A recently acquired book is “The Two Georges, A Novel of Alternate America, 1996” by Richard Dreyfuss and Harry Turtledove. This book involves steam automobiles that are referred to as “steamers” and without explanation or discussion or any history. The main plot of the book involves an alternate history where George Washington and King George II made peace and thus the world turned out to be different. Transportation at the end of the 20th Century was by dirigible and steamers, thus implying that it was American inventiveness that took the world from the first industrial revolution of steam power to the second industrial revolution of internal combustion engines. The steamers appear to have a Stanley type of a boiler, because it takes 8-10 minutes to get steam pressure up. Sometimes the pilot light is left on or maybe it is just the heat in the boiler so pressure is up and ready to go. At other times the burner is turned up by the driver for more reserve pressure when driving. The good news is that a battery powered sparker starts the burner from inside the car. The writers of this book have never been in a real steam car because they talk about putting it into gear to go places and in selecting one of three gears for going down the road. I am going to write them a letter encouraging them to ask me for technical advice on their next book that involves steam power.
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