Posts Tagged ‘Steam Robot’

1876 – Philadelphia Centennial Steam Men – Farr Goodwin (American)

In 1876, America held its Centennial in Philadelphia.  There appears to have been four Steam Men built for the Centennial Exhibition, along with a Mechanical Horse.

An American inventor by the name of William Farr Goodwin, had some of his agricultural inventions produced by manufacturers who exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition, The National Iron Works, for example.  We know that Goodwin also patented ideas for a scaleable toy Mechanical Horse (1867) and also a Walking Toy (1868).  It is quite probable that the Goodwin design of his Mechanical Horse was used by The National Iron Works in their Mechanical Horse.


Iron – June 3, 1876, London, Middlesex
Mechanical horses and Men.- A mechanical horse  is being made at the National Ironworks, New Brunswick, New Jersey, which is quite a curiosity in its way, and is to be on exhibition at the Centennial. The life-size model has been operated satisfactorily to all who have seen it. Every movement of the horse is as natural as life. It walks, and each joint of the leg is put in its proper motion, while the neck and head bob in appropriate unison, and yet the simplest mechanism is used, being nothing more than a few pulleys and one or two belts, the latter corresponding with the tendons of the natural animals. There are also four steam men being manufactured at Munn's machine shop. These men are for exhibition at the Centennial.

Update 26 July 2010: Located article from the Daily Times, New Brunswick, N.J., which confirms Goodwin as the inventor of the Centennial Steam Men and Mechanical Horse.

Evening Post, Volume XIV, Issue 79, 30 September 1876, Page 1


Anglo-Australian writes in the European Mail : — "The Yankees are notably clever in the invention of machinery intended to subvert the use of manual labor. The last achievement in this direction is a mechanical horse and a steam man, which it is said are on view at the Centennial Exhibition. Their uses are not stated, but it is said that they are simple in construction, and very satisfactory in their movements. If they can be utilised in agricultural work, or in field labor generally, the inventor may expect a brisk demand for them in countries where labor is scarce. It would be too much to expect that the steam man could be trained to do the duties of a policeman, a waiter, or a member of any local house of assembly, because it may be assumed that he could not tell us that he was 'coming,' give evidence, or make windy speeches for the sake of obstructing business. Still, it may be assumed that he would be a very useful member of society if any one should have the courage to import him, just to see what he is like, and j what he can do. It would certainly be in his favor that he might be expected of him not to strike — except when the iron was hot — and the staunchest unionist could hardly object to work with him on the ground that he was not a society man. Indeed, from this point of view, he would be essentially a non-unionist, because it may be assumed that he was called into existence by the fact that the Union men were getting so well paid they could afford to do with eight hours' work a day. The iron man, therefore, may be regarded as the very essence of competition, and by-and-by he will be so improved upon that capitalists will be sure to give him the preference, and then your Union men will discover that they reckoned without their host when they conceived they could conserve to themselves a life of ease and independence upon eight hours' work a day."

1876 – Fiction – in [Harry Enton] Harold Cohen's (penname) story "Frank Reade and His Steam Man of the Plains, or, The Terror of the West", Frank Reade builds the Steam Man MkII.

Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle 1923 p11

"Noname" Talks About Himself

"The use of the word 'Noname' was suggested by the late Frank Tousey. It was first used by Dr. Harry Enton of Brooklyn, an old friend of mine, who wrote for Tousey the "Steam Man of the Plains.' When he tired of the adventures of the steam man, who was a mechanical marvel who drew an Iron wagon across the world, protecting the young hero from all dangers, Tousey asked me to write a similar series, using electricity as a basis.
"Enton got his idea for the steam man, who was hideous looking, and all powerful steam propelled iron figure, from a steam-man who was exhibited at the Centennlal Exposition in 1876. Enton saw the steam man standing in front of a store on Center St., and built a series of storie about his exploits over the plains of the West and the deserts of Africa and Asia, where boys in search of treasure could by the steam man's aid strike terror to the natives and have adventures aplenty."

["Noname" in this article is Lu Senarens.]

The original 1868 Steam Man of the Prairies Dime novel by Ellis was inspired by Dederick's and Grass' Steam Man, so the Centennial Steam Man is the inspiration to the second generation Steam Man of the Dime novels.

