We here at The Old Motor enjoy spending our time exploring the long and varied history of motor vehicles. It is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that the older machines could be temperamental and unreliable and nothing brought out their less desirable traits more than cold and snowy weather. Conditions like we have been experiencing here recently were all the more difficult to deal with in cars equipped with rear wheel drive, six volt electrical systems, points type ignitions and vacuum powered windshield wipers.
In the early days of motoring, it took machines like the Lombard Heavy Duty Highway Plows in the above photos to keep winter roads passable. The first equipment that Alvin Lombard built were steam log haulers, an idea he patented in 1901. Although he had experimented with gasoline power as early as 1909, he did not abandon steam entirely until 1917. His first designs used a single front ski as seen in the center photo, while later versions used a more conventional front axle. The largest of these units used a 140 horsepower T-head six cylinder engine of just under 1100 cubic inches. You can see more snowy scenes on The Old Motor. The Lombard photos are courtesy of Terry Harper.