1869 – “Steam King” Steam Man – Winans / Eno – (American)

Update: 4 July 2010: A more recent discovery has it that, in fact, Thomas J. Winans was the inventor of the Steam Man, actually called "Steam King". Eno and a Newspaper were third share investors, and later custodians of the steam wagon. See article text below giving full description of the "Steam King".

Update: 2 July 2010: The Copyright documents reveal that the "Steam Wagon" was registered in 1869.

Here's a close-up of the "Steam King":

Here is the Copyright text:

Clerk's Office of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Be it remembered that on the second day of March anno domini eighteen hundred and sixty-nine – Winans, Eno & Co. deposited in this office a photograph of a steam wagon. The right whereof he claim as Proprietor in conformity with an Act of Congress entitled an Act to amend the several Acts respecting Copy Rights.
E. ??Mereu?? Shreve Clerk.
Side of photo
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by Winans, Eno & Co., in the
Clerk's Office of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Back of photo
Deposited March 2d 1869 by Winans, Eno & Co.
190 Broad Street
Newark N.J.


Update: 7 June 2010: I'm waiting on some more information on Joseph Eno. He was a real person, had a steam generator manufacturing plant in Newark, and was a known inventor. The information I'm waiting on is the Copyright documents supposedly filed by Winans Eno & Co in 1869.  – now arrived – see above.


A similar, but slightly different image of the Winans/Eno Steam-carriage.

It is interesting that the earliest article found on Eno is his death notice. All other articles describing his "Steam Man" are dated later.  When I locate an earlier date I will update this post. The following article is in answer to the question : "When was the first automobile built in America? and they answer with Eno's "Devil Car".  Although date suggested in the article is 1868, I am unsure about this. 1868 is usually the date mentioned of Dederick's Steam Man (actually, press-wise, 1868 is the earlier date I've seen) and is probably confused with it. Also the reference to the "Devil Car" and General U.S. Grant and the Indians – "Devil Car's" were also a common reference to mean the railroad, and the railroads were used to terrorise the Indian's at the time. Unless I find some firmer evidence, I'll be cautious over this entry.

These dates suggest Eno was 59 years old when he died.

Logansport Reporter / Indiana –  Jan 24,  1895

Death of An Inventor

Newark, N. J. Jan. 24-Joseph A. Eno, the inventor of the steam man, designated to take the place of horses, died Wednesday. He was born in Plainfield, June 15, 1836. The steam man was perfected to walk a floor but could not move on an incline.

Freeborn County Standard 30 Jan 1895

THE death of Joseph A. Eno, the inventor of the steam man, designed to take the place of horses, occurred in Newark. N. J., aged 59 years. 

from Evening Times 19 05 1909 p5

caption to pic –
At the Queensboro Bridge celebration in New York city June 12th. the original automobile will be shown. It was patented by Joseph Eno. of Newark, in 1868 and in those days created a sensation. General U. S. Grant and  King Edward, then Prince of Wales, rode in it. This is a picture of the "Devil Car" of 1868.

"Devil-Car" vs. "Skedaddle"
San Francisco 13 June 1909 p39

A. R. Partington of the Lond Island motor parkway, and chairman of the automobile division of the Queensboro bridge celebration, has issued a challenge to Alfred J. Eno, the owner of the "Devil-Car," the automobile propelled by steam and drawn by a giant manikan, to race. Partington will drive the "Skedaddle," which he claims is the first automobile ever made in this country, and which was constructed in 1854.  The "Skedaddle" is said to resemble a hayrick with an old-fashioned upright boiler in the rear, and is now owned by a farmer living near Mineola. It is geared so high that it rushes off like a streak and will not stop until the steam is all out. Artemus Ward, the humorist, said of it: "The "Skedaddle"  is being put into condition for the parade on June 12, but Partington says it will have to be hauled, because it would not do to use its own power in the crowded streets of New York. Partington wishes to race it with the "Devil" car on the smooth roads of Nassau county, and is sure of winning.

Steam Man – Eno and Newark with insight to steam engines, horse-less carriages, etc.

