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Locomobile

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  1. Ben, Yeah that is a good book, take the time to decipher the Whitney handwritten letters, lots of great info in there. What's next? I have to finish the Conrad first, man what a project that has been, I'm pretty sure most wouldn't even have attempted it. but I'm doing paint prep on it now. I'll post some before and where it is shots. The chassis is was in a barn fire (rusty tangled tubing pics) and had to be totally rebuilt by salvaging (heating straightening and machining out old tube)the frame joints and rebrazing in cromoly tubing. the seat was gone and had to be rebuilt using the photographs as reference. Pics of how I made a new end for the draglink. Had to make a new copper water tank and muffler and plenum. Anywho, had this not been done this little carriage would have been lost to history. It is the last Model 65 known to exist. -Ron
  2. Ben, The 5000+ serial number you mentioned, if you get a chance, try to get a picture of that. I was thinking about it today, that could possibly be a replacement engine they sent out with a higher chronological serial number. They were in business many years after the steam production and undoubtedly sold replacement parts. Those little engines are not easy to work on, the crankshaft is very difficult to get apart. I wound up making a whole new crankshaft and eccentrics for mine. In that letter it says delivery via B&A, looks as though that was Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad. years of operation 1887-1980. DL&W was Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad 1853-1960 -Ron
  3. In Nigeria Classic scam Cause I'm not being honest with you It might be legit but I highly doubt it. The dead giveaway on these is they immediately start talking about payment and how it's going to be made, that's the carrot, they dangle in front of the anxious seller. -Ron
  4. Yes that was Anne Rainsford Bush, and she recd a operators license https://www.steamcarnetwork.com/blog/january-19th-2019 Quoted: "" Locomobile rants: Two years ago I went to see and buy a rough banded Locomobile engine. Can't remember the specific serial number but it was above 5000, maybe 5200 something or 5300 something. While there I got offered another, better piece of candy and I forgot all about the Locomobile engine."" That is interesting, that is the first after years of research of hearing of a serial number that high. Quoted: "" According to The Stanley Steamer by Kit Foster, F.O. Stanley said he could not engage in the manufacture for one year, from May 1, 1899. The Horseless Age magazine said in their June 7 edition that "Stanley Bros, Sold out" Initially the new car company was supposed to be the Automobile Company of America but it was soon found out that that name was already taken."" The Stanley steamer books are where a lot of the confusion on the early history is coming from, these books were written many years after the actual events. The point I was trying to make is I believe by the clippings I posted above, the early Stanley of which they only built a few (The Don Ball book states that also) before selling the automobile business, was actually a Whitney motorette that they had copied. Also, the 1899 Locomobile Style 1 is glaringly different from the early Stanley pictures showing that it underwent an immediate transformation and this is mentioned in the clippings I posted above. -Whitney built the Motorette -The Stanleys copied it by photograph at Mechanics Park, at the protest of Whitney. -The Stanleys built one and took it to Charles river park, where they received about 200 orders for the car. -Barber and walker showed up and bought their automobile business -Whitney worked with them to transform the Locomobile in to the Style 1 Yes, that letter which I've never seen before, does prove that Locomobile was shipping 1899's, thanks for that, but that is not really what I was trying to point out, again that the early few Stanley cars built were actually a Whitney. Pick up a copy of American Steam car pioneers by John Bacon, and read the Whitney handwritten letters. Then have a look at the clippings I posted above which corroborate what he wrote. -Ron
