The 1901 Sterling Steam Carriage was a serious attempt to produce something a little different in design from the common run of steam buggies. A two-cylinder, 90 degree V-type engine of 4.5 +HP was used in conjunction with a water-tube boiler of the Babcock and Wilcox stationary type, featuring a steam drum and super-heating tubes tested to 400 PSI steam.
Cold water to 20 PSI steam took two-minutes and the normal working pressure of 140 PSI was attained in five minutes. Carried were 25 Gallons of Water (30 miles) and five of gasoline (50 miles). Weight was 1,100 pounds, resulting in a 30 MPH maximum speed and the ability to climb 40 per cent grades. “We manufacture our own boilers and engines” said the maker, “and our wagons will travel on any ordinary road and will run on muddy roads with reasonable success. Running costs with common gasoline (petrol) are from one-half to one cent per mile.” Price of lone model offered was $750, but in spite of originality the Empire Manufacturing Company, Sterling Illinois, built steamers only from 1901 through 1902.
Interesting chassis of 1901 Sterling Steam Carriage was constructed of “100 per cent steel” with a rigid frame and sub-frame. The rear-mounted V-type engine, 2 1/2″x 3 1/2″, drove the right rear wheel direct by spur gear; horizontal boiler was located crosswise. Information courtesy of John Bentley’s Oldtime Steam Cars. Photo courtesy of Floyd Clymer’s Steam Car Scrapbook/Virtual Steam Car Museum.