Auto History Milestone – Skene

The J.W. Skene Cycle & Automobile Company in Lewiston, Maine seems to be the source of the Skene steam car. The factory superintendent, Edwin F. Field had made a steam car about 1879. They supposedly produced 125 car in 1900-1901. The auto were 2-cylinder, 5 hp steam car with a chain drive and tiller steering. Although the makers made claims of the car’s superiority, they were really not standout vehicles. Their showroom and company office was in Springfield, MA.

The Skene American Automobile Company didn’t last long. Even with advertisements lauding their claim to have the 125 cars under construction, it seems they used that advertisement in an effort to attract investors more than seel cars.

The only known surviving Skene is exhibited at the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Mount Desert Island, Maine and is owned by the Richard C. Paine, Jr. Automobile Charitable Trust.

Skene claimed that every part of their vehicle was made at their factory. It would have rare if that were true, as most other company’s vehicles, at that time, were made with assembled parts from various sources.

One of the unusual features of the Skene was that it could be fitted with a single-passenger body, as well as the standard two-passenger Stanhope.

Skene was one of the many early automobile companies that produced a not well received car and faded into automobile obscurity.

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