The American industry of motor manufacture by 1914 had taken root in every part of society. Leisure, consumer, commercial, high technology, mass-production, the business was dedicated to production and sales of anything that moved people and goods for whatever reason.

The industry, then as now, was a huge part of the industrial and social landscape. The 16th Annual Motor Number from January 3, 1914, listed 150 gasoline truck manufacturers, 20 electric truck makers, 320 gasoline motor car models and 60 electric car models. We might recognize the name of Mack trucks (founded in Brooklyn, New York City) or the Cadillac Motor Car company of Detroit, possibly even Studebaker or DeSoto, but it is likely few people are familiar with the Fritchle Automobile and Battery Co., in Denver, or the Lyons Atlas Co. in Indianapolis. Although almost all of those manufacturers and their products have vanished, they still stand as a testament to how people added to and used the energy and creativity of a young industry.

For more articles on the history of all aspects of the American motor vehicle, take a drive through the Scientific American Archive at

ALSO, see the slide show on “The Motor Vehicle in 1913” here