Sold for $36,300 at 2015 RM Sotheby's Hershey Auction.
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 which 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.
White turned out 719 steam powered model Ds and one, outlined with electric lights, was suspended from the ceiling at the Cleveland Automobile Show in 1904. White gave out white carnations and hat pins shaped like the little 1904 White Model D to all female visitors to the show.
By 1906 the sewing machine company and automaking department had become separate, with Rollin and Windsor White in-charge of the automobile production. A few years later, in 1910, the White Company began producing gasoline-powered cars. Their business was 50 percent steam and 50 percent gasoline production. The following year would be the final year of steamer production and by 1912 the White Company was only producing gasoline-powered vehicle. During its eleven years of producing steam powered vehicles, 9,122 examples were produced.
In 1912 the controls of the White automobile shifted from the right-hand side to the left. Much experimentation followed with the gasoline engine. By 1912 the company was using a variety of four and six-cylinder engine to power its machines. The majority of the vehicles used the four-cylinder with a total of 432 examples being powered by the sixes.
In 1914 Thomas White passed away; that same year Rollin severed his ties with the company. Windsor White became president and Walter White was elected as vice-president. After this reorganization, the company officially became known as the White Motor Company in 1915.
The White Company was highly regarded and built a reputation for their innovative steam-powered automobiles, one of which was the first White House limousine. When the company discontinued its steam cars by 1911, they switched to internal-combustion power, using a reliable four-cylinder engine based upon the French Delahaye design. The powerplant was conservative in design and their automobiles were solidly built and impressive in stature.
This particular example is a 1916 Model Forty-Five G.E.D. Touring formerly owned by Moulton deWalt, of Crestline, Ohio. It was in his care for around four decades. In 1988, it was donated to the Buckeye-Keystone Region of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America, which accepted sealed bids on the car through an advertisement in Hemmings Motor News. Mr. Richard Roy won that auction, reportedly with a bid of $16 over the runner-up. It has been part of the Richard Roy collection since that time.
At some point, Mr. deWalt had the car repainted and reupholstered. The engine is an L-head four-cylinder unit displacing 361.7 cubic-inches and delivering nearly 29 horsepower. There is a four-speed selective-shift manual transmission and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2015