Tag Archives: Besler Steam Airplane

Planes, Trains and Automobiles of the Besler Brothers Part II – The Improved Doble Steam car – The “Blue Goose” – The Steam Tram

This is Part II of the Besler steam story and the film (above) shows the improved Doble Steam car in operation and more information and links also follow about it below. The film also covers the Besler Steam Airplane again between 1:55 and 5:00 minutes, which you can skip it you have already seen it in Part I. From that point on the film covers the Bessler Steam Tram and following that the Blue Goose, the Besler Steam train, of which more information follows later in this post.

The Doble Steam car seen in the film is one that the Beslers and Abner Doble continued on with the development of. It appears that the car in the film may be the well-known Dr. Seely Mudd Doble Roadster, that he bought new in 1924. He had it updated in 1929 at Doble and also had new coach work built for it by the well know Walter Murphy Coach Builders.

The photo (above) is courtesy of the Hemmings Daily, where you can read a very interesting Arch Brown Drive Report, which contains many more photos and information. In the  article the 1924 Doble: Most Sophisticated Steamer Ever Built, Brown will educate you all about the Doble Steam Car and run you through all of the improvements and changes that were done to the Mudd car, which has survived.

You can look back here on The Old Motor, at photos taken at the Doble Plant, showing a Doble chassis, component photos and photos of an engine set-up for testing on a dynamometer.

The Steam Tram seen (above) and in the film, has been the hardest to find much information on. It apparently was a streetcar in the city of St. Louis, MO., for a time and the only references found about its power plant mention that is was an inverted v-four, with compound action, and had piston type valves. After it was no longer used in the Steam Tram, the engine was supposedly overhauled and it and the rest of the power plant was sold to for use in Russia as a boat power plant.

The Blue Goose seen (below), was originally proposed by the Besler brothers in 1934 as an all new project to be built from the ground up. Somehow they later became involved in the project with the New Haven Railroad, who was in a near-bankrupt state at the time. The project then changed into the rebuilding of older cars that apparently was done by Budd in Philadelphia.

The steam was produced in a 4-foot diameter “flash boiler” in the rear compartment. This was a drum consisting of coils with no true water level in the normal sense, the water passing through heating, boiling, and super-heating sections of this steam generator (much like a White steam car boiler). Final steam pressure from the oil-fired unit was 1,200 psi and power transmission was one powered truck as seen earlier in the film. An auxiliary engine drove a generator for lights and air conditioning, along with an air compressor. The engine car also incorporated a condensers which can be seen in the film on the roof of one of the cars.

The power truck itself had four cylinders, each connected to one wheel via cranks on the ends of the axles. The unit was set up for compound expansion, with the front high-pressure cylinders measuring 6.5″x 9″ and the rear cylinders 11″x 9″. The valve gear was of the Stephenson type and the power plant also featured an enclosure with oil bath and automated steam generation.

The equipment reportedly suffered many mechanical breakdowns. The use of  the rebuilt heavyweight coaches overtaxed the Besler engine, which had to run at near full capacity for much of the time because of it. Despite this, the train survived until the fall of 1943.

To finish up this post, you can also see the Besler patent application (scroll up) and drawings, of which one cross sectional drawing (above) shows a four-cylinder engine and its drive train intended for railroad service. It appears that it never got past this stage, but the drawing (below), shows how they were intended to be used in series in a locomotive. At American-Rails is an interesting article on a B & O Railroad Class W-1 Besler Type, that was also designed but never built.

To see the earlier information covered on the Besler Steam Plane, you can take look back on Part I here,

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