Even better, I drove my Stanley Steamer today!
I have lusted after Steamers for years, and the opportunity to get one came about this summer. It took a while to figure out what all the valves and gauges are for, but I was able to meet my goal of steaming before the end of the year! Thanks to all those that helped, most notably Mark Turner, Howard Johnson, and Mike May!
Good for you Joe. I'm glad you are up to a Steamer.
Congratulations! I would love to own a nice steam car (especially a White), but I haven't hit the lottery yet.
What a beautiful car! Hope we will see you at Greenfield Village in september.
Very nice, thank you for sharing. Enjoy, and keep us posted...
Nice car. Congrats!
I am with Richard -happy for you, yet envious. I have wanted a Steamer since I was a little boy. That is a beautiful car!
That is lovely! When I get my ten grand a week for life from PCH...
I have a non-condensing Stanley. When it goes right, it's about as much fun as you can have in this hobby (except for single-cylinder gas cars, that are just so-o-o-o satisfying). Even when it isn't going right, you can usually limp home. But the fires on the road can be spectacular! Congratulations on joining a club with few, but interesting, members.
Joe, welcome to the club. My dad and I own a 1917 Stanley and have driven it a lot over the years. Howard and Mike are friends and they are both very accomplished steam car operators. You have good teachers.
I am happy with my TT, but I sure would like to be able to perform a blowdown
like that in traffic with it. It already gets plenty of stares, but an enormous *WOFF!*
explosion of steam would really liven things up.
I would not want any condensed water build up !
Model T's and Stanley's go well together. My son and I have this 11 roadster. He drives the Stanley all the time. I stick with the T's. Both cars get a lot of touring during the summer.
I'm Jealous Joe. I always have wanted a Stanley - particularly a late one. Stanleys were manufactured in my home town (city) of Newton, MA and the factory building still stands, although it has been repurposed. Father Stanley Ellis, an Episcopal priest and Stanley Guru lived a block and a half from me. Seeing Stanleys operating on the roads of Waban, MA was a common sight when I was a kid (a long time ago).
I am SOOOO jealous!! It looks like a gem. Glad you were finally able to steam up!
Think you have your Christmas present early!!
My grandfather had a 1910 Stanley and it has always been my dream car. Maybe one of these days...
First drives in our cars are always special events. Even the ones I've had the vulture truck come get me were special. And successful first drives are even better. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your accomplishment with us. Non-car folks might not understand it -- but we know your new child just took their first steps.
Just curious, do you need to blow off the steam before you park the car each night? And if so -- do you back into the garage so it goes out the door?
Some safety comments:
I used to be a flight safety officer and one of the things that was documented was how it takes about 50 hours of flying/practice before the pilot becomes familiar enough with the new plane to automatically perform the correct safety procedures. They used several illustrations where this applied. One of which was the adult that had learned to ride bikes as a kid on a single speed coaster brake bike (ok, that was a long long time ago back in the last century). Then as an adult they purchased a 10 speed bike for exercise. And within the first few days they needed to make an emergency stop. You probably guessed it -- they pedaled backwards instead of using the hand brakes on the handle bars.
The good news -- that is a reason to keep driving it more and more (in safe areas) to build up your experience with the car. And while you are stopped and the car isn't running, you can go through the motions of what you would do if you needed to make an emergency stop etc. So when you need to act quickly you can make the correct move. Note if the Stanley has the normal brake pedal you are already familiar with -- that makes the transition much easier. That's why when we rent a car we don't need 50 hours behind the wheel -- the layout has been standardized over the years. And of course that is why a few standard shift drivers have stepped on the brake pedal when they first started to drive an automatic -- their left foot was planning to push in the clutch pedal.... That same "clutch pedal" training is why some new T drivers press down the low pedal when they go to make a quick stop. There has been more than one garage wall that has been bumped by a new T driver because of that "prior training."
Hap l9l5 cut off
Wow,that is special, Joe what year is the Stanley, and what is the last year they were made?