  5. No problem. I have it almost boxed up, there is a lot of stuff in there. It will be three boxes in total.
  6. I'm close to Warren, about 15 min from there. Warren is just north of the city, it's a suburb, not a real great area neither. Something sounds a bit fishy with that seller though. PM me the contact info and I will look in to it. -Ron
  7. Nickle or Nickel it all shines the same -Ron
  8. Yep, same here. Ive been on ebay since 2001, sold a 4200 dollar item a few years ago and the guy kept telling me he was sending the money, at 32 days (I got screwed up on the sale date) I filed a non-paying bidder, it cost me 420 dollars in fees because I was two days past the cut off, them %#/&* wouldn't cut me any slack on it. The positive feedback is really not all the conclusive, most sellers have good 99% or better feedback, because buyers are typically also sellers and don't want anyone retaliating against their own feedback. -Ron
  9. There is less demand for parts because younger folks are not all that interested in antique cars. I'm in the steam car club, and that is a problem, no young people joining because of lack of interest. Yes, lots of scammer sellers on Ebay. I used to be on there all the time looking for early steamer parts, early boat parts too, I have a steam powered tugboat. I found this one listing for a ships clock, it was just a picture straight on of the face. It was old and looked to be in pretty decent shape, the seller had the song and dance about they didn't know much about it and not sure if it's complete or not, I won the auction and got it for a good price. I received the item and yea it was not complete, the whole case was gone I actually got a good laugh out of that one. Most of the steam stuff I've bought in the last few years has been misrepresented in one way or another. I've quit buying anything on there. It's really Ebay's fault in a way, their seller fees are so high now I think that sellers are making up the loss by fibbing a bit about the item for a higher selling price. The other problem is for the seller, they can lose their item very easily to an unscrupulous buyer. With PayPal buyer protection, the buyer has 6 months to file a charge back, they don't even have to return the item. All they have to do is say they didn't receive it, they don't like it, it was misrepresented etc and they get their money back. Another popular one on there, lets say a guy has a magneto that is junk, he'll buy your good one and return his junk one to you for refund and you have no recourse but to give him his money back. He gets a good Magneto for the cost of the shipping. Yeah avoid Ebay at all costs. They will always favor the buyer in a dispute. Don't list anything you can't afford to outright lose. -Ron
  10. Here is the video of the Whitney Motorette: She needs to come home. On interesting feature was all the control is in the single tiller. Twisting it worked the throttle, lifting it shifted the valves to forward, pulling it down shifted to reverse and of course left and right was steering. Strange that they originally though it was an Ofledt steamer, that is whole nuther big bunch of history. They wound up selling their steam systems as steam cleaners after the steam car era was over and marketed the "Steam Jenny" named after the advertising agents daughter. Steam Jenny company is still around today.
  11. Al, As I understand it, they purchased everything on the outside at first and just assembled it. They used the Mason engine for the 1899 and early 1900, which incidentally was designed by Whitney for Mason Regulator (yeah, that guy again). The bodies were all built by Currier and Cameron in Amesbury, Mass. Currier and Cameron was a huge coach builder that built bodies for several car companies - Locomobile and later Stanley and I think grout and/or Coats?. Reportedly, some bodies were built by other coach works (Shields) as well and why some of the bodies differ one to another for the same model. I don't think Locomobile ever had their own coach works. They did start building their own engine in 1900. That is why there is so many of them Mason engines around, they sold engines to a lot of builders. That was pretty much the technique that everyone used. Some, like Conrad in Buffalo NY, they did build most of their own components, and matter of fact sold components, casting, bodies, running gear, engines etc to other car companies and even DIY folks. One company they sold to was the Neff steamer in Canada across the river (only one survives in a museum in Canada). I think they were the supplier for the Coffin steamer as well. I'm currently restoring a 1901 Model 65 Conrad ser# 149, as far as we know it is the last one known to exist. There are only three known of and the other two are model 70 Dos-a-dos, one in Ohio in a museum and the other in Denmark in a museum, the Denmark folks have been most helpful with our project, providing us with common detail information. We've already driven it, it's apart now for paint and finish work. It's a difficult project as there is little historical info available, all we really have is what was left of the original and two very old photographs. One taken in Australia and the other in Ohio. The Australian pic is a 1902 model 65. Conrad filed for bankruptcy in 1902 after the owner died. That Australian Conrad is an interesting story they were calling it a Locomobile by the historical society, and the man that bought it back then, the man driving it, copied it and started building a steamer in Australia and it never sold very well. Currier and Cameron info: http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/c/currier_cameron/currier_cameron.htm The Locomobile chassis components or completed components were bought from another company as well, it was something like "Woods", I can't remember. Where they got the boilers, I have no idea. The red carpet museum pic is the Neff. The green body is the Denmark Conrad 70. -Ron
