Steam-powered Car Speed Record Broken After 100 Years



The famed Stanley Steamer

I’ve long been fascinated with steam engines and particularly steam cars and airplanes. Thanks to Henry Ford it’s been a long time since people took steam seriously. At least those outside the steampunk community.

But maybe that’s changing.

The long-held record set in 1906 by Fred Marriott and his Stanley Steamer has been not only challenged but shattered by a man named Charles Burnett III.

From New Scientist:

Burnett drove a 7.6-metre-long, 3-tonne car called “Inspiration” that grew out of a 1997 student project at Southampton University.

The car’s engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating steam heated to 400°C. The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels.

While you and your kids might not be quite ready to challenge the likes of Marriott and Burnett, there are a few other fun projects you might enjoy. My favorite is the steam candle, a miniature steam engine that spins on water. Full steam ahead! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

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