Stanley Brothers: Their Steamer was fast and environmentally friendly
As the price of gasoline continues to rise, now hovering at $4 a gallon or more, and global warming becomes a hot topic of discussion, talk of alternative engine systems for automobiles is steaming up. There are hybrids, super-hybrids, bio-fueled internal combustion engines and electric cars, just to name a few. The Stanley brothers, Freelan Oscar and Francis Edgar, known as F.O and F.E., would undoubtedly question why steam-driven cars have not been considered. After all, one of their steamers went coast-to-coast and only used $4.50 of kerosene fuel to heat the boiler. Water was free and environmentally friendly. And the Stanley steamer could fly, literally. In 1907 at a race held at Ormond Beach next to Daytona, Fla, Fred Mariott drove a Stanley steamer racing car called the â€śRocket.â€? It didnâ€™t look or sound like any other car. Journalists likened its appearance to an inverted canoe with a flat bottom resting on four wheels and steam streaking out of a large exhaust vent behind the driver; only the driverâ€™s head was visible. It was noiseless. Some called it a â€śfreakâ€? car.