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Topics - the_peeve

April 02, 2016, 08:13:51 PM
I am really into old technologies that were abandoned for obvious or odd or strange reasons. Feel free to add on to this thread, any old tech's that still amaze!

I am really into the history of  Stanley Steam cars, built by Stanley Motor Carriage Company. Although steam cars and vehicles had been pretty much been phased out by 1930, there was a period of 1902 to 1911 where Stanley couldn't be beaten. They had kick ass cars that were extremely fast.

In 1906, they constructed a race car using a frame built from a canoe cut in half for early aerodynamics. The two Stanley brothers were geniuses. That car went 146 miles an hour on the Daytona Beach track! In 1906!

In 1907, they tried again, and got the car up to 154 mph, but the car drove into a rut on the beach, and the boiler flew off and blew into the air. The driver, Fred Mariott was injured and so was the company.

Competitors used this accident to make steamers seem dangerous and tend to blow up. Which you heard about for many years and even today. Automotive Propaganda. But there was no report ever of a Stanley Steam ever blowing up because they built the engines with valves to off-set overheating.
But it was the end, the gasoline combustion engines were favoured and they would soon come with a very popular starter. Stanley Steamers were given a bad name, basically. Which is a real shame because I wonder how much another two decades of experimentation on steam engines for cars would have taken us. 

The following is one of my favourite videos on youtube. It is of the owner of a 1906 Stanley Vanderbilt Race Cup car. You will see him blast away other vehicles from the period and beyond. I talked to the owner and he told me he could get this beast going 110-116 mph.  His top speed is about 65mph in the video. Jay Leno has some excellent videos too of these beasts of a race car!

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