Trucks and cars have a common ancestor: the steam-powered fardier Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built in 1769. However, steam wagons were not common until the mid-1800s. The roads of the time, built for horse and carriages, limited these vehicles to very short hauls, usually from a factory to the nearest railway station. The first semi-trailer appeared in 1881, towed by a steam tractor manufactured by De Dion-Bouton.
Steam-powered wagons were sold in France and the United States until the eve of World War I, and 1935 in the United Kingdom, when a change in road tax rules made them uneconomic against the new diesel lorries.
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