What's Not "Factory Stanley"


When restoring anything as old as a 1918 Stanley Motor Carriage the question of how "original" the restoration will be arises.  The answer depends on a number of factors.

When the cars were in production they were often upgraded by the factory or a factory dealer from the way they had originally left the factory.  An excellent example is Stanley's that left the factory before 1913 that were configured with the burner operating from gasoline.  In mid-1913 Stanley changed to kerosene fuel for the burner with gasoline still used for the pilot.  Kerosene is safer to use and it has more heat content per gallon than gasoline.  Many Stanley owners having cars earlier than 1913 had their cars reconfigured for kerosene burner operation.  Thus many Stanleys existing today are not as they left the factory originally but can be considered original since they were reconfigured by the factory.

Often a Stanley model was changed after a few months or years of production.  The Stanley Model 735s entered the market in 1918 with 14" high boilers however later Stanley increased the boiler height to 18".  Thus a 1918 car that in later years needed a replacement boiler might have had the taller 18" boiler installed as the 14" boilers weren't being made.

Along a similar vein there were numerous aftermarket providers of components for steam cars.  Cruban Machine and Tool company manufactured a series of Empire burners which were installed on Stanley cars not only while Stanley was still in business but also after Stanley Motor Carriage Company closed.

An important consideration in the restoration is how available a replacement part is.  For example the 1918 Model 735 left the factory with 35"x 4-1/2" Firestone tires.  While the maker of the tire is perhaps not important, the tire's size is.  A review of antique tire manufacturers will reveal that 35"x 4-1/2" tires are not available.  The choices are 34"x4" or 36"x5" both of which will fit the original 26" OD wheel and rim.

A consideration in restoring a Stanley is what the intended use will be for the car.  Any car that is being restored for museum display and won't be operated will most likely be restored as true to how it left the factory as possible.  A car that is to be driven occasionally may be restored as it once left the factory but will have changes made often related to safety (installation of hydraulic brakes is an excellent example).  Someone wanting a Stanley to drive and enjoy will most likely be less interested in a historically accurate restoration and more interested in making the car reliable and roadworthy.

Another consideration is if the car is intended to participate in car shows were it will be judged.  A well known problem with entering a Stanley in a judged show is that Stanleys are somewhat rare and were handmade with subtle variations in each that left the factory.  Thus those judging the vehicle are often less knowledgeable about the vehicle than the owner or other owners of Stanleys.  There is perhaps at most only two or three actual experts in Stanley Models and these individuals generally do not judge at national car shows.

The listings below detail what is "non-factory" as related to the car's restoration.  The listing is divided into two categories.  The first category are those things that were changed from "factory standard" by others.  Many of these changes made by previous owners of the car and are categorized as "As Purchased Non-Stanley Changes".  The second category, "Restoration Non-Stanley Changes" are changes made during the present restoration.  With each change listed is a brief discussion detailing what the change is with insight as to why the change was made.

The restoration was done with the intention that the car was going to be driven and enjoyed.  Making the car reliable and road worthy played heavily in decision making during restoration.  Many of the changes listed were implemented for safety and reliability.  Secondary to this objective was the desire to have the car look like it did when it left the factory in 1918.  All changes done to the car were done with the intent that the Model 735B have the general appearance of a custom ordered Stanley as it rolled out of the Stanley factory in early 1918. 

 

As Purchased Non-Stanley Changes
1. Cruban Burner
  Sometime between the time the car left the factory and was restored in 1952 a Cruban Burner was installed on the car instead of the standard Stanley burner.  This switch probably was made after 1925 when Stanley had gone out of business but when Cruban Machine and Tool Company was still making aftermarket steam car equipment.
2. Turn Signals
  Condensing Stanley cars left the factory with two headlights, a dash light, and a combination tail/brake light.  Marvin Klair added turn signals (believed to come from a truck) to the rear of the car along with a combination flasher/turn switch on the steering column.  This system was restored along with the rest of the car and kept operational. 
3. Non-Stanley Valves
  As valves needed attention over the years many had been replaced with non-Stanley valves including gate and ball valves of stainless steel or other materials.  During the restoration all non-Stanley valves were replaced with reproduction Stanley valves.
4. Paint Scheme
  Stanleys had a distinctive 2-tone paint scheme.  The wheel fenders and splash panel between the running board and body were always gloss black.  The body could be ordered in any color with the 1918 models having a green body color as standard (blue became standard on later years without the option of choosing an alternate color).  Tops were black.  The 1918 model year also included a dark (probably black but only black and white photos exist) band around the top perimeter of the body.