The Nebraska State Journal 20 June 1909 p11

When was the first automobile built in the United-States?
Joseph Eno. of Newark. N. J. patented a  car 1868 which is said to have been the first self-propelled vehicle in this country. This motorcar was an ordinary buggy drawn by a giant manikin, which was propelled by steam. In the rear of the vehicle was arranged a furnace, boiler, and steam-chest, while coal was used for fuel. A series of pipes conveyed the steam to the manikin, which could walk over a smooth street at a rapid rate of speed, but was practically useless on cobblestones or rough roads.
With steam issuine from its mouth and nostrils and stamping over the street with its steel-feet, the 'devil car' was awe-inspiring to super[s]titious people and always attracted a wondering crowd;. Once the mechanism got out of order and the thing ran many miles before it could be stopped. The automobile was exhibited in the principal cities of Europe; and among the notable personages who rode in the strange vehicle was the Prince of Wales, now Edward VII. of England. Gen. U. S. Grant was also a passenger in New York city, and duri[ng] the Modoc Indian war General Custer took it to the west as a means of frightening the hostile tribes into submission.


1. It wouldn't surprise me, because Winans/Eno and Dederick are all from Newark, that the 1968 patent is actually Dederick's not Winans/Eno's. To confirm, I've been unable to locate any patent by Winans or Eno for a Steam Man. We now know that the "Steam King" was at least Copyrighted in 1869.

2. General U.S. Grant died in 1885. However, he did visit the Newark Industrial Exhibition in 1872? and a steam man was known to be on exhibit there.

3. Custer died in 1877. Modoc Indian war 1872-3. Despite popular conceptions, George A. Custer was not a general when he was killed in the 1876 campaign against the Lakota but was actually a lieutenant-colonel.

4. Prince of Wales visited America in October, 1860, 10 years prior to the first known Steam Man appearing (being Dederick's). It is claimed that the "Steam King" travelled to Europe, so maybe that's where the then Prince of Wales may have ridden in it.

Galveston Daily News 30 May 1909 p18

Gen. Grant once rode in the so-called "Devil Car," which will be a feature of the Queensboro Bridge celebration in New York on June 12. The "Devil Car' is a most curious looking affair, resembling an ordinary buggy drawn by a giant iron manikin. The device was patented by a Newark, N. J. man in 1868, and created a furore in the museum next to Barnum's circus building in Gotham. [Note: RH May 2010 The last comment re Barnum’s Circus is normally attributed to Dederick’s Steam Man, so is most likely incorrectly attributed to the Eno version.]

Update: The below article give Thomas J. Winans, the actual inventor of the "Steam King", his version of events. THE BINGHAMTON PRESS, SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1909, 

Steam King, Which is Scheduled to Head Parade in New York Today, Was "Built in the '60's by Thomas J. Winans
A novel primitive automobile, invented and built back-in the' 60's by Thomas J. Winans of 163 Chapin Street, is scheduled to lead the big parade in the celebration in New York at noon today, over the formal opening of the Queensboro Bridge across the East river, at Blackwell's Island. The parade starts up Fifth avenue from Thirty-fourth street. More than 30,000 men and 75 floats are to be in line, and the celebration committee promises that it will be one of the biggest parades held in New York in recent times. It is to cost $100,000. Instead of inventing an automatic wagon, Mr. Winans invented an automatic man; a man of iron that walked along and drew a wagon-load of people. The machine is said to have been one of the first automobiles built In the United States, Mr. Winans conceived the thing just after his return from service in the Civil War.
He was working in Newark. N. J., at the time. There was a halt in the work after the plans were all drawn up, on account of the scarcity of money, when Joseph Eno and some New Jersey banker arranged with Mr. Winans that each should have an interest of one-third in the patent. The machine is now in the possession of the heirs of Mr. Eno and the New York newspapers call it his Invention. The automaton was never built for practical automobiling, but rather for purposes of exhibition. In 1869 it was the drawing card in a Broadway side show, and was advertised as the Steam King.

Boiler In Rear.

