'Cheap or rapid or convenient road transport for man and goods is one of the most important of all contributions to national comfort and prosperity.' An early evangelist for the automobile, William Worby Beaumont (1848-1929) drew on his engineering background to produce the first volume of this work in 1900, when motor vehicles were still relatively new to British roads. Rapid developments in the automotive industry prompted the publication of a second volume in 1906. Replete with technical drawings and photographs, the work describes in great detail the design, construction and operation of the earliest motor vehicles, including those powered by steam, electricity and fuels derived from oil. Volume 1 traces the development of the automobile, from various attempts to produce steam vehicles light enough to run on roads through to the advances of Daimler and Benz. It also includes an overview of attempts to harness electrical power to propel road vehicles.