The White Steamer – As it was seen in the newspapers of the early 1900’s
The White steamer company was named after Thomas H. White who had a successful sewing machine business. The automobile was actually made by his son, Rollin, producing the first 50 cars in 1900. They continued to make the “Steamer” until 1911. Here’s how they advertised the automobile in those early years. It is interesting to note that none of the ads started appearing until around 1907 and the first article I found in 1906 is seen below their 1885 sewing machine ad. I will print this article talking about the first White Steamers, sprinkled with the ads that appeared following this year.
The Minneapolis Journal – 1906
H. S. Haynes Tells of Introducing Steam Cars in Minneapolis –
I shall never forget the first White steamer that came to Minneapolis in the fall of 1903,” said H. S. Haynes of the Haynes Automobile company today. Webb Jay, who was at that time sales manager for the White Sewing Machine company, shipped a model 1903 White car to Minneapolis before an agency for the White had been established here. My brother, who was then mayor, had previously visited the factory at Cleveland, and became acquainted with Mr. Jay, who took them for a ride in the White, with a result that he came away with a very good impression of it.
After Mr. Jay’s sample car arrived, we unloaded it and tried it out, and closed for the agency. It did such splendid work that we were at once fascinated with it and were confident that we could convince our customers that it was the best all around touring car in the market. We did not find this such an easy matter at first as we had contemplated.
Play a period audio below – Reuben Haskin’s Ride on a Cyclone Auto – 1903
Shied At Steam – The first man who came in our place to look at the machine inquired, ‘what have you there? – A White steamer, said I. He whirled and left the building without saying another word. Then we came in for a pointer from Mr. Jay, who said, I would not say too much, about steam until after you get the cars going here a little more, as at present there is considerable prejudice against steam. So when the next customer came in we refrained from saying steam until we were obliged to tell him that it was a White steamer, and he too disappeared from the scene about as suddenly as he came. Then in came Clinton Walker, for whom we demonstrated the car a few times, and it was he who gave us our first order for a White Steamer. This seemed to break the ice, and from that time on we commenced to sell cars.
“Among our White car customers, who have shipped their cars out of the city for winter touring in California and in the south, we would mention: John Birkholz, George H. Partridge and E. Mapes.
We have just received a wire from the White Sewing Machine company, giving an account of the Los Angeles San Diego endurance and reliability contest, in which the 1906 model ‘F’ White steamer touring car won the Spreckles cup. It also won fuel consumption, doing 180 mountainous miles with five passengers and 150 pounds of baggage on seventeen gallons of fuel, This is really a remarkable showing, in as much as some of our competitors have claimed that the White consumed more gasoline than gasoline cars of equal capacity, which is a mistake.
Its Birds Of A Feather …. When White Owners Get Together
This, we trust will put an end to this talk, as we are doing our best to make the public familiar with the true facts. Every time we sell a man a White steamer we feel that we have placed in his hands the best automobile that money can buy. The results which our customers get from their cars are very satisfactory and pleasing to them as well as to ourselves to the extent that every man who purchases a White soon becomes an enthusiastic advocate of it. There is a sort of a ‘White fraternity growing up all over the country, to which we count ourselves and our customers as members, and known collectively as a northwestern lodge of White fellows our motto or password is, ‘It’s birds of a feather’ when White fellows get together. And we are going to get together at Chicago during the coming week.
Mr. Crosser and myself will be glad to meet our northwestern friends at the exhibit of the White Sewing Machine company, Coliseum building or at their headquarters at the Auditorium annex. There will be nothing doing at home show week.