The Steam King was an ordinary buggy equipped with a small boiler behind the seat and in front a huge manikin operated by steam. The manikin could walk over a smooth street at a considerable rate of speed —probably six or eight miles an hour.
The steam king was quite a sensation when it was first exhibited in New York. The iron man made a striking appearance. His head and shoulders were the bust of some celebrity.
His intricate levers worked like mighty muscles. He could be made to walk erect or inclined forward, and he could back up or walk around in a circle.
The first experiment with him was a private affair. Quite a large crowd was invited to witness the triumph Mr. Winans was confident of making.
As was the case with Robert Fulton, the crowd was cynical and inclined, toward good-natured ridicule when the steam king, with his big brass crown and all his parts polished brightly, was hitched to the buggy. But as soon as the fireman got up a fair head of steam, lo! the king pitched his weight forward, exactly as a man would, and walked off without evident concern over his burden, and not without a certain thrilling gracefulness.
The walking apparatus weighs 600 pounds. The arms grip a ring that passes around the body and is supported so that the mechanism cannot fall; that is, so that the inclination of the iron body cannot overreach the limiting angle of friction. A handle extends from the walking mechanism to the front of the buggy. The engine keeps the legs going when the handle is raised to open the throttle valve. The handle also tips the body forward and steers it. When the body is inclined forward the center of gravity, being drawn outside the base, naturally induces greatly increased power.
Facilitated with modern automobile mechanism, steam generated by gasolene flame, and so on, it is interesting to picture the possibilities of this contrivance. The original steam king couldn't get along without his fireman and his supply of coal.
Mr. Winans, who is a member of the firm of T. J. & D. M. Winans, consulting engineers of The Binghamton Press building annex, did not pay much attention to his invention after he put it in charge of his partners, but the New York people tell of many strange exploits that the steam king perpetrated. When he once got leaned forward and fairly started along a hard, level road, with plenty of steam, he didn't seem to care how much deviltry he got into. It Is said that the awe-inspiring king, on an occasion when he was without a driver, tore through a funeral procession, shattering the glass panes in the hearse, terrifying horses, and even giving the impression to some of the superstitious mourners that the corpse had risen and caused the riot. The throttle valve, which is located in the body so as to correspond with the human heart, was disabled once by an intoxicated Indian. It was while the machine was being shown in exhibitions throughout the country. The sight excited anger rather than admiration in the red-sKin, who although afraid to approach very near, sent a tomahawk whizzing with true aim.
The invention was exhibited in Europe as well as in this country, and General Grant, General Custer and the King of England are among the celebrities who have ridden in it. Mr. Winans still claims possession of a third interest, but doesn't seem to care particularly whether the New Yorkers give him credit for his genius or not.

A broadsheet on the "Steam King".

Here is an insight to the demise of the "Steam Men" in general……


Gas and Gasoline Engines Have Not Proved Sufficiently Powerful—They Are Noisy, Disagreeable, and Cumbersome— First Horseless Carriages Made over a Century Ago  —The Problem of Making a Good Storage Battery.

Few who read about the horseless carriages, or automobiles, now attracting much attention, realize how far back their invention extends.  It is common for us to believe that all such inventions, which indicate a very high order of civilization, belong wholly to the close of the nineteenth century. We can hardly realize that the age when men wore wigs, frills, and silk stockings could produce a man with a brain so practival as to grasp the idea of finding a substitute for the horse.  The fact is, however, that over 100 years ago human ingenuity was striving for a horseless carriage.

We must go back at least to 1786—how much further it is impossible to say. In that year William Symington made a steam road wagon. shown In Fig. 1. This was made when the steam engine was still very crude. In this wagon the force of the piston was not communicated to the driving wheels by means of a crank and connecting rod, as it is to-day in all similar cases, but, instead, a gear wheel and rack were used. Tho connecting rod and crank were in use at that time, but there were many who considered them inferior to the rack and gear. This, no doubt, explains Symington's course. 

The sketch shows the inventor's idea was to make the steam engine replace horses, as it is mounted on an axle separate from the coach. As the engine was placed on the hind wheels, it seems to be a case of placing the cart before the horses. The seat on the front end of the coach, and the steering handle in front of it, will make clear the general arrangement of the vehicle.

These facts should serve to cool the ardor of those who believe we are living in such a fast age that we undertake to do things of which our forefathers never dreamed. In this case, at least, we see that we are not ahead of them in thought, and that our great advance in science and the mechanical arts has not enabled us to improve on their work to such an extent as to justify the assumption that we have achieved a complete success in a field in which they failed.

A glance at Mr. Symington's wagon is enough to convince any one familiar with such matters that great results could not be expected from it, and as very few inventors made any efforts in this field for seventy-five years, it is reasonable to conclude that its operation was not only unsatisfactory, but so far from perfect as to be dishartening. From 1786 up to about 1860 probably but more than six or seven attempts were made in this line, but since that time more or less activity has been displayed.

