The Parker Steam Car
From the Autocar. 7th December 1901

The steam car. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

Some little time since, we were invited to inspect a newly designed 10h.p. steam car, which was then nearing completion in the works of the Wearwell Motor Co. of Wolverhampton, in accordance with the designs and under the supervision of Mr. Thos. Hugh Parker.
The frame of this vehicle is formed of 2.5 inch channel steel, and is 8ft. 6in. x 3ft. over all. It is placed on semi-elliptical springs, 3ft. 6in. front and 3ft. 9in. back, the whole carried on 36in. artillery built solid rubber-tyred wheels running on ball bearings. The engine, which weighs 3 cwt. complete is a 10 n.h.p. compound of the open launch type set in the rear half of the frame, and driving the rear live axle through suitable bevel gearing. The high pressure cylinder is 4in. bore, the low pressure 6in., and the stroke 4in. A specially adapted Joy's valve gear is used. A jet condenser, with a special oil separator in combination, is fitted. The water tank is placed in the centre of the frame, and the direct acting circulating pump, worked from cross-head, slide-coupled directly thereto. The engine bed plate carries the bearings for differential, gear and engine crankshaft.
In connection with the condensing apparatus are 500ft. of Loyal radiating tube, 250ft. of which is fixed in front and 250ft. in rear of the vehicle below the frame. The bevel wheel driven off engine shaft is strongly bolted round the differential gear box, the gear within, which is of large dimensions. The bevel pinion on the crankshaft is of steel, while the bevel wheel which it drives is of phosphor bronze. The boiler is of the flash type, set forward of the dashboard beneath a motor bonnet, and its 300ft. of tubing is of five eighths of an inch external and a quarter of an inch internal diameter. It is fired by a specially designed burner consuming heavy oil, and its working pressure is from sixty to one hundred pounds per square inch. The oil tank has a capacity of fifteen gallons, and the water tank already mentioned of eight, gallons.

Rear view. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

The bonnet, which hides the boiler from view, is of browned steel, with brass mountings, the appearance being very handsome.

Another view of the car. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

The differential gear is of the three-star type enclosed in an oil-tight phosphor-bronze case, with a cast steel shaft passing through sleeves, which are each entire, with their respective brake drums and differential wheels, the whole being carried complete on the engine bed. The bearings throughout are large and long in proportion to the work they have to perform, while their lubrication is amply provided for. Thrust blocks are provided at the crankshaft bearings.
The engine and gearing are fixed to the frame by three strong channel iron slings, as also is the boiler. While the body of the vehicle, whatever type be adopted, has only one connection with the mechanism of the car, and that is the union connecting up the oil supply from the oil tank before mentioned, the oil tank being placed behind the driver's seat.
To allow the engine and gear being carried upon the frame supported on the springs, the driving axle is fitted with four flexible raw hide connections, two inside brake drums next differential gear, and two just inside driving axle spring bearings. These raw hide connections give a pliability to the driving axle after the manner of the Cardan driving axles on the De Dion voiturettes.

The vehicle is more than amply supplied with brakes, having two double-acting band brakes on road driving wheels, and two on differential gear box, all four being actuated through Bowden wires, each of one ton breaking strain, the differential brakes being applied by pedal from footboard, and the road-wheel band brakes by side lever. Worm and wheel steering (Ackermann type) is provided.

The engine with the body removed. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

The side view of the generator and engine, with the bonnet and body removed.  Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.
In addition to the side brake lever, two other levers are set at the right-hand side of the car; one for working the hand pump, and the other for reversing the engine. A pedal is placed on the footboard, and by this steam is arrested to the engine.

The body is of the tonneau type, well rounded, and excellently built. The weight of the vehicle complete with oil and water tanks full approximates to 23 cwt.


The whole of the construction, erection, and body building has been carried out at the Wearwell Motor Works by Mr. Parker, who is to be congratulated upon the design of so practical a vehicle.

Since we saw the car it has been put through its trial trips, and has, we understand, behaved very well, the speed being easily controllable from one to thirty miles an hour, the only thing requiring adjustment being the feed pumps, and these are now having Mr. Parker's attention.

View from above with the body removed.
Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

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