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Locomobile Steam Gathering Place


alsfarms
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Hello Everyone,  I thought I would open a specific chat location for Locomobile steam enthusiasts to gather for chatting, references, parts acquisitions both buying and selling.  It would also be nice to share ideas, things learned to do and not do as well as information directly relevant to the early Locomobile steam car.  If you have something to say, or have parts being duplicated, or need parts duplicated, visit here and speak up.  Nothing ever happens unless we make it happen! 

Al

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  • 4 weeks later...

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

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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Al, I also was under the impression that the Stanley twins sold their patents to Locomobile. In addition, when Stanley decided to get back in the steam car business around 1903 their first model was their earlier vertical engine with a chain to the rear axle. Since this was a direct infringement on the patents sold to Locomabile, Stanley was immediately sued by Locomobile. Stanley didn't fight the lawsuit, instead redesigning their car by mounting the engine directky on the rear axle. It was this major design change that caused Locomobile and others using a chain to drive the rear axle to rethink their future. Ron, please enlighten us as to this interesting history..

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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

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Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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Hello Ron,

Thanks so much for your contribution.  I am going to reread several times and digest what you have researched as most of what I thought I knew I now see is wives tales!  I would bet that those competitors were very zealous to come up with a good idea and then go to great lengths to carry the idea to the consumer.  Did you run across any other good and novel information that involved the interaction between early steam companies?  Did White end up in litigation?

Thanks again!

Al

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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

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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Hello Ron,

Your interest in history is also a thing that I get fascinated with.  Early on, did Locomobile build all of the components for the steam carriages or did they purchase some select pieces from other vendors?  Do you have a picture of the Charles DP Gibson steamer?  I would like to see the oldest steamer.

Al

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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

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Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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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.

 

 

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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I was told that the first woman to buy and drive a car in the USA and recieve a drivers license was a spindle Loco, 1901 if a I am not mistaken, is that correct?

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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.

 

I completely agree with Ron that the vast majority of 1899s, aren't.     

 

And yes, when I someday get my own Locomobile, I too will call it an 1899. 

 

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.

 

http://www.virtualsteamcarmuseum.org/makers/automobile_company_of_america.html

 

Don Ball's book the Locomobile Genealogy book said 350 Locomobiles were made in 1899. 

1899LocomobileReceiptCopy.jpg

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Hello Ben,

Nice comments on Locomobile Steamers and a very interesting factory letter from 1899 regarding #334 being shipped on Dec. 29, 1899.  Does any one else have other complimentary information on the true story of the 1988 Locomobile?

Al

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On 4/8/2019 at 2:00 PM, edinmass said:

I was told that the first woman to buy and drive a car in the USA and recieve a drivers license was a spindle Loco, 1901 if a I am not mistaken, is that correct?

 

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

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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

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Hello Ron,

 

Just looked up the book you talk about.  That's one I've seen but never bought.   I always thought it was just a picture book but I think I know where I can get a copy.

 

The high serial numbered Locomobile engine is a few hours away.    Would like to go back there but I don't have any immediate plans.  Rebuilding it would have been a big undertaking as it was missing parts and the frame was damaged.

 

1901 Locomobile, 1901 Conrad, so what's next?

 

Ben

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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

 

 

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Fantastic dedication to bring back a lost vehicle...........impressive workmanship...........congratulations on preserving the car!

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I have been away at the Bakersfield Swap Meet.  I did see a nice running early teens Stanley.  Here is my question for the Locomobile steam experts here.  What is the big differences between the runabout (two passenger) Locomobile steamers and the Surrey (four passenger versions.  Is the boiler larger, different gearing?  chassis just extended or is it a different chassis all together?  I enjoy reading about the Locomobile steam cars.

Al

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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

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, alsfarms said:

Are many/any of the surrey type Locomobile steamers still running today?

Al

 

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:

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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

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I have just noted that the side tiller, used by Locomobile, is very similar to that unit as used on a Holsman.  I wonder if there is a relationship in the sourcing of parts?  I just can't imagine riding one of these narrow steam cars, at speed, with the center of gravity high like it is!  In 1900 we still had plenty to learn for sure.

Al

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Was the Locomobile steam car basically an around town car?  I assume that it was limited to the amount of miles by the number of gallons that could be carried in the tank.  What was the total miles that the Locomobile could travel on one tank of water?

Al

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I just had another thought, steam cars were never a big thing here in the high deserts of the western US.  We don't have an abundance of flowing streams from which we could refill the water tanks.  We are dry here!  I live in an area that has a "next services 78 miles" sign in one direction from my home.  Another direction has a sign that says "next services 83 miles".  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.

Al

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Ron,

 

You mentioned that many of the earlier Locomobiles were replicas or made up. Is there anyone tracking the survivors and showing them as such, simiiar to what is done on the Stanley Register? I assume that the whereabouts of the early cars is well known. Several come to mind such as the 1899 Warren Weiant car and the 1900 Stan Tarnopol car, both of which were AACA award winning cars years ago. In addition, the 1900(?) Bob Lyon car restored meticulously by Dick French around 1950 is another example of older restorations of Locomobiles that were not made up.

 

Do you know where these cars are today and where the later 1901 and 1902 survivors are?

