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The Stanley Steamer America's Legendary Steam Car by Kit Foster

The legends of automotive history are writ large in the collective American memory - Duryea, Chrysler, Ford, Dodge, Durant, Chevrolet, Oldfield, Stanley ... Stanley?

How is it that a mere flyspeck in the vast ocean of American auto production, a virtually hand-crafted automobile that persisted in the obsolete technology of steam in a world of mass-produced gas guzzlers, a vehicle that was not even advertised, remains fixed in the American consciousness?

Brainchild of Yankee inventors and businessmen, F.E. & F.O. Stanley, the Stanley Steamer is forever enshrined in automotive memory for a daring dash across the Florida sand - one never-to-be-forgotten day in 1906, the David of Steam raised the bar of automotive performance for the Goliaths of Gas to a level almost unassailable: 127.66 miles per hour. At a time when records were being broken daily, frequently enduring but minutes, the Stanley record would stand for four years.

It takes nineteen chapters, supplemented by nine appendices, to develop the Stanley story, and they have been carefully crafted into an absorbing narrative that traces the family's roots back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. From their childhood in northern Maine the Stanley bothers developed into ingenious "Yankee" businessmen of substance before they even began to think of building cars.

The following chapters document the development and decline of the steam automobile business in complete and fascinating fashion. But that is not all. The other interests of the brothers and their families are woven into the story to present a well-rounded view of how life was lived by prosperous families in New England in the early twentieth century.

Code No. 011990, 548 pages, ISBN 1886727074, $150.00

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