The Skene was an American automobile manufactured from 1900 to 1901. A twin-cylinder 5-hp steam car, it was built in Lewiston, Maine.[1]

Skene Steamer from advertisement
TypeSteam car
ManufacturerSkene American Automobile Company
DesignerJames W. Skene

History edit

J. W. Skene Cycle Company of Lewiston finished its first steam carriage in 1900. R. H. B. Warburton of Springfield, Massachusetts helped Skene organize, with a capital stock of $500,000, the Skene American Automobile Company. Company headquarters were in Springfield, the factory remained in Maine.[1][2]

The Skene was a simple steam buggy with a 5-hp double-acting two-cylinder engine and had a boiler with a working pressure of 160 pounds. The gasoline and water tanks were sufficient for a 25-mile run. All parts of the Skene were built in the Lewiston plant, a fact in which the Skene company took pride.[1] Prices ran from a Model 1 Steam Stanhope at $750 (equivalent to $26,382 in 2022) to a Model 5 Canopy Steam Surrey at $1,300, equivalent to $45,729 in 2022.[1]

By January of 1901, Skene had a production run of twenty cars, and Warburton arranged a large display at the Philadelphia Automobile Show that month. This didn’t work out as planned.[3] As The Motor Age magazine put it, "a miscalculation on the part of the railroad officials tied up four Skene machines somewhere between Springfield and Philadelphia, and a space big enough to comfortably exhibit half a dozen vehicles looked bare with but one."[1]

Later in 1901, Skene reported 125 vehicles under construction but the partners’ money ran out. Sometime that spring the Skene American Automobile Company was attached for $5,000 by creditors. James Skene subsequently became a Rambler dealer, and spent the rest of his life in the automobile business in Maine.[1]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kimes, Beverly Rae; Clark Jr., Henry Austin (1996). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 (3rd ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-87341-428-9.
  2. ^ "Skene American Automobile Company". Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  3. ^ Electrical World. McGraw-Hill. 1901.

External links edit