1899 Locomobile Stanhope Style I

Locomobile was started in 1899 by the Stanley Brothers, who produced photographic plates. This car was delivered by train to Mr. Taylor in Kalamazoo, Michigan on January 24th of 1900. The car was eventually sold to a Mr. Upjohn.

This car has a folding top which is very rare on this model, and spindle seats. The car has a leather covered deck lid with exhaust pipe coming thru it. The first car had no exhaust pipe and later cars had a metal cover. The engine is a two-cylinder steam, 14-inch boiler. The cylinder is gasoline fired, which had to heat gas to a vapor to start, a 30 to 40 minute warm-up before you had steam. You could go 20 miles per tank of water.

It has a 5.5 horsepower rating, and the car weighs 850 lbs. Total production was 2050, and it is believed that only 7 remain today. The selling price was $750.
The first prototype gasoline-powered Locomobile was completed at the company's factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Francis and Freelan Stanley created the original steam-powered Locomobile in 1898. 'Yankee tinkerers,' the Stanley brothers had been working on designs for steam-powered carriages for many years. Success came when one of their cars appeared at a Boston fair in October 1908. Interest in their cars, stemming from the debut of their lightweight, affordable vehicle, led them to undertake the construction of one hundred cars. To put the brothers' ambition in perspective, one need only recognize that the largest American gasoline-powered auto producer in the country, Alexander Winton, made twenty-two cars in 1898; Pope Electric of Hartford, Connecticut, produced a few dozen. The Stanley Brothers' resolve to 'mass-produce' inexpensive cars marked an important transition in automobile manufacturing.

But only a few months into their venture, the Stanley Brothers sold their enterprise to Amzi Barber, America's sheet-asphalt tycoon. It was under Barber's direction that the Locomobile name became a brand. The 1899 Locomobile sold for $600 and, as its advertisements boasted, it was noiseless and odorless. Refreshing to think of, but the Locomobile's water tank held only twenty-one gallons, enough for just a twenty-mile journey. Besides, starting a steam-powered engine was time-consuming and dangerous, as boilers frequently burned out. The gasoline burners that heated the boilers could backfire, potentially setting the car on fire. Sales of the Locomobile peaked in 1900 at sixteen hundred, a remarkable figure at such an early date. The total was far greater than any other American automaker could produce and it rivaled the French automaker, De Dion-Bouton, as the greatest car production in the world. Sales fell the next year, however, as the primacy of gasoline-powered automobiles was established. Gas-powered cars could go farther, faster, and wîth fewer hassles than steam-powered cars of comparable sizes. Barber hired automobile engineer Andrew Riker to design him a gas-powered vehicle. The car he designed sold for $5,000. The new Locomobile appealed to rich consumers, and the company shifted its focus from low-cost production for the masses to high-cost production for the elite few. The last Locomobile steamers were produced in 1904. The end of the steam era saw the end of the company's importance. Other firms had been building gas-powered automobiles better, for longer. Locomobile survived through World War I producing trucks for the war market. After the war it became one in the overflowing market of luxury cars. The company died in 1929 after having been briefly incorporated into one of William Durant's holding companies.

Charles A. Yont and W.B. Felker completed the first automobile trip to the summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado, on this day, driving an 1899 locomobile steamer. Climbing 14,110 feet to the top was quite a feat for the little steamer. Pikes Peak is well known because of its commanding location and easy accessibility, and the view from the summit is said to have inspired the song 'America the Beautiful.'

Source - Unknown
Chassis Num: 33
Sold for $71,500 at 2007 RM Sothebys.
Identical twin brothers Freelan Oscar and Francis Edgar Stanely were one of the first motorcar producers in the United States and one of the more successful in steam powered car production. Freelan Oscar and his wife are credited with being the first individuals to drive an automobile to the top of New Hampshire's Mount Washington on August 31st of 1899. Their Locomobile steam runabout took two hours and ten minutes to climb the slope, excepting the time required to refill the boiler with water. Their journey took about half the time required by a team of horses.

The Stanley brothers had created a successful business in manufacturing photographic plates. When the world was introduced to the motor car, the brothers began to tinker. By the autumn of 1897 they had produced their first motor car, with their automobile business opening in November 1898.

Their cars were shown at the Boston motor show in 1898 but prior to this, John Brisben Walker, publisher of Cosmopolitan magazine, acquired about buying the business. The brothers quickly stated a very high sum of $250,000, which was accepted, to much surprise of the Stanley brothers. The brothers were appointed as General Managers. To aid in the acquisition, Walker took Amzi Lorenzo Barber as partner in this venture. Barber had made a fortune paving America's cities and was known as 'The Asphalt King.' By June of 1899, deliveries of the Locomobiles had begun.

Almost as quickly as these acquisitions and alliances formed, they began to degrade. Quarrels between Walker and Barber broke out which later led to Barber running the Locomobile production on his own, with the help of his son-in-law Samuel Davis. In the very early 1900s they significantly changed the Stanley brothers designed. By 1904, Barbed decided to leave Locomobile.