Some time between 1860 and 1862 Mr. Roper of Roxbury, Mass., constructed a steam vehicle. He has devoted much time to the problem since then. At about the same period Mr Bolten of Elizabeth, N. J., constructed a steam carriage, and later exhibited it in operation at the State Fair at Waverly.


An inventor of Newark, N. J., about 1868 created excitement by bringing out a steam man that was to be placed in front of a carriage and run along with it at racing  speed. But it never ran, although it could be made to work its legs when hung up in the air. [RH-Dederick’s Steam Man]


There are so many objections to the use of steam for carriages or even ordinary business wagons that it is difficult to see how it can be made successful, but the inventors  working  on that line evidently have hopes, for they are attacking the problem with increasing energy. When one considers the care and attention a small steam engine requires to keep the fire from getting too hot or from going out and the water in the boiler from getting too low, he cannot help believing that there is but little on which to hang his hopes. Small engines, in addition, are noisy, dirty, and disagreeable on account of heat, smoke, and unpleasant odors.

The inventors seemingly scout these objections, however, for their sole aim appears to be to overcome mechanical difficulties. They seem to believe that if they can only produce a vehicle that will run at a high rate of speed, with enough power to overcome obstacles and obviate danger of being caught in the mud, they will succeed in effecting a perfect solution of the problem. As the mechanical difficulties are so great, such trivial things as a little dirt or noise or smoke are not considered. But the unappeciative public cannot be expected to take this view. Many inventors realizing this, have endeavored to find some other motive power. Nothing promising was available in that line until a few years ago, when gas engines began to be used extensively for industrial purposes.

Now it is thought that as these engines require no boiler and can be fed from a small tank charged with gas under high pressure, their use would remove several of the most objectionable features of steam engines. This is true to a great extent, but, while they remove some objections, they introduce others. One of the greatest drawbacks of the gas engine is that it will not start of its own accord, but must be set in motion by turning the flywheel by hand. This, as can be readlly seen, is a serious defect, and the only way of using it is to keep it running all the time, and effect the stopping and starting of the carriage by throwing the running gear in and out of connection with the engine. Some of the gas motors now being made for vehicles however, are said to be so constructed as to be self-starting.

Inventors have been working with gas engines about twelve years. Several other kinds of engines of a similar character began to come to the front about eight years ago. Some of them are gasoline, others naphtha, and others kerosene. They all Aoric substantially on the same principle as the gas engine. Electiic motors have also been tried, but so far the results have been better than those obtained with gas and oil engines.

Inventive genius did not receive much encouragement in this field until within the last two jears. A horseless carriage race was inaugurated in June, 1894, between Paris and Rouen.  It drew public attention to the number of self-propelling vehicles in use and their ability to travel over ordinary roads, so that they oould actually undertake a contest over a long distance, This race was followed by another in June last year, and the great increase in number of competitors showed that the first one had not only stimulated inventors, but had largely increased the interest of the general public.

This second race was run between Paris and Bordeaux, and the performance of some of the most successful contestants raised the hopes of the more enthusiastic to such a pitch that they felt sure the era of self-propelling vehicles had begun, and that by the end ot the century a horse drawing a wagon would be a rarity. But these hopes seem doomed to disappointment.

The Paris and Bordeaux contests were followed by a third race at Chicago. Nov. 2, 1895. This race, if not a Waterloo for horseless carriages, was at least a very serious set-back. The condition of the track was such as to serverely test pulling qualities of the vehicles, and, according to the report of the committee in charge, they all showed weakness. From this, it would appear that. while the power developed is sufficient for all ordinary purposes on roads in good condition, it is not sufficient under unfavorable conditions. It is claimed that the vehicles entered in Chicago were not as perfect as those used in France, but this is not probable. To admit this is to concede that American inventive genius is not equal to European, while in the mechanical field we are ahead of the world.

Furthermore, some of the Chicago carriages had the same types of motors used In several of the most successful contests in the last Paris race.

At Chicago two electric wagons were tried, and, strange to say, they were not much better in the matter of power than the gas and gasoline motors. When one considers the herculean work performed by trolley cars, we cannot but believe that this weakness was due to lack of skillful designing.

