Although the steam engine in its various forms and applications certainly drove the industrial revolution, we must not forget that older forms of power — that provided by horses and men — persisted for a surprisingly long time. The photographs that Dick Sullivan includes in Navvyman, his study of the men who built so much of England's industrial infrastructure, reveals how long ancient forms of power performed many tasks that today machines, such as backhoes, front diggers, and bulldozers, and diesel versions of steamshovels, would do.

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images and captions.

Men digging

Wheels and human motive power

Horses and men

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Last modified 16 June 2010