1875 – W.W. Cole’s Circus “Steam Man” – (American)

$7,000 Mechanical Wonder !

The only Steam Man

Actually walks and runs alone! The Greatest Invention of Modern Times.


The W.W. Cole's Great New York and New Orleans Zoological and Equestrian Exposition toured the American continent between 1871 and 1886, and in 1875 and early 1876 featured a Steam Man. Other than the illustration that appears in the newspapers of the time (see above),  there is little information currently discovered on this Steam Man.   Was it Dederick's old Steam Man, Morrison's Steam Man, Winans-Eno Steam ManC.C. Roe's Steam Man, a copy of one of these, or a totally new Steam Man?

Dederick's Steam Man had its first outing in January, 1868 and was possibly last reported on in September 1869 when a Steam Man was for sale!

Morrison's Steam Man seems to be only exhibited in 1870. A  later article says that the Steam Man was connected to a buggy, so probably not Morrison's.

Winans-Eno "Steam King"  was on show in 1869, then was retained by Joseph Eno and later by his son, Alfred until at least 1906.

C.C. Roe's Steam Man was on show 1874, then in 1878.

Unfortunately we don't yet know how accurate the image of this Steam Man is. Dederick's Steam Man was almost 8ft tall, Roe's was 5ft tall. Morrison's walked stand-alone without pushing or pulling a cart or carriage. Later Steam Men were also fired by oil or gasline, not coal. Winans-Eno Steam Man (6ft 9in) was converted from a coal fired steam generator.  Dederick's Steam Man caught fire possibly because it was coal fired. Roe's Steam Man shows smoke coming out of its hat / smoke stack, but its steam generator was not located within its body!


The Burlington Weekly HawkEye 29 Apr 1875 p5

The Great New York and New Orleans
Zoological and Equestrian Exposition.

………….
The new invention, that will astonish
everybody, is the Steam Man. Walks
and runs alone, unsupported. A mechanical
marvel.
………………….


One of the first circuses known to have visited Burlington, when it was still known as Company Shops, was William W. Cole’s Circus. It appeared on Thursday, Oct. 21, 1875, and its featured attraction that year was a “steam man,” described as the “greatest invention of modern times” and costing $7,000. It is suspected that most people were disappointed when they saw the steam man because “he” didn’t resemble the illustration in the circus’ advertising at all. In fact, “he” was nothing but a steam boiler attached to the front of a buggy and disguised as a man." [Newspaper source: unknown]


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