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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/7/2019 at 4:06 PM, Locomobile said:

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

Gibson 1.jpg

Gibson 2.jpg

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Gibson 8.jpg

Gibson 9.jpg

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lawsuit Stanley Whitney 1.jpg

lawsuit Stanley Whitney.jpg

Locomobile Whitney vs Stanley lawsuit.jpg

Milwaukee Whitney lawsuit.jpg

Whit steamers.jpg

Whitney lawsuit 1.jpg

Whitney lawsuit 2.jpg

Whitney lawsuit 3.jpg

Whitney lawsuit 4.jpg

stanley_steam_car_1898_photo_1920_02_february_15_front.png

Hi Ron,

Interesting to see your article. I am the owner of the Whitney. I have further research which might interest you regarding Charles D P Gibson. 

Rick 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/14/2019 at 8:24 PM, Locomobile said:

 

 

 

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

Hi Ron,

Do you know what publication this is from? Is it possible to get a better scan of this page?

Best,

Tom

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51 minutes ago, alsfarms said:

Interesting.  Do you have any other bits of steam related information?

Al

I am researching George Whitney for a documentary. I only have information about him and the people he worked with.

Tom

Screenshot_2021-04-07 Photo - MS-1130_1-3_goulet pdf(1).png

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/13/2021 at 6:41 PM, tom1356 said:

I am researching George Whitney for a documentary. I only have information about him and the people he worked with.

Tom

Screenshot_2021-04-07 Photo - MS-1130_1-3_goulet pdf(1).png

My grandfather work for Stanly steamer in 1898 and open the London England office for Locomobile. Also he served as a Chief Machinist on the UUS Vulcan during the Spanish American, base out of Boston. His name HNSearles, Herbert Searles,

Bert. Tom if you come across him in your research please text back or email harrison@searlesvideo.com

Thank you 

Harrison Searles

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29 minutes ago, Harrison Searles said:

My grandfather work for Stanly steamer in 1898 and open the London England office for Locomobile. Also he served as a Chief Machinist on the UUS Vulcan during the Spanish American, base out of Boston. His name HNSearles, Herbert Searles,

Bert. Tom if you come across him in your research please text back or email harrison@searlesvideo.com

Thank you 

Harrison Searles

Hi Harrison,

What was his role at Stanley in 1898?

 

Tom

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Hello Al,

I have only recently noticed your response to my original post, hence the delay.

Charles David Paige Gibson who purchased the first Whitney steam carriage in 1896 for $2500 was born in 1844.

Gibson had served in the civil war (I’ve had no luck so far finding his war records) and for about 25 years was connected with the United States Secret Service. (This is also a matter for further research). Gibson married Alice Schoppe 8th October 1871. He had an extreme view point regarding religion. He was an officer in the American Protective Association “organised to hunt down Catholics". Elaborating on this further is likely to cause offence to the more sensitive politically correct among us. Gibson very extreme views have justifiably been compared to those of Adolf Hitler.

As is well documented, Gibson patented Whitney’s car claiming it as his own invention. By 1899 Gibson removed Whitney’s engine and boiler and powered the car with an engine of his own design (presently still fitted in the car). The engine was powered by cylinders containing carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is known today as carbon dioxide or dry ice.

In 1900, Gibson revealed his new compressed air car built by the American Vehicle Co. of New York. The picture used is the same one used to promote his acid car, however, the background has been altered. It is likely the acid cylinders were simply filled with compressed air, like his compressed air car. Fake news is nothing new.

The Whitney steam car became the Gibson steam car which became the Gibson carbonic acid carriage which became the American Vehicle Co. Compressed air car. Later,in James Meltons collection, it was thought to be an Offelt.

Gibson died 26th October 1922. In 1930, his widow Alice aged 82 was still alive, living with their daughter Mabel M Gibson aged 54 in New Jersey. In the 1930’s, James Melton purchased the car. Melton, like Gibson, has been an excellent candidate for research.

I’ve owned the car for almost 20 years, competed in several London to Brighton Runs starting as number two. ( oldest go first). The excellent performance ensures this car leads for a short time before later more powerful cars overtake.

