- Rare New England–built steam car
- Older restoration that has been well conserved
- Potential London-to-Brighton participant
Many early automakers began as manufacturers of other consumer goods. Most of them came from the bicycle industry, but one, the White Sewing Machine Company of Cleveland, Ohio, made just that, sewing machines. Another, whose principal was once a partner of Thomas White, was William Grout, whose New Home Sewing Machine Company of Orange, Massachusetts, also undertook to make steam cars. In both cases it was the sons of the founders who entered the auto business.
Frederick, Charles, and Carl Grout experimented with both gasoline and steam propulsion before settling on the latter. Steam, after all, was well developed and understood in the northeast, where it had long been used on railroads and in factories. Production of the Grout steamer began in the summer of 1900. By 1902 there were no fewer than six models: three runabouts, a Stanhope, a touring car, and a delivery vehicle. The Model H was a mid-priced car, and it continued production through 1904. That year, however, a gasoline model was introduced, and by 1906 steam propulsion had been discontinued entirely. The Grout company continued to build increasingly larger cars through 1912. By this time father and sons had become estranged and the business was closed.
Previously in the Charlie Sens Auto Museum in Marion, Ohio, this 1902 Model H Grout is an older restoration. Painted black with red striping, it is upholstered in pleated and buttoned red leather. The fenders are black leather. Prior owners have included Richard Runion of Tiffin, Ohio. Brass Neverout kerosene lamps light the way ahead and include red lenses that act as taillights. It carries emblems of the Steam Automobile Club of America, a group for operating steam vehicle enthusiasts, and the Car Coddlers of Ohio, a regional club for antique, classic, and special-interest cars.
Grout automobiles are quite rare, even in the steam car community. This car represents a rare opportunity to acquire one. Its age also qualifies it as a candidate for the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run.