I enclose some interesting data referring to the performance of the Stanley Steam Car in 1905, 1906 and 1907, also a copy of a letter on steam power from Sir Malcolm Campbell, and a reference to a very interesting boilerless steam engine patented by Mr. H. R. Ricardo in 1920. Should they be ” muzzled ” or permitted to “let off steam ” ? STANLEY STEAM CARS From Derr’s ” The Modern Steam Car and its Background,” Sir Thomas Dewar, an Englishman, and a great lover of clean sport, offered a cup known as the “Dewar Cup” to be held by the one who could drive a car a mile in the shortest time. This cup was open to world competition, and the first International meet occurred at Ormond, lorida In January, 1905, it was won by Louis Ross in the then record time of 38 seconds for one mile, and in a Steam Car. The power plant in this car consisted of two 16 inch Stanley Boilers in which was
carried 800 lb. pressure, and two 2f x 3* Stanley engines.
The following January, 1906, we entered a car to compete in the Ormond races. This car had a power plant comprising a 30 inch boiler and a 41 x 61 engine. Now a 41 x 6* engine had, with the same steam pressure, practically four times the power of two 2* x 3.* engines. This car was driven by Fred Marriott and won the Dewar Cup, going a mile in 281 secs. It also made two miles in 591 secs. This was the first car to go two miles in one minute.
The boiler pressure used in these trials was 1,000 lb. The engine made one revolution whilst the driving axle made two. So the engine made only 300 revolutions to the mile. And, since the mile was made in 28* secs., the engine made 10f revolutions per second and the wheels twice that number, or 21 revolutions per second.
In the following year, 1907, we sent another car to Ormond to again compete for the Dewar Cup. This car had a much improved engine, and a boiler designed to stand a much higher steam pressure. But unfortunately the beach was in bad condition. There had been continuous strong east winds and the surface of the beach was wavy. But Thursday there came a strong north-wester and swept the beach in fine shape. The next day about noon the car was brought out, and Fred was instructed to go over the course at about two miles a minute. He went a mile in about 291 secs., and discovered there was only one bad place in the mile. After some discussion my brother consented to have the trial made. The crowd was anxious and Fred was desirous of lowering the record. Fred went up about nine miles
beyond the starting line. He set the automatic so as to raise the steam pressure to 1,300 lb. When he crossed the starting line he was going at a rate of speed never before seen. But when he reached the bad place in the course the car left the ground completely for a distance of nearly 100 feet, and it turned slightly in the air and struck at an angle, and of course was instantly smashed. The boiler was torn out, and with a tremendous roar of steam from the broken pipe, rolled several hundred feet down the beach. When. that accident happened, the car was travelling at nearly three miles a minute, or fully 250 feet per second. Now 260 feet per second is faster than the speed of a golf ball when it leaves the club of a powerful expert.
The mile made in 28* secs. on January 26th, 1906, stood as a record for six years, and has never been lowered by a car weighing only 2,204 lb., which was the limit at the time. Had the beach been in perfect condition in 1907, the record would have been lowered by Fred Marriott to close to 20 secs., or at the rate of three miles in one minute.
From Sir Malcolm Campbell to ” Steam Car Developments and Steam Aviation” January, 1935. Sir,
I have always felt that it is unfortunate that so little attention has been given to the development of the light steam unit for the purposes of road and air transport.
If the inherent disadvantages of steam as applied in these directions can be overcome, there are countervailing advantages in its use which are simply immeasurable. Obviously, the goal can only be reached by close and careful experiment, which has been lacking during the past twenty years.
At the moment there seems to be a revival of interest in steam and, according to report, some remarkable results have already been achieved—results which, if confirmed, cannot fail to be far-reaching in their influence on the future of aviation in peace and war.
1 wish you well in your efforts to maintain the interest.
From a Correspondent in San Francisco, January 1935.
If you look up British Patent No. 165,263 of April 15th, 1920, issued to H. R. Ricardo, you will find a most practical suggestion for a boilerless engine, complste with controls. I am, Yours etc.,
Manchester. G. J. A. HOWARTH.