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Electric Cars 1870's -- Prior to Gas Engines

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  • Electric Cars 1870's -- Prior to Gas Engines

    A few years ago one of my family members died and we were going through our family estate colonial historical documents in our ancient land grant estate house.

    We found a later 1905 dated post card written to my grandfather from his Godchild who was studying to become Priest at the Marist Seminary in Maryland.

    He described how the night before, his seminary student friend and he rode all over town in an electric car in 1905.

    Even though unknown to so many today, if one does a little internet research, one can find that entire fleets of electric taxis were transporting passengers in towns in the 1800's prior to internal combustion engines.

    True Authentic and Emphasized and Printed American History? After years of research of foreign colonial documents, and today's internet, maybe as always, we have always had Political Fake News of the Day printed in our history books of tomorrow?

    Difficult for us seniors to imagine that Kodak 35 mm film sales today are as important as horse collar sales in 1900 ...... who knows what we will experience tomorrow?

  • #2
    Jay Leno was quoted as saying that at the turn of the last century, half the cars produced were electric. Since Edison and Ford were very close, it would be interesting to know the thought process as to why Ford didn't have an electric version of the original A.


    • #3
      Colonial land grant? Ours was 2250 (?) acres from King George that was held in the Horton family till the twentieth century when it was donated to the state of NJ and is now the Black River state hunting and fishing grounds in Chester, NJ. There's nothing like poking around in family history to open your eyes. Anyhow the reason that HF didn't pursue electric cars is that the batteries of that time just weren't good enough. Henry was building cars for the masses. Batteries were too expensive and unreliable for people to have to replace every three years. Which is also the reason the HF provided a crank with each car he sold up to 1948. At the state of the car building art then, batteries weren't tried and true!


      • #4
        The thoughts of what might work, and what worked for gentlemen like Ford and Edison at the turn of the century is still so very interesting. It is so amazing for youngsters to learn today that the Model T had no clutch pedal or clutch for changing gears; plus, a middle pedal for engaging the reverse gear. These pioneer inventor gentlemen were playing with dreamed up experiments that so many times worked.

        Last December we saw quite a few electric cars in rural Canada. Drivers gladly responded they loved them. E.g., just pull up to a store or restaurant, plug it in, and either shop or eat while inside, come out, unplug it, and take off.

        They were about as noisy as the many golf carts used all over or camouflaged (4) wheelers used by so many deer & elk hunters today.

        Wonderful to see the Model A survived and even made a big come-back after surviving through wired dial phone periods to modern wireless cell phones, typewriters to modern computers, fixed wing propeller planes to jets ....... we also have young men in our younger generations growing beards from the styles of the 1800's ...... although it appears doubtful that dresses will ever revert back to ankle height. LOL


        • #5
          Henry Ford bought his wife Clara a Baker Electric I believe from 1902 thru about 1915. Studebaker built them from 1902-1912 as well as the electric cab bodies. There were a lot of them made and they seemed to work better than the early gas cars or even some of the earlier modern electrics.


          • #6
            Few of the millions of mechanical minded and non-mechanical minded individuals today are aware that today's modern Diesel Trains operate with a diesel engine turning a generator that electrically powers the train.

            Speed, forward, and reverse are very easily controlled by the engineer with one simple rotating hand operated control lever.

            In the 1980's two (2) separate diesel train engineers, (one in Utah & one in Alabama), allowed me after asking, to drive their trains for a few minutes. One remarkably showed me his authentic driver's license ...... his Dad was a train engineer with the last name of Jones, and his name was actually "Casey Jones".

            He casually remarked that his name made it very easy for him to get hired.


            • #7
              Originally posted by H. L. Chauvin View Post
              Last December we saw quite a few electric cars in rural Canada. Drivers gladly responded they loved them. E.g., just pull up to a store or restaurant, plug it in, and either shop or eat while inside, come out, unplug it, and take off.
              H.L that's all fine and well but you have to remember that most people will never admit they bought a turd, they will tell you how much they love whatever the Marketers have sold them! The Economists call it cognitive dissonance. You are trying to convince yourself you made the right decision especially on a big ticket purchase but inside you are questioning yourself. .

              We all do it.


              • H. L. Chauvin
                H. L. Chauvin commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi Jeff,

                LOL. Happened several times also on past Model Forum comments a few years ago.

                Ninety-nine percent of Model A owners appeared to have Model A fuel shut-off valves and carburetors that never leaked gas; tires where they only had to check the air pressure once every (5) years; windshield wipers that worked when it was raining (27) inches per half hour; headlights adjusted to where they could blind a Mack truck driver at 3/4 mile away; and not to mention Model A transmission gears that never would grind even on take off at (25) degrees below zero.

                What else?

              • Jeff/Illinois
                Jeff/Illinois commented
                Editing a comment
                Those are funny!!! And you are spot-on!!!

                Add to the list I guess repop headlight switches that worked fine with no alterations, and Vintique parts that 'I had no trouble with them.......' and also maybe 'My Model A can skin the pants off a '65 Mustang off the line'!!!!!

            • #8
              Mrs Edison also drove a Detroit Electric car which is still in the garage of his estate in West Orange, NJ. There's also a 1936 Ford Brewster Limo driven by a family friend who was chauffeur for Edison's son, Charles, governor of New Jersey at the time. The Edison factory in the same town continued to manufacture large batteries until around the early 1950's. As a youth, I recall our local milk truck and bread truck were both electric and the truck that moved freight cars in and out of the factory was also electric. It had solid rubber tires so it must have been really old.



              • Mitch
                Mitch commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks Glen interesting stuff

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