The great success of trolley cars is due in great measure to their ability to draw an almost unlimited load. All attempts in former years to operate street cars by steam, gas, and other means failed in this respect. The cars would run well enough on a level track, but would not work on steep grades with heavy loads. This trouble was never experienced with electricity.

A trolley car, even if loaded to its utmost capacity, will run up a grade without any apparent effort; not even with a heavily loaded truck behind, does its speed slacken much. Now, if electric motors can do such tremendous work on cars, there is no good reason why they should not do equally well when attached to a carriage or wagon. If they do not, they must be badly designed.

Not only did the Chicago contest develop lack of power for difficult service, but also showed that the smell of gasoline and imperfectly consumed gases was such as to be offensive, not only to to occupants of the vehicle, but to persons in the streets. It was also found that the noise caused by tho explosions of gas in the cylinders of the engines was very noticeable, even at a considerable distance, and that the shaking of the wagon by the machinery was so great as to throw the apparatus out of repalr and make it of short duration.

The only palpable conclusion therefore is that horseless carriages operated by gas or gasoline motors are not a success at the present time. They can be made to run well on a good road, and probably will be used to some extent until the novelty wears off, but until the power is increased, the noise and odors removed, and the shaking is reduced to an imperceptible amount, there is little probability of their being extensively adopted, either for pleasure or business. Whether all these objectionable features can be removed only time can tell; the work before the inventors is very great, but their ability to overcome difficulties is also great, and they may prove victorious.

Many people wonder why so little has been done with electricity, and why the experiments have failed to give satisfactory results. The reason for this can be given.

The problem of designing electric motors that would meet all the requirements of self-propelling vehicles is difficult, though not beyond the reach of the most able electrical engineers. Such men, however, have devoted little or no time to his subject, because a perfect solution of this part of the problem would be useless unless a suitable storage battery could be obtained to furnish the electric current. Such a battery has not yet been made. Since storage battries first came into use they have been improved much more than is generally supposed, and sufficient progress has been made to warrant the belief that before very long they will be sufficiently perfect for use for traction purposes with satisfactory results in order to make them suitable their weight must be reduced, their durability increased, and the time for discharging them without overstraining must be materially reduced. The first batteries made weighed about 200 pounds for each horse-power hom of capacity; they could not be discharged in less than ten or twelve hours without overstraining, and even then the wear and tear was very great. The best batteries now made weigh about 120 pounds per horsepower hour of capacity, and they can be discharged in about six hours without unreasonable deterioration.

Theoretically the weight could be reduced to about fifteen pounds per horsepower hour, the time of discharge considerably reduced, and the durability increased. It will, therefore, be seen that there is plenty of room for improvement.

When the weight is reduced below seventy-five pounds per horse-power hour, and the time of discharge to about two hours, electrically propelled vehicles can be made a success, providing the cost of keeping the batteries in repair does not exceed per year 5 or 6 per cent, of their value. There are several able electricians experimenting with storage batteries who believe that they have already obtained as good results as these. If the performance of their apparatus when placed in actual service should fulfill their expectations, the electric carnage would at once become a possibility.

The complete solution of the automobile problem, from the present outlook, cannot be very long delayed. The inventors working with gas and gasoline engines are doing their utmost to succeed, knowing that in electricity they have a most formidable rival. Electricians, on the other hand, will not be vanquished if by any means they can avoid It. Therefore, between the two we may rest assured that success will be achieved as soon as human ingenuity can render it possible. 

See all the known Steam Men and early Walking Machines here.

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2 Responses to “1869 – “Steam King” Steam Man – Winans / Eno – (American)”

  1. Ed Says:

    Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but does anyone know where the Steam King is located today? I was talking with a descendent of Thomas Winans about the Steam King and he didn’t know the current location of the device. I would like for him to be able to view the actual devide, if it still exists.

  2. cyberne1 Says:

    Hi Ed, No one has ever contacted me about the “Steam King’s” current location, assuming it still exists. Although dated 1909, this is mentioned in THE BINGHAMTON PRESS, SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1909, “…The machine is now in the possession of the heirs of Mr. Eno …” who was the financier to the invention.
    Cheers and good luck,
    Reuben Hoggett – cyberneticzoo.com