- Written by webmin
While we’re on the topic of steam-powered vehicles today, let’s take a look at a recent post over at The Old Motor, in which David Greenlees dug up some information on a 200-mile race through Wisconsin – from Green Bay to Madison – between a pair of steam buggies that took place in 1878. As related at the Wisconsin Historical Society‘s website, the race was prompted by a $10,000 award offered by the Wisconsin state legislature in 1875 for a viable self-propelled alternative to a horse and buggy. Six entrants stepped forward, but only two – the Green Bay and the Oshkosh – ended up competing in the race. The former had the speed advantage, but proved unreliable, so the Oshkosh took the win, though the Wisconsin legislature only ended up awarding the owners of the Oshkosh $5,000.
As David noted, the first automobile race in America is commonly believed to have occurred in 1895 in Chicago. The account of the steam buggy race seems to upend that little bit of history.
By the way, if those mid-1870s dates seem familiar, that’s precisely the same time George Alexander Long built his first steam wagon in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, and proceeded to terrorize the locals with it. Coincidence, or was there some reason steam wagons seemed to be in vogue at that time?