Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

“Did they have cars in 1893?”

Charles and Frank Duryea driving the 1894 version of their gasoline-powered car. (Photo via Wikipedia, Public Domain.)

When I picked The Ten-Year-Old up from school yesterday, she wasted no time. “Mommyo, I have to ask you the most important question of my life.”

Uh-oh, I thought. That’s gonna be a doozy. She’s at that age, you know. But I’ve invested a lot of energy in convincing The Ten-Year-Old that she can ask me anything, so I had no choice. “OK. What’s up?”

The Ten-Year-Old: “Did they have cars in 1893?”

Whew. “Probably. Why do you want to know?”

The Ten-Year-Old: “I’m doing research for my novel.”

“Let’s find out.”

We asked the iPhone right there on the school steps. This wasn’t the sort of question that could wait until we’d walked home.

Did they have cars in 1893?

Googling “were there cars in 1893” led us to the Wikipedia entry for Charles Edgar Duryea. In 1893, Charles and his brother Frank were busy engineering and road-testing America’s first gasoline-powered car out of their garage in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Duryea’s car didn’t look much like the cars of today. There’s a reason the first cars were marketed as horseless carriages. To see why, all you have to do is take a closer look at the picture of the Duryea’s car at the top of this post. Looks like someone forgot to hitch up the horses before they climbed into the buggy.

The Ten-Year-Old, disappointedly: “That’s not going to work at all.”

Where can I find images of cars built before 1893 online?

So we asked Google again, and found this lovely blog post full of pictures of old-timey cars at Then and Now. Check it out for yourself.  There’s sure to be one there that pleases you.

Although I have to warn you, The Ten-Year-Old didn’t find anything remotely useable until the 1898 Duryea Delivery Wagon.

The 1898 Duryea Delivery Wagon. Looks a lot like the wagon the villains used in Disney’s original animated 101 Dalmatians movie, doesn’t it? (Photo via Then and Now)

Want to read more about old-timey cars?

Back in the day, we also did a series of posts on old-timey cars here at Caterpickles. Read through them or not as your curiosity dictates:

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