Here's a biographical profile of the Freelan and Francis Stanley, identical twins who developed the Stanley Steamers, cars powered by steam engines. In 1897 the brothers, dressed alike in overcoats, bowler hats and sporting thick black beards appeared on Maple Street in Watertown, Mass., driving a horseless carriage that was nearly soundless. Spectators were stunned by the quick pace and eerie silence.One observer later recalled: "It was like watching a pair of pants run down the street with nobody in them."
Ten years later, their steam-powered cars broke world speed records with speeds exceeding 150 mph! It was not their first invention; they had already developed air brushes and photographic processes that George Eastman acquired. Their story of invention, eccentricity, and success is the quintessential American story.