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About Locomobile

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    Dearborn, Michigan
  • Interests:
    Steam carriages

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  1. I was at the Henry Ford Museum yesterday, I didn't see the old 16 there. They are rearranging everything in there and I spoke with one of the museum people and they are putting in a big race car exhibit. So hopefully it will be displayed with that. The guy said they have more stuff in storage than they have on display. I have been to Old Car Festival the last two years and I haven't seen it out in the village either. I know a guy that works with the museum, a retired curator. and I will ask him about it. I asked him about the steam cylinders (engines) off of the recently dismantled Suhwannee steamboat, he replied , yes, they are in storage, I told him I wanted them, he replied "I'll put you on the list" -Ron
  2. Quote: "Riker was the lead engineer at Locomobile and was probably the "behind the scenes" designer of many of the early Locomobile automobiles." Andrew Riker did work with them, he was definitely one of the unsung hero's of that era. I keep seeing his name pop up. From what I can tell he started out building electric cars, then worked with Locomobile and Stanley on steam vehicles, and then went to work with Locomobile full on when they transitioned to gas engines and headed up their truck division. As I understand it, Whitney was their first head engineer in the steam era. Here is what an internet search just turned up: From this page: http://www.kcstudio.com/riker.html SAE's first president was Andrew L. Riker, an early pioneer of electric vehicles who later produced the Locomobile Company's first gasoline-powered car. Riker served as SAE president for three years, 1905 through 1907. Born in 1868, he produced his first electric car in 1894, using a pair of Remington bicycles as a base. Like the Columbia companies, which had several names and incantations during their run, the Riker companies had three names of incorporation plus two different home locations during their existence from 1896-1902. As listed in The Encyclopedia of American Automobiles published in 1971, these were Riker Electric Motor Company, Brooklyn, N Y. (l896-l899), Riker Electric Vehicle Company, Elizabethport, NJ (l899-l900), and Riker Motor Vehicle Company, Elizabethport, NJ (l90l-l902). The company became one of the country's leading manufacturers of electric vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans and trolleys. Rikers were combined and distributed with Columbias until the company was finally absorbed by Electric Vehicle Co and the brand ceased to be used for automobiles. Riker gained acclaim for his development of high-speed electric cars. In 1901, his electric-powered racer "The Riker Torpedo" set a world speed record for electric cars that stood for ten years. Five-ton electric trucks produced by the Riker Company were in use in New York City in the early 1900s. Riker became vice-president of the Locomobile Company in 1902, overseeing the firm's production of automobiles powered by two- and four-cylinder internal combustion engines. His design of the company's first gasoline-propelled car included many features which were largely unfamiliar to the American market, including a sliding gear transmission, steel frame, and gear-driven electric generator. In 1904, he designed a special 90-horespower racing car, and in 1908, he developed Locomobile's "Old 16," the first American car to win an international race (the Vanderbilt Cup). The victory boosted the reputation of American automotive engineering throughout the world. In the World War I era, Riker/Locomobile trucks were very popular, and heavily advertised in publications such as Scientific Americanand The Saturday Evening Post. Riker was appointed to the U.S. Naval Consulting Board in 1915, chairing the board's committee on internal combustion motors. Riker died in 1930. Three Riker electric vehicles, including a truck and a racer, are housed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The book Andrew L. Riker and The Electric Car - A Biography of the Young Riker by Neal Donovan, published by McPherson College Press in 2003, chronicles Riker's early experiments, his contributions to the fields of electricity and transportation, and his business dealings.
