Abner Doble was the most creative steam car engineer who ever lived.

He grew up in a wealthy San Francisco family and went to MIT in 1910 to study engineering, the family business. He visited the Stanley factory in Newton and was unimpressed with its technology. He then built the first of a long series of steam cars, his Model A, and reportedly drove it to the Stanley factory.

In October 1914, he created the Abner Doble Motor Vehicle Company, located in Waltham, MA. Doble was 19 years old. He created his Model B, but lacking financing, he took the car to Detroit. There, in 1916, he formed the General Engineering Company.

After introducing the new Model B at the New York Auto Show, Doble reorgannized the company as the Doble Detroit Steam Motor Company in 1917.

Doble failed to produce the Model B and in 1919 he sold the manufacturing rights to Amalgamated of Chicago. He then returned to San Francisco. There he formed the Doble Steam Motors Company to produce his Model D.

In 1931, Doble Steam Motors went into bankruptcy.[1]

Abner Doble Motor Vehicle Co.

Waltham, MA

1914 1915

General Engineering Co. and Doble-Detroit Steam Motors Detroit, MI 1916 1919

Doble Steam Motors Corp.

Emeryville, CA

1920 1931

Doble Steam Motors Advertisement, February 1918, Motor Magazine, p 168

This Doble Steamer advertisement appeared in the February 1918 issue of Motor Magazine on page 168. It suggests that Doble has already relocated from Detroit to California.

Doble-Detroit Steam Motors car, 1919, from Floyd Clymer, p. 90

This photograph is found in Floyd Clymer's Steam Car Scrapbook, (1945, Bonanza Books, Crown Publishers, Inc.), p. 90. As with almost all of the illustrations and material in his Scrapbook, (a very appropriate description) Clymer lists no sources.

Doble-Detroit Steam Motors, newspaper feature story

Tad Burgess wrote a newspaper column featuring antique automobiles. This column featured the Doble.

Doble Steam Motor Company Car, 1925, Peck Collection

D. Cameron Peck owned this 1925 Doble Steam Car at one point. Photograph by Don McCray.

Doble Steam Motors Name Plate, Reproduction, Front Doble Steam Motors Name Plate, Reproduction, Reverse

This reproduction Doble Steam Motors Company name plate was made in the _____, by _______________.

Doble Steam Car, Penzoil Advertising Postcard, Front Doble Steam Car, Penzoil Advertising Postcard, reverse

This postcard illustrates a 1923 Doble Steamer. It was used to advertise service for an Auburn, New York car dealership. Note the language, Our computerized system . . . plays on the novelty of computers in the late 1950s and early 1960s. There is no zip code on this card.

The Steam Car Club of Great Britain has a nice series of Doble Steam Cars on its web site.

This advertisement is found in Floyd Clymer's Steam Car Scrapbook, (1945, Bonanza Books, Crown Publishers, Inc.), p. 83.  As with almost all of the illustrations and material in his Scrapbook, (a very appropriate description) Clymer lists no sources.

[1]Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobile, (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1968), p. 62.