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Topics:  Automobile Club of America


The New York Times
January 25, 1903

Three Hundred Members and Guests Attend Annual Banquet in Waldorf.

Over three hundred members and guests of the Automobile Club of America were present at the annual dinner of that organization held in the large banquet hall of the Waldorf-Astoria last night.

President Albert R. Shattuck of the club was toastmaster and the speakers were State Senator W. W. Armstrong, who spoke on the origin and operation of the "Higbie-Armstrong" bill; Simeon Ford, who gave an amusing talk on "Automobiles"; Job E. Hedges, whose subject was "What I Know About Automobiles"; Edward A. Bond, State Engineer and Surveyor, who spoke on "The Construction of Roads in New York State"; Col. Albert A. Pope, whose subject was "Improvement in Highways"; W. Pierrepont White, Chairman of the fourth annual convention of the County Boards of Supervisors of New York State, who spoke on "The State and Good Roads," and Gen. Roy Stone, whose subject was "The Brownlow Bill."

Others at the guests' table included Willard A. Smith, Elliott C. Lee, Winthrop E. Scarritt, J. P. Allds, Charles E. Adams, J. A. Ockerson, and W. T. Carleton.

Among the prominent members present were Thomas A. Edison, Russell A. Alger, Jr., Arthur Brisbane, Jacob A. Cantor, Bird S. Coler, John H. Flagler, E. R. L. Gould, William Leary, Frank A. Munsey, Col. K. C. Pardee, Henry W. Poor, William C. Reick, De Witt J. Seligman, J. Walter Thompson, H. H. Vreeland, and John Brisben Walker.

President Shattuck, in his opening address said that $13,140,000 had already been spent in the four states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York in building 2,148 miles of good roads, divided among the States mentioned as follows:  Massachusetts, 483 miles, costing $4,500,000; New Jersey, 797 miles, costing $3,800,000; Connecticut, 515 miles, costing $1,910,000; and New York, 353 miles, costing $2,930,000.

Simeon Ford, who was the humorist of the occasion, in announcing his intention of touching lightly upon "Automobiles," said that he differed from Job Hedges, who was to follow him, because the latter, being a lawyer, would touch everything he came in contact with.  "I, being a hotel keeper," said Mr. Ford, "am accustomed to being touched right along, and do very little touching myself.  My business is melancholy, but not touching.  I would much rather touch lightly upon automobiles than have automobiles touch me."

"No man is evil except the devil, and we know him by his horns.  This horn blowing is not only nerve racking, but unnecessary.  I have always observed that the smaller the automobile the larger the horn.  I have seen these tin boiler automobiles coming down the avenue with a one-horse-power automobile and a twenty-horse-power horn, and you would think you heard Gabriel coming, but when you look up you seeā€”not a trump, but a two-spot.  I don't say every man who was an automobile is a fool, but I do say every fool runs an automobile.

"I am one myself, but when I run over a man I don't add insult to injury by scaring him to death before I kill him.

"Some men achieve automobiles, and some men have automobiles thrust upon them."

The hit of the evening was made when an electric automobile ran into the elaborately decorated ball room, made the circuit of the hall, and stopped in front of the speakers' rostrum, and Will Carleton, attired in a fantastic costume, rose and announced that he was Mr. Dooley and would sing the popular song of that name.  The audience joined heartily in the chorus.

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