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AUTO'S ECONOMIC VALUE

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Benjamin Briscoe

AUTO'S ECONOMIC VALUE

The New York Times
June 26, 1910


President Briscoe Takes Issue with Chancellor Day on Attack.

President Benjamin Briscoe of the United States Motor Company, protests against prominent men issuing statements injurious to the automobile industry without taking issue with them.  The last prominent official to attack the industry was Chancellor J. R. Day of Syracuse University, who stated that the automobile was a "menace to the American home" and that "young business men were becoming so infatuated with the motor car that they were losing their business positions."  President Briscoe has written the following letter to Chancellor Day:

My attention has been called to your recent utterances relative to the automobile being a menace to the American home, that the capital involved in the industry is wasted money, and that it adds comparatively nothing to the wealth of the country.

Knowing you by reputation, I feel that you would prefer to have your statements backed up by exact facts and that if it could be proved to you that the automobile has accomplished much in the way of economic usefulness that you would be ready to acknowledge it.  I would, therefore, ask your consideration of the following:

The automobile has brought the country nearer the city, it has raised land valuations in nearly all sections of the country, it has cured sick people when medicine did them no good, it has made the strong stronger, and the automobile is qiping away border lines and through the automobile there will be no South, no North, no West, and no East.  It is bringing the ruralists and the city folks into closer connections.  It has been the cause of making the hotel proprietors and merchants in country towns more prosperous, has given employment to thousands of men and women, and pays wages much higher than the majority of industries.

The motor car is a boon to merchants and business men who deliver goods.  It is cheaper than horses, and thousands of dollars are saved each day by merchants who have adopted delivery wagons and trucks in connection with their businesses and who have relegated their horses to the pasture.

I believe a gross injustice is being done the automobile industry by the thoughtless expressions of prominent men who can do a great deal of harm.  I have seen editorials and comments, for instance, on your baccalaureate sermon before the graduating class at the university, and your speech has probably been copied in many publications throughout the country.

The only real economic waste which is part of the use of an automobile is the paint, varnish, and refinement in finish, in fact, anything not incidental to the real efficiency of the machine and which does not aid in the saving of time and shortening of space.



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