During the 1952 restoration the car was painted a single color ~ gunmetal gray.  The top was changed to Tan and the wire wheels (which were a $100 option) were painted red (from the factory the wire wheel colors were white or black).

Wanting the car to be distinctive, the color combination finally decided upon during restoration started with the basic Stanley paint scheme.  Wheel fenders and running boards were returned to the standard Stanley gloss black.  With the dark red color selected for the wire wheels (dark red will show the steam oil residue less than a light color) it was decided that the splash guard between the running boards and the body would also be painted the same darker red.  Instead of the probably black highlight color around the top perimeter of the body the same dark red used for the wheels was used for the highlight band that circles the top of the body.  In addition, the top panels of the hood were also changed to the dark red color to contrast the lighter red of the hood's louvered side panels and the car's body.  The windshield returned to gloss black as Stanley would have probably provided it.

It is unknown if Stanley ever applied pin striping to the car.  While they did for all of the non-condensing models they may have discontinued it by the time they made condensing cars or at least severely limited how much was done.  During restoration the car was pin-striped (with paint and not tape) in a buckskin tan color.

5. Condenser
  Leaving the factory Stanley would have provided a V-shaped condenser on the car.  After several months of use these condensers had a tendency to leak and the V-joint.  Tom Marshall has factory records that indicate that this serial number Stanley had been back to the factory twice for leaking condenser problems.  Stanley later went to a flat truck radiator as the condenser and made available a replacement V-shaped brass cowl to cover the condenser.  At some period of time this car had its condenser changed from the factory standard V-shape condenser to a flat truck radiator with a brass V-shape cowl covering.
6. Steam Whistle
  Stanleys never left the factory with a steam whistle.  Stanley's operate at high steam pressures (500 to 600 PSIG) and the available steam whistles of the period were designed for factory and locomotive use where much lower steam pressures (125 to 175 PSIG) typically were present.  Steam whistles on Stanley cars are a product of steam car owners.  The car when purchased included a steam whistle which was retained in the restoration.
7. Tire Size
  As originally shipped from the factory, the 1918 Model 735s had 35" x 4-1/2" tires.  These tires would have been approximately 35" OD with a 4-1/2" sidewall and fit on a 26" OD rim.  These tires have not been available for quite some time and when the car was purchased the tires were 34" x 4".  As the tires were well worn and needed to be replaced only two tire sizes are available to fit on a 26" diameter rim ~ 34" x 4" or 36" x 5".  As the 34" x 4" tire looked frail on the wire wheels and under the car the decision to go with 36" x 5" tires was made.
8. Pilot Temperature Indicator
  If the pilot is extinguished for any reason while the car is in operation the vaporization process for the burner as well as an ignition source for the burner is lost.  If the pilot is extinguished liquid fuel is injected to the pilot casting and if sufficient fuel is vaporized and the temperature of the burner is hot enough a back-fire can occur.  This is damaging to the pilot and if left unattended can damage the burner and even catch the car on fire.

Sometime in the past someone came up with an idea of placing a thermocouple in the vicinity of the pilot and placing an indicator on the dash to indicate that the pilot was lit.  While non-Stanley in origins this indicator was maintained during the restoration.

9. Ammeter
  As shipped from the factory the car's 6-volt electrical system relied on a cut-out switch on the firewall.  This device not only indicates when the generator was charging the battery but also disconnect the generator from the battery when the car's speed was slow so that the generator would not turn into a motor and drain the battery.  The contacts in the cut-out switch became burned and made the switch inoperable.  The switch was removed from the car but saved.  While not functional, the switch was returned to its firewall location simply as a display.
10. Electric Pilot Start
  With the introduction of the Model 735 cars Stanley provided electric heating of the pilot vaporizer for starting thus eliminating the need to use a torch to preheat the pilot vaporizer.  With a 6-volt electrical system, poor performance qualities of battery technology in 1918, and the need to run a great distance at a decent speed in order to fully charge the battery the idea proved more trouble than it was worth.  The system was deleted on production cars shortly after introduction and it's difficult to tell if it had ever been installed on this particular car when it left the factory.  The 1952 restoration removed any evidence for the feature if it was ever present.
   

 

Restoration Non-Stanley Changes
1. 16" High by 23" Diameter Boiler
  A number of changes were made to the boiler both for safety as well as functionality.  Calculations indicate that over 80 tons of force is applied to the top or bottom flue sheet of the boiler when it is operating 600 PSIG.  While no Stanley boiler has ever been documented as having exploded, the new boiler was beefed up structurally just to insure an additional margin of safety was available.  Additionally a slightly taller boiler would probably provide a marginal increase in steaming performance.