That is really a great car and is especially neat because it is a late model. Only thing in that field that would as nice would be a Doble.
Very cool. I've always been fascinated by steam and would love the chance to give a steam car a try.
Joe, did it siphon overnight?
Congrats Joe! I bet that drew quite a crowd from the neighborhood, if not even the fire department! From a block away it probably looked like a huge house fire!! That's a lotta steam blowing out! Looks like fun.
Hard to comprehend the amount of power that steam engine puts out, can't be daydreaming when driving something like that. I'd love to ride in one someday !!!
I got to ride in one once!
When I was in high school, the local hardware store owner had a steam engine that had been installed in a boat. We used to go by during lunch and listen to boat stories. During one visit, a plumber was in the store for supplies. Told us there was a steam car under a house down the street. He saw it the previous winter when he was fixing a frozen pipe. We raced off to the house and found only the empty space where the car had been. Home owner told us the steam car had been there for many many years but someone had bought it that spring. She wasn't sure the maker., Guess thats as close to a steamer I will ever come. We walked past the house every school day not knowing the treasure hidden beneath.
Word of "the old Packard" circulated around the area where I grew up for years, but
I never could figure out where it was. When I was about 22 I decided I had had enough
of that and made a concerted effort to track it down. Shur-nuff, ... it hid in the basement
of a house about a mile from our farm. A 1923 Twin Six town sedan.
About two years ago a similar story here in Spokane involved a 1915 Packard roadster.
It is currently wrapping up a frame-off at Glenn Vaughn Auto Restoration.
Lots of stuff hides right under our noses and we never think to look !
Someone took a picture as I drove the Stanley into a Cars and Croissants (like a Cars and Coffee, but with more Ferraris!) last New Year's weekend. The temperature was 28, and under my snowmobile suit I had multiple layers of cross-country skiwear. The car is for sale, so one of you can have this much fun, too! (If the picture doesn't appear, it's because this geezer who buys cars that start with cranks and blowtorches can't figure out how to post it.)
Here is a picture of Gil's Stanley:
Thanks for all the positive comments! I was very excited to get to drive it.
Ed, I plan on having it at OCF next year and anyone is welcome to take a ride there.
Here is a pic of Mark walking me through how to blow down the boiler properly.
Burger, although not original, the steam whistle is pretty fun in traffic. Not sure if my neighbors appreciated me playing with it yesterday...
Hap, I though wrapping my head around driving a T was complicated, but it has become second nature. (I guess I hit the 50 hour mark) The Steamer is at an entirely new level. Tons of valves, none of which are labeled, and gauges you have to monitor and sounds you must listen for. And just to make things confusing the column throttle works in the opposite direction of a T. Up is faster...
Robert, The stanley is a 1923 Model 740. The last year was around 1924 with the 750 model The company was purchased in 1925 and very few 1925 maybe 1926 "SV" models were made. By 1923, only those that really liked steam or had more money than sense were buying steam cars. Probably the same is true now... A 1923 740 Touring was a little over $4,000 and a Model T was closer to $500.
Walter, It did siphon over night, but I plan on draining everything and putting it away for the season this Sunday. No more rides till spring.
Tim, Funny thing is that I don't think anyone knew what it was even though I was driving with the hood off. (Stanleys will shoot flames out of the top of the boiler during the pilot fuel main fuel transition if not done properly so I am leaving the hood off until I know what i am doing. (so far no flames)) I had a few different people drive right next to me and they didn't say anything more than it was a pretty old car. The steam whistle surprised them.
Gil, your car looks great. Good luck with the sale. Is this your car?
Yes, it is. Yours is a handsome example of a late Stanley. About a '22?
Obviously, I need to read prior posts more carefully before responding!
Siphon is good. That means everything is tight. It looks pretty tidy under the hood.
And that the feedwater check valves are working!!
It looks Maaahvalous!
We only have a few pics, but the plumbing I see looks very nicely done,the firewall is exceptionally clean too.