  3. I've been fighting the PC battle for many years and I can say with utmost certainty, Norton's has always been known for throwing "false positives". In other words, warning about threats that aren't. A better third party protection program is McAfee's. However, if one is running a 64 bit PC and Firefox browser, a third party virus protection isn't really needed unless one is being super careless, downloading unsafe freeware, clicking on attachments from unknown senders etc.Windows 64 bit has a really good built in firewall. If something starts acting flaky, run the free program "Malwarebytes" which will isolate and delete any unwanted registry keys, suspect cookies. I've been running like that for about ten years reading emails internet surfing and haven't had an issue in years. Here is a thread about Norton's and false positives. https://community.norton.com/en/forums/please-stop-throwing-false-positives -Ron
  4. Very old post, but a good question. I'll list the differences I can recall. The Style 1 was an 1899, the Style 2 came out in 1900 Differences: Stlye 1 center tiller steering Style 2 Side tiller steering Style 1 Mason model 70 engine Style 2 Locomobile designed their own engine with many upgrades Style 1 13" boiler Style 2 14" boiler Style 1 150 psi max pressure Style 2 250 psi max steam pressure, respectively, 3-1/2 horsepower and 6 horsepower Style 1 flat horseshoe bracing around the differential Style 2 round bar horseshoe bracing around differential Style 1 Single acting brake which only operated going forward Style 2 double acting brake which also operated in reverse. Style 1 25 1/2" body base width Style 2 28-1/2" body base width Style 1 51" wheeltread or stance Style 2 54" wheeltread. Style 1 Bolts through the lower rear springs Style 2 replaced these with U-bolts Style 1 Had no bracing in the lower rear axle tubes Style 2 angular cast in bracing was added Wheelbase was the same on both at 58". Same gear ratios, same springs, same wheels and tires. That is all the changes I can think of offhand. -Ron
  5. Twin6, Where is this Locomobile roster in which you referenced?? You don't happen to be Mike C? -Ron
  6. I've read it different ways, some people wrote that people did drive them routinely and others have written that in the early years they were mostly a novelty largely due to the poor roads. it depends which account you're reading. But they were capable vehicles, One Locomobile was driven from New York city to Buffalo, allegedly, first car to do so. Incidentally, the Locomobile was the first car to make it up mount Washington. Water was difficult to get, typically gotten form a horse trough or nearest stream. The public rejected the early autos and not many folks were helpful to the early motorist, some liveries believed that any trough that watered an auto would kill a horse. Many laws like the Red flag Act were passed to discourage would be motorists. In 1901 a Toledo Model B steamer was driven from Toledo to Hot Springs Arkansas in January - 1500 miles?, imagine that trip. I have found a few entries of their daily log and it gives a glimpse of early travel. The cold weather, rain, getting stuck, inhospitable folks that stole their camera at one stop in particular. Water consumption. Typical steamer- small coffin nosed Stanley will get about 1 mile per gallon of water. Just as with fuel, lighter car has lower consumption. My Loco runs about 1-1/4 miles per gallon. Steam Locomotives used around 50 gallons per mile. So, my Loco is good for about 30 miles on it's 26 gallons of water, and again just like fuel, drive it hard, it uses more water. That is why whistles on steam cars were very rare to non-existent, It's wasteful of water. And too, there was the dreaded unlawful startling of horses. Some cities had fines as high as 100 dollars per each runaway mile. The horse drawn industry was powerful in government. The "gong" was standard equipement which was a carriage bell as a signalling device, just a pleasant ding-dong bell tone that would unlikely startle animals. My understanding about the side tiller, it was introduced by Baker electric first, but I'm not too certain about that. Packard Model C was allegedly the first US car with a steering wheel. At speed with the tiller? Yeah it's a strange feeling driving with it. It drives really nice though. The Locomobile layout (the Whitney Motorette) was a brilliantly designed vehicle. All of the mass is central, like a mid engine, it steers and handles well, it's light, the engine is close to the boiler to mitigate thermal loss, the styling etc. Great design. I was just at the Henry Ford museum yesterday and having a look at the original 1864 Roper steam carriage, it's obvious to see that Whitney gleaned much of his