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Keystone (steam automobile)

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The Keystone Steamer was an American automobile manufactured from 1899 until 1900 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.[1]


Keystone Match & Machine Company was founded in 1894 and offering bicycles from 1896.[2] In 1899 the company offered an interesting but complicated steam car. It featured runabout coachwork and was powered by three small single-cylinder steam engines built into each of its rear wheel hubs in a way that they worked as a radial engine. It was tried to avoid the use of sprockets, chains and a differential gear as each wheel worked completely independent from the other.[3] The vehicle could reach a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour (32 km/h).[4]

Planned production included trucks, but the Keystone Match & Machine Co. gave up all automobile projects in 1900, concentrating instead in producing matches and machinery for that purpose.[4]

Engineer J. G. Xander, who mainly developed the Keystone Steamer, went to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he manufactured steam and gasoline engines, and offered for a short time the Xander automobile, built on custom order.[4][5]


  1. ^ David Burgess Wise, The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Automobiles
  2. ^ Kimes, Beverly Rae (editor) and Clark, Henry Austin, jr., ; The Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 2nd Edition, Krause Publications, Iola WI 54990 (1985), ISBN 0-87341-111-0; p. 769
  3. ^ The Horseless Age, December 1899 issue
  4. ^ a b c Kimes (1985; p. 770)
  5. ^ Kimes (1985; p. 1524)