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On 4/16/2019 at 11:36 AM, alsfarms said:

Was the Locomobile steam car basically an around town car?  I assume that it was limited to the amount of miles by the number of gallons that could be carried in the tank.  What was the total miles that the Locomobile could travel on one tank of water?

Al

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.

 

 

 

On 4/15/2019 at 10:49 AM, alsfarms said:

I have just noted that the side tiller, used by Locomobile, is very similar to that unit as used on a Holsman.  I wonder if there is a relationship in the sourcing of parts?  I just can't imagine riding one of these narrow steam cars, at speed, with the center of gravity high like it is!  In 1900 we still had plenty to learn for sure.

Al

 

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.

 

On 4/18/2019 at 2:49 PM, A. Ballard 35R said:

Ron,

 

You mentioned that many of the earlier Locomobiles were replicas or made up. Is there anyone tracking the survivors and showing them as such, simiiar to what is done on the Stanley Register? I assume that the whereabouts of the early cars is well known. Several come to mind such as the 1899 Warren Weiant car and the 1900 Stan Tarnopol car, both of which were AACA award winning cars years ago. In addition, the 1900(?) Bob Lyon car restored meticulously by Dick French around 1950 is another example of older restorations of Locomobiles that were not made up.

 

Do you know where these cars are today and where the later 1901 and 1902 survivors are?

 

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

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Ron,  When you have a few spare moments, could you share with this group a short course on the gauges used on a Locomobile steamer and suggest what each gauge does to assist the operator to control the vehicle.  Then add some verbage that will suggest parameters that should be used on each gauge.  Which of the gauges would be considered the most key and critical gauge to keep an eye on?

Al

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Al,

 

The Locomobile steamer only has two dial spring gauges, air and steam. The air pressure gauge is the fuel pressure. They have no fuel pump and instead use air over liquid to pressurize the fuel system, the "air tank" is just for reserve air to maintain steadier pressure on the fuel tank as the liquid volume decreases. It's important to know the air pressure, obviously to not over compress the system, and also to maintain the proper pressure for best burner operation. Some burners will only operate is a small range of pressure, other wise they "backfire' -not a boom sound, rather the flame jumps inside the burner and burns back in to the mixing tube. The remedy for that is typically to raise the fuel pressure to increase the fuel/air velocity. A burner is considered better if it can operate on a wide range of pressures or have better "turn down ratio".

 

The steam gauge simply monitors steam pressure, it is the one of the two that is most watched during fire up and while running (other than the sight glass), it basically lets you know how much power you have in reserve, or if the burner is behaving by how fast pressure will rise at idle. It's also good to make sure the safety is working i.e. mine is set at 250, so at 250 on the gauge the safety relief will lift.

 

There is a third gauge and that is the sight glass gauge, or "sight glass" or "sight gauge". It is the most important of all three as it monitors the amount of water in the boiler. Typical Stanley type fire tube boiler is a steel shell with rolled in copper tubes, if it ran out or even very low on water it can damage the fire tubes as they over heat and collapse, it can happen even in a low water situation, where the water boils so hard it actually lifts the water off the crown sheet and exposes the lower sections of the tubes. And it's not a catastrophic failure, more embarrassing, than dangerous. There is not one recorded incident of a steam car ever blowing up from a steam explosion. My car has an all steel Ofeldt type boiler in it, it can be ran out of water and unharmed, which I've done accidentally. A boiler with any copper or brass components should never be ran even low on water. I could write volumes on this subject, but I'm trying to keep it as short as possible, there is a lot more to it, but that is basically the three gauges of the Locomobile. There is a small mirror mounted on the front of the body and many people think it's a rear view mirror, but it's only purpose is for the driver/operator to see the sight glass from the drivers seat.

 

I joke with people about the rules of driving a steamer.

Rule 1. Watch the sight glass.  

Rule 2 Don't run anyone over.

In that order of importance. :)

 

-Ron

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Ron, it appears that your car only has one brake pedal and not the second one with the ratchet that can be used as a parking brake. As I recall, the two worked on different sets of bands on the rear differential. It's been many years since I've driven one, a1902, and perhaps the later ones were different.

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Yes, they reportedly introduced the additional brake drums on the rear wheels and additional pedal in 1902. I have a collection of pictures, about 300 in total of early Locomobiles and can only identify about two cars with these drums on the rear wheels. One is a 1901 Style 2 runabout. Many pictures are of later cars 1901 and up, runabouts, Surreys, Dos-a_dos,  long wheelbase runabouts and they are not present. I'm guessing they were only on some cars. Maybe a special order option? Of the two cars I can find with these drums, they differ, so I'm not certain of their authenticity.  According to the 1902 year, the 1901 car may have rear wheels from a later vehicle. But not necessarily, I don't think anything was etched in stone, I think Locomobile used whatever they had or available to get vehicles completed. The rear differential is good example of that. The open differential like mine was supposedly dropped in 1901 and an enclosed spur gear was introduced in 1901, but there are many examples of later cars with the open differential. In 1902-3 they introduced a new differential similar the early one with bevel gears enclosed in a cast case with two brake bands on the differential, also an uncommon feature found on surviving examples.

 

The ratcheting devices for a "park brake", I think were an after market item.

 

-Ron

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