Does the Electric pilot heater work? (does anyone use them nowadays??) I once looked at an SV for a friend (and a 740 too) but he never jumped on them. Oh Well--the SV would have needed a LOT of parts finding/building.
That's the closest I ever came to co-owning a Stanley. My '02 Locomobile was fun, but a combination of parts and a '50s curved dash Olds frame/body. Used a White 10hp throttle, slotted burner, Coleman conversion pilot, and I forget all the other bits. Was pretty good going down the road at about 25mph--and very scary at 35-- center tiller steer! Fortunately, it couldn't keep up 35! IF it had been more authentic, I would still have it, I think.
Ah memories. You are just about to start creating yours (for Decades, I hope)!
The car was pretty well done mechanically. I am proud to own it.
The car doesn't have an electric pilot heater. I hear that they were troublesome. was formerly John Packard's car, so it has the "Packard Pilot" that he made for so many other steamers.
Pics of underhood
Joe, on the right-side shot of the boiler, what is the small coil of 1/8" tubing?
The coil of tubing comes from the steam cylinder oil pump and goes into the superheated steam that exits the boiler. It is coiled up to allow for movement due to thermal expansion / contraction as the parts get hot.
The large U shaped tube it is going into is heading from the output of the superheater to the engine. It is U shaped for the same reason - thermal expansion.
I should have added the steam cylinder oil is needed to lubricate the engine. Water / Steam is not a lubricant so a dollop of oil is injected on every stroke into the superheated steam heading to the engine to lube cylinders.
Ah, the oil line. I've just not seen it done that way. I thought it was a connection point for some kind of trick indicator.
Do you have an oil separator in the system, or a sock in the water tank, or some such?
Ah, I've been out of the hobby long enough to not know about those pilots, but, yes, I have heard that the electric pilot heaters were troublesome!
The latest batch of pictures shows an excellent example of plumbing, and beautiful work on the boiler jacket. You are very fortunate to have such a nice Stanley.
Somewhere around here I should have a five gallon bucket of Superheated Cylinder oil (it was obtained from the McCloud sawmill when they shut down their Corliss sawmill engine). Back when I had my steamboat, I used it frequently (although in very small batches--the engine was pretty tiny) and then I used it on my steam car, and in my Model A steering gear! I haven't needed it in quite a while, so it's somewhere in the garage--I hope! I figure it's enough for my lifetime, and will probably be passed onto someone else! That is, if my brother didn't throw it out when I left back at the family home (I can't remember retrieving it--but I must have, as I had the steam car down here. Hmmm. the mind is a terrible thing to lose!
The car has an oil separator, it is the tall cylinder on the right side of the picture below.
It seems to be pretty effective, but most of the people seem to like to add a sock or diaper in the water tank as well. I am not sure about cutting a hole in the tank to facilitate that, but I am thinking about it.
I don't think I'd want to cut the tank for a sock even without a separator. If the separator is working, I'd just say to run with it. The people helping you have probably already said, but when you refill the water tank, particularly the morning after when the car has siphoned and everything has had time to go its separate ways, fill slowly and let it overflow. Watch what comes out on the ground and you will see the oil that skims off the top of the tank. Let it overflow until the oil ceases.
What a smart looking automobile! I really wasn't expecting that!
Thank you for sharing Joe!
Question if I may. How much more intense are steam automobile boilers to operate compared to the lower pressure (100-150 psi) traction engine and stationary engine boilers?
I "think" they would be polar opposites (steam car = very intense) but I do not know. Hence the question. A steam car? Zoiks! That's high pressure!
And then I ask myself about licensing for those pressures...
I very much enjoy working with a couple of large (175 and 300-350 horse) Corliss type stationary engines (boiler too) and getting cajoled onto the platform of an 80 horse Case Traction engine once a year so I think the differences may be intriguing.
