Tag Archive: locomobile


 

Thomas H White (1836 – 1914) was an inventor and pioneer of sewing machines which were sold under the New England Brand and later White brand. In 1858, Thomas White founded the White Manufacturing Company to manufacture and sell sewing machine and components. The company was renamed as White Sewing Machine Company in 1876. In 1894 , his son Rollin Henry White (1872 – 1962) joined the company and was interested in horseless carriages and automobiles.
In 1898 , he bought a Locomobile steam car and went about improving the reliability of its boiler. In 1898 he invented a flash boiler suitable for automobiles. The flash boiler had coiled water tubes and had the advantage of reducing the starting time of a steam car from the traditional 20+ min to less than 10 min. He had also used the compound steam engine with high pressure and low pressure cylinders. A condenser in the front recycled the exhausted steam back to the water tank as water, thus increasing the range.
Watch Jay Leno start and drive  a 1907, 30 hp White Steamer here.
In 1900, they made the first steam car with the flash boiler. Rollin white developed variants with his steam engine including trucks.  A 1900 White steam car and truck.
White entered in to racing and in 1905 , a White Racer named “Whistling Billy” set the land speed record of 74 mph. In 1906 the company was renamed as White Motor Car co.
White also had the reputation of being the first official Presidents Car in the USA. In 1909, President Taft made a White Model M his official state car. White is also credited with the first automobile to be used in wars for transport. The official state car – Model M –
By 1910,  realising the mass adoption of internal combustion engine, they moved to manufacture of Gasoline engine trucks. White trucks were famous for their quality and were in demand from all over the world including for military purposes.
White Motor Car Company consolidated its leadership in the truck segment by acquiring a lot of truck companies. In 1951 they acquired Sterling Motor Truck Company; in 1953 they acquired Autocar Company; in 1957 they acquired REO Car Company and in 1958 they acquiredDiamond T Motor Car company. In 1976 they merged Diamond T and REO to form the Diamond Reo Truck company.
White Motor Car company with all its subsidiaries were taken over byVolvo Trucks in 1981 and the brand slowly disappeared after that.
The logo of White –

 

 

John Brisben Walker (1847 – 1931), a magazine editor and Amzi Lorenzo Barber (1843 – 1909) , a road asphalting contractor formed the Locomobile Company to manufacture steam automobiles – the name Locomobile being derived out of Locomotive & Automobile.
In 1899, they bough the patent rights for a steam car from the Stanley brothers for $250,000, with only one car of that design made and 199 pending orders.  Shortly after formation of the company John Walker left Locomobile. From 1899 till about 1902, Locomobile made and sold about 4000 steam cars. A 1901 Locomobile steamer –
Locomobile steamers were the first automobiles to be used in a war , theBoer war between 1899 – 1902. They were used as generators and to carry search lights.
Locomobile steamers were highly unreliable and troublesome and in 1902, Locomobile company sold  the patents back to Stanley brothers for $20000 and shifted their concentration towards Internal Combustion engine automobiles.
Locomobile appointed Andrew L Riker to design and make a internal combustion  engine automobile and the first car was made in 1904. Locomobile company participated in racing and, in 1906, was the first American car to win the Vanderbilt cup. The 1906 Vanderbilt racer –
The most famous of Locomobile cars was the Model 48 –
Locomobile was taken over by Durant Motors in 1922 and continued to make cars under the Locomobile Brand name. Durant motors along with Locomobile closed operations in 1929. One of the last Locomobile cars , a 1928 Locomobile –
The Locomobile logo –

 

Twin brothers Francis Edgar Stanley (1849 – 1917) and Freelan Oscar Stanley (1849 – 1940) were pioneers of the dry photographic plate. In 1897 , after witnessing a french steam car in an expo, they got interested and started developing an automobile with a steam engine. In 1898 , they made their first steam car and drove up a steep hill in 2 hours which otherwise would have taken 6 hours in a horse carriage.
A 1898 steam car with Freelan Stanley and his wife –
They produced about 200 of these cars and later sold the rights of the steam car to Locomobile company and returned back to their photography business.
In 1902, they sold the photography business to George Eastman and returned back to Automobile business. They founded Stanley Motor Carriage Company to manufacture and sell steam powered cars. Stanley steam cars were known for their quality, reliability and boasts of one of the safest boiler designs with no recorded accident of boiler explosions. The boilers and burners were placed below the rear seat and directly coupled to the rear axle. As the torque produced is high, steam cars do not require clutch and transmissions.
A 1903 Stanley steam car –
Around 1905, steam car designs evolved and housed the boiler and burners in front leading to be known as “Coffin-nosed” cars. In 1906 , a Stanley steam car set the world speed record of 127 mph (201 km/h) and the record stood for 103 years , broken by another modern steam car in 2009. Stanley steamers came to be known as “flying teapots” in view of their exploits in the racing arena.
A 1908 and an 1912 Stanley steam car – Note the shape of the front – coffin-like
The driver controls were also complex and requires an engineer to start and drive a steam car. It has many pressure gauges (water, steam , main fuel, pilot fuel) , oil winker, throttle below steering wheel, air pressure tanks, steam control etc. Below is an example of a Stanley steamer dashboard.
The mechanical layout of a steam car is also completely different as well as complex, requiring multiple plumbing to handle oil, fuel, water, steam , heat etc. Below is a layout of a Stanley steamer –
The starting procedure is elaborate and requires a minimum of 20 min to start and drive away a steam car. Watch Jay Leno start and drive a 1906 Stanley steamer here.
The Stanley Motor Carriage logo –
In the early 1900 , steam cars were one of the highest selling automobiles, next to electric cars. However, with the invention of starter motor by Cadillac and mass production of Ford Model T cars, steam cars lost steam and were on the decline. Stanley steam cars tried to counter this by an advertisement campaign , which reads –
Power –
          Correctly generated
          Correctly controlled
          Correctly applied to rear axle
This campaign was put forth to counter the rise of  “internal explosion Engine” which was gaining popularity at that time. As we know the “internal explosion engine” won the race.
Stanley Motor carriage company changed hand in 1917 and was finally closed down in 1924.