Glidden Editorial Cartoon

This editorial cartoon originally appeared in the July 13, 1909 Indianapolis News with a comment about the weather conditions and their potential impact on that year's Glidden Tour automobile endurance contest. The first of these iconic events took place in 1905 and while quite popular for several years they were curtailed in 1913. The tour was named after Charles Jasper Glidden, who made a fortune as a pioneering telecommunications industrialist, became an automotive and aeronautical enthusiast and used his wealth to donate trophies to promote their development.
Despite the message of this cartoon rain proved to be a non-factor during the event which was the first held in the midwest and beyond the east coast. The contestants traveled through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and into Missouri from July 12 through 31. The challenge of rain was particularly significant in these days of dirt roads which became muddy as the drawing illustrates. Roads in this condition were referred to as "gumbo," which bogged the cars down and contributed to the ruts drivers frequently found once the muddy roads dried.
The event was a kind of rolling industry conference with most of its luminaries, such as H.O. Smith, president of Premier Motor Manufacturing Company and Howard Marmon of Nordyke & Marmon actually driving their products in the contest.
The original tour served its purpose of demonstrating the reliability of the products of an emerging industry. The original trophy was employed in a ceremonial revival of the tour in 1946 and that version of the event continues today. In addition to a wealth of information about the 1909 Glidden Tour you can find extensive coverage of the 1907 and 1908 contests for the trophy elsewhere on First Super Speedway.

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