About Rollin Henry White
Rollin H. White was selected for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.
WHITE, ROLLIN HENRY (11 July 1872-10 Sept. 1962), a founder of WHITE MOTOR CORP. and Cleveland Tractor Co., was born in Cleveland to Almira Greenleaf White and Thomas H. White. He graduated from Cornell University in 1894 and worked in Cleveland for his father's White Sewing Machine Co. during the 1890s when the company added roller skates, kerosene lamps, bicycles, automatic lathes, and screw machines to its production.
Thomas left the automobile-manufacturing to his sons, Windsor, Walter, and Rollin. In 1899, Rollin invented a flash boiler that could safely be used on steam automobiles. Rollin White developed a form of water tube steam generator which consisted of a series of stacked coils with two novel features: the first, and most fundamental, was that the coils were all joined at the top of the unit, which allowed water to flow through only when pumped, allowing control of the steam generation; the second was pulling steam from the lowest coil, closest to the fire, which allowed for the control of steam temperature. This second point was critical because the White steamer operated with superheated steam to take advantage of steam's unique properties at higher temperatures.
In 1900, the Stanhope model, the first White Steamers, was introduced. To demonstrate White automobiles were safe, Rollin raced them; in 1901 he set a world's land speed record for steam carriages. In 1906, White became vice-president of the newly formed White Co., continuing production of White Steamers until 1909. In 1910, the first gasoline White trucks were produced. In 1914.
Rollin left White Co. and in 1916 organized Cleveland Motor Plow Co. to produce tractors. In 1917, the company became Cleveland Tractor Co., or CLETRAC, INC., with White as its president. From 1921-23, Cletrac produced the Rollin, an automobile. In 1930, White became the company's chairman of the board; his son, W. King White, became president. White retired in 1944 when Cletrac merged with Oliver Farm Equipment Co.
He married Katharine King in 1896 and had 3 children, Rollin Henry, Jr., Wm. King, and Elizabeth King. White died in Hobe Sound, Fla. and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.