The 1918 Stanleys came equipped with a 14" high by 23" diameter boiler.  A few years later Stanley started installing 18" high boilers in their cars.  Based on information from other Stanley condensing car owners who had experienced 20-horsepower cars with 14", 16", and 18" high boilers, the general consensus was that the 16" high boiler was optimum for steaming capability verses weight.  The taller the boiler the more weight involved and steam reserve but the weight penalty outweighs the steam reserve and thus the car is more sluggish to drive.  The shorter the boiler the less steam reserve available but the boiler also weighs less and you end up with a snappy responding vehicle with limited reserves.  The 16" tall boiler seems to be an optimum of boiler weight and steam reserve for the 735 Model.

The original Stanley 23" diameter boilers included 31/64" OD (outside diameter) flues.  Not a tubing size readily available today, 1/2" OD by 0.049 wall, high-pressure, seamless, steel, hydraulic tubing was used.  As a result the spacing between flues was changed to allow for the bigger diameter.  Thus the boiler went from having over 700 flue tubes to having 636 flue tubes.

Stanley boilers originally used 3/16" thick steel for the circular side wall and 1/4" thick steel for the top and bottom flue sheets.  The new boiler was fabricated of 5/16" certified boiler steel for the side wall and 3/8" certified boiler steel for the flue sheets.  Additionally the piano wire wrapped in three layers around the circumference of the boiler drum was increased to 0.054" diameter phosphate music wire, 302,000/322,000 tensile strength (Stanley used 0.046" diameter music wire).

The original Stanley boilers included a pair of blow down valves.  As blowing down the boiler is intended to remove sediment from the bottom of the boiler two additional blow down valves were added providing a total of four valves with which to blow down the boiler.  Additionally, as a safety measure an additional blow down valve was added that included a 3" stand pipe inside the boiler.  The purpose of this blow down is two-fold.  When blowing down, any matter on the water surface inside the boiler will come in contact with the end of the stand pipe and hopefully be drawn off.  Additionally if there is any question as to the amount of water in the boiler the opening of this blow down will indicate if at least 3" of water remains in the boiler (water will be blown out when the valve is opened) or if the water level is dangerously lower than 3" (indicated by steam blowing out when the valve is opened).

2. Hydraulic Brakes
  This change was purely a safety item.  The factory original car brakes were asbestos lined and brakes were only on the rear wheels.  As asbestos linings became obsolete may years ago the car had an asbestos substitute woven brake material riveted on the brake bands when purchased.  Additionally, original Stanley brake design was an asbestos lined steel band that was pulled tight around the outside of the brake drum ~ not all that efficient especially when running in reverse.  With more modern brake shoe materials available, the ability to actuate the brakes using hydraulic power instead of mechanical linkages, and internal brake drum designs being more robust, the change to hydraulic brakes was done.  Rear wheel braking was maintained and front wheel brakes were not added as some Stanley owners have done.
3. Electrical System Changed from 6-volts to 12-volts
  The original electrical system on the car was in disarray.  There was no generator or battery in the car when purchased and most of the cotton-covered wiring insulation was badly deteriorated.  The original 6-volt cut-out switch was non-functional and the generator is of a rare 3-brush regulation design.  While all cars originally had 6-volt electrical systems, it was soon learned that a 12-volt electrical system is less troublesome and thus why we have 12-volt electrical systems in use on cars today.  While the car's electrical system is limited to lights and the electric horn, obtaining 6-volt headlight bulbs and maintaining a 6-volt 3-brush design generator would be more difficult than dealing with a 12-volt system.  The change to 12 volts would not change the appearance or functionality of the vehicle and the use of a modern design generator would allow the lights to be used as driving lights.  Thus a 12-volt generator (not an alternator) was substituted along with a 12-volt battery and lamps to upgrade the electrical system.  Additionally the electrical system only had one fuse in it which was changed to include fuses for each of the circuits on the car.
4. Wire Wheel Spokes
  Many of the spokes on the wire wheels were loose.  At some time in the past the spokes on two of the rims had been replaced with smaller diameter spokes.  The restoration replaced all spokes.  The replacement spokes are different than the original spokes in two ways.  The replacement spokes are a few thousands bigger in diameter than the originals.  The original spokes were also of a "dog-bone" profile being thinner in the middle then on either end.  The replacement spokes are only available with a thicker diameter at the hub (center) end of the spoke with the center and threaded end of the spoke all being the same diameter.
5. Insulation
  Originally the insulation would have been asbestos based.  While much of the boiler and some of the piping was still insulated with asbestos insulation, this insulation was removed and properly disposed of.

