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In addition to presenting the complete story of the life of Hartley O. Baker, this book provides a thorough history of his Baker Steam Motor Car Company of Pueblo, Colorado. This history is documented through the use of company records and correspondence, company brochures, newspaper ads and articles, public records, patent records and drawings, and original photographs. The author interviewed dozens of people and searched all available records to compile this unique story. The result is a book that is sure to hold the attention and satisfy the curiosity of all automotive buffs, as well as those readers interested in a little known piece of Colorado and automotive history.
"The subject of this book is the late Dr. Hartley O. Baker who was a believer that the steam car could be improved and made a viable means of transportation. Under ordinary circumstances, his name would have been forgotten decades ago. Dr. Baker is remembered now by one who never knew him, Barbara Baker, the wife of one of his grandsons, who has been looking into the checkered life of this multi-faceted man, following all leads to show him as a vibrant living person. Her insight into the character Hartley O. Baker is one of crystal clarity and she has successfully painted a panorama of the man, and his automobile." Keith Marvin, Past President - The Society of Automotive Historians.
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Barbara Petrie Baker was born and reared in Denver, Colorado. She won Drama and Alumni Scholarship to the University of Denver, her studies there interrupted by World War II and marriage to Donald Baker. She has lived in Texas, Rhode Island, Key West, Virginia, Maryland and, for 35 years, California, where she worked for several school districts. While raising her three children, she pursued her avocation of writing. Mrs. Baker is on the Board of Directors of Cinema Colorado, a past officer of West Rockies Writers Club, and volunteers at Mesa State College. Her retirement back to Colorado is 1989 provided the necessary time, and the discovery of her enigmatic grandfather-in-law the motivation for the research and writing of this book.Review:
This is the first book we know of that focuses on any aspect of Colorado's automobile industry, and it's excellent. Written by Colorado resident Barbara P. Baker, Steamy Dreamer is a biography of Dr. Hartley O. Baker (1865-1935), whose place in automotive history includes the founding and editing of The Steam Motor Journal in Denver during the early 1900's and the founding of the Baker Steam Motor Car and Manufacturing Co. in Pueblo, Colorado, in the late teens - at a time when steam cars were waning in popularity. He also held several steam-related patents.
This isn't a dry history book - it reads like a novel, both because of its fluid writing style and for the amazing facts it puts forth. Hartley's life was nothing short of controversial - he left his wife and children in poverty to run off with a woman who promised to put him through medical school. The majority of the book is devoted to Baker's work with steam-powered automobiles (steam trucks were also built, and tractors were anticipated but never became a reality).
How this story came to be written is nearly as interesting as the book itself: After marrying into the Baker family, the author tried to familiarize herself with the Baker family tree. One mysterious branch was that of a Harry Baker, who had never been heard from after he ran away from his wife for medical school in 1897. Every attempt to find more about Harry resulted in a dead end until 1990, when an article in the Rocky Mountain News briefly mentioned Dr. Hartley O. Baker. "It was the first confirmation we had that his goals had been realized," writes Barbara Baker in the preface. Six years later, she has found enough information about Harry's life to fill this 176-page book.
Steamy Dreamer is a fascinating, enjoyable read, whether steam is your favorite method of power or not. It is a great look at the life of one of the industry's early entrepreneurs. Numerous illustrations show Baker vehicles, advertising, patents, the factory, and The Steam Motor Journal. Automobile historian Keith Marvin penned the foreword. Highly recommended! -- Chad Elmore, Old Cars Weekly; January 16, 1997
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Book Description Centennial Publications, 1995. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1882418239
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-1882418239