Category Archives: Steam Powered
*Updated* Kelley Williams found the ad (below) that was placed in the Dec. 20, 1899, The Horseless Age, where Martin Gillet Gill, Jr. had advertised his first car for sale so that he could most likley buy this one.
By Kelly Williams:
This photo from a Baltimore newspaper archive is simply marked “Mrs. M. Gillet Gill.” It shows a Stanley stick-seat runabout on the early 70″ wheelbase chassis, probably built in 1901 or 1902.
Martin Gillet Gill, Jr. (whose family was in the tea importing business for generations) was one of the first to place an order for a Stanley following the attention-getting performance of one of the Stanley brothers’ prototypes at the Nov. 1898, Charles River Park exhibition. His order became delayed by the sale of the nascent manufacturing business to the Locomobile concern. An anecdote relates that when he complained that he might be dead before the car was delivered, the brothers replied “Don’t worry, we’ll upholster your car in asbestos!”
He is recorded as having the first car in Baltimore, and it was a steam car. If he indeed got one of the earliest possible cars after the business’s sale to Locomobile, it was probably a Stanley/Locomobile built during the brothers’ hiatus from manufacturing, and not this car. However, his brother, race driver and aviator Howard Gill, established an automobile dealership which sold Stanley’s, and this car presumably arrived in Baltimore that way. In fact, it may have been one of the Stanleys’ first production cars under their name, with the improved direct-drive engine retrofitted in place of the early chain-drive.
Editors note: Kelly Williams is the keeper of the Stanley Register Online which serves as the registry for the Stanley Steam Car community. The site has photos of many Stanley’s along with links to other steam car and gas power club websites. The Old Motor photo.
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot a French inventor, built what is believed by many to be the first self propelled steam-powered vehicle. This vehicle has been written about extensively in the past but if it is unknown to you, Wikipedia has a very good overview of Cugnot and the fardier à vapeur.
Alain Cerf who owns the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum in Florida and his workers built a working replica of the steam dray and unveiled it at Retromobile this past February in France. The video above shows it arriving in France and Cerf explains it in French, afterwards his helper and the vehicles operator David Falvey explains the basic workings in English, builds up a head of steam and operates it for a test before going to Retromobile.
The video below shows a few last minute details being taken care of, before being loaded back up to go to Retromobile for display and later demonstration runs out in front of the exhibition hall. Take the time to watch both videos and read up on it as it is quite fasc-inating even if it is outside you field of interest.
A great photograph showing a whole bunch of kids posing on a small steam locomotive. The scene may be located in Lovell’s Flat, which is near the southeast coast of New Zealand near Dunedin. The lettering on the side appears to read in part, Lovell’s Flat Coal, but we cannot make out the rest. Hopefully our readers can tell us more about the scene and the engine. The photo was sent to us courtesy of Derek Finlay of New Zealand.