Lamm was born in Ay, France, but moved to Louisiana in 1848 at the age of 14. He patented various improvements in techniques of gold dental fillings, and developed a number of innovative designs for street railways. These later were inspired by wishes to improve the Streetcars in New Orleans, as there was a desire for faster and more powerful propulsion than horsecars could provide, while steam locomotives created noise, smoke, and soot that was undesirable in city streets. The most successful of Lamm's designs was "Lamm's Fireless Engine", which ran on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar line in New Orleans in the 1870s and 1880s, and also saw wide use in the street railways of Paris.
- Daniel Kinnear Clark Tramways, construction et exploitation - Volume 1 - 1880 - Page 244 "Le docteur Émile Lamm a expérimenté pendant quelque temps, en 1871, un car à gaz ammoniaque à la Nouvelle-Orléans."
- "Invention Timeline - Emile Lamm". InventionInfo. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- U.S. Patent 125,577
- U.S. Patent 105,581
- Louis C. Hennick; Elbridge Harper Charlton (1965). The Streetcars of New Orleans. Pelican Publishing. pp. 14–16. ISBN 9781455612598.