Francis & Freelam STANLEY
Stanley Steamer

Adapted from -- The definitive website re : Stanley Steamers
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"Power, Correctly generated, Correctly controlled, Correctly applied to the rear axle."

This slogan appeared in many of the ads for Stanley Motor Carriages. It truly represents the design philosophy that the Stanley twins applied to their cars. Steam cars unitize an external combustion (Rankine cycle) engine where the fuel source is consumed external to the engine. A steam boiler generates vast quantities of power for later use on demand unlike the internal combustion (Otto cycle) engine that must develop the needed power on demand. A Stanley steam engine provides four power impulses per crankshaft rotation similar to an 8-cylinder internal combustion engine. However, the power is applied uniformly for a longer length of the stroke than the hammer-like explosions common to gasoline or diesel engines. This provides the steam engine an advantage of more torque in a smaller package over what can be generated with a gasoline engine of equivalent rating.

Early Stanleys were fueled with gasoline but later models incorporated a two-fuel system of gasoline for the pilot and kerosene for the main burner. Kerosene, provided not only more heat energy per unit than gasoline, it was also safer and less expensive. Both the Stanley pilot that operates continuously as well as the main burner which operates on steam demand is based on the simple principles of the Bunsen Burner. In the Stanley the heat of the fire vaporizes the liquid fuel before the fuel vapor is fed through an orifice, mixed with air, and burned below the boiler. To start a Stanley a torch is used to preheat the vaporizing tube and light the pilot making the Stanley Steamer one of the few cars difficult to steal in anything less than 20 minutes. Fuel efficiency was roughly 10-12 miles to the gallon.

Stanley steamers generate steam in drum shaped boilers ranging from 14" to 30" in diameter and from 14" to 18" in height. Similar to a battery the Stanley boiler stores steam energy for later use on demand. Unique in their design, no Stanley boiler has ever been documented to explode. The circular boiler walls are strengthened with three layers of exceptionally strong piano wire to provide sidewall strength unequaled in boiler designs for similar ratings. The use of between 500 and 1,000 fire tubes not only efficiently transfers heat to the water, they provide a structural strength to the boiler ends. Operated nominally at 600 PSIG, boilers were factory tested to twice operating pressure before being placed in a car.

Once generated, steam is released from the boiler through a driver controlled throttling valve. The steam is routed to the engine after making a final pass through the burner fire to absorb 150-degrees or so of additional superheat energy. Upon reaching the engine the steam is directed through D slide valves to one of the double-acting, dual cylinders. Stanley Motor Carriages, while rated in boiler steaming capacities of 10, 20, and 30 horsepower, had engines capable of developing 100 horsepower and more for short periods of time. The engine was mounted to the rear drive axle at a nominal 1.5:1 gear ratio between the crankshaft and the differential gear. Transmissions were not required and hence there was no "neutral" or clutch.

Using ball-bearing construction throughout, the Stanley car was capable of speeds in excess of 75 MPH for short periods of time if one could locate a dirt road of the period suitable for the exercise. Exhaust steam from the engine is first used to preheat the water supply to the boiler further improving operating efficiency. On early cars the spent steam exited the rear of the car along with the combustion products of the burner. For later cars a standard automotive radiator served as a condenser returning the steam to liquid and eventual reuse in the boiler. Non-condensing cars required about a gallon of water per mile or two but later condensing cars greatly improved this efficiency to the neighborhood 10 miles per water gallon.

It has been said that in order to drive a Stanley one first need learn to drive without watching the road! Two pumps for water, a pump for burner fuel, and a pump for engine lubricating oil were driven directly from the engines on early cars or from the rear axle of later cars. A steam automatic throttled the burner on and off to meet steam demand based on driving conditions. The need to manually control the water level in the boiler of early Stanley steamers was improved with the addition of the water automatic which fully automated water management. Safety devices such as low water burner shutdowns and pressure relief valves were standard fare on all cars. The need to monitor fuels, water, steam, and lubrication brought a number of valves and gauges to the dash and under the coffin-nosed hoods of the earlier cars. This resulted in an impressive display for the passenger but required the driver to be a part-time engineer.

Early Stanleys were all wooden construction followed later by more streamline styles of steel frames and aluminum bodies. Early kerosene lamps gave way to intensely bright acetylene headlamps and eventually electric lighting. The Stanley twins fascination for speed insured that the earliest models included racers and roadsters while later production centered on touring cars and their unique Mountain Wagon that was both a bus and a truck. A Stanley car set a land speed record of 127 MPH in 1906 and the following year one was clocked at nearly 150 MPH before it crashed near Daytona Beach.

In its time the Stanley was truly an impressive and prestigious automobile. When the Stanley twins could no longer race their cars interest in improving the product declined. Their self-imposed production limits of 1000 cars per year further hindered wide availability. In later years the Stanleys developed heavier cars but without increased horsepower soon putting them at a driving disadvantage as well. Today, the many Stanleys, handful of Whites, and few Dobles, Lanes, and others are all that remains of a technology that had different choices been made, might have relegated the internal combustion engine to today's collectors and museums.

The Model 735 Dashboard -- Driver controls

The Stanley Engine -- Technical facts

Under the Right Hood -- The automatics and plumbing -- right side of the boiler

Under the Left Hood -- The throttle, steam automatic, and water indication

Model 735 Piping Diagram -- The water, steam, fuel, and oil systems.









Improvements in Liquid Level Indicators for Boilers and other Liquid Receptacles.

Improvements in and connected with Steam Generators.

Indicateur de niveau d'eau

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