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Lynbrook historical odds & ends: Horses and steam cars don't mix

An 1891 steam car
An 1891 steam car
Courtesy Art Mattson

Editors note: Lynbrook historical odds and ends is a column that takes a look back at some interesting facts and events in the village from over the years.

In the 1890s, most American automobiles were powered by steam boilers. 

The internal combustion engine was in its infancy, whereas steam power was well established. Electric powered cars were becoming available, but suffered from their inability to travel longer distances. These heavy, noisy machines called “steam cars” were a terror in Pearsalls (Lynbrook’s name until 1894).

An example of the terror was found in the New York Times on July 29, 1891:

“Mrs. George Hardy and Mrs. C.C. Martin were thrown from their horse drawn carriage while driving at Pearsalls, L.I. yesterday.  The accident was caused by the horses taking fright at the steam cars. The women are recovering.”

Mattson is the official Lynbrook village historian and a director of the Historical Society of East Rockaway and Lynbrook. Additionally, he is the author of “The History of Lynbrook,” which is available on Amazon.com and at local libraries.