Francis E. Stanley

Inducted 1996

Built the steam-powered Stanley Steamer, which established a world speed record in 1898

Founded the Stanley Motor Carriage Company in 1898

In 1906, set a speed record of 127 miles per hour that wasn’t broken for four years

When steam power was in vogue, the Stanley Steamer was a hot number. The mechanically minded Stanley twins were operating a successful photographic supply business in 1897 when F.E., as he was known, built a steam car for his own amusement. A new business opportunity developed the following year when a packed grandstand erupted in cheers as F.E. set a world speed record with his car. Suddenly the brothers found themselves operating an unusual sideline to their successful photographic business…with customer orders for 200 cars. In 1899, the Stanleys sold their new company to Locomobile, but bought it back again in 1901. George Eastman, a competitor in the photo business, watched the Stanley brothers’ activities with interest and bought out their photo business in 1903, allowing the Stanleys to concentrate on building cars. And they did/ More than 10,000 Stanley Steamer cars, known for their quiet power, were built between 1897 and 1914. The production of steam-powered cars eventually dwindled as gasoline-powered vehicles came into prominence. By 1924, the Stanley Motor Carriage Company was out of business, but the Stanleys had earned a special place in automotive history. The famous Stanley Steamers are still well-loved by collectors today.

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Class of 1996

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