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A showman’s engine or road locomotive is a steam-powered, road-going vehicle designed to provide power and transport for a travelling fair or circus.
Similar to other steam-powered, traction engines, showman’s engines have a number of distinguishing features including a full-length canopy, a dynamo mounted in front of the chimney, brightly coloured paintwork and ornate decorations. Many were also fitted with rows of electric lamps to enhance their appearance at night.
The dynamo was used to generate electricity to illuminate and power various fairground rides.
The earliest showman’s engines were built in the late 19th century and production continued until the early 1930s.
This shot was taken at the 2010 Great Dorset Steam Fair, at Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford, Dorset, England.
Date: 4th September 2010.