2-Cylinder 20 steam bhp
Full-Elliptical Rear & Semi-Elliptical Front Leaf Spring Suspension
Original 2-Wheel Brakes
Emergency Hand Operated Expanding Brake on Rear Wheels
*Wonderful steam powered tourer
*A truly unique motoring experience
*Intriguing and rewarding project
THE STANLEY STEAMER
Francis E. and Freeland O. Stanley were identical twins with a technical bent, their Stanley Dry Plate Co., being famed for manufacture of photographic equipment, however they were fascinated at the end of the 19th Century by the rapid development of propelled transport, taking a particular interest in the steam engine. During motoring's pioneer period, while battery-electrics were successful as a short-range town carriage and even shorter-range speed-record breakers, steam and petrol cars were evenly matched in the duel to achieve commercial dominance.
The Stanley brothers built their first steam car in Lewiston, Maine, in 1887, however shot to fame in 1898 with a spectacular demonstration of a fragile steamer at Charles River Park which resulted in sufficient orders to establish manufacture on a firm footing in Watertown, near Boston. The Stanley brothers sold their first successful design to J B Walker who manufactured the Stanley-designed Locomobile Steamer, however in 1902 an all-new Stanley was launched with rear-mounted boiler and non-condensing engine driving direct to the rear axle. This new model was to re-launch Stanley as the prime-mover in the steam car market which they dominated until 1927. In 1906 the coffin-like nose, concealing a boiler, first appeared and wheel steering replaced the tiller which had been a notable feature of the early models. Record breaking continued apace, and Fred Marriott achieved a World's Land Speed Record in the Stanley Woggle-Bug racer at 127.66mph for the flying measured mile. The twin cylinder 10hp car was the mainstay of production although 20hp, 25hp and 30hp models were also offered and sold successfully.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
The Steamer shown here was procured by Mr. Spain at the Heritage on Wheels Auction in 1996 in Torrance, California. Beyond this brief bit of information, no documentation exists to tell the greater story of the vehicle. Within the brochure that does exist in the file, a photo of the car shows the vehicle in very much the same condition it can be found in today.
The vehicle is finished in a subdued two-tone scheme of Green with black fenders. On all four corners, contrasting artillery wheels are painted in a pale, buttery yellow. The body appears with signs of ageing-the paint has dulled and dings, scratches, and dents can be found throughout. The black interior, on the other hand, has fared much better. It is most likely that some form of restoration work had begun on the vehicle but was ultimately unfinished. Unfortunately, no boiler can be found under the hood of this automobile, and one would obviously need to be installed to return the Steamer back to road use. Other than the omission of that major component, it can be said the vehicle remains largely complete.
Nevertheless, the vehicle represents a worthwhile project for its next owner. Rarely does the public get to experience a steam powered motor whooshing by which makes them joys to exhibit.
This auto can be seen at The Tupelo Auto Museum
The auction will be held at the Tupelo Automobile Museum with the preview day April 25 and the auction April 26-27.