Auto Show Ready - 1910

This article first appeared in the Sunday, March 27, 1910 Indianapolis Star. It was the day before the beginning of the 1910 Indianapolis Automobile Show and the article summarizes preparations. The author positions the event as an inflection point for the industry as evidenced by this excerpt:
"Both from a business and utilitarian point of view the opening of the automobile show tomorrow is an event of more than ordinary interest. This is not because the total number of exhibits is much larger than last year, nor because, in many cases, devotees will have their first glance at brand new models, nor is it because of the social aspect, but rather it is because the public will have impressed upon it as never before that the automobile can no longer be regarded as a fad, soon to pass, as it was once esteemed."
Specific to Indianapolis the article stresses the advantages of the Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association's (IATA) design of the show as well as the assets the city provided. Three specific points are made: 1) Indianapolis was a leader in car production (Detroit was easily number one), 2) Indianapolis manufacturers were the most active of all in competition events and 3) the city had the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a proving ground where consumers could assess product performance.
In contemporary parlance we could say the author "spins" the reality that Indianapolis did not have a convention center or coliseum of sufficient capacity to house the show under one roof into something positive. To the point about the IATA's show design mentioned in the previous paragraph the organizers adjusted to the lack of a single venue to present a dispersed approach utilizing local dealerships, factories, tents or other buildings. This, the writer posits, is an advantage to the visitor comparing products:
"Because of the unique system used in Indianapolis every one who desires to study this modern wonder, the motor car, can do so at the various automobile shops and thus avoid the rush and hustle of an exhibition where all models are unsatisfactorily jammed into one hall. By holding a show in every garage both the dealer and visitor will profit. The dealer can out before the eyes of his guests all of his stock and have plenty of time and help to treat all alike. He can decorate his home to suit his own taste and have music and refreshments at will. His salesmen will have time to go into the interesting details of the particular line of machines which are handled by that particular firm. For the visitor it works a benefit also. Instead of going to a large show building where the crowd is so intense that he is hurried here and there by the rush without getting time to deliberately make up his mind and investigate the various models, he can now stroll around the city at his leisure and drop into the various garages and do his shopping. It also acquaints him with the location of the several automobile homes in the city..."
The article also provides a useful list of the officers of the IATA that took on planning committee roles:

  • Fred I. Willis, IATA president; chairman of the Executive and Finance Committee
  • Frank B. Willis, IATA secretary; Executive and Finance Committee
  • Frank L. Moore, IATA treasurer; Executive and Finance Committee
  • Press and Printing Committee: A. R. Kling (chair), G.W. Stevens
  • Entertainment Committee: Frank Staley (chair), Will H. Brown, C.E. Gamble, J.A. Barclay, J. Porter Smith.
  • Parade Committee: E.H. Vincent (chair), Frank Menthorn, Frank Leary, Foster D. Smith, Arthur J. Gardner
  • Street Events Committee: John Hayden (chair), H.N. Freeman, George Weidley, R.J. Irvin, G.H. Hamilton.

The article underscores the importance of the floral parade, calling it a "red letter on the week's calendar." Entries were sequestered in garages to prevent competitors from stealing ideas and to allow owners to groom their machines with any number of ribbons, flowers and "various kinds of fancy decorations." The article also notes that the previously announced women judges were to be stationed in an automobile on Meridian Street by University Park to make their assessments. The exact path of the floral parade had not been decided even on this late date as merchants lobbied the IATA to be included on the route so their storefronts could enjoy a boost in foot traffic.
The visit to the Speedway on Thursday of Show Week is mentioned. Interestingly, the article submits that "thousands over the state had never seen the Speedway," which is certainly accurate. Curiosity as well as no admission fee at the gate were factors expected to attract a large gathering. The closing event, the Saturday night banquet at the Flat Tire Club is noted in the article's close.

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