This vehicle is an 1899 Locomobile Steam Runabout that sits on a wheelbase that measures 66-inches and is powered by the 3.5 horsepower twin-cylinder double-acting steam engine and powers the rear wheels through a single chain drive. Its wheelbase is longer than that of a standard runabout. There are wooden artillery wheels wearing Lincoln Highway 28x3 tires. The original wheels measured 28x2.5.

The standard boiler size was 14-inches in diameter, this example has a 16-inch boiler. The engine is a 'Number 5' type which was introduced around 1901, after around 3,000 examples had been produced. This is chassis number 33, meaning it was treated to modifications after it left the factory, later in its life.

This vehicle was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $25,000 - $30,000 and offered without reserve. Bidding quickly surpassed the estimates with the final bid settling at $71,500.
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Chassis Num: 389
Sold for $46,800 at 2006 Bonhams.
Sold for $63,250 at 2011 RM Sothebys.
Locomobile build 337 steam runabouts in 1899. The 927cc twin-cylinder double-acting steam engine delivered 3.5 horsepower and had single chain drive and a differential brake. It wears an older restoration which still shows well in modern times.

The editor and publisher of Cosmopolitan magazine, John B. Walker, purchased the plans for a steam runabout from Francis and Freelan Stanley for $250,000. He then sold half interest to asphalt contractor Amzi Barber for the same amount. The name Locomobile was chosen as it combined locomotive and automobile. Locomobile set up shop in the Stanley's Watertown, Massachusetts factory. Unfortunately, the union between Walker and Barber lasted just two weeks. Barber kept the Watertown premises and Walker went to Tarrytown, New York to build the same car as the Mobile.

In 1900, Barber moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut and hired the Stanley brothers as managers. Within just two years of time, they had built 4,000 two-cylinder runabouts.

In 2011, the car was offered for sale at the Amelia Island sale presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $50,000 - $70,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car was sold for the sum of $63,250 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2011
The Locomobile steam runabout was one of the first automobiles in America to be built in any quantity. By May of 1902 about 4,000 units had been built. Power was from a vertical, steam, 2-cylinder engine that offered 3 horsepower at 400 RPM. The runabout weighed 700 pounds and originally cost $600.
In 1899, the Locomobile Company of America was founded to build automobiles based on design plans for a steam car which they acquired from the Stanley brothers. The Stanleys were hired as general managers and though the steam Locomobiles were unreliable and difficult to operate, over 4,000 examples were built by 1902.

In 1902, the Locomobile Company began producing a gasoline-powered vehicle and in 1903, dropped steam-powered cars from their lineup.

During the Boer War, Locomobile was the first automobile used in war serving as a generator and searchlight vehicle. They were particularly useful in British eyes for its ability to brew a cup of tea by tapping the boiler.

Steam cars were difficult and time consuming to use, as water was brought to a boil and could be exciting if the boiler burned out or the gasoline burner backfired setting the car on fire. The 21 gallon water tank limited trips to about 20 miles.

The 1899 Locmobile sold for $600 and sales peaked at 1,600 in 1900 making it the second highest selling car in the world. However, sales fell the following year as simpler gasoline-powered cars gained popularity.

This example has a Stanhope body with a single bench seat. It was fully restored by the current owner without the benefit of parts availability or even a manual. He first ran the car on compressed air since he was afraid to fire the burner.
Chassis Num: 2258
Sold for $48,400 at 2014 Bonhams.
John Brisben Walker, one of Locomobile's co-founders and the publisher and editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, persuaded the Stanley brothers to sell him their steam car business. At the time, the business comprised of a single completed car and 199 orders. The cost for the business was $250,000. Walker then sold a half-interest in the new company for an equal amount to an asphalt millionaire, A.L. Barber. The Locomobile Company took over the Stanley's production line at Watertown, Massachusetts, renaming the steamers 'Locomobile.' Within two weeks, the two partners had a falling out, and severed their business ties. Barber retained the Watertown plant and the Locomobile name. He eventually acquired other factory locations. By 1902, more than 4,000 examples had been manufactured. Two years later, they ceased steam car production, switching to gasoline engines.

The Loocomobiles continued to evolve and grow over the years, and by the 1920s, had gained a reputation for their quality and being large, luxurious, and fast. Unfortunately, feeling the pain of the Great Depression, the company was forced to close its doors in 1932, after its parent company, Durant Motors, failed.

The Locomobile Steam car is considered by many to be the first mass-produced steam car. They were really Stanley Steamers in all aspects except for the name. They were powered by a simple motor that was directly attached to the axle sprocket. They had a simple chassis, a wood frame and body, with buggy-type suspension, spidery wire wheels and tiller steering.

Between 1899 through 1903, several thousand of this Steam cars were produced. This Runabout has been in the collection of Oregon steam enthusiast Robert Ulrich since 1991. Mr. Ulrich purchased the car from widow of former NBC orchestra leader David Rose in Los Angeles. Mr. Ulrich upgraded the motor's rod bearings and restored the seatback. The 2-cylinder double-acting Steam engine produces approximately 20 horsepower. There is a leaf spring suspension with rear band-type brakes.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
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