The Danbury Mint.


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Franklin Mint 1911 Stanley

The Franklin Mint
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1911 Stanley Steamer 62 Runabout

1911 Stanley Steamer 62 Runabout

Model Stats:
Mint: Franklin Mint
Year: 1911
Make: Stanley
Model: Steamer 62 Runabout
Color: Green
Scale: 1:16
Year Released: 2007
Part #:E513
Issue Price:$145.00

Reviewed by:
JSS Software Solutions.

I just admire old automobiles like the Stanley Steamer, and the concept of an automobile that ran on steam makes it even more interesting to me. Take a minute and imagine where this country would be today if our cars were powered by anything other than gasoline. You and I both know that a steam powered vehicle just wouldn't have been practical but image the possibilities if you may. And that is why this Franklin Mint model is being show cased at JSS this month; it is just too fascinating of a replica to be sitting here without knowing more about this time in history. Let’s explore this model in a little more depth and then decide if it’s for you or not.

F.E. and F.O. Stanley were twins born in Kingsland, Maine, on June 1, 1849. They operated a dry-plate photographic business in Massachusetts until the automobile bug bit them in 1896.

A steam-powered vehicle built by George Whitney first sparked their interest and soon after they both encountered a French-designed gasoline auto at a fair in Brockton, Massachusetts. Within months they had designed a steam engine destined for their first car that was built for them by the Mason Regulator Company of Milton, Massachusetts.

The reason for the steam engine was quite simple when you consider the advantages of steam power at that time.

  • First, anything that will burn can be used as fuel - wood, coal, kerosene, natural gas, whale oil, petroleum - you name it.
  • Second, the design of the actual engine is simplicity itself. Often steam engines have fewer than 25 moving parts.
  • Third, steam power provides nearly instantaneous torque that precludes the need for multi-speed transmissions or gearboxes.
  • Forth, steam power has a long record of reliability.

1911 Stanley Steamer.

In the early twenty century it was estimated there were over 100 firms building steam cars in the United States. One report notes that in 1900, when there were just 2000 or so cars in the United States, over half of them were powered by steam.

But, much like Henry Ford at the same time, the Stanleys were more interested in setting speed records than building production cars. In 1898 one of their steamers was timed at 27.40 miles per hour.

In less than a year later, the Stanley brothers' cars had gained such a reputation for quality and reliability that the firm was approached by two customers, A. B. Barber and J. B. Walker, who bought the manufacturing rights to the Stanley Steamer and went into production as The Locomobile Company. On August 31 of that same year, a Stanley Steamer driven by F.O. Stanley with his wife as passenger was the first car to climb Mount Washington, helping solidify the car's reputation.

Now that you know why this replica was recreated and its importance in the history of the automobile imagine sitting down with your children or grandchildren and explaining the concept behind its power source. Your family members will be in awe, I am sure, and I can only imagine the interesting questions that will follow, once they realize you are serious about a car running on steam.

1911 Stanley Steamer.

The Franklin Mint Stanley Steamer is just a stunning replica recreated in 1:16 scale rather than the ususal 1:24th. However, to do this model justice it needed to be larger just so you can appreciate all it has to offer in design and style.

The fit and finish on the Franklin Mint model are picture perfect and as you can see the top is functional, therefore, you can display it top-up or down whichever you prefer. The replica includes a toolbox on the running board; you never knew when you would have to handle a break down. The ride comfort was controlled by stacking leaf springs one on top of the other and then inverting them placing aanother series on top of the bottom allowing the machine to spring up and down in controlled motion.

1911 Stanley Steamer.

Once you had the pressure built up and were ready to head out of town for the weekly picnic you drove this automobile just like you would any other car. The interior of the Stanley Steamer was nothing more than a basic seat, steering wheel, brake and a gauge to keep a watchful eye on the pressure.

1911 Stanley Steamer.

Driving the vehicle was simplicity itself. Once lighting and heating the boiler had established a proper head of steam, a handle allowed the driver to adjust the amount of steam sent to the engine with a hand-operated accelerator. Another lever controlled the flow of fuel to the main burner. The car had conventional brakes, and the engine could also be engaged in reverse to help braking or to travel in reverse.

The Stanley Steamers did have two failings. One, it couldn't travel more than 50 miles or so on a filling of water. The other failing was start-up time. Often it would take a Stanley Steamer 10 to 15 minutes to build up its steam level before it could be driven.

The Franklin Mint Stanley Steamer is basically a simple model at first glance but once you explore it, flipping it all around you will appreciate it for what it really is and that is a piece of American history deserving of a spot in your collection. I absolutely loved this model even though it is 1:16th scale. The color, attention to detail and just its appearance makes this model an all time favorite of mine. I give the Franklin Mint Stanley Steamer "five corks" and it deserves each and every one of them with no questions asked. Put this model on your list; you won't be sorry you did.

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Our Ranking: Pop my cork. Pop my cork. Pop my cork. Pop my cork. Pop my cork.