1870 – “Steam Man” – E. R. Morrison (American)

This wood and brass model with clockwork by Enoch Rice Morrison  is a walking mechanism probably very similar to his “Steam Man”. The maker’s name is painted on an upright as is his home town – Bergen, NJ  The model is 6.5″ tall. I have now located the patent for this mechanism – see below.

Tuapeka Times, Volume III, Issue 134, 1 September 1870, Page 7.


There is now on exhibition in New York a ” steam man ” which actually walks — not merely performs with the legs the movements necessary for walking, while the body is suspended on a fixed support like the old ” steam man” which made so much noise about two years ago [RH – Dederick 1868], and which, we suppose, is now defunct. It was claimed for the old steam man that it was to be used for traction and other useful purposes ; but the new one commences its career with no such pretensions. All that is claimed for it is that it makes an interesting exhibition. It has the same walking mechanism as the clockwork walking dolls patented some years ago [CZ: Morrison’s 1861 “Locomotive Apparatus”, not the 1862 “Autoperipatetikos”]. The mechanism is driven by one of Behren’s rotary steam engines, which has been found better suited than any reciprocating engine on account of its producing less vibration, and consequently being less liable to disturb the equilibrium of the man in the walking movement. As an ingenious piece of mechanism, the walking steam man is an object of interest.

KokomoTribune 02 June,1870 p.1

(uncorrected text – basically an extract from an 1870  Scientific American , not to be confused with the later Prof. Moore Sci Am article)

(Note: RH –  walks stand-alone due to cross-bars on its feet)

The Steam Man.
Have we not heard somewhere in Song of a wonderful steam arm which hammered away all obstacles and of a steam leg that walked the owner to death and walked away with his ghost. If our memory serves us, we have. We never expected to meet those wonderful members in the flesh but no man knows today what is reserved for him tomorrow. We have lived to see steam legs, steam arms, steam body and breeches, steam coat, hat and choker, all combined to eclipse all that poets have sung or dreamed.
Passing up Broadway we saw large Posters announcing the greatest wonder of any age, past, present, or future, which wonder was explained, In smaller letters, to be an imitation of the human form divine, impelled by steam, and approximating in agility the renowned Hanlon Brothers [famous acrobats of the time]. We paused, considered, entered the place of exhibition, and found the steam man in a perfectly nude state, with the exception of his hat.
His other articles of dress hung upon …. …  ..     them the perspiration they had absorbed in his  severe exercise. We were at fault, however in this supposition, as we were told by the steam gentleman’s valet, who was giving his master a drink of benzene through a hole in his shoulder This attendant told us that  the grace of the steam man’s movement, and the comeliness of his features had begotten a general desire in the minds of his admirers to see his manly proportions, and his modesty offering no protest he was accordingly disrobed for the benefit of the public.
We proceeded to take observations of his anatomy from drivers points of view. The gluteal region, kindly protected from rude  assaults of hostile boots in ordinary mortals, by thicker muscles than are found on other parts of the frame, was replaced on the steam man by a Behrens rotary engine, the custom of which we’d give, we may imagine, an outline — when covered by clothing —not, unlike that demanded to sustain the resemblance to a man so far as this important portion of the human  system is concerned.
This engine propels a screw, which actuates worm gears; the gears acting eccentrics, which actuate the legs and feet, which actuate the entire man at a velocity of, we should say, about forty feet per minute, when doing his level best.
His legs are merely straight bars, With large blocks of iron as feet, fastened rigidly to the legs. The legs are joined to the feet at the middle.
So that the heels are as long as the front part of the foot; and to keep the figure from toppling over side-wise, a flat bar extends laterally from each foot.
To give the appearance of bending at the knee a toggle joint is attached to the front part of each leg, but this has nothing to do with the propulsion of the automaton [RH: This comment also mentioned in the 1861 patent].
There is nothing in the movement analogous to that of the human leg. One foot is raised and then advanced, the whole leg moving forward, not swinging, with the foot, each foot being alternately the pedestal or base upon which the body rests.
The fuel employed is some fluid hydrocarbon, and the boiler is concealed in the body. The smoke escapes through a hole in the crown of the hat. When the steam man is about to take a walk, his valet takes a pair of pinchers and after opening the throttle valve, seizes with the pinchers the end of a shaft which protrudes just below the abdomen, and giving it a partial turn, a most remarkable sound resembling the rumbling of wind in the bowels commences, and the steam man sets out upon his travels with a rather unsteady gait, and with extremely short steps. When he reaches the end of his limit the steam is shut off, and he is turned about face by his faithful attendant, and retraces his steps in the same manner as we have described.
On the whole, the steam man, is a curios automaton, and much more satisfactory than his predecessor exhibited two or three years since in this city, who could only stand upon fixed crutches and kick like a punky child suffering for a spanking. 

