The first road rollers machine were horse-drawn, and were probably just borrowed farm implements.
Since the effectiveness of a roller depends to a large extent on its weight, self-powered vehicles replaced horse-drawn rollers from the mid 1800s. The first such vehicles were steam rollers. The earliest steam rollers were made in France in 1860. In England, a roller for use in India was built in 1863 and Thomas Aveling produced his first rollers in 1865. Experiments continued in England, France and the U.S.A. and by 1880, the familiar three-wheel form of steam roller had evolved. Many traction engine builders later took up roller manufacture, so similar were the products. Many rollers were directly owned by councils or contractors but there were also those bought by firms who hired them out. The first recorded hire of a steam roller dates back to 1865 in Paris and hiring grew to great proportions in England, giving rise to such large firms as Eddison's, Allen's and Buncombe's but always including smaller firms and owner-drivers. Throughout the 1930s, steam roller manufacture declined but did not die out in England until 1950 when some were supplied to India. Usage continued on a limited scale in some parts of the U.K. until the mid 1960s.
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