Léon Serpollet built his first steam powered vehicle at the age of 18.
In 1889 Serpollet joined in partnership with Frank Gardner, a wealthy American. Gardner had many influential friends, including the Shah of Persia. This meant they had a ready market for their cars.
Early steam cars had coke-fired flash boilers. The man who fed the boiler was called the chauffeur, which is French for stoker. It was Serpollet who introduced the name of chauffeur for the man who looked after the car.
Gardner-Serpollet Steam Car, 1901 can be viewed at Streetlife Museum