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History says you can have your large SUV and great mileage too

One of White Motor's Cars
One of White Motor's Cars

Today it seems we are faced with an extreme urgency to downsize, make lighter and environment friendlier autos, side bar, unintended result less is less safe. Now, like most of us, I want to save the planet but I still need room and most importantly my families’ safety is not negotiable. I believe many of us feel the same way when it comes to family safety. Thus, faced with the dilemma of sorts I thought to become proactive on this issue. My starting point, history; Wow what I found.

Being from Cleveland, Ohio and having some knowledge of the White Motor Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio I began reading about how the Whites in 1904 might address today’s problem. What I found was simply amazing. The genius inventor behind White Motors Rollin White along with brothers Windsor and Walter, father Tom of the White Sewing Machine, invented a combination steam and gas car called the Whistling Willie, for obvious reasons. The genius of Rollin was inventing a compound engine which used steam twice before leaving the engine. It did this by first using a small high pressure cylinder which exhausts into a significantly larger second cylinder which spreads the lower pressure steam over a larger surface area to yield the same amount of work as the first, this according to Henry Merkel, great grandson. Together they delivered a balanced output. Now I know for most of us this is more tech than one is comfortable with so let me apply this to today’s dilemma.

Rollin White and his car was much greener in 1905 that all of his competition. Water to steam was the ultimate renewable. But here is the real point. Rollin White made a car large in stature, and heavy but used 1/3 the horsepower of all competitors of his day, 20 to 25 to 60 to 65 for the total gas powered competition. And yet the White car was capable of speeds up to 70 miles per hour. Now if this were not enough, The White Steamer was also more powerful then all other cars of the day leading to the statement from Barny Oldfield, the Jeff Gordon of his day to lament, “It was the White Steamer that did me in.” The Steamer oftentimes finished as much as 10 seconds ahead of Barry leading to his quote. Now let us see, The White Steamer of 1905 used less horsepower, polluted less, had more power and tork than all others of the day and sold thousands of vehicles. You know Jay leno talk show host has a White vehicle in his collection. Why are you concluding what history here has shown?

Are we out of geniuses in the car industry? Will the White magic never happen again? Somewhere they must exist and engineer that will design and build what the public wants and what times dictate. If only I could sit down with Rollin, Windsor and Walter and have a little talk. I truly believe if this were possible, within a year, problem solved.

So You Think the Green Movement is New?

The White Family was "green" before their time
The White Family was "green" before their time

Today, all of us seemingly have been indoctrinated as to the new definition of Green. One cannot turn anywhere but to run into a new green institute, a new green product which will save the planet, think green, be green, do green. A new idea right? I don’t think so.

Many years ago–1920 to be exact–there was a family in Cleveland, Ohio, who believed in green before today’s definition of green was ever invented. This famous family was the Walter White family of White Sewing Machine and White Motors fame.

They believed in planting thousands of trees (it was called tree farming) throughout their fabulous country estates so that future generations could truly enjoy them for years to come. Regular farming and tree farming were done jointly on the same properties. Mrs. Walter White actually received an award from her home state of South Carolina for planting more trees in that state than anyone before her. Knowing today that trees remove CO2 from the air in large quantities probably was a science unknown to the Whites, but no matter they already had a steady eye out for future generations.

I currently live on part of the old Walter White estate and own some 300 of these grand 60′ pines planted by the Whites. My enjoyment today truly understands their grand vision of the future.

What’s Great About Cleveland

Cleveland Rock Hall of Fame (photo courtesy of Dead Tree Photography)
Cleveland Rock Hall of Fame (photo courtesy of Dead Tree Photography)

My name is Roberta Malbin Levenson. I am a lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio. Recently, I attended a talk Dan Ruminski presented on the Drury Mansion and the Francis Drury family/legacy. The former mansion is located on land now owned by the Gilmour Academy and is less than a mile from where I live in Gates Mills, Ohio.

Like many native Clevelanders, I knew the Drury name because of it’s’ connection to the Cleveland Playhouse. I’d passed by the Drury Mansion countless times but had no idea of its significance or history. I found Dan’s presentation fascinating and found myself “stepping up to the plate” when he requested the participation of any interested audience member(s) in an effort to change the way Cleveland is perceived and share its rich heritage.

As we delve into the history of Cleveland, we encounter people who have relocated to this area from elsewhere for a myriad of reasons. It is very interesting to talk to these individuals and learn about their preconceived impressions of this city and to discover how they came to view and experience Cleveland after residing here for some time.

Besides new Clevelanders’ experiences, future blogs will feature those of individuals who have left the area, yet have fond memories of life in this city. Other articles will feature native Clevelanders who have had experiences bearing a direct connection to people and events of the late 19th-early 20th century.

Our purpose here is to dispel the “mistake on the lake” impression that has sometimes been eluded to when people refer to Cleveland. By sharing some of the history of the Industrial Era in Cleveland along with anecdotal stories—both historical and current, we believe that followers of this blog will discover their impression of Cleveland evolve to a point where they will consider this city as the “gem on the lake” as we do.

We will connect events of the Industrial Era and those individuals who were responsible for it with the treasures we have in Cleveland one hundred plus years later. We are excited as we begin this unique journey into Cleveland history.

– Written by: Roberta Malbin Levenson