George J. Bohnet Steamer

George J. Bohnet of Lansing worked variously as a druggist and a machinist, in the bicycle business and in the music business - and in 1901 he completed building the first steam car in the city of Lansing.

The task had required a year-and-a-half; the car's first test run was on the evening of June 6th.

Almost immediately he sold the vehicle to a doctor from DeWitt for less than a thousand dollars, and he was at work building his second car for an executive from the Capital Electric Company. That one was completed and delivered in 10 months.

The Bohnet steamer was an attractive little runabout with wire wheels and tiller steering. Having sold his first two cars so easily, George Bohnet was encouraged to think bigger, and he persuaded JW. Post of Lansing to think bigger with him. Together they established the Lansing Automobile Works in 1902, with Bohnet to do the designing and Post to handle, as the Twentieth Century Edition of The Lansing Journal put it that year, "the business end of the company." Alas, there was no business, and the partnership soon ended.

Bohnet then joined W.K. Prudden as an automobile dealer, handling Oldsmobiles through 1906, Reos through 1917 and Dodges thereafter.[1]

The Lansing Public Library has an illustration.

[1]Kimes, Beverly Rae and Clark, Henry Austin Jr., Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1805 - 1942, 3rd Edition, (Iola, WI, Krause Publications, 1996), p. 135. Kines & Clark is the authorative reference work on American automobiles. It belongs in every auto enthusiast's library.