vehicle wisdom from Roper for whom he had worked with. Quoted: Those signs mean business, no water, fuel, food, lodging...anything! Those circumstances would undoubtedly preclude the real use for the early Locomobile steam cars, but maybe could have found use with the later condensing model steam cars. Comments or thoughts please. "" Yes the non condensing cars were pretty much relegated to areas of available water. Even with a condensing car, it would be risky in an area like that. Hot weather, the condensers were far less effective. Yes, most of the cars seen today have been rebuilt to some degree, mine included. I called it a "replica" and was corrected by several car folks, that it's "rebuilt", not a replica. I used several original components and rebuilt the vehicle around them and it has a legal VIN number. There is a joke about the Stanley Vanderbilt cup race cars, of the two originally produced, twelve survive. There is a man named Mike Clark in the UK and he belongs to the Steam Car club of Great Britain and he supposedly has an up to date worldwide register of Locomobile steamers. I don't have any contact info fro him, you could ask through their website. -Ron
  7. It's highly doubtful it's a scam. Scammers try to get their victim to download files or click on links. He's simply asking for information he can download. If you receive a message with an attachment or a clickable link from someone you don't fully trust, don't click on it. Doing so may download a malicious threat or take you to a website with malicious code. Good protection is to use Mozilla Firefox for the browser, it is much more secure than Microsoft Internet explorer. Most attackers target explorer because that is what most people use. Firefox has many built in protections. It has an up to date database of malicious sites and will block them if inadvertently accessed. If you're using Windows XP (still) or Windows 7 32 bit on the internet, it's time to upgrade, those old systems were very un-secure with easily accessed ports. Move up to at least Windows 7 64 bit (newer computer with a 64 bit mother board). 64 bit PC running Firefox is pretty bullet proof. This guy just wants help. -Ron If you're running XP your PC is most likely 32 bit, if you're running Win7 and not sure if it's 32 or 64 bit, click on the globe Windows icon in the lower left of the screen and type in "dxdiag", it will list everything about your PC.
  8. I think this is the route I will go. Do you know if PPG offers that in an acrylic urethane? (I guess I could look it up on Google) My painting experience is limited, but I seem to get the best results with their paints. Not only applying it but it seems to help up really well. Thanks for the responses everyone. -Ron
  9. They had and used good oil early on, it was made from Pennsylvania crude, which was much higher quality than many of the oils available today. I still use it in my steamers. Expensive, but worth it. Granted, with the additives in modern oils, they may be better for a particular service, the oil itself is not better today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Grade_Crude_Oil -Ron
  10. Al, I seriously doubt there are any of these around. This is the only known (to me) photograph of one. Ya know, those were offered in 1900 and that was probably the first available commercially produced race car /sports car here in the US, may be in the world? Same here regarding the 70 mph on that racer, I had mine up to 40 on the GPS and at that speed it's scary. The engine no longer sounds like a piston engine, just a big steam leak, makes a whistling sound. Have you ever rode on a steam powered car? it's like nothing else. it's just smooth quiet torque, as one person put it, "it's like being pushed by the hand of God" It is a strange sensation. Mine will haul two big men and a few hundred pounds of water down the road with authority. Hard to understand how it does with it's half inch round piston rods, seems like they would break. But a steam engine will run forever, no explosion on TDC trying to destroy it. The little Mason engine, the one Locomobile used in 1899 had 3/8" brass piston rods. If it was an "Internal explosion" motor as they used to call I/C, it wouldn't run 5 minutes. -Ron
