What became of the Doble Steam Auto?

Rt. 1, Plattsmouth, Nebraska 68048

I was particularly interested in the article by Alva Hulburt of
Sterling, Ill., entitled ‘I Am Concerned’ which appeared in
the March-April issue of the I. M. A. magazine, on pages 15-16, in
which he touches upon a very important issue regarding air
pollution and the present hysteria of a certain segment of our
society who are demanding a ban on all forms of smoke, whether
produced by steam engines, brush fires, autos or what have you.
This is extremely far reaching in its scope and I sincerely hope it
will never be carried that far. Though I am thoroughly in favor of
pollution control, let us keep it sane.

Mr. Hulbert states he read that changing to steam-driven autos
would eliminate 80% to 85% of the pollution, and I do not doubt it.
But will any of the auto manufacturers ever have the nerve to make
the changeover, especially with the big petroleum companies with
their billion dollar gasoline business on their backs.

As I remember the Doble Steam Auto was developed to a very high
degree of mechanical efficiency along about 1916-1918. I had a
catalog describing it and it appeared to have very pleasing lines,
very similar to the conventional gasoline autos of that era. I know
the company was taking orders for it, as a cousin of mine in
Chicago, had his order in for one. It was never delivered. Why
weren’t these steam autos completed and put on the market?

Here is the reason as told me by a gentleman from Kansas City,
Mo. This gentleman was as Automative Engineer at this time, about
twenty years ago; he was with the Army Engineers working on the
huge Missouri River project. He stated he had positive evidence
that the Doble Steam Auto Company was bought out lock, stock and
barrel by one of the big petroleum companies (whose name I shall
not mention) just to keep it off the market and thereby avoid the
impact, steam driven cars would have on their huge gasoline

Now, you can take this information for what it is worth but
personally I am inclined to believe it, at least, until I find more
positive evidence as to why the Doble Steam Auto was never

I am an old thresherman from way back at the turn of the century
and continued until the combines took over. My three brothers and I
attended the first old Steam Thresherman’s Reunion that was
held at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, which I believe, if my memory serves me
right was in 1951 and I have been a subscriber to the I. M. A.
magazine ever since it began publication and have caused many other
old steam engine lovers to subscribe.

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