1902 Toledo Steam Car

One of many bicycle manufacturers to abandon two wheels for four in the early 1900's was the American Bicycle Company in Toledo, Ohio. Initially building lightweight steam cars such as this simple Dos-a-dos (with the rear seats precariously placed atop the rear-mounted boiler and facing backwards) with full elliptical buggy springs located by perch rods and tiller steering, the company soon shifted to gasoline power. Amalgamated soon thereafter into the burgeoning empire of Col. Albert Pope, another bicycle magnate intent upon dominating the automobile field, to become the Pope-Toledo, the Toledo steam cars had a short but honorable history. This example's history is even more intriguing, forming part of the famous Chicago Museum of Science and Industry collection in the early 50's when owned by Lenox Lohr, the museum's president, a colleague of famous collector D. Cameron Peck. Finished in dark green with black leather seating, black tires on bicycle-style wheels, it was restored to good touring condition some years ago. Its most recent owner had the boiler converted to LP fuel and ran it in the New London-New Brighton Antique car run in Wisconsin in 2006. The coachwork is distinguished by canework embellishment on the sides and it has model black-finished lighting. It comes with a collection of old documentation including a bill of sale from Lenox Lohr and a letter from the Museum transferring its interest in the Toledo. An attractively presented older restoration, its condition and presentation invite its use and enjoyment. It is an ideal introduction to smooth, nearly silent steam power and its fascinating mechanisms.

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