1899 – 1900
The Locomobile Company of America, Bridgeport, CT 1899 – 1929 Locomobile was one of the two companies which resulted from the purchase of the Stanley Brothers' steam-car design rights in 1899 by A. L. Barber and J. B. Walker.
Walker separated from Barber and formed the Mobile Company of America, while his former partner did good business with the little Locomobile steam runabout.
This consisted of a welded "bicycle" framework, a carriage body, a twin-cylinder simple engine, and a 14-inch boiler under the driver's seat. It was tiller-steered and chain driven and at $600 it looked a better bargain that it was, suffering from the crudest of lubrication arrangements and astronomical water consumption; the boiler had to be refilled every 20 miles!
In spite of this in 1901 the four-story Locomobile factory was said to be the biggest of its kind in the world. The steamers survived until 1903, with the bigger boilers, culminating in the 10 hp wheel-steered dos-a-dos which sold for $1,600. Locomobile sold their [sic] steam-car rights back to the Stanleys, but in the meantime, A. L. Riker had designed a gasoline car on Panhard lines, with a 4-cylinder engine, automatic inlet valves , and pressed-steel frame.
The "Locomobile" Company of America was an extraordinarily prolific advertiser. The company manufactured steam cars from 1899 - 1904, and perhaps into 1905.
In 1903, it began the transition to gasoline cars. Steam cars were advertised early in 1904, but by 1905, the company was virtually out of the steam car business.
The "Locomobile" Company of America was originally called Automobile Company of America, but the name was already trademarked.
To learn more about Locomobiles, see:Ball, Donald L., The Genealogy of the Locomobile Steam Carriage, 1899-1904, (The Stanley Museum, Inc., Kingfield, ME, 1994). Purchase a copy of Don Ball's book, through the Stanley Museum web site.
Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobile, (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1968), p. 119-120.
Ball, Donald L., The Genealogy of the Locomobile Steam Carriage, 1899-1904, (The Stanley Museum, Inc., Kingfield, ME, 1994)