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Replica Early English Steam Coaches.

Posted by Jim Crank 
Jim Crank
Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 08, 2004 09:53AM
Do any of you know who may have built replicas of the early English Steam Coaches in the U. S. about 1924? I would like to know who did this and where they were located, and if any still exist.
I have a photograph of Abner Doble and the chassis of E-9 taken when they were demonstrating the cars in New York, in early 1924. The man Abner is showing the chassis to certainly looks like Henry Ford; but the people at the Ford Museum said definitely it was not the senior Ford.
In the background is a huge steam coach, with people in period costume in it and standing along side the vehicle.

Acccording to a newspaper story, the Doble factory supposedly made five full size replicas of a few of the early steam coaches for the introduction of the new Doble steam car in San Francisco, although there are no factory records mentioning this at all. The Cugnot, Trevithick, James, Maceroni & Squires and the odd Gordon with steam powered feet. What is also not known, is if the supposed Doble replicas or this other one, were operational. However a couple are indeed shown in the background of some of the new Doble chassis being demonstrated.

Was there some Fair or major industrial exhibition in 1924, when some firm may have made these replicas? Could this one in the picture actually be a Doble construction?
Anybody have any ideas on this?
Ben in Maine
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 08, 2004 11:23AM
Hi Jim,,,Some years ago,,perhaps 30,,,,I recall seeing a photo of Stevenson's ROCKET,,,,a full scale model or do we call it a replica or recreation,,,,Annyhow it was parked on the siding at LOWELL Mass,,,I recognized the background,,,,I asked John Clement about it and as I recall,,,He said Henry Ford had made several replicas ,some running some not ,, in the 2o's,,,When did he open the Museum,,,and how long did it take to build it,,,,Seems like it opend around 1928,,,,I think,,,,so with lead time,this may be part of the plot,,,,Clement's health is fragile I hear,,,,but I have not seen mutual friends this winter,,,,John has had a certified steam TUG,,a steam fire engine,,numors motorcycles,,,,and has kept Teds mill and hydro power station running for years,,,Cheers Ben
Jim Crank
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 08, 2004 02:28PM
I still think the guy was Henry Ford. His appearance, the way he held his hat and his carriage just says H.F. 1st. However the curator at the Museum said no.
In the background is a big brick and concrete circular building, and I think it is the new Ford Museum. The pictures were taken in March-May of 1924.
If I can figure out how to scan a photo and get it into an e-mail I will send it to you.
Now you make me think about something, NO Wrong!! I was thinking perhaps Abner borrowed the coach replicas from Ford; but the Doble big demonstration was in 1922 and again in 1923, so it can't be that.
Yes, the big opening was 1928; but the main buildings were up long before that.
Yes, Ford did make a couple of Rockets and Harrahs had half of one. Cut in half so you could see what's what. I wanted to find the other half, weld them back to gether and go for a ride.
Ben in Maine
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 08, 2004 06:02PM
Hi Jim,,,That one in Lowell APEARED to be a runner,,,,I remember being so suprised 'cause I knew the Brits wouldn't let the original out of Kensington,,,but it sure looked like the real thing,,,Speaking of ??? we've got a early beehive biler Loco in the state museum in Agusta,,,gab hook link/reverse,,,,,the real thing,,,I hadn't heard of that one either so I wasn't quite prepared when I met up w/it,,,R Fraser just got a few photos of Henry w/ Burroughs ,Harvey F. an Edison,camping trip ,,,Body english says T E was the senior partner of this group,,,,aleast for the 1 pic I studied,,,,Fraser is going to Bakersfield etc,,,,All for now,,,Ben ///ssssh 'n be quiet bout titfield Thunderbolt,,,,i've been saving hicory planks for a dark nite,,,cb
Dean in Kansas
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
June 22, 2004 05:14PM
For the 1893 Columbian Exposition the B&O railroad built a number of non-operating but nevertheless very detailed wooden replicas of early steam carriages and locomotives. At the B&O "Fair of the Iron Horse" in Baltimore in 1927 they brought a bunch of them out again. Perhaps that is where they came from. The B&O sold some of them over the years and some were destroyed in a tornado, so the curator of the B&O RR museum told me.
Dean Lehrke (alias "Oliver Evans"winking smiley

Ken Helmick
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
June 28, 2004 04:53PM
Henry Ford had replicas built of the Stephenson Rocket and the DeWitt Clinton. Both are on exhibit in the Henry Ford Museum next to the Allegheny locomotive and on the opposite end of the hall from the Doble, Stanley, Locomobile and Roper carriage.

