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The 1900 Horseless Carriage mystery

Wrecker - The 1900 Horseless Carriage
While searching for information about the 1895 Chicago Times-Herald motorcycle race, Ace Zenek came across this photo on Flickr by Don O'Brien. The caption he posted states the following.

"1900 Horseless carriage: I probably took the photo somewhere in Oklahoma or Texas during September 1936. My brother and I got out of school for a family trip to Texas when I was in 7th grade that fall. I had a 620 Kodak that took 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 pictures.  I wonder if someone will recognize the town or vehicle? I assume the vehicle was bought in 1900. I can't make out the letters after BO."

The letters after "BO" probably spell out the word "Born," but I wonder if the vehicle can be identified. 


#8 Herb Singe 2017-12-06 06:28
Hello from New Jersey, USA. Mark and Terry are exactly right. When our hobby first began in America in the 1920s and 1930s, highwheelers, most of which were manufactured circa 1907–1913 were thought of as the oldest motorized vehicles or earliest "horseless carriages". As a result, they were also considered to be the most valuable, often being listed in classified ads for thousands of dollars when most antique cars sold for hundreds of dollars or often even less than $100.
It was only with the establishment of antique car clubs such as the AACA (in Philadelphia) in 1935, the HCCA (in Los Angeles) in 1937 and the VMCCA (in Boston) in 1938, that the earliest collectors were able to easily exchange information and do research which allowed them to disprove and dispel this fallacy and put high wheelers in their proper place in the history of the American motor car, which was as the "first farmers motorized vehicle", primarily popular amongst American farmers in the rural Midwest, prior to the Ford model T which attained its popularity amongst those same farmers later in the teens and throughout the 1920s and the pick up truck, which succeeded the T and continues to be prevalent amongst American farmers to this day.
It should also be noted that highwheelers were the first collector car bubble to be burst when their values dropped from the thousands of dollars in the mid-1930's to the very low hundreds in the 1940's, to be followed by many other such "burst bubbles" including pace car Corvettes, '59 Cadillacs, Ferraris and so many others.
#7 rob ronky 2017-12-04 22:40
This photo could be from the 30's advertising a business that started in 1900.
#6 Stuart Griffin 2017-12-04 19:52
Hi.I doubt it is 1900 as the Highwheelers post 1908 were pretty archaic to some eyes, for the times, bearing in mind Henry launched his T in that year.
I had thought it may be an International Harvester Highwheeler but the seat seems more sculptured than ours and it seems to be a transverse aircooled head I see under the seat. Also the tiller steering looks Sears to me. I recon the Sears vote is correct.
It would look fine as a lounge room feature, and very exciting to drive! i understand.
True envy!
#5 Martin Ashby 2017-12-04 12:01
This vehicle is a Sears High Wheeler, The picture is not clear enough to distinguish the cooling fins on the cylinder head. the 1908 earliest vehicles were of a different pattern. I have a Sears Model K ex Harrah Collection. Vehicle No. 3058
#4 Ariejan Bos 2017-12-04 11:03
My Sears motor buggy catalog for 1910 (the reprint from 1973 of course, but as useful as the original) tells me that this model must be the model K, indicated by the tulip-shaped seats. It was a slightly more luxurious model with special cushion tires.
A typical American product, the highwheeler, which was almost unknown in Europe. I say almost, because not long ago I found some pictures of the C.I.M.A., sold by a man with the name of Jeanjean in the north of France. His product clearly was a renamed IHC. If he ever sold one I do not know, but if he did it won't have been many! I'm still looking for a period picture of a highwheeler in Europe in regular use, so if anyone has one, please show it to us.
#3 TERRY PARKER 2017-12-04 01:59
Think Mark is right on both counts. In the early days of the veteran movement one of the locals picked up an IHC buggy which he thought was early 1900's shattered to find it was 1911. They are great to drive, admired by the public, and provide a marvellous insight into rural life in those days.
#2 Roger Fields 2017-12-04 00:42
This is indeed a Sears Motor Buggy. It is a Model J, made from 1909 to 1912. (The J had running boards.) This one seems to have a single acetylene headlamp, which was an option. I have 3 Sears, including a 1909 Model J which a cousin bought new from the Sears catalog.
#1 Mark Dawber 2017-11-27 03:40
There were many different makes of high wheeler auto buggy built in the US. Most didn't begin production until late in the first decade of the century. I think this one is a Sears, the first of which were built in 1908.It is typical of early cars on display pre WW2 that they are dated as earlier than they really are. People obviously had short memories.

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