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Interest in Motor Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Interest in Motor Cars

The New York Times
January 20, 1903

Many Sales of Big Touring Automobiles Already Made.

Society Pays Attention to the Exhibits in Madison Square Garden-Several Novel Features Shown.

Society, which was inclined to hold aloof from the Automobile Show in the Madison Square Garden on the opening night, gave it the favor of its presence yesterday, and many persons prominent in social and business circles were present during the day, among them being the President Albert R. Shattuck of the Automobile Club of America, President Winthrop E. Scarritt of the American Automobile Association, W. J. Stewart of the New Jersey Automobile Club, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., Henry R. Worthington, Henry Osgood, Gen. George Moore Smith, Jefferson Seligman, M. R. Hutchison, Robert Lee Morrell, C. H. Tucker, Sidney Dillon Ripley, Dr. Trenk, J. M. Robinson, W. Gould Brokaw, A. J. Levy, G. F. Norton, John H. Flagler, Senator Clark of Montana, J. F. Plummer, C. H. Tucker, Alfred Hanan, E. C. Mills, E. C. Stearns, Hiram Percy Maxim, and Thomas A. Edison.

While the crowd in the evening was not as great as on the opening night, it nevertheless was large enough to throng the narrow aisles to an uncomfortable degree, and there is every prospect of even greater crowding on the remaining evenings of the week.  For this reason visitors who wish to examine the exhibits with care and at length should go in the morning or afternoon.  The doors are opened at 10 o'clock in the morning and remain open until 11 o'clock in the evening.

Most of the exhibits which were missing on the opening night arrived and were put in place yesterday.  Henri Fournier received a huge sixty-horse-power French touring car, which he had on exhibition only a few hours before it was sold to W. R. Hearst.  A number of other sales were reported during the day.

A feature of the exhibition is the large number of business vehicles.  One firm which has furnished most of the electric vehicles used in this city for business purposes occupies a large space in the central part of the main floor, near the Fourth Avenue end, and shows half a dozen different business vehicles, besides electric hansoms, victorias, &c.  The business wagons include a large truck used by the local telephone company, which not only carries a large reel of heavy lead-incased cables, but also has an electric windlass which draws the cables in or out of the conduits.  One heavy truck is loaded with beer kegs, five tons in weight, and another with flour barrels.  There is also an ambulance and both large and small delivery wagons.

In the restaurant are exhibited two other business wagons, one an electric truck the other a decided novelty in the shape of a gasoline-propelled baggage wagon, which has been in use in Philadelphia for some time past.  The novelty consists in the manner in which a varied speed is obtained from a gasoline motor run at a constant speed.  There are no chains or gears, but the engine is connected with the driving axle by a reversible roller ratchet, somewhat resembling in principle and actiona bicycle coaster clutch, while the speed is varied by a movable crank pin which lengthens or shortens the throw of the crank

Near this truck is a remarkable gasoline motor in which the ordinary construction is reversed, the crank-shaft being fixed and the motor revolving around it.  here are five cylinders, and all the piston rods are connected to the crank-shaft, which has but a single throw.  Ten horsepower is developed, and the motor is cooled by the action of the air upon the revolving surfaces, no water jacketing being employed.  The motor is placed transversely in the frame and a chain and bevel drive is employed, through a direct drive could be obtained by placing the engine longitudinally.

At another space is shown what is said to be the first true Limousine body built in this country.  It is of aluminum, and is on a gasoline car of sixteen horse power.  The first aluminum tonneau with a genuine "King of the Belgians" body built in this country, is also shown on another model in this space.

One of the features which attracts the most attention is a "cowcatcher" arrangement which guards the condensers.  This guard is composed of stout brass rods about fifteen inches long, which extend downward and outward from the front portion of the frame of the vehicle, giving it the appearance of a locomotive.

An exhibit which attracts a good deal of attention is a big steam touring car, which is the first thing noticed upon entering the restaurant.  It is a huge affair, built on the lines of the heaviest French touring cars, and weighing 2,250 pounds.  It has a tank capacity of 53 gallons of water, sufficient for a run of 250 miles, it is claimed.

Harry Ford of Detroit, the former cycle racer, who is now prominent in automobile racing, arrived yesterday and expressed a desire to race the winner ofthe Winton-Fournier race in case that contest takes place.  C. W. Mathewson of Grand Rapids, Mich., another racing man and a candidate for a place on the team which the Automobile Club of America will enter in the race for the Gordon Bennett International Cup event, also arrived yesterday.

The events of the week in connection with the show began yesterday with a meeting of the Racing Committee of the American Automobile Association, at which the racing rules were largely amended.  The committee will report at the meeting of the association to be held at the headquarters, 753 Fifth Avenue, this afternoon.

On Thursday the annual meeting of the American Motor League will be held, and also a conference of commercial vehicle makers with the Contest Committee of the Automobile Club of America, to discuss rules for the proposed reliability test in the Spring for this class of automobiles.

On Friday the annual banquet of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria, followed on Saturday by the annual banquet of the Automobile Club of America at the Waldorf-Astoria.  Among the acceptancies for the latter event are the following:  R. Armitage Matthews, E. R. L. Gould, Commissioner William R. Wilcox, the Hon. John E. Eustis, Judge Joseph E. Newburger, ex-Attorney General Rosendale, George B. Torrey, De Witt J. Seligman, ex-Controller Theodore Myers, the Hon. Jacob A. Cantor, Charles H. Sherrill, and Recorder John W. Goff.

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