1995 32¢ 1901 White
Issue Date: November 3, 1995
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 11
The 1901 White was produced by Rollin H. White of the White Sewing Machine Company of Cleveland, Ohio. White produced his first steam-driven automobile, a light chain-driven stanhope (single-seated open-carriage vehicle) with tiller steering, in 1900. It had a simple two-cylinder engine mounted under the floor, and an underslung frontal steam condenser.
Steam-powered automobiles, or steamers, are propelled by the energy of expanding steam. Fuel is burned within a furnace, which heats water inside of a boiler. Water turns to steam inside the boiler. This steam was used to drive the pistons of the 1901 White, and was then collected in the condenser. The White could travel 100 miles on a single filling of water!
Steamers were extremely popular. At the turn of the century 40 percent of all U.S. automobiles were driven by steam – only 22 percent were powered by gasoline. White sold 193 of these cars in 1901, their first year of full production. But steam cars had many disadvantages. It took a long time to heat the steam in the car’s boiler. For automotive use, steam engines needed to be small, and therefore very high-pressured. Such engines were costly to build and maintain. By 1924 most major steam car companies were no longer in business.