Back before petrol/gasoline became the main fuel for automobiles, there was plain old steam.
The first “substantiated” use of a steam “carriage” as they were called was a-waaayyyyy back in 1815. These would have been external combustion engines and for years were, by and large, experimental. That is, until the 1880s with the rise of large scale manufacturing.
So needless to say we were pretty happy to see parts of our first White steam car in the shop: a 1910 White Steam Model OO frame.
Frames are a tough part of restoration, because they are so awkward to handle. Plus, you need a BIG curing oven to get the coating on these large frames correct. Our curing oven at XTC fits frames up to 18 feet long by 7 feet wide.
History of the White Steam Car
The 1890s was the big decade for the steamers, with White Motor Company of Cleveland — a subsidiary of White Sewing Machine Company — being one of the bigger names. The steam engine cars were built through 1910 but petered out with the development of the electric starter.
White began producing gasoline powered automobiles in 1910, and stopped production of steam automobiles in 1911, after having made and sold 9,122 White Steamers. Only 9,122.
The company remained in business merging and under various names (CLETRAC, INC and EUCLID, INC.) until the 1985. The bulk of the White truck plants were bought in 1981 by Sweden’s AB Volvo.
What it Takes to Restore a Frame
The dimensions and the weight of these frames make them a bit tricky to blast and coat, but our team got the job done.
If you want to check out a complete restoration of a 1910 White Model O-O, here’s one from Jay Leno’s (very extensive) garage. Of course, Leno has his own fabricators in-house but we don’t. When something needs fabrication around here, clients get referred to Mark or Steve at The Panel Shop in Stratford.
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