AUTOMOBILES UNLIMITED: 1,000,000 vehicles soon, with no end in sight

1913_auto_show

With the annual automobile show well under way at Madison Square Garden, the press is filled with stories about the status and future of automobiles in our society.

The Boston Daily Globe reports that in four months there will be 1,000,000 motor cars on the road in the United States — one car for every 90 people, with a total value of $900,000,000.

The New-York Tribune reports that the great benefactor of machine-gun shooting schoolboys, Vincent Astor, attended the automobile show. Its article also quotes one auto salesman, Hugh Chalmers, at length, for historical perspective:

It was less than two decades ago that automobiles were unknown. Today the manufacture of motor vehicles has become the third largest industry in the United States.  Can such a thing be built upon a fad? I think not.  . . . In a word, it is true beyond a doubt that the motor car has revolutionized our civilization. . . . The automobile is new, and it has made a new country, a new spirit and untold new opportunities.

The Tribune also carries an essay by automobile executive G. W. Bennett extolling the soundness of automobiles as sound investments that save average businessmen much time:

The day when only the very wealthy bought automobiles has passed, never to return. The motor car is no longer an expensive toy, a luxury. It has taken its place among the world’s necessities. It has become a sound, sensible, profit-returning investment.

A final aspect of the “unlimited” future promised for the automobile in the report in the Tribune that the mayor of New York is not inclined to “look with favor upon a fixed speed limit for motor cars,” in part because “there might be difficulty in proving speed,” and given that it is not proposed to require automobiles to have speedometers.

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