Cars

Hi, Jo here talking about cars, which is outside my usual time period. In a way.

In the pre-automobile age "car" was short for carriage, so you can come across what sound like anachronisms, such as "he travelled by car." But today I'm coming forward to blog about automobiles. The first picture is of a 19th century (just) car that clearly shows the connection to a horse-drawn carriage of the time.M6615w Winner horseless carriage, USA, 1898

Next weekend I’ll be attending a romance conference in Madrid, so at the moment I’m visiting my sister in Malaga, on the south coast of Spain, and I decided to visit the Automobile Museum. I’d  heard that it's interesting, but cars don't interest me much. However, as it's only a fifteen minute walk away, I decided I should.


I was unexpectedly delighted. The museum is fairly new and holds a large collection, mostly of the magnificent machines from the early 20th century. I hadn’t realized what a devastating effect the 1929 crash and the depression had on this industry. By the Roaring Twenties a lot of people were producing innovative and beautiful luxury cars.  Some companies are still around, like Rolls Royce, but others were just in full bloom when the crash knocked them out forever.

 Minerva1919

The cars for the rich were as lovingly crafted as carriages for the rich in Regency times. Some of these old cars are strikingly huge in length. There’s no four-seater like them on the roads today. The pictures here don’t capture that. The one on the left is a Minerva from 1919, and you can see there was still the expectation of a "coachman" — that is, a chauffeur. It would take up most of most people's living rooms!

This one is a snazzy convertible from the same year, and now with the driver undercover too, and possibly even the owner. 

M6655w Ballot convertible, France, 1929 

There are also quite a few oddities, including a 1920s electric car which had levers instead of a steering wheel. I’ve no idea how they worked.  I suspect the two foot pedals were actually for steering and the levers for forward and backward. Sounds alarming to me.

For steakpunk fans, they have a 1910 steam powered car! M6814w Stanley Steamer, USA, 1910

Here it is, with the tank on the running board. (As always, click on the picture to enlarge.)

Alas, my limited internet access here has decided not to upload more pictures, so I'll share some of the travel accoutrements and fashions another time.

I hope you enjoyed this. Next time I'll blog about the Madrid conference. 

Cheers,

Jo

80 thoughts on “Cars”

  1. What always fascinates me about early cars is where did they get their fuel from? You read about them heading off across places like the mid west where there was little habitation let alone petrol stations! With cars that were lucky to do ten miles to a gallon how did they manage ? I have visions of them pulling trailers full of cans of fuel ! Not to mention the tools and spares for when the thing broke down . I think back then I would have stuck to a horse.

    Reply
  2. What always fascinates me about early cars is where did they get their fuel from? You read about them heading off across places like the mid west where there was little habitation let alone petrol stations! With cars that were lucky to do ten miles to a gallon how did they manage ? I have visions of them pulling trailers full of cans of fuel ! Not to mention the tools and spares for when the thing broke down . I think back then I would have stuck to a horse.

    Reply
  3. What always fascinates me about early cars is where did they get their fuel from? You read about them heading off across places like the mid west where there was little habitation let alone petrol stations! With cars that were lucky to do ten miles to a gallon how did they manage ? I have visions of them pulling trailers full of cans of fuel ! Not to mention the tools and spares for when the thing broke down . I think back then I would have stuck to a horse.

    Reply
  4. What always fascinates me about early cars is where did they get their fuel from? You read about them heading off across places like the mid west where there was little habitation let alone petrol stations! With cars that were lucky to do ten miles to a gallon how did they manage ? I have visions of them pulling trailers full of cans of fuel ! Not to mention the tools and spares for when the thing broke down . I think back then I would have stuck to a horse.

    Reply
  5. What always fascinates me about early cars is where did they get their fuel from? You read about them heading off across places like the mid west where there was little habitation let alone petrol stations! With cars that were lucky to do ten miles to a gallon how did they manage ? I have visions of them pulling trailers full of cans of fuel ! Not to mention the tools and spares for when the thing broke down . I think back then I would have stuck to a horse.

    Reply
  6. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  7. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  8. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  9. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  10. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  11. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  12. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  13. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  14. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  15. Good one, Jo. In Britain. in the more populous areas, petrol stations did pop up, and I’m sure travelers carried a substantial extra container of fuel. Probably the petrol tanks were huge, too. I don’t know how people managed in more spacious places.
    Jo

    Reply
  16. I tried to respond by e-mail, Lil, so if this turns up twice, sorry.
    You’re right about the traffic, and those cars didn’t have a lot of power so they traveled slowly. It probably didn’t feel slow to them back then, but today they’d definitely be holding everyone up on our busy streets.

