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Buckeye gasoline buggy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Buckeye gasoline buggy or Lambert gasoline buggy was the first practical gasoline automobile available for sale in America,[1] according to automobile historians.[2]

The Lambert Automobile & The Buckeye Mfg. Co.

The Buckeye Mfg. Co.
Anderson, IN

John W. Lambert made a three wheel car in Ohio City, Ohio in 1891, which is generally considered to be the first gasoline powered American Automobile.

In 1893 John Lambert, his brother and father began building stationary gas engines under the Buckeye Mfg. Co. name and later the Lambert Gas & Gasoline Engine Company with factories first in Union City, Ohio then in Anderson, Indiana.

His automobile interest was jump started in 1902 when he formed The Union Automobile Co. in Union, IN. Lambert produced the Union automobile there from 1902 to 1905. In 1905 production moved to Anderson where it gave way to new models carrying Lamberts own name. The first Lambert automobile was sold June 1, 1905. In 1906 a wide variety of chain driven automobiles were made, all with a Friction Drive.

1906 Lambert Touring Car
1906 Lambert Touring Car

Shown above is a 1906 Lambert five passenger Touring Car. In addition The Buckeye Mfg. Co. produced Pleasure Cars, Runabouts and Commercial Trucks. Features included a 98 inch wheel base, 56 inch width, 34 inch x 4 1/2 inch wheels and tires and weighted 2200 pounds.

1910 Lambert Magazine Ad
1910 Lambert Magazine Ad

In the above 1910 magazine ad the Lambert was featured as “The Car of a Thousand Speeds” The ad referred to the unusual friction drive and dual chain drive on all the Lambert automobiles. Five models were produced in 1910 with the five passenger Touring Car priced at $1200.00. Lambert models 99-B and 99-C were equipped with a four cylinder 35 horsepower Rutenber engine.

1906 Lambert Model A Runabout
1906 Lambert Model A Runabout
1909 Lambert Touring Car
1909 Lambert Model B2 Touring Car

Shown below is a 1909 Lambert Model 30 Touring Car equipped with a four cylinder engine rated at 28-30 horsepower, had a 110 inch wheel base and was priced at $1250.00. A second Lambert Touring Car produced in 1909 had a double cylinder engine rated at 18-24 horsepower, had a 94 inch wheelbase and it was priced at $800.00.

1909 Lambert Touring Car
1909 Lambert Model 30 Touring Car

Nation’s First Gasoline-Powered AutomobileJohn Lambert, of Ohio City, Ohio, invented America’s first gasoline-powered automobile in 1891. The three-wheel motorized buggy made transportation history, but was not a commercial success. Lambert dropped the idea of a car and worked on gasoline engines. Later, however, he resumed automobile manufacture and produced commercially successful four-wheel cars at his Buckeye Manufacturing plant. The Lambert (1908 model shown to the right) could travel at about 25-30 miles per hour and was powered by a 15-horsepower Buckeye engine.  It featured brass lights, leather seats, and a wooden floorboard. Gas powered cars took off because petroleum was so inexpensive, and also due to the size of batteries required for earlier electric cars. However, with gas-powered vehicles came lots of extra noise on the streets, as the new vehicles were much noisier than their battery powered predecessors.  What is Octane?

Octane ratings are applied to gasoline based on how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites in a cylinder. If gas ignites by compression – rather than from a spark from the spark plug – it can cause knocking. Knocking damages an engine, so it is something to avoid. Low-octane gas — 87-octane for example — handles the least amount of compression before igniting, or knocking.

List of Indiana Automobile Manufacturers

In addition to the 54 “major” automobile makers in Indiana detailed in volume 2 of this book there have been hundreds of smaller companies that have tried to make the big time. Dozens more made a prototype that never went into production. Even more gathered investment capital and then failed to produce even a prototype.

This appendix lists all the companies we could find that made it past the prototype stage. It may serve as a starting point for your own investigations. Bold entries are detailed in the main section of Indiana Bicentennial Volume 2 – Hoosier Industries and the People who Built Them. * indicates companies detailed below.

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