Auto Industry Notes - 1907

The digest article (see attachment below) on news items concerning the Indianapolis-area auto industry was published in the July 13, 1907 Indianapolis News. The content is a series of brief paragraphs with tips or teasers for readers trying to keep up various developments - local and national - in the market. I summarize some I believe to be most interesting or important below.

  • A 250 HP engine, said to be the most powerful in the world, was under development by a Pennsylvania firm. It was intended for a 12-meter powerboat.
  • Imports of foreign automobile were reported to have fallen 16 percent over the previous 12 months while U.S. exports climbed 66 percent.
  • In the first six months of the year 6,007 automobiles were registered in New York State. In May alone 2,275 cars were registered. That compared to 1,900 cars in May 1906.
  • Washington University - St. Louis planned a new top administrative position to oversee a motoring program in its manual training department.
  • A Neighborhood Touring Club in Hartford, Connecticut announced plans for tour where members would bring their wives and obey the speed limits.
  • One of the houses of the Wisconsin legislature had just passed a bill to allow motorists to pass a frightened horse or team if the driver believed it was necessary to avoid an accident.
  • Italy exported $2M worth of automobiles to France during the first quarter of 1907. That business was attributed to Italian car success in motor racing.
  • Gasoline was being used to test for radiator leaks because mechanics believed it flowed through smaller holes than water.
  • "Alkoethine" was the name of a new synthetic fuel. It consisted of vaporized denatured alcohol, acetylene gas and air.
  • The city of Sacramento had recently purchase a runabout for use by their fire chief.
  • Indiana reportedly had 68,306 miles of roads. Of those 23,827 were improved, with 20, 586 surfaced with gravel and 3,295 with stone.
  • A mechanical tip was that incorrect adjustment of the spark or inductor coils enormously increased the current required and shortened battery life.
  • There was a high demand for chauffeurs and automobile training schools were springing up all around the country. My comment on that is that this is evidence the operation of these early automobiles was still a pretty complex task. Understanding that the bulk of consumers were adapting to new technologies and it was probably as baffling for them as computers and other information technology devices are for many today. This also meant that car ownership costs were still prohibitive for many consumers if operating one also required someone who could not only act as a mechanic but drive it as well.
  • A gentleman by the name of Palmer L. Richardson of Longmont, Colorado made news by traveling a distance of 70 miles between Loveland and Estes Park. Four passengers rode with him and with their baggage the weight piled into the car was 700 pounds. The journey required three hours and 39 minutes and reportedly used 3.5 gallons of fuel.
  • An unnamed motorcycle factory reported that 10 percent of its factory was purchased by public service corporations for railroad linemen and other mechanics where the vehicles were seen as convenient and efficient transport. Another 10 percent were acquired for use by rural mail carriers. The article reports that there were 36,000 rural mail carriers in the United States at the time.
IndianaPavedRoads071307.pdf700.16 KB