1900, New York US – Horseless Carriage Show

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1900 New York

Name:Horseless Carriage Show
Dates:3 – 10 Nov 1900
Days:8 days
Venue:Madison Square Garden at 26th and Madison
– with a track to provide test drives
Theme:The Horseless Carriage – steam and gasoline powered vehicles this was
the USA’s first motor show
Exhibitors:70 companies featuring over 30 automobiles – broughams, cabriolets, demi-coaches, hansoms, phaetons, runabouts, surreys, theatre buses, touring cars, traps, victorias
and wagonettes – plus magazines
Awards:No data
Visitors:48,000 – 50 cents admission
Legacy:Prompted foundation of the Association of Automobile Manufacturers
and helped to create a new industry
Duryea brothers

The Duryea brothers, Charles and Frank, had started out in the bicycle business. In 1886 they first saw a gasoline engine at the Ohio Fair. By 1891 they had built their first automobile in a rented loft in Springfield Ohio, they first ran it on the streets of Springfield on 22 Sep 1893. There’s was the first gasoline automobile that was built and operated in the USA. In 1895 it won several races, but they would sell just thirteen of them and the company failed. The brothers parted company with Charles building several three-wheeled automobiles, while Frank developed the Stevens-Duryea, that became a well-known early brand, it was a high-priced limousine that continued in production into the 1920s.

The 1900 Horseless Carriage Show was organised by the Automobile Club of America as the first auto show.

At the time NY City was clearing 450,000 tons of manure and 15,000 horse carcases from its streets every year. The coming of the automobile meant that by 1917 NY’s ran its last horse-drawn trolley.

Madison Square Garden and track

The event’s venue was Madison Square Garden at 26th and Madison. The show created a circular track to facilitate test drives.

The most popular attractions proved to be thoes models that were powered by electric, then next in popularity was steam driven and the ones that featured gasoline engines were the least popular.

Winton Motor Carriage advertised its running costs at half a cent/mile compared with the expense, care and anxiety of keeping a horse. They suggested that their automobile could achieve a speed of somewhere between three and twenty mph.

Olds’ Runabout

Ransome E Olds’ revealed his gasoline-powered Oldsmobile Model R, aka the Curved Dash Oldsmobile, a new style of vehicle, the ‘runabout. It is credited as the first mass-produced autobuilt on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by Oldsmobile in 1901 and production ran until 1903, over 19,000 were built. This was a horizontal one-cylinder 4.5hp ICE (internal combustion engine), it weighed 650ibs and sold for $650. It became the first commercially successful automobile in the USA, and the best-selling motorcar of 1903.

1900 interior showing exhibits

Manufacturers found that auto shows were an opportunity to pre-sell much of their upcoming year’s production. However, the average annual wage at this time was $589, while the cars on show were priced between $280 and $4,000 – thus they cost around six months to seven years average income (source: Greater New York Automobile Dealers).

Ford Model T

Henry Ford’s quadricycle was still a year away, and the Model T was not in production until 1908. The ‘T’ was mass-produced to sell at $825 (c. $18,000 today), by 1927 Ford had sold 16.5 million of them.

The makers would combine to found the Association of Automobile Manufacturers at the 1901 event.

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