on the common road.  Twelve passengers were aboard and traveled on a level fifteen miles an hour.  One mile was run in three minutes.  Returning they came through Straight street over Sandy Hill and down Broadway and went up Main street, just as the Continentals were returning.  A large crowd was astonished at the performance of the steam carriage, which, Mr. Fisher said, although proving highly satisfactory, was not quite finished.