Kearney Foundry and Lambert Automobiles

I just discovered that there used to be a dealership for Lambert Automobiles in Kearney, Nebraska:

Kearney Foundry was located at the corner of 18th Street and Central Avenue.  It is a very old building, but still standing.  Notice the street paved with brick . . .

. . .and the architectural detail on the south side of this industrial building from the gilded age:

The Foundry repaired all kinds of machinery, gasoline engines and steam engines.  One 1911 advertisement boasted that their gas engines could do the work of four men on the farm. The notice featuring Lambert automobiles appeared earlier,  in 1908.  The Lambert was notable for its friction drive transmission:

The patented friction transmission had no clutch, u-joints or gears to strip. According to one 1907 story, a simple rotary engine drove a drive shaft at the other end of which was a large aluminum disk.  A fiber-faced wheel was applied at a right angle to transfer power to the axle.  Moving the fiber-faced wheel in or out from the center gave the desired speed or a complete reverse.  Here is a diagram from the patent:

Apparently, one local purchaser of a 20-hp touring car “backed the machine clear over the hill north of town, which is a feat that is not easy with other machines”.   Another story out of Kansas claimed the owner of a Lambert stopped the automobile, weighed down with five passengers, in deepest sand half way up a hill near Palmer, just to see if the car was able to start up again.  The car did start and dug its way up the hill, gaining speed the whole way.   Maybe all of these attempts to test the friction drive is why Lambert issued this advertisement:

Under “Friction Drive” it says, “It is impossible to break or injure it by carelessness or stupidity.”  I don’t know about you, but I know lots of guys that could rise to meet that challenge.