Burger, a nice blow down in the evening (a stationary 100+ psi boiler with 3000-4000 gallons of water inside) is also very satisfying. The "mud" and scale are out of the drain. True. :-)
15 lbs or 600 lbs, a boiler still needs to be watched and can ruin your whole day if not kept supplied with water. On a Stanley, the shell is so overdesigned (with good reason) that the tubes fail first and you just get a lot of leaks and often a warped bottom sheet which makes re-tubing a pain. usually one just scorches the bottom sheet, and then spends a few hours underneath the car on one's back re-flaring tubes (about 180 of them, if my memory serves). This is usually done on the "trouble-trailer" during the evening and night before the tour continues the next day (or that morning depending on how late it is!). Fortunately I speak from observation, not experience!
But, the main difference between a traction engine, or a steamboat or a stationary boiler and a car is that; in a car, you are driving down a street with other traffic, and must steer carefully--there are more distractions requiring quick decisions so the boiler control has to be almost completely automatic.
As for licensing, AFAIK, there is no "special license" required to drive a steam car--at least I never had one, nor one for the boat either.
And yes, there is something infinitely satisfying about working around steam.
I heard a story at Hershey that I will attempt to relay, although I will probably butcher it. Up in Ontario, there was an attempt to ban steam cars unless their boilers were inspected and their drivers specially licensed. A law was drafted, and it was obvious that the law was going to be rammed through. Public hearings were pro forma, but no one in authority gave a hoot what was said in them. What killed it was when the bureaucrat in charge was told it was unenforceable because every car on the road would be rendered illegal. Why? Because the proposed law applied to any car with a pressure vessel on board, and every car on the road had at least four of them, called tires.
And a 15 lbs pressurized radiator system is a pressure vessel too!
Sorry about the thread drift Mr. Fedullo. :-/
That answered some of my questions David. "...and can ruin your whole day if not kept supplied with water." Ya mean like that fella in Ohio (low water Joe) that liked to run his big Case (a 110?) a little lower on water, moved the engine, left the crown sheet without water and blew the whole damn thing up? That explosion flipped a 25000 pound engine on its top and killed 4, if memory serves me.
Califunny? Yep, if you need NO license to own/operate a boiler... THAT seems strange.
Interesting info on a Stanley and its own safe guards. :-)
Hey, Joe, is this the car that sold at the Owl's Head Museum auction earlier this year? Your car looks fantastic. I just got my 1919 stanley running last week!
I have never operated another steam engine, so I have nothing to compare it to. The Stanley has several "automatics" that should keep the boiler full and only supply fuel to the burner when needed. That makes operation easier in one sense, but the automatics sometimes fail, so you have to constantly monitor the gauges and be ready to take control if an automatic or pump fails anyway. This makes it harder in some sense as you can get distracted and not notice a looming issue.
Howard Johnson told me there are 3 rules to operating a Stanley.
1) Never run low on water.
2) Never run low on water.
3) Never run low on water.
Although running low on water will damage the boiler, there are no known cases of a Stanley boiler ever exploding. The tubes leak and relieve pressure before a tank rupture. Supposedly the Stanley twins set up a burner to run continuously with a boiler that had low water and left it in a pit behind the shop and they did not rupture the boiler, it just leaked and put the burner out.
As such I am told they are no licensing restrictions to operate a Stanley.
Steam tractors are a different animal. Even though they operate at lower pressures, they can and have burst.
Taylor I did buy my car at the Owls head auction in August. Were you there?
Howard is a wise person! Yes, the Stanley automatics can fail, but like almost any steam plant, it usually makes noises or acts funny to warn you (if you're listening. smelling, & thinking) like "Low Water Joe," ignored; when a boiler starts putting out more steam than usual, it's usually a sign of low water. That particular boiler, though, was found to also have excessive corrosion internally.
Yes, the Stanleys decided to test a boiler, and raised it to over two times usual pressure, and all it did was leak excessively. The only accidents that I know of with Stanleys involved the use of Propane as a fuel and storing it inside the body--Propane is heavier than air and settles in low spots where it can ignite rapidly and suddenly when it reaches a flame. I've been around two such "explosions"(not in a Stanley), so am quite leery of it as a motor or boat fuel. But, I'm getting far afield of this subject, which is Joe sharing his joy at driving his Stanley for the first time!
