I found the following story on an episode of QI (series N, episode “Non-Sequiturs”).
In 1868 in Newark, New Jersey, inventors Isaac Grass and (the amazingly named) Zadoc P. Dederick created something that could–in theory–replace horses to pull carriages. What they came up with was the Newark Steam Man:
SEND HIS TIN ASS BACK TO HELL
It worked by opening his jacket and putting coal in his chest which, when fired, would vent smoke out of his top hat and cigarette.
As you can imagine, it was quite the novelty for the public. However, these automatons could not be produced cheaply enough to catch on and replace horses.
In 1893, the idea was revamped by Canadian inventor George Moore who, bizarrely, made the original idea worse. It was the exact same principle as Grass and Dederick’s invention, except Moore’s robot could only move if it was attached to a pole in the ground . . . so it could only walk in a circle, being ultimately a useless machine.