Old Car Advertising
Old car advertising was as prevalent in the newspapers of yesterday as it is today. The invention of the “Horseless Carriage” and the departure of the horse and buggy was a turning point in the way people got around and the ads took advantage of that. Not only was the ride better, it was much faster to get from one side of town to the other.
Look for this symbol on each page to hear recordings, news items and music of the era.
The thing that will strike you first is the variety of the automobile manufacturers that the buyer had to choose from. It was not the big three that we see in America’s automotive heyday, although they made their debut. In fact, there were about 1,800 auto manufacturers in the U.S. between 1896 to 1930, although not all of them are seen in old car advertising and most did not survive more than a decade. Names like Aerocar, Chadwick, Dort, Moon, Mitchell Motors, Peerless and many more made up most of old car advertising in the early 1900’s.
In the late 1800’s, articles started to appear that would warm up the public to the idea of a “horseless carriage”. One of the first articles I came upon was for John Jacob Astor’s horseless carriage. Astor’s first attempt at using an engine was in his electric yacht which he tinkered with at his home on the Hudson River in New York. This early form of car advertising appeared in the Anaconda Standard in 1896.
The next article appeared in 1897’s New York Tribune, and talks about a new automobile coming from Mexico City, Mexico.
Latest And Lightest Automobile
The automobile carriage will most likely in the course of a few years be as familiar a sight in its way on our streets and country roads as the bicycle now is in its line. The credit for the latest and longest step in this direction must be given to the City of Mexico, which last month turned out a practical, working automobile of such lightness and comparative cheapness as will at once give it great favor and put it within the reach of persons of even very moderate means; whereas before it was so expensive as to be looked upon only as a mechanical curiosity and a luxury to be indulged in by the rich.
The evolution of the automobile, like the bicycle, has been gradual. For a good many years the inventions in this line were confined to Western Europe, principally France, where competitive road tests, with rich cash prizes to the best, have been held. Scores of models have in this way been brought before the public, but out of general reach on account of size, weight, first cost and running cost. Then Yankee invention tried its hand, with great improvement on the French product, but up to date the lightest automobile carriage built in the United States weighs 1500 pounds and costs from to $3000, according to style of finish, etc.. The Mexican automobile, which is shown in the cut, weighs but 400 pounds and will cost less than a quarter of the American. This machine was invented and manufactured by a firm in the City of Mexico, and made its appearance on the streets the latter part of September.
That brings us up to the early 1900’s when old car advertising began to take off. That will be the focus of this site and we hope you enjoy browsing all the interesting ads and articles in these early days of the automobile in U.S. history. But thats not all as we will also post advertisements for motorcycles, trucks, motor oil, gasoline and just about anything that used or was used by an engine.
This will be an ongoing project and we hope that you enjoy the information and come back often to see whats new in old car advertising here at OldAutoNews.com.