    Reply
  17. I tried to respond by e-mail, Lil, so if this turns up twice, sorry.
    You’re right about the traffic, and those cars didn’t have a lot of power so they traveled slowly. It probably didn’t feel slow to them back then, but today they’d definitely be holding everyone up on our busy streets.

    Reply
  18. I tried to respond by e-mail, Lil, so if this turns up twice, sorry.
    You’re right about the traffic, and those cars didn’t have a lot of power so they traveled slowly. It probably didn’t feel slow to them back then, but today they’d definitely be holding everyone up on our busy streets.

    Reply
  19. I tried to respond by e-mail, Lil, so if this turns up twice, sorry.
    You’re right about the traffic, and those cars didn’t have a lot of power so they traveled slowly. It probably didn’t feel slow to them back then, but today they’d definitely be holding everyone up on our busy streets.

    Reply
  20. I tried to respond by e-mail, Lil, so if this turns up twice, sorry.
    You’re right about the traffic, and those cars didn’t have a lot of power so they traveled slowly. It probably didn’t feel slow to them back then, but today they’d definitely be holding everyone up on our busy streets.

    Reply
  21. How fortuitous! I was also visiting a car museum over the weekend and snapped lots of pictures.
    As for fuel, petrol stations were fairly ubiquitous by the 1910s, and most motorists took cans of petrol with them in case they ended up somewhere where they couldn’t refill. I have a number of AAA books (US and UK) and travel guides from the Edwardian era, which listed places for motorists to fill up during the travels.

    Reply
  22. How fortuitous! I was also visiting a car museum over the weekend and snapped lots of pictures.
    As for fuel, petrol stations were fairly ubiquitous by the 1910s, and most motorists took cans of petrol with them in case they ended up somewhere where they couldn’t refill. I have a number of AAA books (US and UK) and travel guides from the Edwardian era, which listed places for motorists to fill up during the travels.

    Reply
  23. How fortuitous! I was also visiting a car museum over the weekend and snapped lots of pictures.
    As for fuel, petrol stations were fairly ubiquitous by the 1910s, and most motorists took cans of petrol with them in case they ended up somewhere where they couldn’t refill. I have a number of AAA books (US and UK) and travel guides from the Edwardian era, which listed places for motorists to fill up during the travels.

    Reply
  24. How fortuitous! I was also visiting a car museum over the weekend and snapped lots of pictures.
    As for fuel, petrol stations were fairly ubiquitous by the 1910s, and most motorists took cans of petrol with them in case they ended up somewhere where they couldn’t refill. I have a number of AAA books (US and UK) and travel guides from the Edwardian era, which listed places for motorists to fill up during the travels.

    Reply
  25. How fortuitous! I was also visiting a car museum over the weekend and snapped lots of pictures.
    As for fuel, petrol stations were fairly ubiquitous by the 1910s, and most motorists took cans of petrol with them in case they ended up somewhere where they couldn’t refill. I have a number of AAA books (US and UK) and travel guides from the Edwardian era, which listed places for motorists to fill up during the travels.

    Reply
  26. Love the Minerva Jo, especially the carriage lamps, even though it has head lamps as well. I suppose it was hard to get out of the way of things. Also the steam powered car with the gas bottle on the running board. I think it must have been necessary and safer for the cars to travel at snails pace. They all look dangerous.
    As for getting fuel, I suppose the local owner (wealthy) demanded fuel being available for him and therefore available to anyone who could afford both car and fuel. It seems here in the Australian outback nothing much has changed. Big fuel tanks, take your own fuel as well. Fuel stations are few and far between outback.

    Reply
  27. Love the Minerva Jo, especially the carriage lamps, even though it has head lamps as well. I suppose it was hard to get out of the way of things. Also the steam powered car with the gas bottle on the running board. I think it must have been necessary and safer for the cars to travel at snails pace. They all look dangerous.
    As for getting fuel, I suppose the local owner (wealthy) demanded fuel being available for him and therefore available to anyone who could afford both car and fuel. It seems here in the Australian outback nothing much has changed. Big fuel tanks, take your own fuel as well. Fuel stations are few and far between outback.

    Reply
  28. Love the Minerva Jo, especially the carriage lamps, even though it has head lamps as well. I suppose it was hard to get out of the way of things. Also the steam powered car with the gas bottle on the running board. I think it must have been necessary and safer for the cars to travel at snails pace. They all look dangerous.
    As for getting fuel, I suppose the local owner (wealthy) demanded fuel being available for him and therefore available to anyone who could afford both car and fuel. It seems here in the Australian outback nothing much has changed. Big fuel tanks, take your own fuel as well. Fuel stations are few and far between outback.

