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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
January 20, 1911

Pleasure Cars Not Forgotten at Garden Motor Truck Show—Record Attendance.

Even though most of the vehicles shown in Madison Square Garden this week are those of the strictly business variety, the second part of the National Automobile Show has been attended by a great many visitors of the fair sex.  Some of the women have gone to the Garden with those whose interest has been practically confined to gasoline commercial cars, but the majority of the women have gone to examine the four makes of electric passenger vehicles that are displayed in the building this week.

Ever since the small electric runabouts were introduced, about ten years ago, they have always been popular with women.  In the early days of motoring the little electrics were about the only kind of motor car a woman could handle easily, as the early gasoline cars required more strength to crank than most women possess.  Another great advantage of the electric in years gone by was their quiet operation, as compared with gasoline cars, and this fact alone was responsible for their widespread use by women.

The designers of electric passenger-carrying vehicles have made great advances in the past few years, and these machines have retained all their early popularity and are steadily growing in favor with both men and women.  They are very handy for use in cities, and numbers of the best known and most prominent makers of gasoline cars in this country use electrics for driving between their homes and their offices.

The enthusiastic interest recently shown by the electric power companies all over the country in furthering the cause of the electric passenger vehicle assures a still greater use of these machines.  In the past it was sometimes difficult to make arrangements to have electrics charged unless the vehicles were stored in a garage where owners of electrics were catered to, but this state of affairs has been changed.  Now it is possible for an owner of an electric to install his own charging plant in his stable, and the electric power companies are anxious to connect their feed wires to these individual charging plants.

The exhibition of motor cycles on the balcony has also attracted a great many women visitors, especially as a number of the makers of these two-wheeled power vehicles have produced machines with drop frames for the use of women.  The men in charge of the motor cycle exhibits have frequently been surprised at the knowledge of motor cycle mechanism shown by the women.

Women motor cyclists have never been very rare, as a matter of fact, and a good many of the fair motor cyclists use these machines while in the country for the Summer months.  Until recently, however, it has been necessary for them to wear divided skirts, as the machines have been built with diamond frames.  But now there are several different concerns that are making motor vehicles with drop frames, so that women who did not take up the motor cycle because they objected to divided skirts have no further need to hesitate before purchasing.

Final compilation of the attendance figures in connection with the first week of the show establishes new records without precedent in motor car shows.

For the first week, as compared with any previous automobile show, the attendance showed an increase of more than 40 per cent.  This was evident by the immense throngs that crowded the aisles, notwithstanding the additional room that had been obtained by the building of the two balconies.  The figures show that during the first week there was an attendance of 173,221, or an average of almost 25,000 persons a day.  This was in addition to the exhibitors and the attendants, who numbered nearly 3,000, although it includes hundreds of dealers who attended and received the courtesies of the show through the manufacturers of the cars they represent.

It is expected that with the present week, which is averaging 10,000 to 12,000 during the day, there will be a total attendance of almost 250,000 people for the two weeks' exhibition, which, besides being record breaking from the point of attendance, holds similar honors for the number of exhibitors, both of parts and accessories as well as freight-carrying and pleasure vehicles.

It is difficult to ascertain the amount of actual sales, but even discounting the optimistic remarks of some of the companies the business with individuals and dealers far exceeded anything recorded at previous motor car exhibitions.  Moreover, the show, which closes to-morrow night, has taken its place as the greatest industrial exhibition of any kind ever held in this country.

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