The Steam Automobile Club of America Story
Before the internal combustion engine and electric motor, steam drove locomotives, ships, factories, tractors and even early automobiles. From Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot’s first clumsy vehicle in 1769 to the steam omnibuses of Gurney, Hancock, Russell and Maceroni in the 1820’s and 30’s to Roper, Fisher and many others in the mid 1800s and on to Stanley, White and Doble in the first half of the 20th century, steam cars have a long tradition. Clean burning steam propulsion was looked upon as an important competitor to the IC engine in the 1960s and 70s; even today, hobbyists and entrepreneurs pursue steam power avidly.
The Steam Automobile Club of America was founded in 1957 by Robert L. Lyon and a group of friends. He served as President until his death in 1976. Below is the conclusion of his editorial from the Steam Automobile Vol 1 No 1:
“Our aim, then, is to maintain the high level of steam restoration, the congenial steam get-to-gethers, and the joy of operating our steamers safely. Our hobby is one of many choices which give us countless opportunities to disagree. Be it flash vs. fire-tube, or antique vs. modern; all these are personal preferences and have their place.
We feel that the establishment of a steam car enthusiasts club is necessary as a common medium to give and receive information, and promote steam car Meets, so that we can continue to enjoy our hobby together with all our new friends. We are counting on everyone to help make this club a success. Lets all work together to keep steam alive.”
A quote from the current SACA President, Ken Helmick:
(SACA is) “Dedicated to collecting, preserving and disseminating knowledge of steam automobile, steam boats and light steam powerplants. Not content just preserving classic steam automobiles, some Steam Automobile Club of America members strive to improve light steam as both a satisfying hobby and as a source of alternate energy.”
SACA has kept the philosophy alive that we are a club of preservationists and innovators. Those that own or are fascinated by historic steam automobiles are equally welcome as is the tinkerer, builder and dreamer.