The car is looking good, patinated with a copy of the original hood recently fitted. Ive been thinking I’ve done all I wanted to with the car, it might be time to repatriate it where it can be appreciated as a significant part of American pioneering history.

Regards,

Rick

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16 hours ago, Rick Kenway said:

Hello Al,

I have only recently noticed your response to my original post, hence the delay.

Charles David Paige Gibson who purchased the first Whitney steam carriage in 1896 for $2500 was born in 1844.

Gibson had served in the civil war (I’ve had no luck so far finding his war records) and for about 25 years was connected with the United States Secret Service. (This is also a matter for further research). Gibson married Alice Schoppe 8th October 1871. He had an extreme view point regarding religion. He was an officer in the American Protective Association “organised to hunt down Catholics". Elaborating on this further is likely to cause offence to the more sensitive politically correct among us. Gibson very extreme views have justifiably been compared to those of Adolf Hitler.

As is well documented, Gibson patented Whitney’s car claiming it as his own invention. By 1899 Gibson removed Whitney’s engine and boiler and powered the car with an engine of his own design (presently still fitted in the car). The engine was powered by cylinders containing carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is known today as carbon dioxide or dry ice.

In 1900, Gibson revealed his new compressed air car built by the American Vehicle Co. of New York. The picture used is the same one used to promote his acid car, however, the background has been altered. It is likely the acid cylinders were simply filled with compressed air, like his compressed air car. Fake news is nothing new.

The Whitney steam car became the Gibson steam car which became the Gibson carbonic acid carriage which became the American Vehicle Co. Compressed air car. Later,in James Meltons collection, it was thought to be an Offelt.

Gibson died 26th October 1922. In 1930, his widow Alice aged 82 was still alive, living with their daughter Mabel M Gibson aged 54 in New Jersey. In the 1930’s, James Melton purchased the car. Melton, like Gibson, has been an excellent candidate for research.

I’ve owned the car for almost 20 years, competed in several London to Brighton Runs starting as number two. ( oldest go first). The excellent performance ensures this car leads for a short time before later more powerful cars overtake.

The car is looking good, patinated with a copy of the original hood recently fitted. Ive been thinking I’ve done all I wanted to with the car, it might be time to repatriate it where it can be appreciated as a significant part of American pioneering history.

Regards,

Rick

Hi Rick,

 

Would you email me about your car?

tom1356@hotmail.com

Tom

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  • 3 months later...

I would like to take this moment to wish all those who read and participate on the Locomobile forums a Merry Christmas, fun Holidays and the best the New Year has to offer. Thanks for your contributions whether simply as a reader or a contributor. Long live Locomobile!

 

Al

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On 9/13/2021 at 11:34 AM, tom1356 said:

Hi Harrison,

What was his role at Stanley in 1898?

 

On 9/13/2021 at 11:34 AM, tom1356 said:

Tom

Tom Sorry for not responding sooner,

been a real busy fall, receive a video project from Barnhart Crane and Rigging,

grandpa would be proud, plus he would want to tag along on a shoot.

I don't know his role was at Stanley.

I hope maybe if you see his name in your research, you could forward it. Also attached a few pieces.

Happy New

Harrison

 

1866218929_IMG_20200123_1413343442.thumb.jpg.06fc8974aa098f8e7ea42df82cd48519.jpg1674370267_IMG_20200123_1413343442.thumb.jpg.dae9acab06a93e174e8b13f8c7dd9f94.jpg2105459351_IMG_20200123_1413478592.thumb.jpg.d614c47c890225ed55ae6f7a101284fa.jpg1176250348_WhiteSteamerBlotterPresidentTaftWatermarked.JPG.11e489b4296319e18ae7dc4a961b16ff.JPG1265843433_TRcar(1).thumb.jpg.85e4a37a31325553414212c5a8928861.jpgHN_SearlesGrummanClip.thumb.jpg.7b79afdbd6a8b5cbcf292e32044dd811.jpgHnSearlesMotorCar1900204pp.png.df0a08ee8e24d3fc1f466b490a2fa2ee.pngHnSearlesMotorCarJoural1900311pp.png.22663d3e19e4c2cb720d1ce7b1621d7b.pngHnSearlesMotorCarJournal1900312pp.png.6160edc16870b005baf3c031f550c60e.pngHnSearlesMotorCarJournal1900386pp.png.de4110ecb91e06ada65273a31e25d80b.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Ron and others who know early steam and particularly Locomobile steam efforts.  Is there a current count on how many original or mostly original Locomobile steam carriages there are still currently?