It is interesting to note the reference to the Hanlon Brothers as Morrison’s 1861 walking mechanism patent was actually assigned to them!.

Morrison’s Steam Man utilised the Behren’s rotary steam engine.  

Here is a picture of a rather large Behren’s Rotary Steam Engine. See site here for more information plus an animation on how it works:

There is a possibility that Rowe’s first Steam Man is the same or similar to Morrison’s Steam Man, and may be linked to Prof. George Moore’s Steam Man..  

The video clip below shows the “Autoperipatetikos” doll in motion. Note that only one of its legs appears to be operational.  

Morrison’s patent for “Autoperipatetikos” – (Walking Doll)

Patent number: 35886
Issue date: 1862

See full patent document here.

Morrison’s 1861 patent for “Locomotive Apparatus” . Notice it was assigned to the Hanlon Brothers, who get mentioned in the Scientific Americal article on this Steam Man. It has been generally acknowledged that the “Autoperipatetikos” walking doll was the first walking toy, but if the Hanlon Brothers did produce toys based on Morrison’s design, Morrison may still have the recognition of having the first patented toy walking mechanism, but realised on his earlier patent, not the later “Autoperipatetikos” patent.

Inventor: E. K. MOKEISON [Google OCR error – should be “Enoch Rice Morrison”]
Patent number: 33019
Issue date: Aug 6, 1861

Enoch Rice Morrison was residing in South Bergen , New Jersey at this time.

See full patent document here.

Note: 30 July 2010. Both the above patents have not appeared on the internet before. They are not found under the normal search criteria using Google patent search, either, and are the results of many tens of hours of indivdual patent searching, such is what I do for some of my researched postings. Enjoy!

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

See all the known early Humanoid Robots here.


1874 – Adam Ironsides – The Steam Man – C. C. Roe a.k.a. Capt. Rowe (Canadian)

Patent number: 4175
Patent filing year: 1874-01-01
Name/City: ROE, CYRENIUS C.: HAMILTON, Ontario, Canada
Year granted: 1874-12-15

Source: Star And Sentinel, 08 Aug 1878, p2.

Letter from Reading.READING, PA., August 5, 1878.
STAR AND SENTINEL,:—The visitors to the sea shore……………..
next column   …………………

This looked rather disheartening to a church goer, but after the middle of the day I concluded it best to do as other people do when the preachers are all away, and, seeing a strong current moving down Sixth Street to the river bank, I floated along. There I found several thousand people waiting to take passage in the Steamboats Eclipse and Gazelle for High's woods, and favorite resort two miles down the Schuylkill -of course you'll understand the woods is not in the river but on the bank adjoining. On every trip the boats were crowded, and I did not succeed in getting passage until the fourth trip after I reached the wharf. But I got to the woods at about 3 oçlock and the "day" was in "full blast." The first thing that attracted my attention was a "side-show" tent and a thousand people around it.
Having got a red ticket with my Steam-boat pass, I soon crowded into the tent. There I found walking around a circle of ten feet diameter Mr. Adam Ironsides.
Now Adam is somewhat of a peculiar "make-up." He consists entirely of steel and iron, and is no less than a Steam Walking Man. This piece of mechanism is the invention of C. C. Roe, of Hamilton, On., is run by two small engines, and can be made go [sic] backward or forward. The legs and feet have the actual motion of a human being. The "Showman" explained all, and said it was his purpose to utilize his invention for road purposes by so improving it that the engine may be carried in the wagon and have the Iron man fastened between the shafts. Adam was dressed in a full suit of clothes, had a fine head of hair, and an attractive face. I think if he were divested of what was put on him to make him look like a man all that would be left would be a small upright steam engine. When in full performing trim Adam weighs 88 pounds.  ………….. H.B.W. ENDS

Note:  Patents database give reference to Cyrenius Chapin Roe, of City of Hamilton, Country of Wentworth, Province of Ontario, Dominion of Canada (See unlelated patent # 169,482 . Signed "C. Chapin Roe".

