Schloemer Automobile

The Schloemer automobile, on exhibit in Streets of Old Milwaukee, was the first internal combustion vehicle to run on the streets of Milwaukee. This vehicle is a product of Gottfried Schloemer's and Frank Toepfer's interest in producing a self-propelled vehicle. After their first attempt, a bicycle-like vehicle that required its passengers to pull a bar back and forth to operate the crank shaft, Schloemer and Toepfer looked to other innovations. Schloemer and Toepfer borrowed the gasoline engine design from the Sintz Machinery Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The engine was a single-cylinder and ignition was provided by two steel points which made contact within the engine. The engine was placed below the seat and was powered by a belt system. Improvements in steering were made in time and other features were added, such as brakes. The vehicle was ultimately commercially unsuccessful but inspired others to improve on the design. The car was bought by the Museum in 1920 from Gottfried Schloemer, who used it to promote his business. This is the only one of its kind in existence.

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