Al 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I will share this picture of an early spindle seat Locmobile steamer as it resides in a German Museum and was shared elsewhere in the Locomobile forums This unit is truly the older brother of the gasoline powered Locomobiles that came later.  Does anyone here have additional information on the history or age of this Locomobile steamer?  Thanks to the poster for sharing.

Al

 

German Locomobile steamer.jpeg

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  • 1 month later...

Hello to all,  I am new to the locomobile steam car scene and I just stumbled across these posts. Very interesting info, Thanks to all who contributed. In the past few years I ended up with an early locomobile steam car that I am trying to keep original and yet operable. I am looking for a way to replicate the original tires on the original wheels. Any ideas where one could find any clincher tires in the correct size? The wheels are original but some model T rubber tires were rigged on. 

I will post some pics soon of what it looks like. It came from a 4th generation family car that was never outside of their family. They have some interesting back stories I will try to authenticate if I can.

Thank-You  Glen Zimmerman  717-587-1124 New Holland, PA.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome Glen.  In basic terms, tell us about your Locomobile steamer.  What year, body style, original steam generator and etc.  When you get to it, pictures are most welcome here.  I am more into the later gasoline powered Locomobiles, but think, if the circumstance was right, I would also like to put a Steamer in my garage.  Glad you found your way here....

Al

Edited by alsfarms
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Ok. Some info I know so far. I got this locomobile from the (3 generations)family that got it 1st hand from original relative owner. They adamantly profess the following info as facts. I need to figure out how to verify it as such. 

It was the 1st car in the state of Minnesota. 

Only time it was sold was to me.

They say (like everyone does) it is a 1898/99, but this one is 1 of 3 prototypes of the newer upcoming model. Has a name tag on but no s/n

It is all original, except tires.

Was running fine when last ran.

I am wondering who would know more about it and could look it over for me?

 

Thank you  Glen Zimmerman 

717-587-1124 

Gz224@outlook.com 

New holland, pa 17557

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22 hours ago, GZimmerman said:

Ok. Some info I know so far. I got this locomobile from the (3 generations)family that got it 1st hand from original relative owner. They adamantly profess the following info as facts. I need to figure out how to verify it as such. 

It was the 1st car in the state of Minnesota. 

Only time it was sold was to me.

They say (like everyone does) it is a 1898/99, but this one is 1 of 3 prototypes of the newer upcoming model. Has a name tag on but no s/n

It is all original, except tires.

Was running fine when last ran.

I am wondering who would know more about it and could look it over for me?

 

Thank you  Glen Zimmerman 

717-587-1124 

Gz224@outlook.com 

New holland, pa 17557

It looks like a 1901 style 2 standard.

Congratulations!

try the Locomobile Steam group on facebook.

 

 

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1 hour ago, tom1356 said:

It looks like a 1901 style 2 standard.

Congratulations!

try the Locomobile Steam group on facebook.

 

Thank-You for the feedback. I will try the FB group.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is some interesting Steam forum information posted elsewhere on the Locmobile forum.  I thought it would be good to share with this group.

Al

The black Stanley Vanderbilt Cup racer reproduction was built by Robert Boudeman, and owned and driven by Coburn Benson up until his passing.  "Ben" also owned the remains of the sister car to Old 16.  When I bought my steamer from Ben in 2007, he talked to me about the Locomobile and the work he was having done.   A Nov. 11, 2020 post in this Facebook group - (20+) Stanley Steamer Automobile | Facebook - talks about Benson and the sister car, and includes a 2014 photo of it partially completed.

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