The Mechanical Horse was a very simple and sturdy vehicle constructed on a steel channel frame with a cab made of wood, the early versions having canvas doors. It came in two sizes, capable of carrying loads of 3-ton and six ton. The vehicles were very manoeuvrable and had a road speed of about 20 mph and could do between 10 and 20 mpg. They were used by quite a number of companies including the armed forces where they were used in stores and on aircraft carriers as well as with railway companies. Pickfords was founded in the 17th century as a road construction haulier, moving rocks for the repair of turnpikes and other roads. In the 19th century, it operated wagons on other companies railways, but this was contentious, and eventually this service was eliminated. In the 20th century it entered the freight industry using motorised trucks. The company was taken over by the railways in 1934, and nationalised in 1947.