The Motor Vehicle in 1913: Images from the Archives of Scientific American [Slide Show]

A look at the transport machines developed for work and play a century ago
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Future Car, 1913:

A sleek aerodynamic body keeping passengers safe from the elements. This is the ideal from a hundred years ago. In engineering terms, we have the same ideal, but cars do have a different look to them today.....[ More ]

Old School Transport:

This advertisement by Garford Motors sold cars by a blatant appropriation of the glossy image of high society. Garford eventually found more success in making postal service trucks, school buses, and components for Studebaker.....[ More ]

Selling Cars:

This advertisement sells the idea of modernity (with a heavy-handed reference to hicks of the Old West). Lozier Motor Company produced some of the most expensive cars in the U.S. at the time--compare the sales price of $3,250 with the average salary then of about $750.....[ More ]

Commute by Car:

In this advertisement from 1913, the comfortable car owner serenely navigates the chaos of city streets. Just like today, except the only “Newsies” I have seen were at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway.....[ More ]

Small Farm Owner:

A small motorized plow for small farms was useful for “transferring from flesh and blood to iron and steel the burdensome work of tilling the soil and harvesting crops.”....[ More ]

Technology and Farming:

There were more than six million farms in the U.S. with an estimated two million gasoline and oil engines. Some were mobile, and some, such as this one on the cover, could also be used stationary (with a drive belt) to power other agriculture machinery.....[ More ]

Steam-Powered Truck:

Powered by old-fashioned steam engines. These large dump trucks were built in Leeds, England, to deliver coal. The truck could be parked on the street, and the load dumped onto the sidewalk to be shovelled into coal-cellars through manholes in the pavement.....[ More ]

Electric Cart:

Electric motors, then as now, are used in some commercial vehicles. This three-wheeled motorized dump cart must have been useful in clearing ash, and whatever else, in the narrow, clogged streets of New York City of 1913.....[ More ]

Indian Motorcycle:

In contrast to the scruffy college student in the previous slide, this advertisement from 1913 shows an elegant gent using his Indian motorcycle to enjoy a refreshing leisure ride in the countryside. ....[ More ]

Motorcycle Milkman:

A student at Kansas State Agricultural College (now called Kansas State University) defrayed tuition by collecting and delivering milk and cream from the college dairy. The motorbike is a twin-cylinder Harley-Davidson.....[ More ]

Testing Engines:

The new mass-production techniques were based on efficient technical and economic principals. Rigorous testing was combined with fine-tuning of mechanical and electrical systems and subsystems. Here a car motor is placed on a stand in a testing room.....[ More ]

Gasoline Pump:

This self-service vending machine in Michigan replaced the “sleepy garage attendants” who normally pumped gas. Only 50-cent coins were accepted.....[ More ]

Racing Car:

Described as “grotesque-looking,” this French vehicle belonged to a class of vehicle called “cycle cars.” These machines were cheap, small, narrow, lightweight, and used small motors.....[ More ]

Car Factories:

In 1913 485,000 motor vehicles were produced by U.S. industry. The cover of this issue shows the inside of one factory (possibly the Stearns-Knight company). The assembly-line technique was still in the process of being developed.....[ More ]

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