Why visit a car museum today? Perhaps it’s because museums have the power to deeply affect us and others around us. Museums are a place of inspiration, knowledge and personal growth. Every car in the Reno, Nevada Automotive National Museum I saw today has a story to tell you. As I walked around observing automobile history from the 1890’s to the 1910’s in gallery one; I felt like a time traveler.
Enter the era of the home built cars. Three wheels? Steering on the left or right? Electric, steam, or gas? Water cooled or air cooled. The length and breath of the wheelbase. The carrying capacity. It’s purpose? Make it a runabout or a sports car or similar to it’s predecessor the stage coach for one, two, or more people and property.
How quickly we moved from the mobility of animals that carried us to the use of machines.
The original automobile inventors had an open canvas to create anything they saw fit. And if the masses liked it, well then it stuck around.
Today, it’s not that easy. Too many restrictions are placed on mans creativity except for maybe the USA rat rod.
The gasoline burning internal combustion engine made it all possible. The automobile may have started in Germany before spreading to France, Italy and England but, it took American ingenuity to take it from only the hands of the rich and wealthy ( who could afford it) and place it into the hands of everyday people that figured out how to make it fun and pay.
The car above is probably the most important car in the museum. It has real history as it managed to travel around the world on its own power.
NEW YORK TO PARIS!
The year was 1908 and in the middle of winter, six cars from around the world embark on the most grueling journey of all time, the New York to Paris automobile race.
The Museum’s American entry the 1907 Thomas Flyer won the race.
Did you know that before the invention of the steering wheel cars used tillers for about the first twenty years to steer, similar to what was used on a sailboat. A pole attached to the top that acted as a lever to directly pull or push in the direction that you wanted to go.
Your wheels, car body and other parts were initially made out of wood. The wheels on a car were the biggest giveaway as to the cars era year. From wood spokes, car makers progressed to using metal spokes, like on a bicycle, before moving onto a single pressed piece of metal.
Next came the reliability factor. The performance factor. And finally the cost to build and the demand for the product. No one person nailed it better than Henry Ford who used the assembly line to cut the cost.
Producing a car is only half the battle. You next need to publicize it. Enter the endurance runs. The first race in the USA took place in Chicago in 1895.
By 1911 Henry Ford was now mass producing cars. A car for all the people.
Gallery two brought me up to the 1930s and gallery three from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. There were also cars from the 50’s and beyond but, I didn’t care to look too hard at my era of history.
The electric automobile will one day soon be as common to us as the internal combustion engine is today.
Take a look at its history available to you at the Nevada Automobile museum and draw your own conclusions.
The huge increase in production, along with the lowered prices, a big surge of investments in everything automobiles (i.e. roads, service stations, public desire to travel) and the demise of many forms of railway transportation led to a greater demand for cars and oil.m all across America.
America unlike any other country quickly embraces the automobile. The roads and other services quickly sprang up to accommodate and continues today to fuel our economy. Our cars also quickly grew to the size of one’s country.
A group called National City Lines, made up of several companies — including General Motors, Firestone, Standard Oil of California and Phillips Petroleum — formed in the 1920s saw to it that the automobile was here to stay.
“It changed the life of mankind more radically than the printing press.
It created suburbs and a hundred other dependencies—sexual and economic and narcotic— upon the automobile……”
-Walter Tevis, Mockingbird
Trawlercat 3/17/21 Reno, Nevada