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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Wilhelm von Opel


The New York Times
December 12, 1909

Herr Opel Says the Fatherland is No Longer Second Industrially.

Special Cable to The New York Times.

BERLIN, Dec. 11.—Some interesting impressions of the "overwhelming automobile life" in New York and of industrial America are given by Wilhelm Opel, one of Germany's most prominent motor-car manufacturers, who has just returned from a trip to the United States.

Herr Opel asserts that Europeans have no conception of the magnitude of automobile traffic in New York, which is rapidly driving horses into oblivion.  The disappearance of horses is gradually ridding Gotham of flies, which are deserting the atmosphere of benzine, grease, and oil for more nourishing climes.

"My chief impression of industrial America," says Herr Opel, "was, mighty as she is, she was no longer ahead of Germany.  When I came back from the States in 1893, I realized how hopelessly behind Germany was.  During the intervening sixteen years, however, we have caught up all along the line. Things are no longer done in America on any bigger scale than here.  Our industrial business systems are on the same high level."

Although automobiling has reached the highest imaginable development in New York and other great cities, Herr Opel found America poorly provided with the good roads and magnificent highways which make the Fatherland the motorists' paradise.  He says good roads are non-existent in the United States except in spots and for short distances.

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