History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter 31

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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3

Juvenile Automobiles

What has been written about so far is the production of the standard types of automobiles used in everyday driving and businesses. There were some makers of small cars for small people and for children.

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Cut from the April 19th, 1906  Automotive Industries Magazine
This was the first appearance of this photograph in any magazine

The first one was the 1906 Baby Reo made especially for Barnum and Bailey Circus for his "LIttle People publicity" He used it until 1913.

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1906 Advertisement for an early Pedal Car

1907 Juvenile Electric Child's Car

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American Pony Electric Car
Copied from the 1907 Issue of the Automobile Topics Journal

Children Cry for This Car

Toledo, O., Dec. 31.Four years ago, the American Metal Wheel & Auto Company, of this city began the manufacture of imitation toy automobiles, and so strong has the demand been for the real article for children that the concern recently put a new "pony" electric runabout on the market as an experiment. The new machine has made such a decided hit that the company had decided to make it on a large scale for the coming season. J. C. McKisson, secretary and treasurer of the company, stated to an Automobile Topics correspondent that the concern intended, later on, to manufacture a touring car on the same lines.

Equipped with a ball-bearing motor of 12 volts, a battery of 6 cells, chain drive, this new runabout will make a speed on level roads of about 10 miles an hour, going at least 20 miles on a single charge. There are four speeds, two forward and two reverse. The chassis is made of ^ and % angle steel, well braced and all joints riveted to avoid all trouble from nuts and bolts.

The little car has a wheel base of only 41 inches, tread of 29 inches, wheels 20 inches in diameter. The body is 47 inches long, lyyi inches wide. It is bolted on cross cleats and fitted in the angles of the frame. The chassis is made with or without springs, bicycle or tricycle gearing. The body is painted black, with nickel trimmings, the gear being painted in red. The seat and back is upholstered in leather. Artillery wheels will be used, although the above cut of the car complete shows it equipped with wheels with steel spokes. Cushion tires are used, while other features include a hand-brake on the controller, electric lamps and bell.

The "pony" weighs 350 pounds and sells at $450 

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1907 Elite Junior Children's Automobile


Miniature Motor Car electric driven which can run about 50 miles without being recharged , complete with accessories costing around �200 to build - 1922

 Miniature Motor Car electric driven which can run about 50 miles
without being recharged  complete with access

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1914 Child's Model TFord  with a Briggs and Stratton Engine

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1917 American Junior

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Early Soap Box Derby Entry

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1905 Automobile built by two 18 year old boys

Copied from the 1905 edition of the Automotive Industries Magazine

When the little car shown in the photograph reproduced herewith was given its first test after completion and found to work perfectly, it proved the happiest moment in the life of Nels J. Nelson, an eighteen-year old boy of New Britain, Conn., for the car embodied in concrete form the ideas and workmanship of the young machinist and his partner, Ernest Powell, of the same place.

The little car measures 5 feet 6 inches between axles and has a tread of 30 inches. Within these dimensions the boy inventor has contrived to provide the features of a practical touring car, at a cost for materials of only $22.30. Nelson has been experimenting for three years in the construction of gasoline engines, the one in this car being the third that he and his partner have built. The first one was a motorcycle engine which was fitted to a bicycle that afforded the boys much pleasure. The second was a stationary gasoline engine. The third and present one is a 2 1-2-horsepower air-cooled engine for which Nelson made the patterns; he had to have the parts cast for him, and the cylinder was purchased, but the other parts of the car, including the bicycle wheels and the body, were made by the boys in their little 8 by 16-foot shop. Work on the engine for the machine was started about four months ago, and the entire car was completed in three months.

The car has shaft drive with universal joints, a two-speed transmission giving three to four miles on low and from ten to twelve miles an hour on high, and will carry two persons on the seat.

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1921 Automatic Electric
Automatic Electric Transmission Co. Buffalo, NY

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1924 Custer Car
Custer Car Specialty Co. Dayton, OH

1922 Custer Car
Custer Car Specialty Co. Dayton, OH

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1934 Custer Cars

These two gas-powered miniature Custer cars were once driven by William Clay and Josephine Ford when the youngest of Edsel and Eleanor Fords children were growing up. The vehicles and the story behind them are now on view inside the Ford House garage.


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1908 "Querty" Delivery Van
First six letters on a typewiter
Underwood Typewriter


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1914 Passenger car (forerunner of the present day bus), Mac Kay Company

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17 18  19 20    21 22 23   24 25  26 27  28 29   30  31  32 33

Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3