Taylor--Wow! Love your Stanley too, looks like a "survivor"?
For years, the Barnes ranch ran a steam show in Belgrade, Montana. We went to one of their last in '94, it was kinda funny. There was a guy from the state there, supposedly to check boiler certifications and make sure everything was "safe" - they didn't even know what they were looking at, and got quite an education from the guys who owned the steam engines.
Joe, that is true of any steam engine. There are many photos of what used to be railroad steam engines where that caution was not heeded. The results are universally ugly.
I had no idea there were this many steam car owners on this board. I guess birds of a feather do flock together...
Gilbert V. I. Fitzhugh - 1911
Ken Findlay - 1911
Alan Woolf - 1917
Taylor Andre - 1919
Joe, this isn't your car is it. I took this in 1990 in Colorado. They used to let me tag along on Steam Car Tours in exchange for taking photos and videos. Steam car folks don't find much camera time.
There are some detail differences but I don't remember seeing many Red condensing Stanleys.
Joe, I'll hold to to your offer of a ride I would love to see how they operate.
I stared at that picture for a while, but am pretty sure that one is not mine. I think that is #24013
Mine is #23650
Ed, and anyone else that wants to go for a ride at OCF is welcome.
Joe, I agree after seeing the register photo.
It is so good of you to share rides. Not many folks get to ride in a Steam Car. They look great in pictures but riding in them is a unique experience.
Richard is right, riding in one is a special experience--driving one is too, the throttle does not react like an "infernal combustion" one. I am privileged to have done both--and to have ridden in a Doble too! (Barney Becker's which tells you how long ago that was; he was a neat guy.)
One of my favorite personal experience Steam car stories (Hopefully I haven't already posted it here) was a few years back at the Sacramento Delta steamboat meet we were riding in Roger McGuire's 7 passenger touring down the delta levee road (typical levee road, narrow, two lane). I was in the back seat (no top on the car) and noticed some kids in a jacked up 4-wheel drive thingy coming up on us fast; "Uh oh, I thought"--but just then we were passing a steamboat on the water, so Roger decides to blow a whistle greeting to them. Of course, we were immediately enveloped in a cloud of steam. I was watching those kids and suddenly they just started shrinking--must have stood on their brakes! I was laughing so hard, Roger asked; "What's so funny?"--he hadn't seen them at all!
Aren't steam cars fun??
Yes, model Ts are fun too, but steam cars are stealthier!
I thought one of the outward differences between a 740 and a 750 was that the top folds on a 750 but on a 740 it does not. The opposite would seem to be true in this case.
Joe, I'll also hold you to a ride in your Stanley also. That would be a great experience!
Ed & Keith,
Looking forward to meeting you and others at OCF.
My 740, a friend's earlier car both have tops that fold.
Interesting. I've worked on two unrestored 740's and they did not. There seems to be a mix on Kelly's site.
It looks like Joe's top folds, but the red one in Richard's picture looks like it doesn't. Interesting, a touring top that doesn't fold!
David's comments are so true. We were privileged to help transport luggage on a progressive Steam Car Tour in 1988. There were 4 Doubles in attendance. My wife got to ride in Stan Lucas's Doble one of the days. With three drivers for our pickup the other two were offered rides in the Steam Cars. Wonderful people and fascinating cars. When I give Model T rides I hope I am paying back for some of those wonderful rides.
OK, another Stanley story, happened here in Chico when the HCCA had a one & two cylinder tour here--I was driving the CSU, Chico's Brush (last time it was out and about). There were two brothers with Stanleys (who's names elude me now). I Had a ride in one of them and found out they were using a walkies-talkie to compare settings, etc. Well, we are just driving through some Chico residential areas when "noises" came through the Walkies-Talkie--their units were on the same frequency as some baby monitors. So the driver picks up his mic and says, "MOMMY!!! Bring me a Martini!!"
And then we silently glided away. . .