Jim Crank
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
June 29, 2004 09:18AM
I know about the Ford built replica locomotives. The Harrah Collection had one of the Stephenson Rockets, cut in half.
These are the 1835 era steam coaches that I am interested in.

If they were built in 1927, then this one cannot be the same, because that sales trip was in 1924. Unless the B & O took one out of storage for some event earler. Perhaps some big exposition or fair? I just don't know.
Interesting bit of mystery.
Dean Lehrke
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
August 16, 2004 06:19PM
Hi Jim,
I was wondering if I may see a copy of the article with the photo of the Doble with the steam carriages, please. Can you attach it to this forum website?

I really think they were five of the "Pangborn" full size wooden replicas made by the B&O RR for the 1893 Chicago World's fair. Or is there something in the article that definately says they were made in 1924?

In his book "The World's Railway" Major Joseph G. Pangborn describes all the 54 replicas he had built for the fair and each of those five you mention are described and pictured in the book. But only line drawings, not photographs. Apparently they were a part of a massive display of early steam carriages and locomotives on display in the transportation hall that measured 80X475 ft in area. A full-size replica of the 1805 Orukter Amphibulous was one of them. I have found 3 blurry photos of it taken at the fair as well as an account of an old timer at the fair who saw it and reminisced about seeing in 1805! If you or anyone in this forum wants a copy of the photos of the Orukter Pangborn replica let me know and I will post it as an attachment.

I wish the B&O RR Musuem would be more open about their remaining 23 Pangborn replicas. I have tried repeatedly to obtain photos of all 23 to no success, but I know now they have other things on their minds as nine Pangborn replicas were severely damaged when the Museum roof collapsed last winter. They have photos of just the damaged ones on their website.

Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 03, 2010 09:09PM
PHOTO ATTACHED. A syndicated newspaper photographic service sent out the attached photo in 1923. It was pubished at least in the Binghamton, NY on an undated page in 1923 and in the Utica NY Observer-Dispatch on Sunday, July 15, 1923. Good copies might be available in local libraries.

Without any finds, I have searched the Library of Congress digital newspaper collection, the remainder of Fulton History, Google and other engines. Nothing constructive on replicas or models in that era. Tom Brogden, of course, has built some recently in England which doesn't count for this exercise.

Karl Petersen
open | download - BinghamtonNYPress1923-2963crop.tif (260.8 KB)
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 03, 2010 09:52PM
The B&O 1893 Pangborn collection "The World's Rail Way" included only one road vehicle, Cugnot's. These were exhibited again in St. Louis at the 1904 exposition. B&O's 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse added some replicas, but that was after the photos with the Dobles. See:

The book Pangborn published cost B&O $50 a copy and sold for $5. There is an original on bookfinder.com for about $50 just now, which is a real bargain!! It has been poorly reprinted several times. All railroad though, and historically notorious for Pangborn's errors.

Karl Petersen
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 05, 2010 10:13AM

What I know is that when Dobles introduced their new steam cars in San Francisco, there were several old steam coach replicas in the background as probably just props, undoubtedly just non running mockups. Who would spend the huge amount to construct actual operating vehicles with the original type of power plants then?
That photo of E-8 at that museum was taken in late 1924 when Abner was demonstrating the cars in New York City and of course selling stock too. That is also when the F. G. Cox company set up two stock sales offices on Broadway without any permit, an indicator of what was to come.
We do know that these replica coaches were not made in the Doble factory in San Francisco on Harrison St., so the assumption is that they borrowed them from somewhere.
It is not all that important; but just an interesting footnote to the Doble history.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2010 10:19AM by Jim Crank.
Re: Replica Early English Steam Coaches.
April 06, 2010 12:47PM
Possibly from the movie industry? Any movies made prior to that time that may have had such mock-ups in them?
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