    Reply
  29. Love the Minerva Jo, especially the carriage lamps, even though it has head lamps as well. I suppose it was hard to get out of the way of things. Also the steam powered car with the gas bottle on the running board. I think it must have been necessary and safer for the cars to travel at snails pace. They all look dangerous.
    As for getting fuel, I suppose the local owner (wealthy) demanded fuel being available for him and therefore available to anyone who could afford both car and fuel. It seems here in the Australian outback nothing much has changed. Big fuel tanks, take your own fuel as well. Fuel stations are few and far between outback.

    Reply
  30. Love the Minerva Jo, especially the carriage lamps, even though it has head lamps as well. I suppose it was hard to get out of the way of things. Also the steam powered car with the gas bottle on the running board. I think it must have been necessary and safer for the cars to travel at snails pace. They all look dangerous.
    As for getting fuel, I suppose the local owner (wealthy) demanded fuel being available for him and therefore available to anyone who could afford both car and fuel. It seems here in the Australian outback nothing much has changed. Big fuel tanks, take your own fuel as well. Fuel stations are few and far between outback.

    Reply
  31. Gorgeous vehicles, Jo! As you say, the carriage influence is very clear. Wench reader Maggie Robinson had great fun with an early motor car in her turn of the 20th century historical romance, In The Arms of the Heiress. The heroine’s vehicle was some model I’d never heard of, and she didn’t drive it very well, but she drove with great enthusiasm. *G*

    Reply
  32. Gorgeous vehicles, Jo! As you say, the carriage influence is very clear. Wench reader Maggie Robinson had great fun with an early motor car in her turn of the 20th century historical romance, In The Arms of the Heiress. The heroine’s vehicle was some model I’d never heard of, and she didn’t drive it very well, but she drove with great enthusiasm. *G*

    Reply
  33. Gorgeous vehicles, Jo! As you say, the carriage influence is very clear. Wench reader Maggie Robinson had great fun with an early motor car in her turn of the 20th century historical romance, In The Arms of the Heiress. The heroine’s vehicle was some model I’d never heard of, and she didn’t drive it very well, but she drove with great enthusiasm. *G*

    Reply
  34. Gorgeous vehicles, Jo! As you say, the carriage influence is very clear. Wench reader Maggie Robinson had great fun with an early motor car in her turn of the 20th century historical romance, In The Arms of the Heiress. The heroine’s vehicle was some model I’d never heard of, and she didn’t drive it very well, but she drove with great enthusiasm. *G*

    Reply
  35. Gorgeous vehicles, Jo! As you say, the carriage influence is very clear. Wench reader Maggie Robinson had great fun with an early motor car in her turn of the 20th century historical romance, In The Arms of the Heiress. The heroine’s vehicle was some model I’d never heard of, and she didn’t drive it very well, but she drove with great enthusiasm. *G*

    Reply
  36. These cars do look beautiful. I wonder if early (rich) owners used to arrange for fuel dumps along their regular routes, like the Regency gentlemen who kept teams of horses stabled along the Great North Road.
    I hope the Madrid conference goes well!

    Reply
  37. These cars do look beautiful. I wonder if early (rich) owners used to arrange for fuel dumps along their regular routes, like the Regency gentlemen who kept teams of horses stabled along the Great North Road.
    I hope the Madrid conference goes well!

    Reply
  38. These cars do look beautiful. I wonder if early (rich) owners used to arrange for fuel dumps along their regular routes, like the Regency gentlemen who kept teams of horses stabled along the Great North Road.
    I hope the Madrid conference goes well!

    Reply
  39. These cars do look beautiful. I wonder if early (rich) owners used to arrange for fuel dumps along their regular routes, like the Regency gentlemen who kept teams of horses stabled along the Great North Road.
    I hope the Madrid conference goes well!

    Reply
  40. These cars do look beautiful. I wonder if early (rich) owners used to arrange for fuel dumps along their regular routes, like the Regency gentlemen who kept teams of horses stabled along the Great North Road.
    I hope the Madrid conference goes well!

    Reply
  41. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  42. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  43. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  44. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  45. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  46. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  47. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  48. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  49. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  50. Evangeline, those AAA books must be fascinating! Of course, there would be guides as to where to fill up, and also to places for repairs. I think a chauffeur or motorist back then had to be able to do a lot of repairs on the road. Modern cars are, on the whole, reliable, so we forget. Even 30 or so years ago flat tires were much more frequent, and other problems as well.
    Where was your car museum?