The Patent shows a double-throw crank and a single cylinder engine, the above description suggests there are two cylinders earlier on in the description, then "a small upright steam engine" near the bottom.

See Section:  History of Industry in Hamilton

"During this time period, there was great experimentation with new technology, some of which lead to such idiosyncratic inventions as Adam Ironsides, the Steam Man, by Cyrenius C. Roe who is listed in Hamilton city directories as both a machinist and a showman between 1875 and 1878."

Wellsboro Agitator 24 Sep 1878 p3

An Ohio genius is exhibiting at Columbis, Pa., an iron man that walks by steam The iron man walks on a circle of boards about seven feet in diameter, and is moved by two little engines in the chest, to which steam, is communicated from a boiler by pipes through the hands and arms. In the mouth is a tin tube through which the exhaust steam escapes.

The above article says he is from Ohio. This is incorrect and a bad interpretation of Hamilton, Oh(io)., versus Hamilton, On(tario).

It is interesting the above article mentions Weston, the famous pedestrian of the time. Later in 1893, we know of a walking automation resembling Weston. Are these related?

The articles conclusively linking C. C. Roe to the later Captain Rowe.

Source: Reading Times and Dispatch, Reading, PA., Monday, August 5, 1878.

Some Sunday Amusements Down the River-……

 The principal attraction, however, was Adam Ironsides, the Steam Walking Man. This ingenious piece of mechanism, the invention of C. C. Roe, of Hamilton, Ont., was exhibited in a tent, into which all who had come to the woods by steamers, were admitted free. Others were charged ten cents admission. The "Walking Man" is run by two small engines, and walks over a circular course about seven feet in diameter. The machine can be made to go backward or forward, and the legs and feet have the actual motion of a human person. The machine is five feet high, and weighs 83 pounds. It will be exhibited in this city, commencing on Wednesday next. Mr. Roe and his family travel with their curiosity, upon a small steamer called the "Experiment," which is stationed at present at High's Woods.

This first article refers to  "Mr. Roe and his family travel with their curiosity, upon a small steamer called the "Experiment," which is stationed at present at High's Woods".

The second article extends this description further: Source – Lebanon Daily News, Tues Sep 21 1880.

A Steam Man.
C. C. Roe, of Hamilton, Ont., who is traveling on the Pennsylvania and Union canals in a steam yacht yesterday afternoon arrived at this place and anchored at the Ninth street wharf. Mr Roe has on board the figure of a man made of iron, which is run by steam and imitates the perfect actions of a human being. The engine also runs a music box, and can make 2,000 revolutions per minute,
The Experiment is a wooden vessel, about 60 feet long, and draws one foot of water. Mr. Roe was in this city several years ago with the same vessel. He then had his family with him. The wife has since died in Washington. On the trip he was accompanied by to men and his children. In this way they travel from place to place and enjoy the scenes in the towns they visit. The steam man was patented in 1874. Ha walks on a circle of boards about seven [feet] in diameter, in the middle of the circle are four rods holding the iron pipe which leads from the boiler of the engine and conveys the steam to the man's hand, and through his arms to his chest, in which are placed two small engines. The legs of the man consist of two iron rods, one fixed and the the other movable, which cross at the knees and join at the ankles. The movable rods in each leg are worked by their respective engines, and give natural motion to the legs. The exhausted steam escapes through a tin tube, about ten inches long, placed in the mouth. The man walks as if he was rather stiff in the joints, but the motion is similar to that of an ordinary man. The heel comes down first and then the toe. The whole apparatus weighs about eighty pounds.

See all the Steam Men listed here.

1964 – “The Pud” Steam-powered robot – C. Hampton (British)

A Radio Controlled, Reversible, Steam Powered Christmas Pudding

Is "the Pud" an earlier form of the "Crabfu" type of  machine? 

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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.