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What kind of car is this?


RicB
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This is a tintype photo (so the image is reversed) of four ladies in a .... ???? I've found a few similar front ends but no match. Could be anywhere between 1898-ish and 1906-ish. Autocar? Hoffman steamer? Electric? Daimler? What do you think?

4LadiesCarMD.jpg

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Looks like it might have been a recreation photograph of Alice Ramsey, Nettie Powell, Margaret Atwood, and Hermine Jahns the faces look correct.  They successfully drove a 1909 Maxwell DA across the US in 1909.  In your picture Alice is driving, Hermine is passenger, Margaret and Nettie are in the back.  Hermine (16) is in the back in this picture.

 

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/alice-ramseys-historic-cross-country-drive-29114570/

 

Meet Alice Huyler Ramsey, the 22-year-old housewife who became the first  woman to drive across the country | Roadtrippers

 

 

I am going to go with a 1902-3 car there were a huge numbers of people making cars.

autos2891.jpg (47045 bytes)

 

This 1902 Wheeler looks close, but lots wrong with it from your picture.  This sight is great... good luck

https://www.earlyamericanautomobiles.com/1902.htm

 

Edited by Graham Man (see edit history)
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The front axle of the OP picture reminds me of an early Sizaire Naudin. Much of it is hidden by the front cover or hood, but looking closer, it appears likely. However, I have never seen anything of a Sizaire Naudin that had any sort of front covers or hood like that in this photo. They began building automobiles about 1902 and continued till shortly after WW1. I have read in the past that there was a Sizaire Naudin dealer in New York. Officially, a Sizaire Naudin was entered into the 1908 New York to Paris around the world race. If I recall correctly, it is noteworthy as the first car to drop out after officially starting the race. 

 

Studio photo cars were usually old (sometimes only two or three years?), and not viable as transportation for some reason, often a blown engine. They were often small cars, altered to appear larger and newer for photos. The entire front cover or hood could be a fake, or something modified to fit from another car. Often heavy mechanicals like engines and transmissions were discarded to make them lighter and easier to handle. They were also often rigged up for easy disassembly and reassembly to be transported. Numerous backdrops would offer choices of surroundings for photographs. 

It is clearly a studio photograph. Whether it was a storefront studio, or a travelling studio? We may never know unless more pictures of the same car turn up. Portable studios would travel around the county fair circuits, or set up in small towns for a coupe days, taking a bunch of pictures, then move on to another small town. Staged automobile pictures were very popular back in the days when most people had never even ridden in a car! Individuals and whole families would put on their Sunday best just to get a picture taken.

I often wonder just how these operations were transported around the country? I know in some cases, they followed the railroads, packing everything up and shipping on to the next town. Others had what amounted to a covered wagon, the car broken down and packed along with the backdrops, cameras and developing tools. Ironic that the job of taking pictures of people "diving" an automobile was transported by horse and wagon. As automobiles got bigger and more reliable, some photographers would buy a nice automobile. Use it set up as the photo stage for a few days, then pack everything into the back seat and drive on to the next town.

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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Wow! Great information Graham and Wayne. Thank you. That 1902 Wheeler may have been the basis with other parts thrown on. The shape of the "hood" is good. Thanks Graham. Wayne, I did figure that this was a fair photo but my assumption was that this was an operable car. It's funny to think of it being pulled around the country by a couple of horses. What a sight that would've been.

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Ric,

   Do you have any other information on the picture?  Where it is from or anything?  Ramsey was from NY, lots of car companies, the the age of the women looks the same or close to 1909, so the car in the picture was about 7 years old if indeed it is them?  The car brass looks about 7 years tarnished so I like the "movie car idea" most likely a pliability photo, the ladies trip was heavily followed by the newspapers, could be a picture taken in San Francisco after they arrived?

 

 

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Hey Graham. Thanks for your input. I don't think these are the same ladies, but the one does look like she could be Alice Ramsey. Maybe she was doing a photo op with people. By the looks of it, it may have been at the end of a long day being a celebrity. I cropped and flipped the photo to show them as they're supposed to look. I think it's 4 different ladies "recreating" this event for themselves. Also, I did get this photo along with a number of other NYC area photos. No other info.

4LadiesCar (2).jpg

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You could use facial recognition software to test my theory, I am pretty sure it is them.  Now if it is them in the car it has to be something Maxwell, they sponsored the trip, my guess is the first Maxwell car? ( I can not find any record of the first Maxwell-Briscoe car).  It is what they call a "light touring car" form the 1902-3 advertising, the light weight spoke wheels give it away, touring being 4 passenger.  There is a scoop in front to gather air for the radiator, extremely unusual for the period.  NYC is ground zero for the Ramsey and their 1909 trip.  Maxwell-Briscoe started in 1904...

 

Good Luck, great picture 

 

Might be able to find a Maxwell historian to help?

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On 10/21/2020 at 9:50 PM, RicB said:

This is a tintype photo (so the image is reversed) of four ladies in a .... ???? I've found a few similar front ends but no match. Could be anywhere between 1898-ish and 1906-ish. Autocar? Hoffman steamer? Electric? Daimler? What do you think?

4LadiesCarMD.jpg

 

There appears to be a pair of stool or table legs under the back of the car near the rear wheel that is holding up the seat which lends credence to the car being a studio prop. Steering column has what looks like spark & throttle levers for a gasoline engine but there appears to be 3 steam valves beside the grill.

 

Did anyone else notice the group of little Big Foot creatures in the background hiding behind the snow drifts or waves?

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10 minutes ago, jdome said:

There appears to be a pair of stool or table legs under the back of the car near the rear wheel

Certainly looks like there are no rear springs. Frame appears to be setting right on the axle. 

 

 

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I figured that it was a stool for getting in and out of the car that the photographer stashed behind the car. It seems pretty precarious to have four ladies sitting in a car that's being held up by a stool.

 

Graham, I will research further. Thank you for all your info.

 

Poor bigfoots. Finally, a day at the beach but they get stuck with amazingly high waves for such shallow water.

Edited by RicB (see edit history)
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