    Reply
  51. Interesting speculation, HJ. Perhaps in the remoter places they did. It would be amusing to think that they might send out petrol by horse-drawn cart so as to enjoy their car.
    It reminds us that horse-drawn vehicles weren’t ideal, or cars wouldn’t have caught on. Horses need to be change frequently or rested and watered often. They can be temperamental and also get sick. They were expensive to maintain overall, with stables, grooms, vets etc

    Reply
  52. Interesting speculation, HJ. Perhaps in the remoter places they did. It would be amusing to think that they might send out petrol by horse-drawn cart so as to enjoy their car.
    It reminds us that horse-drawn vehicles weren’t ideal, or cars wouldn’t have caught on. Horses need to be change frequently or rested and watered often. They can be temperamental and also get sick. They were expensive to maintain overall, with stables, grooms, vets etc

    Reply
  53. Interesting speculation, HJ. Perhaps in the remoter places they did. It would be amusing to think that they might send out petrol by horse-drawn cart so as to enjoy their car.
    It reminds us that horse-drawn vehicles weren’t ideal, or cars wouldn’t have caught on. Horses need to be change frequently or rested and watered often. They can be temperamental and also get sick. They were expensive to maintain overall, with stables, grooms, vets etc

    Reply
  54. Interesting speculation, HJ. Perhaps in the remoter places they did. It would be amusing to think that they might send out petrol by horse-drawn cart so as to enjoy their car.
    It reminds us that horse-drawn vehicles weren’t ideal, or cars wouldn’t have caught on. Horses need to be change frequently or rested and watered often. They can be temperamental and also get sick. They were expensive to maintain overall, with stables, grooms, vets etc

    Reply
  55. Interesting speculation, HJ. Perhaps in the remoter places they did. It would be amusing to think that they might send out petrol by horse-drawn cart so as to enjoy their car.
    It reminds us that horse-drawn vehicles weren’t ideal, or cars wouldn’t have caught on. Horses need to be change frequently or rested and watered often. They can be temperamental and also get sick. They were expensive to maintain overall, with stables, grooms, vets etc

    Reply
  56. My mother “went west, young woman” in the mid 1920s, with several girlfriends, to seek their fortunes in sunny California. They traveled in a big open car (a Packard, I think), from Salt Lake City Utah to Los Angeles, crossing the desert at night. There’s a family photo of the girls in their cloche hats, long dresses and Mary Jane heels standing by the car. The car is festooned with water bags for the radiator, there’s a fuel can and there are a couple of picnic baskets too – couldn’t count on a roadside meal or fuel stop, and they were trying to save money. It must have been quite an adventure. Road trip!

    Reply
  57. My mother “went west, young woman” in the mid 1920s, with several girlfriends, to seek their fortunes in sunny California. They traveled in a big open car (a Packard, I think), from Salt Lake City Utah to Los Angeles, crossing the desert at night. There’s a family photo of the girls in their cloche hats, long dresses and Mary Jane heels standing by the car. The car is festooned with water bags for the radiator, there’s a fuel can and there are a couple of picnic baskets too – couldn’t count on a roadside meal or fuel stop, and they were trying to save money. It must have been quite an adventure. Road trip!

    Reply
  58. My mother “went west, young woman” in the mid 1920s, with several girlfriends, to seek their fortunes in sunny California. They traveled in a big open car (a Packard, I think), from Salt Lake City Utah to Los Angeles, crossing the desert at night. There’s a family photo of the girls in their cloche hats, long dresses and Mary Jane heels standing by the car. The car is festooned with water bags for the radiator, there’s a fuel can and there are a couple of picnic baskets too – couldn’t count on a roadside meal or fuel stop, and they were trying to save money. It must have been quite an adventure. Road trip!

    Reply
  59. My mother “went west, young woman” in the mid 1920s, with several girlfriends, to seek their fortunes in sunny California. They traveled in a big open car (a Packard, I think), from Salt Lake City Utah to Los Angeles, crossing the desert at night. There’s a family photo of the girls in their cloche hats, long dresses and Mary Jane heels standing by the car. The car is festooned with water bags for the radiator, there’s a fuel can and there are a couple of picnic baskets too – couldn’t count on a roadside meal or fuel stop, and they were trying to save money. It must have been quite an adventure. Road trip!

    Reply
  60. My mother “went west, young woman” in the mid 1920s, with several girlfriends, to seek their fortunes in sunny California. They traveled in a big open car (a Packard, I think), from Salt Lake City Utah to Los Angeles, crossing the desert at night. There’s a family photo of the girls in their cloche hats, long dresses and Mary Jane heels standing by the car. The car is festooned with water bags for the radiator, there’s a fuel can and there are a couple of picnic baskets too – couldn’t count on a roadside meal or fuel stop, and they were trying to save money. It must have been quite an adventure. Road trip!

    Reply

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