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Locomobile Steam Gathering Place

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Posted (edited)

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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Hello Ron,

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

Al

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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:

wr8893.jpg

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Hello Ron,

What a picture!  Interesting car.  Do any of these racers exist?  I would certainly hate to prove my manhood by getting on that car and pushing to 70 mph!

Al

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Posted (edited)

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

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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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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Posted (edited)

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

Edited by alsfarms
clarification (see edit history)
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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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Posted (edited)
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

Toledo trip 1 1902.jpg

Toledo trip 2 1902.jpg

Toledo trip 3 1902.jpg

Toledo trip 4 1902.jpg

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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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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Posted (edited)

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

IMG_0955 (Medium).JPG

IMG_0957 (Medium).JPG

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)

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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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Posted (edited)

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

john-brydon-2.jpg

john-brydon-3.jpg

$(KGrHqN,!icE6L5!p-b1BOvUtzpVYg~~60_3.JPG

20150217_183935 (Medium).jpg

1903locomobilerear.jpg

IMG_3250 (Medium).JPG

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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Pretty good running Locomobile Surrey 1901

IMG_4351.JPG

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Thanks for posting the picture.  John, do you have any additional information on the car, the people , time or the place that you can share?

Al

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Hi Al,

 

Not yet this year. The weather has finally broke and we are getting some decent days. Really looking forward to driving the steamer soon. She's pretty much ready to go, just have to dump the little bit of antifreeze and flush the pumps out. I'm also going to add an automatic burner control, mine doesn't have it and I have to operate the burner manually, not a huge inconvenience, but these cars originally had one.

 

-Ron

steam automatic 2 (2).jpg

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It was my understanding that the burner just went into a lower flame,or at least thats how mine worked.

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1 hour ago, JAK said:

It was my understanding that the burner just went into a lower flame,or at least thats how mine worked. 

 

Yep, the early ones, that is how they were, around early 1902 they added a standing pilot light, then the burner was shut completely off and relit by the pilot. Of course many of those cars were retrofitted with aftermarket burners that used a standing pilot light, like the Kelly Handlebar, Ofeldt etc.

 

-Ron

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Hello Ron,

Have you had any success with You Tube?  if so, when you get your Locomobile out of hibernation.  How about posting a You Tube link to your first start and drive of this season here?  It would help to get our juices flowing!

Al

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The Surrey I posted the picture of uses an Ottaway Burner with Maxwell Pilot. Works quite well

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11 minutes ago, JAK said:

The Surrey I posted the picture of uses an Ottaway Burner with Maxwell Pilot. Works quite well

 

That is the exact combination we are putting in the 01 Conrad, she howls a bit, but not too much and the operation is pretty straight forward.. That is a nice looking Surrey.

 

I'm using an Ofeldt inspired burner and boiler. It's a good steam maker. I run on Kerosene and white fuel for the pilot.

1 hour ago, alsfarms said:

Hello Ron,

Have you had any success with You Tube?  if so, when you get your Locomobile out of hibernation.  How about posting a You Tube link to your first start and drive of this season here?  It would help to get our juices flowing!

Al

 

Al, I'll try to do that with some explanation as I go along.

 

-Ron

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