From Ohio History Central
Thomas H. White established the White Sewing Machine Company in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1876. The company was very successful in the late nineteenth century, ultimately becoming one of the most prosperous and well-known sewing machine manufacturers in the United States. White's sons joined his business, and in 1901, the family decided to start building automobiles as well. In addition, the company produced a number of other products, such as bicycles, roller skates, and phonographs.
Unlike most early automobiles, which were powered by electricity or gasoline, the White automobile was steam-powered. In 1906, the family established the White Motor Company as a separate business from their other manufacturing interests. The company continued to manufacture automobiles until 1918. In all, approximately ten thousand White steam cars were built between 1901 and 1918. Of that number, only about 150 still exist today.