The Locomobile Company, founded by Amzi L. Barber and John Brisben Walker, produced automobiles from 1899 through 1929 and based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A deal with the Stanley Steamer Company allowed the Locomobile Company to produce steam-powered vehicles of their own design. Their buggies sold well; however, the steam powered design did have shortcomings which began to give the Locomobile Company a bad name. The steam designs were prone to accidents such as exploding or catching on fire. At times, they were unreliable. Many of the water tanks were too small and proved to be inadequate to meet many travelers' needs. Within a few years the company began experimenting with combustion engines. By 1902 the company was offering both steam and combustion engines to their consumers. Within a year, they were no longer selling steam-powered cars.
The name 'Locomobile' had been pieced together from the words 'Locomotive' and 'Automobile'. The union of these two words led to the word 'Locomobile'.
During the early 1900's the company offered a variety of bodystyles including the Runabout which had seating for two. The attractive price tag helped boost sales. The Touring Car version added additional seating and a tonneau cover which helped shield the occupants from the elements. The four-cylinder engine with around 16 horsepower helped carry the 2200 pound steel-framed vehicle to respectable speeds.
Within a short amount of time, the Locomobile Company became a very popular car in the United States which lead to the company's slogan: 'Easily the Best Car in America.' By 1901 there were 1500 cars created followed by 2500 the following year. By 1903 they were outpaced by Olds' Curved Dash Runabout. As the Stanley's and Mr. Walker parted company, the job of chief engineer was given to Mr. Andrew L. Riker.
Mr. Riker's first gasoline Locomobile was created in 1902. It had two-cylinders and produced six-horsepower. The following year, a four-cylinder T-head unit was created with 12/16 horsepower available. This engine propelled the 86-inch wheelbased vehicles which featured seating for five and a body constructed from aluminum. The gasoline engines quickly became the more popular of the fuel sources, which led Locomobile to no longer steam powered vehicles after 1904.
In 1905 Locomobile introduced the Type E which sat on a wheelbase that measured 96-inches and powered by a 15/20 horsepower T-head four-cylinder engine that displaced 198.8 cubic-inches. It sold for $2,800 in the tourer bodystyle with the landaulet costing $3,300. Production of the Type E lasted until 1908. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007