The Lombard steam log hauler is legendary among steam enthusiasts. Patented in 1901, it was the first successful commercial use of a continuous track for vehicle propulsion; in the parlance of the time, it did the work of about 20 horses.
The Lombard was built by Alvin Orlando Lombard, a sawyer and blacksmith whose invention was the precursor to tanks, snowmobiles, tractors, bulldozers, and many track-propelled machines. Lombard was even honored for his contribution to over-snow travel with the naming of an Antarctic mountain, Mount Lombard, in his honor.
Like many of the mechanical contraptions at the time, the Lombard steam log hauler was dangerous! The haulers had great difficulty traveling downhill over ice and slick terrain, and the multiple hauled sleds would often cause jack-knifing. Four men would operate the hauler: an engineer, a fireman, a conductor, and a daring steersman who was seated outside atop the hauler and occasionally had to jump free of it when trouble arose.
Students at the University of Maine did an excellent restoration of a 1910 Lombard. Here's this beautiful beast's first run in the snow:
And here's a long montage of the entire restoration process:
More: The University of Maine - Mechanical Engineering Technology - 2014 – Lombard Steam Log Hauler Restoration