“Gems of Symmetry and Convenience”

So Richmond proudly described its electric trolleys, the first truly successful system in the world

For the citizens of Richmond, Virginia, in 1888 the city’s new trolley system was a source of inordinate pride. “All are modelled on the Broadway style and are gems of symmetry and convenience,” proudly wrote a reporter for the Richmond Dispatch of the little four-wheeled electric cars that were clanging cheerfully through downtown streets on their route between Church Hill and New Reservoir Park. “Brilliantly lighted” by incandescent lamps, heated by Dr.Read more »

Urban Pollution-Many Long Years Ago

The old gray mare was not the ecological marvel, in American cities, that horse lovers like to believe

To many urban Americans in the 1970’s, fighting their way through the traffic’s din and gagging on air heavy with exhaust fumes, the,automobile is a major villain in the sad tale of atmospheric pollution. Yet they have forgotten, or rather never knew, that the predecessor of the auto was also a major polluter. The faithful, friendly horse was charged with creating the very problems today attributed to the automobile: air contaminants harmful to health, noxious odors, and noise.Read more »

Here Comes Superplane

For a very long time it has been supposed that man could adjust himself to almost anything in the way of speed, noise, or financial outlay, just to get from one place to another in the least possible time.Read more »

The Stanleys and their Steamer

Teetotaling twin brothers built the most wonderful car of their era, and its day of glory may not be over yet

At the turn of the twentieth century, the American automobile industry was in a stage of youthful indecision. Two courses lay open to it: to follow the already well-defined path of steam propulsion, or to explore the lesser-known byway of gasoline power. Steam seemed to have the brighter future and, at this point, was heavily favored by the early auto makers. In the year 1900 more than 1,600 steam cars were produced, compared to only goo driven by gas.

Death of a Dirigible

“Come and see the boiling cloud,” said a woman on the ground; aloft, the slender Shenandoah headed straight into the eye of the vicious squall

Over Lakehurst, New Jersey, the sky was unsettled on the afternoon of September 2, 1925. At times it was almost clear; then ominous clouds would scud across the field of the Naval Air Station and disappear as quickly as they had come. The airship Shenandoah , nose to her high mooring mast, was floating gracefully with the variable breezes. Her twenty gas bags were about 91 per cent full, her tanks loaded with 9,075 pounds of water and 16,620 pounds of gasoline. Sailors were riding up the elevator to the top of the mast.