The White Motor Company, founded in 1900, produced bicycles, roller skates, automatic lathes, and sewing machines. Originally located in Cleveland, Ohio, they also produced automobiles.
Rollin White of the White Sewing Machine Company in Cleveland was a strong believer in the future of steam-powered automobiles. He created an engine that was easy to operate and durable. In 1899 he patented his 'semi-flash boiler' which provided safety features that were revolutionary at the time. Boilers were often prone to explosion, but with Rollin's design, these problems were virtually non-existent. Other steamers heated the water in the upper coils but Rollins allowed the water to be heated in the lower coils. This meant that the generator was able to produce steam quicker and safer.
By mid-1900, four White steam cars had been created, with a truck following a year later. The steam-powered White cars proved to be very popular, and for 1901, a total of 193 units had been built.
White, like many manufacturers of the time, did all they could to promote the durability and capability of their cars. One of the best means was by entering the car endurance runs. White entered four Whites in the 1901 New York to Buffalo Endurance Run. Each was awarded a first-class certificate.
The early White automobiles had tiller-steering, chain-drive, wire-wheels, and Stanhope bodies. The two-cylinder engine was mounted under the floor, giving them a 'buggy' appearance. This style would continue for a few years, until 1903, when the engine was moved to the front and fitted under a hood known as the 'White curve'. This style would stay with the White cars until the company's end.
In 1902, a condenser was added to recycle exhaust steam. A White, nicknamed the Whistling Billy, was driven by Webb Jay to a world's mile record of 73.75 mph at Morris Park Track in July of 1903. This accomplishment did much for the credibility of the White vehicles.
For 1903, there were 502 White cars produced. For 1905, production rose to 1015 units. The following year, 1534 examples were made. This would be White's best year and would be nearly double the number of vehicles produced by their next closest Steam competitor, Stanley.
Production of the White Steamers would continue until January of 1911. The following year, a 60 horsepower, six-cylinder gasoline car was added to the lineup of four-cylinder gasoline White cars. White had begun gasoline production in 1910 with shaft drive and a four-speed transmission fitted as standard equipment.
1910 White Model O-O The 1910 White steam powered-car was rated at 20 horsepower and had a wheelbase that measured 110 inches. The two-cylinder compound steam engine has a 3x3.5-inch bore and a 5x3.5-inch stroke. It was available as a limousine, landaulet, runabout, or five-passenger touring car. by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011
This White Touring car is finished in a dark Maroon with a black leather tufted interior and fabric top. It has a conventional-looking radiator which was an integral part of the dual-condenser steam power system. This allowed the car to travel longer....[continue reading]
The White Motor Company built the White Steamers in Cleveland, Ohio from 1900 until 1910. Company founders Thomas White and William Grout had initially built sewing machines in Massachusetts prior to the Civil War, later moving the company to Ohio. W....[continue reading]
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