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240 Landmarks TopBuses > Yamaba Steam Bus
 Yamaba Steam Bus
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Torao Yamaba was the operator of Yamaba Denki Kojo, a repair facility for steam engines, electric generators, and motors that supplied power to factories. At the Fifth Domestic Industrial Exposition, held in Osaka in 1903, Fusazo Mori, a wealthy man from Okayama, saw for himself the power of a steam bus and a gasoline bus and decided to start an urban bus company in Okayama. He asked Torao Yamaba to build his buses, and the result was the steam bus seen here.
Yamaba visited his older brother Kontaro Yamanaka, an interpreter for the importer Nikkel Shokai in Kobe, where he studied actual gasoline and steam cars, as well as engineers' notes and drawings, to guide him in designing his bus. The imported steam car at that time was probably a Locomobile, which used a two-cylinder engine and an oil-burning flash boiler, and Yamaba adopted its basic design for his own vehicle, with water pipes for the boiler, the engine positioned in the middle of the body, and the rear axle driven by a chain.
Because the boiler engine that Yamaba built was heavy and the bus would carry up to ten passengers, he reinforced the axles and springs, which were almost the same as the Locomobile's, and used a tiller-type steering system. He used solid rubber tires for the wire-spoke wheels, because he could not make pneumatic tires. However, the tires proved to be a fatal weakness, and the vehicle failed in test runs and was later disassembled.
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Storage location:TOYOTA AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM (41-100, Yokomichi, Nagakute, Nagakute-cho, Aichi-gun, Aichi-ken 480-1131)
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Year manufactured:1904
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Manufacturer:Torao Yamaba
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Classification:Model/literature
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Current status:On public display: static
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Vehicle name / Manufacture
Vehicle name:Yamaba Steam Bus
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Company name:Yamaba Denki Kojo
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Year manufactured:1904
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Designed by:Torao Yamaba
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Collaboration:Fusazo Mori (client)
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Vehicle type/usage:Public bus
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Location of actual vehicle/replica:None/Replica still in existence
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Model / Weight
Style:10-seater open bus
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Number of doors:Rear boarding door
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Passenger capacity:2 crew members, 10 passengers
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Vehicle weight:Approx. 900 kg
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Points of interest, topicality:The boiler is at the front end and the engine is under the floor at the center of the vehicle.
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Body / Size
Structure:Wood frame, boarding
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Bumpers:None
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Step:2 for front seats, 1 for passengers
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Overall length:Approx. 4500 mm
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Overall width:Approx. 1800 mm
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Overall height:2200 mm
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Tire size:3.50-20 in
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Features:Wooden open body, bench seat, 10-seater bus, solid tires, wire spokes
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Body / Axle / Driving / Others
Frame:Wood ladder frame
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Front axle:Rigid, 1/2 leaf + coil
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Rear axle:Rigid, 1/2 leaf, axle reinforcement
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Wheelbase:Approx. 2700 mm
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Front tread x rear tread:Both 1600 mm
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Steering:Tiller (steering bar type)
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Dampers:None
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Stabilizer:None
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Driving stability devices:None
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Features:All wooden frame and body, steel tube axle
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Engine / Size / Power
Cooling/cylinder arrangement:None/inline 2-cylinder
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Valve train:Slide valve
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Max. power/r.p.m.:25 hp
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Fetures:Vertical 2 cylinders, 25 hp, steam reciprocating engine, water pipe oil-burning boiler
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Hybrid
Hybrid system type:None
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Drive-train
Transmission:None
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Drive system:Mid
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Performance
Mode fuel efficiency:-
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Reference materials:San-ei Shobo Publishing Co., Ltd., Kokusan-sha 100 Nen No Kiseki (1978)
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