  11. Al, Not that I know of. There are a few originals around mostly for static display, and I've never personally seen one. Lots of pics around the internet. Then there are replicas running. I'm guessing they didn't sell all that many of them to begin with, the Style 2 spindle seat runabout was their big seller. They offered a motorcycle too, but some historians have written it is doubtful one was ever produced. They also sold the Locoracer, now those they did build and sell. It was essentially a Style 2 narrowed down to a single seat. It was reported that they would do around 70 mph, and there was some push to get a racing class going. I don't think it ever did - big time dangerous. I've studied the attached picture and it looks like it may have had a 1:1 ratio. The uncanny thing is how many of the engines are still around, everybody in the steamisphere either has one or more, knows where one or more is, or had one or more of them at one time. They produced around 5000, and apparently people over time thought they were unique enough to not let them be scrapped etc. -Ron Pic of a Locoracer:
  12. Yeah, you are exactly right, they did apply license numbers to vehicles, and it never occurred to me that it could be first in some city and was issued numeral 1. That is the reason I posted it, to see if you guys had any ideas on it. It is chassis number 149 and I've never found an approximate number of vehicles by Conrad motors of Buffalo NY. They went out of business in 1902, after the owner died and there were some other patent right's battles going at the same time. This is one of the two photographs we have of the car model, it was taken in Chillicothe, Ohio, that car was identical to the one I'm working on. It is the first "steam" car in that city in 1901, I'm assuming that is the first car. At one time, I suspected it might be "the" car but there are some minor differences that were rather unlikely to have been changed later. But it could be.. A little history on that: There is a long crack in the body from the upper sight glass fitting, that runs to the back. This bodyside had the almost identical same crack. The sight glass on this one has sight glass fittings that are a bit different, and it just dawned on me, the old one leaked and it may have been replaced... hmmmm lots of things dawning on me today and that's a good thing I added a pic of the crack from the upper sight glass to compare. It is repaired now. The body sides are on solid piece of poplar. -Ron
  13. That 3" high number "1" placed in the center of the rear body, has been a puzzle for us. It is known that when these little steamers came out, they were the fastest thing on four wheels, a stock Locomobile tuned properly will run 40 mph, I've had mine that fast and it was pretty scary. Stanley set a speed record of 127 mph in 1906, until Barney Oldfield beat it four years later at 131.7 mph. in a Blitzen-Benz. Many of the early police and fire departments adopted them for emergency vehicles. Also, department stores etc used them for deliveries, it was some sort of fleet vehicle, but who knows for what? Without knowing it's original purpose we have opted to omit in the restoration. It is well documented, so if we can ever find what it was for, we can re-apply it. Some city records somewhere has a record of buying a 1901 Conrad more than likely but who knows where. -Ron
  14. Hi Al, Yes, the Steamers are fascinating. The standard Locomobile runabout had a 2.5:1 gear ratio and the Surrey had a 3:1 gear ratio a 7 gallon gas tank instead of 5. Other than that, I don't think there was much difference mechanically, they wen't from a 13" boiler in 1899 to a 14" boiler in 1900 if I remember correctly and I think it was the same for all models like the engines were, standard. They also went from 150 psi operating pressure (3-1/2 hp) to 250 psi op in 1900 which made 6 hp. Edited to add: I just recall reading a somewhere that some of the surreys used larger tubing in the chassis. The standard Loco like mine uses 1-1/2" for the rear axle shaft housing and 1-1/4" everywhere else, but the surrey used 1-1/2" exclusively. Obviously, the Surrey was longer wheel base - and they weren't very good vehicles, the wood body was already a weak point and they just extended it out, many of the lower wood body frame rails broke in the middle. The Conrad I'm working on has an original riveted angle iron subframe under the wood body, although not as highly polished as the Locomobile, the Conrad was a better car for the rough roads at that time. The Conrad has a new 17" Bourdon boiler and burner, she should steam pretty good, and did so on the first test drive. -Ron
  15. Yeah that looks nice, these cars were highly polished as labor was ultra cheap and highly skilled with many skilled tradesmen immigrants furniture makers etc from Europe. Thanks, Ron Walt, Thanks for that, hopefully I can find a more direct route to a solution in lieu of purchasing a number of different colors, these guys at the PPG store are not "feeling" my project. So, getting them to experiment is not likely, and everything they set on the counter is a hundred dollars. I agree about the period correct colors if at all possible. Thanks, Ron I will look in to that, Thanks, Ron