  12. Al, Yes, it looks as though it was a very tumultuous period of about ten years. I'm not sure about White other than their 02 etc offerings were very similar to the Locomobile, and after that they transitioned to the design we see most common today, mid mounted boiler, engine out front, conventional drive train. Of course, they went on to offer steam and gas engine vehicles together for a few years like Locomobile did. This goes along with what I was inferring above, seems the whole game changed for the early steamer about 1902 and up, most companies either switched over to internal combustion, folded up, went bankrupt or radically changed their design to get around the Whitney patents. Keep in mind, I'm no final authority on the subject, just relating what I've come up with. I love history and especially history concerning these little steamers and the more I would read, the more Whitney's name popped up. There are some books written 30-40 years after that period that really only focus on two players, the Stanleys and the Locomobile partners, but there is little to no mention of Whitney. I think this is where most of the confusion has arisen from. This is how I see it. The Locomobile was the first mass produced vehicle in the US, they produced around 3000 cars before Ransom Olds came to market in 1901. Take it one step further back and the Whitney motorette is the car that began it all. Allegedly, the very first Motorette sold to Charles DP Gibson is in the UK and is/was for sale for 300k. I personally feel this is the most important US vehicle ever produced, it launched the US automotive industry. -Ron
  13. Al, Here are a few pictures of my 1901 Loco. As many of these are it's a rebuilt car. -Ron
  14. Overview. Background on Geo Eli Whitney, Boston Tech graduate (MIT), with extensive steam experience designing and building steamboats and steam power plants, incidentally testing one of his boats, he met Sylvester Roper and was hired by same and worked for him for a period of time. George grew up working in his Uncles Amos Whitney's machine shop, uncle Amos went on to form Pratt and Whitney. George as a young teenager built a scale locomotive under his uncles tutelage. He is also the Great grandson of famed inventor Eli Whitney. George had a machine shop in Boston. Probably by inspiration from Roper who built steam cars and steam bikes earlier, George set out to build his own steam vehicles of which he built several, the "Motorette" was his breakthrough design that ran the best and changed everything. While working in his shop he had many folks that would come by and watch his progress, many would hang around all day - every day, including the Stanley twins, one or both. One guy showed up named Charles DP Gibson and had some ideas about building his own car but had no place to build it. "Whit" as people called him, allowed him to build his car there. Gibson was a afraid people were going to steal his ideas, so he curtained off one corner of the shop and wouldn't allow anyone in there. After a few weeks of clanging and banging, he stepped out from behind the curtain wiping his hands and admitted his car would never run and immediately offered to buy Whitney's motorette which was almost completed. Whitney shot him a ridiculous price of $25.000. To Whitney's surprise, Gibson bought it. Whitney helped him to get the car home. Gibson immediately disassembled the car, made drawings and filed for patent on the design of the car, Whitney filed for patent right after and then turned around and sued Gibson for stealing his design. Whitney won the lawsuit as he had many witnesses to corroborate the events. He won the lawsuit and 40,000 , but lost his wife to Gibson's attorney. Then he had to pay her half of the suit he had just been awarded. Whitney took another motorette design that he built for GB Upham , a Boston Attorney to "Mechanics Building, Boston" for an expose'. The Stanley's showed up and while the car was stored in a building, they went in and photographed every aspect of the car (they owned Eastman Kodak and were very familiar with cameras and photography). They went back and immediately began building a steamer from the information they had gleaned. They made some changes like wire winding the boiler for higher pressure, and they patented everything they could, essentially refinements to Whitney's steam system. They showed up to the next show at Charles River park, Boston and with 100 pounds higher steam pressure outran everyone in every aspect, they immediately received 200 orders for their car. They only built two or three reportedly "crude" vehicles that looked almost identical to the Motorette, and had parts for another few hundred when John B Walker showed up and offered to buy their automobile business. They allegedly shot him a price of 250,000 dollars, but Walker didn't have that sort of money, so he put out a plea for investor's which attracted the attention of Anzi Barber, the "Asphalt King", he was paving the streets in cities in the northeast and was a millionaire. They acquired the Stanley's automobile business consisting of a few hundred orders and the parts for around 200 cars and the few patents they had, and Whitney went to work for Locomobile as design consultant and that is when the Locomobile design, refined and polished as we know it today was produced. The Whitney patent was granted in 1901 and they turned around and sued the Stanley's because the Stanleys sold them rights to something they didn't own the dominant patent on the vehicle applied for by and now held by Whitney and themselves. Around 1903 the Stanley's began building steamers again with a car that would get around the Whitney patent, but they used the chain drive with adjustable chain stretcher strut and got sued again and that is how the engine wound up on the rear axle and using gears instead of a chain. Eventually, around 1904 Locomobile transitioned away from steam. Whitney left Locomobile in 1905 and went on to design and patent asphalt paving equipment for Barber. The Stanleys continued on building steamers that avoided the Whitney patents. It's a subject of lore that the Stanleys bought the patents back from Locomobile, but I've never found anything to corroborate that, and logically, why would they? Even Whitney admitted in later years, the Stanley had evolved in to a far superior design. Locomobile at this time had license from Whitney to build the car on his patent, and they proceeded to issue quitclaims to others building on their design or else. Mobile, Milwaukee etc. And why I believe the almost 70 steam car companies closed up shop then or very soon after. Whitney went to England and licensed Brown's to build his steamer over there. This is based on handwritten letters from Whitney that appear in the book "Early steam car pioneers" by John Bacon. And magazine articles in the 1900 - 1903 "Horseless age" and "Motor review". Whitney's obituary states that he sold his steam car business to Locomobile for 250 thousand. If one looks at all the evidence, it's clear to see that the Locomobile was really the Whitney Motorette. I'll post some of the clippings. -Ron
