Steam Motorcycle From 1894 Heading To Auction

It has taken over a century for automakers to get back to their roots, but finally we are seeing some divergence from the obsession with gasoline. Back when motorized transportation first started cropping up, any and every power source was on the table, including steam power. And when I saw this 1894 steam-powered motorcycle, I just had to share it with you.

The Boiler Bike

For a while, steam power held a lot of promise as a power source, but primitive boilers that took forever to warm up essentially doomed the experiment. Even so, the steam-powered land speed record stood for over 100 years, and these days there is renewed interest in steam power from a variety of sources.

This one-of-a-kind motorcycle was built by Sylvester Roper, who reportedly would use coals from his steamboat to warm up the boiler, which sits below a water tank. A water pump was driven off of the rear axle, and a small steam engine would propel the Columbia bicycle-based steamcycle to speeds upwards of 40 MPH.

Unfortunately, Roper died while riding the steamcycle, apparently suffering from a heart attack in the middle of his race  bicyclist Nat Butler. So far as I know, this is a unique contraption, never replicated or sold. Since I am a I huge fan of steampunk (if you hadn’t figured it out already) I felt compelled to share this with you, dear readers. And I hope you think it is as cool as I do!

Roper’s steamcycle will hit the auction block this Janaury, though there is no indication of what the expected selling price will be. But who wouldn’t want to ride around with a tank full of boiling water sitting right beneath your genitals?

Source: Hemmings Autoblog

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.