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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 1, 1900

Five of Them Beat the Record in a Run from the Waldorf to the Ardsley Club Yesterday.

A new record for an automobile run to the Ardsley Club was made yesterday in the most successful run yet given by the Automobile Club of America.  In fact, more than one member beat the best previous record, which was stated to be one hour and thirty minutes.

The start was made at 10 o'clock from the Waldorf-Astoria.  S. T. Davis, running a locomobile especially built for fast driving, led the procession, dashing under the porte-cochere of the Ardsley Club at 11:17 A. M., 1 hour and 17 minutes from the Waldorf-Astoria.  At 11:25 C. S. Weston, with Frank Silliman, Jr., driving a new Winton gasolene motor, came up.  Two minutes behind him was D. Wolfe Bishop, Jr., and two minutes later George F. Chamberlin, the acting President of the club, reported at the office.  All of these were under the old record time.

Then came Albert C. Bostwick, with Leonce Blanchet, an expert young French chaffeur, at 11:34; Albert R. Shattuck, with Gen. George Moore Smith, at 11:45; David Hennen Morris, at 11:50; J. C. McCoy, at 12:13; George Isham Scott, at 12:30, and Jefferson Seligman, with A. L. Riker, at 12:35.

Ten automobiles, driven by club members, made the run.  Mr. Davis and Mr. Morris had locomobiles—a steam carriage—and Mr. Scott had one of the few De Dibon tricycles in use in America—a speedy little machine for which, however, good roads are an absolute necessity.  There was nothing lacking in this respect yesterday, and just after passing Central Bridge, which Mr. Chamberlin was the first to cross, Mr. Scott and his stockily built tricycle ran swiftly by and was soon a good quarter of a mile in the lead.

"He'll beat us all there unless he has a mishap," exclaimed George F. Chamberlin.  "This is just the day for him."

The tricycle held its own well up to Yonkers.  Then, on Warburton Avenue, unexpected disaster overtook it.  The wheels seemed to clog, and things wouldn't work worth a cent.  Long after the larger machines had pulled up in a row in front of the Ardsley Club, Mr. Scott appeared, pushing his wounded tricycle up the greasy bank bounding the golf links.  A merry shout went up.

"All honor to the man who had to walk here with his machine beside him," exclaimed Mr. Shattuck.

"Well, I'd have beaten the whole crowd," was Scott's good-humored rejoinder, "if I hadn't gone to pieces a little way back, but with the help of numerous caddies to push, I'm now here to tell the tale."

Mr. Davis, the leader in the race, wore a happy smile before as well as after luncheon.  His locomobile made better time than an automobile of that style has ever been known to do over that route.  It is said to be the only locomobile thus far built that could do it, and some of the club members venture the assertion that one of its chief aims was to beat Bostwick.  Two weeks ago, in the snow run, Bostwick led that very locomobile by 40 minutes, and two other locomobiles had to turn back.  Yesterday it did grand work, but, to tell the whole truth, Mr. Davis had a man with him to pump.

Bostwick's unusual position at fifth in the line is explained by a breakdown. He had to stop nearly ten minutes at King's Bridge, and then had to proceed with his running apparatus considerably out of gear.  His companion, Leonce Blanchet, drives a sixteen horse power Panhard & Levassor car in Paris, and was one of the founders of the Automobile Club of France.  M. Blanchet sails for home on April 25, and will be among the Parisian automobilists in the coming World's Fair races.

"I am glad to see automobiles securing so strong a hold in America," he said.  "We will have many interesting things to show your automobile visitors this Summer, and I am sure they will come back more enthusiastic over the sport than ever."

Mr. George F. Chamberlin would have made a hot race for second place had he not turned up Broadway from Getty Square, Yonkers, when the Warburton Avenue route, taken by the other carriages, would have given him a smoother run, with two hills less.  From Fifty-ninth Street, at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Park, he reached Getty Square in fifty-five minutes, and at the turn he and Mr. Weston were abreast.

The latter had the only new machine in the run.  It is the first of the new Winton carriages that has been put to practical use and is of nine horse power.  The old Wintons, used by all except Davis, Morris, and Scott, have but six horse power.  Considerable interest was expressed previous to the start as to the time Weston might make.  Some predicted he would have things all his own way.  But a new automobile, like a new horse, needs to be carefully studied to bring out all its best points.  One or two details of machinery are not yet adjusted to Mr. Weston's liking, and that is the reason he is trying it for a few days before shipping the new machine to Europe.  Mr. Weston is from Scranton, Penn., and has made some long and difficult runs.

A sharp eye was kept to windward for mounted police, and when one was occasionally seen in the distance there was a prompt cutting off of speed and a deferential bow as the driver ran by the danger spot.  Two of the members, however, were called to account in Yonkers and warned to take things more easy.

It was a grand day and the best run held by the club, so all felt happy.  Around the luncheon table an informal meeting of the Committee on Runs was held, and a run to Babylon was agreed upon for the next tour, on Saturday, April 14.

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