The Atkinson & Co. held an agency for the Sentinel steam wagon, then made in Glasgow. With the transfer of its production to Shrewsbury Atkinson lost the agency and in 1916 decided to build its own 6-ton steamers based on its knowledge of Sentinels, and strongly resembling them.
The steam wagon used the American invented double-acting Uniflow type of twin-cylinder engine. The steam from the vertical cross water tube boiler was admitted to the cylinders via ball valves at one end and exhausted through ports in the other end of the cylinders. Plenty of torque made the fitment of a gearbox unnecessary, though some had two-speed epicycle gearing.
In mid 1920s Edward Atkinson decided to seek help from mine engineers and Pagefield lorry makers, Walker Bros. of Wigan. This company made Uniflow engines in their steam winch department but very few orders were forthcoming.
In 1929 Edward abandoned steam wagon production after a grand total of about 325 Atkinsons had been built. Near the end of production Atkinson & Co. made 3 axle 10-ton steam wagons, which could reach up to 12 miles per hour.