Skene American Automobile Company

Skene Cycle & Automobile Co.

According to its advertising, The Skene American Automobile Company was located in Lewiston, ME where it was in the process of manufacturing 125 steam cars in 1900. The factory superintendent was Edwin F. Field, who made a steam carriage about 1879. The company may have begun business as the J. W. Skene Cycle & Automobile Company in Lewiston, ME.

The company's office and show room were in Springfield, MA, and that address appears on all the advertisements in the VSCM.

The advertisements indicate that Skene had cars in production, orders on the books, and was seeking capital to exapnd the business.

The only known surviving Skene currently owned by the Richard C. Paine Jr., Automobile Charitable Trust and exhibited at the Seal Cove Auto Museum located on Mount Desert Island, Maine. It has an interesting history.

Georgano writes that "The Skene Company boasted that every part of their [sic] light steam buggy was made at their works, which, if true, distinguished it from many assembled machines.

In design, however, it was conventional, using a vertical 2-cylinder engine of 5 hp, single chain drive, and tiller steering.

An unusual feature was that a single-passenger body could be fitted, as well as the typical two-passenger Stanhope."1

Skeene American Automobile Co Advertisement

This Skene advertisement appeared on December 1, 1900 in Outlook magazine.

Skeene American Automobile Co Advertisement

This advertisement is found in Floyd Clymer's Steam Car Scrapbook, (1945, Bonanza Books, Crown Publishers, Inc.), p. 39.  Clymer lists the source as The Outlook, January 5, 1901.

Skeene American Automobile Co Advertisement

The January 17, 1901 issue of The Independent carried this Skene American Automobile Company advertisement that seeks invenstors. Although the driver of this car is unidentified, it may be J. W. Skene.

Skeene American Automobile Co Advertisement

On January 31, 1901, The Skene American Automobile Company placed this advertisement on the bottom half of a page in an unknown magazine.

1Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1968), p. 183.