Asbestos insulation has been replaced with "refractory ceramic fiber". This form of insulation is spun from Alumina (Al2O3) and Silica (SiO2) and is available in various forms including blankets, felt, and paper.

Stanley originally used wallpaper paste to adhere the asbestos insulation to the boiler and various steam pipes.  For the restoration a 50-50 mix of standard wallpaper paste and vinyl wallpaper paste was blended together and used.

6. Pilot Fuel
  The pilot originally burned white gas.  With white gas becoming more difficult to find and containing more additives than the white gas available in 1918, many Stanley owners turned to Coleman Stove Fuel to fuel their car's pilots.  In recent years the additives to Coleman Stove Fuel caused it to choke the pilot vaporizers with carbon and a substitute fuel needed to be found.  Hexane was chosen and finds frequent use by Stanley owners.  Hexane burns very cleanly and produces a flame hot enough to operate the pilot vaporizer without creating carbon deposits in the vaporizer.
7. Pilot Fuel Tank
  The original Stanley pilot tank was in very poor mechanical condition having been repaired several times during its life.  Since the tank held fuel under pressure (approximately 25 PSIG) it was desirable to replace the tank.  A air reservoir of the same diameter as the original tank but slightly longer was located and used.  The air reservoir selected is rated for 150 PSIG so it provided the structural integrity needed to hold fuel under pressure.

As part of the restoration the car's water tank was replaced.  The replacement water tank was fabricated of galvanized sheetmetal to match the original tank.

The car's kerosene fuel tank wept fuel even though it had been repaired with fuel tank epoxy.  The tank was replaced with a tank of similar appearance made of stainless steel instead of steel.  The gooseneck brass fill tube and liquid level indicator from the original were reused on the replacement tank.  The original tank was hammer forged as two identical halves that were slipped together and soldered circumferentially at the center of the tank.  The replacement tank was constructed by welding concave ends into a metal tube formed to match the original tank.  The only difference in construction is that the center circumference seam is not provided on the replacement tank. 

When strapped to the rear of the car a pair of wooden blocks spaced the kerosene tank from the car's frame.  The blocks were replaced with black Delrin equivalents.

8. Stack Blower
  If for any of several reasons the burner back-fires and starts burning fuel in the mixing tube damage to the burner can result if not extinguished quickly.  While not a Stanley factory device a stack blower was added during restoration.  Stack blowers are common devices on steam locomotives and their adaptation to a steam car makes sense provided the stack blower is used properly.

The stack blower consists of a valve on the steam supply that controls steam flow to a pipe in the exhaust duct leading from the top of the boiler.  When the stack blower valve is opened the steam rushing from the pipe in the exhaust duct causes air to be drawn in the mixing tube, through the burner grate, through the boiler flues, and out the exhaust duct.  This increased flow of air is generally sufficient to suck the fire out of the mixing tube(s) and extinguish it as it flows into the flues of the boiler thus putting out the fire and reducing any damage that might occur to the burner and/or boiler.  The negative side of using a stack blower is that the air being drawn in is cool and it is hitting the hot burner grate and boiler and can cause undue stresses and even cracking of the burner grate and/or leaking of the boiler flues.  It is important to use the stack blower sparingly so as not to damage the burner and/or boiler. 

The stack blower also comes in handy if the car has been sitting for a while and the burner vaporizer has cooled.  Cracking the stack blower valve slightly starts a gentle flow of air through the burner and boiler and when the firing-up valve is opened the fuel is drawn into the burner and tend to light faster and no back-fire into the mixing tubes.  Once the burner has ignited the stack blower valve is closed.

