Twilight for the Steam Car
As the number of vehicles and motorists increased in the United States, the Stanley Motor Carriage Company attempted to keep up with the changing world around them, but dependence on water to power cars became troublesome. As traffic increased in cities, so too did complaints about the vapor exhausted by steam cars, especially on colder days when the steam was most visible.
Water tanks held 20‒50 gallons, depending on the model, giving a steam car a range of 30‒50 miles. During the earliest days, when autos and horses shared the road, the availability of water troughs made filling up easy. As the use of horses diminished, so too did access to a ready water supply. Makers introduced such innovations as the condenser (which recycled water) to stem the decline of the steam car, but twilight approached — for both the steamer and the Stanley Motor Carriage Company.
The Next Generation
In 1921, after years of courting, Clarence Marshall and Esther Shallcross married and moved into the house at Auburn Heights. They welcomed their son, Thomas C. Marshall Jr., on February 20, 1924.
1916 Stanley Touring Model 725
The Stanley Condenser
Early Stanleys used a total-loss water system. Water was pumped into the boiler, heated and turned to steam, then the steam traveled into the engine and finally exhausted into the atmosphere. With the addition of the condenser in 1915, steam was captured, condensed back into water, and deposited back into the water tank to be reused.
The 1915 Stanley sales catalog suggested that with this addition, the 24-gallon water tank would allow the car to be driven 120–200 miles before refilling and would “effectively prevent the show of steam.”