Before Francis E. Stanley became involved deeply with automobiles, he was an artist and photographer. He and his twin brother Freelan were partners in the Stanley Dry Plate Company in Lewiston, ME, and built a new plant in Newton, MA, in 1890. Five years later they sold the company to the Eastman Kodak Company. In 1897, he was successfully experimenting with automobiles propelled by steam engines. He designed a light-weight, reversing two-cylinder engine. In 1899, the Stanley brothers drove their "Flying Teapot" to the top of Mount Washington, 6,288 feet high, in two hours and 10 minutes. Five years later they drove it in 28 minutes. They began to manufacture automobiles, sold the business to John Walker of New York, and re-purchased the firm in 1902.