Robertson canoe / Stanley Steamer collaboration


LOVES Wooden Canoes
In searching for more photos and info on J.R. Robertson canoes, I've found several links to an interesting collaboration between the Auburndale/Newton, MA canoe company and another Newton company; the Stanley Motor Carriage Co.

Identical twins F.E. and F.O. Stanley wanted to set the land speed record... and did so in Ormond Beach, Florida in 1906. Fred Marriott drove their custom steam-powered car dubbed "the Rocket," or the "Flying Teapot" which looked nothing like anybody had ever seen in those early years of the automobile.

The 16 foot long, 3 foot wide ribbed body was designed and built by the J.R. Robertson Canoe Co., using typical boatbuilding methods. The resulting car looked very much like an upside down canoe on bicycle wheels, and helped the car reach 127 mph during the 5 mile race on the beach. A revised model (also with the Robertson body) the following year hit 197 mph before coming across a divot in the sand and going airborne. Fragments of this wrecked car are at the Smithsonian, and you can see the ribs exposed in the attached photo.

In 2006, 100 years to the day of the record-setting event, Sarah Stanley, great-granddaughter of F.E Stanley - as well as a Marriott descendent - took turns piloting a replica of the Rocket (a 25 mph limit was in effect this time).

Like its wooden cousins, the original rocket also suffered the indignity of seeing its replica built from fiberglass. :mad:

As for the record books, the Rocket's official 126 mph record wasn't broken by gas cars for several years - and among steam-powered cars, the canoe-bodied Rocket held the record until 2009. Pretty cool.



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It should be noted that the second link above is to an article in our journal, Wooden Canoe, by Erik Sobel entitled "Worlds Fastest Canoe," Issue 109, February 2002.
Thanks for pointing that out, Greg. I hadn't known that's where the article originated. One or two of my photos is from that article as well, in that case.