Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Horseless Carriage

This picture was taken in 1909, and shows a US Senator in a car. I do not know what type of car this is, but find it interesting. I wonder why he has what looks like two drivers up front? Also interesting is that the car is designed very much like a carriage.

13 comments:

  1. And no seat belts or air bags, what is the world coming to?
    R

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  2. The extra man up front is there because the Senator is a politician and he is providing jobs at the taxpayers expense. Some things just never change

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  3. Great photo! I think because this vehicle is so obviously a close copy of an actual carriage the two men are a throw back to when there was a driver and a groom required for the horses. The driver would remain seated once the vehicle stopped and the "groom" would hop off to tend to the occupants and then hold the horses.

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  4. A short but successful web search reveals that this is a Krieger Electric Car taken in 1906 with then Senator George P Wetmore from Rhode Island.

    I wonder how the battery was charged? Did his home have electricity since he must have been well to do? Did he just plug it in? Had plugs been invented then?

    There is lots of info on electric cars, old and new, on the internet but unfortunately I haven't the time today to pursue this farther.

    Everybody have a great day!

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  5. Besides, they probably still had a horse on the side for day to day work, so the groom still had some real work. This was livery dress up, not everyday work.

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  6. The air bag is sitting in the back seat.

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  7. What’s so appealing to me about old photographs is the false sense of reality. You’re looking at an old piece of cardboard or paper with some chemicals on it, but it’s also a window into a world you’ll never be able to conceive in your lifetime. When I say old photographs, I mean ones dating back from 1860-1940. I’m especially fond of pictures from the Victorian period. I could stare for something like half an hour at a big picture of an old building from way back when, with all the people bustling around it. The Hippodrome Theater in New York was a favorite of mine. It was such a great spectacular structure, with spires and extravagant metal work on the roof with absolutely amazing masonry along the walls. I’d have dreams of what it would be like to be a boy of my age and living then and there, and to go inside the theater to witness the kinds of amazing feats and shows that would go on there. I heard Harry Houdini made an elephant disappear in front of a giant crowd there.

    Another thing about old photographs is the people. When you’re looking at a picture of a busy street in New York City that dates back to 1909, you’re looking at a crowd of people who do not exist today. Most, you’ll never know the names of, or what they did, or whether they were funny or were allergic to salt or anything. You’ll never know anything about them and yet there it is, proof that they existed. Proof that these people had a place in this world, the same world that you live in. I’ll often stare at one of these black-and-white photos, the ones that are have very good detail, and try to imagine the color and life in the scene. I’ll try hard to see these picture for what it is, a moment in time. I’ll soak in every detail of the picture and even imagine myself there, with the perspective of the camera.


    I just want to say thank you for sharing these moments in time with us.

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  8. Nick:

    You said it!!

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  9. Nick:

    I agree.

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  10. That is fantastic, Obviously Horse carriages were what the population was used to, why wouldn't the earliest designs of a chauffeured vehicle mimic a carriage?

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  11. Look at the front wheel - reminds me of a wheel from a steam locomotive; with what looks like an eccentric bearing journal. Must have been quite a ride at any speed!!!

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  12. This reminds me of an old Peerless add I saw the other day (see http://community.livejournal.com/vintage_ads/1836267.html).

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  13. Up-market autos were bought as a chassis, and sent to a coach maker for a body to the buyer's taste.

    Virtually every body was different, being hand-built from patterns from horse-drawn coaches.

    Words like "sedan" and "coupe" are centuries old, as applied to carriages. Modern hand-built cars are still referred to as "coachbuilt".

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