  15. Al, I have researched early Locomobile steamers quite a bit. Number produced, high 4000's, The last known (to me) serial number is around 4750. I've never seen a serial number in the 5000's for steam. When did they stop steam? Supposedly 1904, it wasn't an abrupt stop and then on to the gas engines , judging by the ads they started the transition offering gas engine cars in mid 1903 and in those ads they offered both steam and gas engine cars. However 1904 was pretty much the end of it. They built the majority of their steamers in 1900 and 1901 ending with serial numbers in the high 3000's (mine is 3635), 1902 -1904 they produced around a thousand more it looks like. My theory is the market became flooded in 1901 with steamers as there were a bunch of start ups and patent lawsuits were flying, and they simply did not get many orders, coupled with the invasion of gas engine models - Oldsmobile especially which reportedly could "Go up a hill faster than a horse with his tail on fire".. advertising . They realized they had to switch to gas engines or go under. Again, my theory. Quite frankly I don't think there really is such a thing as an 1899 Locomobile other than the classification, of the few hundred supposedly produced, they were actually built in 1900, Locomobile didn't incorporate until Nov 14, 1899, that doesn't leave much time to set up manufacturing. Few, if any were built in 99, again my theory. Many of the "1899" Locos I see around the web are either altered or not true 1899 models. A quick cursory look will usually substantiate that, side tillers etc. Also, Mobile steamer (john B Walker that left Locomobile) continued to build vehicles based on the 1899 model for a few years which causes a lot of identification confusion. Many folks think the Locomobile steamer was a Stanley, that is not so. It's a long story, but the Locomobile was actually a Whitney Motorette, designed built and patented by George Eli Whitney. He sued several people, the Stanleys twice for infringement and won every suit. So the courts were using the facts of the day to prove the cases, and there is public record, so I'll go along with that. -Ron
  16. As Rusty pointed out, Caswell sells kits for home plating and they work very good. All the Nickle plating on my Locomobile was done with their Nickle plating systems. It's cheaper than sending it out. -Ron
  17. Andy, I'll see if I can spot one of your beautiful cars and I'll stop by and say hello. Yes, OCF is my favorite show, great for early cars and the village is beautiful. One thing that really impresses me about that show is how welcoming the staff is. I ran out of fuel year before last and they were right there and very helpful to get me going again. That weekend I drove about 90 miles in there I estimate, last year the weather was sort of iffy Saturday and bad on Sunday. And too I picked up some bad kerosene which was making carbon like crazy in the vaporizer, I'll be running JP4 jet fuel this year Seriously My buddy uses Gasoline in his steamer and he can only use Clark brand fuel as it burns the cleanest. I did Concours last year in Plymouth Mi and that was a really nice show, but still like OCF better. Didn't drive much there except for parking lot to show and back. From what I understand, the OCF is the largest antique car show in the US and the only one larger globally, is the London to Brighton run in the UK. That is my dream show/tour, I'd love to make it over for that one of these years. -Ron
  18. Hey Fellas, That is a Locomobile Model 5 engine, used from around 1901 and up. That is the same engine I have in my car. As Ben noted, the serial number will be on the back of the engine (opposite the water pump) on the boss of one of the cross bars, the lower across from "PAT APPLD" for and will be 4 digits around 2000 on up to 4000. These engines when found, the water pump is just about always gone, my theory is they froze in the winter time and people tried to drive them and it broke the linkage. Yes the one up in the top is a Mason. The other looks like it might be a Milwaukee, hard to say though. Here is a Mason 70 I just finished rebuilding/restoring, good for another 120 years (Valve cover is off) -Ron
  19. Andy, Thanks for the Welcome, I should be at Old Car Festival again this year, see ya there! I'm hoping to have two steamers there. -Ron
  20. Dave, It really depends what burner it has. The original Locomobile burner as I understand it did not have a standing pilot light. These burners operated on gasoline and the vaporizer was preheated with an iron that was heated outside the burner then shoved in along side the burner to heat the vaporizer, then when heated sufficiently the gas valve was opened and the burner was lit with a match. Heat control through the fuel automatic was high and low flame, the burner was never extinguished until shut down. Most of these cars were retrofittied with another type of burner with a pilot. There were a lot of aftermarket companies that sold burners and boilers and complete systems as the majority of the vehicles on the road were steam powered until about 1906. My Loco uses an Ofledt burner and boiler. Many of these were retrofitted with that type because they were faster firing up, better steam makers and used kerosene which is safer. Without knowing the condition of the steam system etc, it obviously needs to have a sound boiler and then it needs to be hydro static pressure tested. Some pics of the burner would be nice to see if you have them. -Ron
  21. Hi All Just joined the forum. I live in the Detroit area, I'm very active in very early steam cars. I have a 1901 Locomobile steamer (pic attached) and I'm currently restoring a 1901 Model 65 Conrad steamer built in Buffalo NY. I look forward to reading up on all the great info here. -Ron
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