9. Steam Oil Separator
  In order to lubricate the engine's valves and pistons steam cylinder oil is introduced into the steam supply.  The oil residue is carried from the engine in the exhaust steam, through the feed water heater, through the condenser, and back to the water tank.  Once in the water tank it is picked up by the pumps and sent to the boiler where the heat causes it to collect on the bottom of the boiler.  Blowing down the boiler removes most of the oil from the boiler however eliminating it from the boiler is the ideal solution.  Additionally the steam cylinder oil will collect on the walls of the condenser and will eventually reduce it's ability to condense steam back into water.  A steam oil separator consisting of a fine stainless steel screen filter and some bats of stainless steel wool in a liter soda bottle sized aluminum canister works to remove a high percentage of the steam cylinder oil in the exhaust stream before it enters the condenser.
10. Water Pump Return
  Anytime a Stanley is in motion the pumps are pumping water.  Water is only diverted to the boiler on an as-needed basis.  When not going to the boiler the water from the pumps is returned to the water tank.  As plumbed at the Stanley factory the water automatic (which controls when water is needed in the boiler) returns pumped water directly to the water tank if its not needed in the boiler.  This routing was changed from directly back to the water tank to the top of the condenser.  By diverting pumped water not going to the boiler to the condenser it is hoped that the water will help cool the condenser's metal tubing and improve the condensing action. 

In addition a check valve has been added between the water automatic and the condenser.  When shutting down the car the boiler is blown down to remove all water in the boiler for the purpose of removing any sediment at the bottom of the boiler.  As the boiler cools the steam in the boiler cools and condenses to water leaving a vacuum.  This vacuum draws water from the water tank into the boiler to fill the boiler provided the water automatic bypass valve is closed.  As it is easy to forget to close the water automatic bypass valve, air is drawn into the boiler through the water automatic to water tank return line instead of water being drawn into the boiler from the water tank through the two water pumps.  The installation of the check valve should eliminate air from being drawn into the boiler if the water automatic bypass valve is not closed after blowing down the boiler.

11. Trim & Moldings
  Originally Stanley had trimmed out the leather side panels of the interior of the car with a half-round molding.  The molding was a half-round tin strip that was filled with lead.  When the lead was poured a series of nails was inserted in the lead so that when the lead hardened the nails were held in place.  Then each was covered with a thin piece of leather which was sewn in place.  The trim strips were then hammered into the oak frame pieces that formed the top edge of the body.  These pieces were on each door, across the top edge of the front seat, and across the top edge of the dashboard.  An equivalent half-round material in brass, tin, or any other metal was not able to be located.  If the material could be purchased then making up replacement lead-filled strips might have been possible.  As a result the use of wire-on was substituted.

The door panels used a hidem-strip tacked in place with metal corners.  It is unknown if this was used originally by Stanley or was put in place during the 1950-1952 restoration.  As identical replacement material and metal corners was available, the rotted hidem was  replaced.

12. Seat Construction
  The seats were reconstructed in a similar fashion to the way they had originally been done.  The replacement leather seat cover pockets holding the horsehair stuffing were stitched at the same spacing as the original seats had been done.  Horsehair stuffing was removed from the original seats, combed and fluffed up, and used to stuff the pockets of the replacement leather seat covers.  The box spring units were in excellent condition and after minor restoration and painting could be reused.

The leather panels covering the doors and sides of the interior of the car were originally held in place with short tacks.  The front seat back as well as the rear seat back and the top were also held in place using hundreds of tacks.  Today's technology makes use of pneumatic staplers for such work.  An advantage of the pneumatic stapler is that it "pops" the staple in the wood and eliminates the need to hammer tacks into the framework of the car.  Additionally the original frame pieces of the car had experienced two sessions of tacking ~ the original session when the car was manufactured and again when it was restored in 1950-1952.  This meant that the wood was already full of holes and some deterioration of the wood had occurred.  In order to insure the material being stapled would stay it was necessary to drive the staples slightly deeper thus insuring they were holding in good wood.  Use of the pneumatic stapler allowed longer staples to be used insuring that the stapled material would remain in position and not pull loose over time.

What was changed was the padding and stuffing that was placed between the spring units and the leather seat covers.  Originally a loose padding of jute or hemp was laid over the spring units and held in place with either burlap or canvas.  As the animals that had taken up residence in the seats had rearranged the padding to meet their needs much of it was no longer available.  Finding a replacement proved difficult so heavy gray industrial felting covered with a heavy duck cloth was substituted.  By covering both sides of the gray felt with duck cloth it also allowed the felt to be sewn to the springs and spring frame easier and should improve the wearability of the seats over time.

The seats and seat backs of the two jump-seats were trimmed using a thin strip of hidem.  The nails holding the hidem in place were simply driven through the hidem.  To improve the look of the seats the leather coverings were installed such that the staples holding the leather in place would fall under carpet or some other covering such that hidem would not be required.  In the case of the seat back a Masonite panel was cut and covered with leather and then held in place with half-spherical black upholstery nails.  This provided a cleaner look to the back of the jump-seats.

   

Questions or Comments?  Please email me!

Go back          

2003-2012 www.StanleyMotorCarriage.com