Back to The Automobile in Chicago
Chicago Tribune, January 24, 1899
The Horseless Age, November, 1895
In July last, H. H. Kohlsaat, proprietor of the Chicago Times-Herald, offered through the medium of that paper, prizes amounting to $5,000.00 to be awarded after a contest or competition, for motor vehicles, to take pace at Chicago, on November 2d.
The published offer and the rules laid down for the competition are as follows:
With a desire to promote, encourage and stimulate, the invention, development, perfection and general adoption of motor vehicles or motorcycles, the Times-Herald offers the following prizes, amounting to $5,000, divided as stated :
First prize—$2,000 and a gold medal, the same being open to competition to the world. Second prize— $1,500 with a stipulation that in the event the first prize is awarded to a vehicle of foreign invention or manufacture, this prize shall go to the most successful American competitor. Third prize—$l,000. Fourth prize— $500. The third and fourth prizes are open to all competitors, foreign and American.
It must not be supposed that in this contest the question of speed is the only requisite to be considered. It would be possible for an ingenious mechanic to construct a machine with which he could easily outstrip all others in this contest, and yet that device would be of no utility, and the outcome of no value to the world from a practical point of view.
It is the earnest desire of this paper, that this contest shall add to the sum of our mechanical knowledge in this, the new branch of the science of transportation. In this spirit, the following rules are laid down for the guidance of all who may desire to enter into the competition:
The date of the contest will be on Saturday, Nov. 2, 1895. The judges may postpone the contest if in their judgment the state of the weather or the condition of the roads will not permit a fair trial.
COURSE OF THE CONTEST:
The contestants will start at the junction of Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park, and at the signal from the judges will take up the following course:
West on Midway Plaisance to Washington Park; north-west through Washington Park past the refectory to Garfield Boulevard or Fifty-fifth Street; west on Garfield Boulevard to Western Avenue, which is also a boulevard; north on Western Avenue Boulevard to Thirty-fourth Street, at which point the boulevard is left, and a short turn is made to the west, and the continues north on Western Avenue proper to Twenty-sixth Street, thence west to the boulevard; north and west on the boulevard to California Avenue; north on California Avenue to Ogden Avenue and Douglas Park; north-west through Douglas Park to Fourteenth Street Boulevard, to Garfield Park; through Garfield and Humboldt Parks by the connecting boulevard to the intersection of Humboldt Boulevard and and Milwaukee Avenue; north-west on Milwaukee Avenue to Jefferson Park, and thence north-west and north on the Chicago and Milwaukee gravel road, which is a continuation of Milwaukee Avenue; through Niles, Wheeling, Half Day and Libertyville to Gurnee, where the route turns directly east on Grand Avenue to Waukegan. From Waukegan the route proceeds south on an easily followed road through South Waukegan, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Fort Sheridan. Highland Park, Ravinia, Glencoe, Winnetka and Wilmette to Evanston. From Evanston south. on Chicago Avenue to Grand Avenue; east on Grand Avenue to Kenmore Avenue; south on Kenmore Avenue to Lawrence Avenue; east on Lawrence Avenue to the Sheridan Road; south on the Sheridan Road to Grace Street; east on Grace Street to Pine Grove Avenue; south on Pine Grove Avenue to Cornelia Street; east on Cornelia to the Lake Shore Boulevard, and thence south to Lincoln Park, and along drive to the Grant monument, where the finish will be made.
Two weeks before the contest the following notice will be conspicuously displayed at all points along the route where a turn is made, or where the intersecting roads render the exact course uncertain:
This is for the guidance of those who desire to familiarize themselves with the rout in advance of the day of the contest. On November 2, there will be stationed at all such points an officer of the contest with a flag, who will point out the course to the contestants.
In making awards the judges will carefully consider the various points of excellence as displayed by the respective vehicles, and so far as possible select as prize winners those constructions which combine in the highest degree the follow ing features and requisites, rating them of value in the order named:
A. General utility, ease of control and adaptability to the various forms of work which may be demanded of a vehicle motor. In other words, the construction which is in every way the most practical.
C. Cost, which includes the original expense of the motor,
and its connecting mechanism, and the probable annual item of repaire.
D. Economy of operation, in which shall be taken into con sideration the average cost per mile of the power required at the various speeds which may be developed.
E. General appearance and excellence of design. While it is desired that competing vehicles present as neat and elegant an appearance as possible, it should be assumed that any skilled carriage-maker can surround a practical motor with a beautiful and even luxurious frame.
The judges appointed are — General Merritt, U. S. Army, chief of the department of the Missouri, with Colonel Marshall I. Ludington as coadjutor; Prof. John P. Barrett, city electrician of Chicago, with Leland L. Summers as coadjutor, and Henry Timken, president of the National Carriage Builders Association, with C. P. Kimball as coadjutor.
The following are the official rules of the contest:—The hour of start from the junction of the Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park has been changed from 8 a.m. to 7.30 a.m.
RULES OF CONTEST.
Art. 1. The contest or race will be international in character, and any vehicle complying with the conditions may compete.
The vehicles shall have three or more running wheels, and shall derive their motive power from within themselves. No vehicle will be admitted to the competition which depends in any way upon muscular exertion except for the purpose of guidance.
Art. 2. The vehicles shall be capable of carrying at least two persons, one of whom shall be an umpire selected by the judges, the other or others may be the representatives of the owner of the vehicle. An umpire must accompany each vehicle over the route.
Art. 3. The route will be from the Midway Plaisance, Chic, via Jefferson Park and Half Day to Waukegan and from Wauke gan south through Winnetka to Lincoln Park, following the official course outlined in detail by maps which will be furnished to each contestant. Jefferson Park, Half Day, Waukegan and Winnetka are relay places, at which motive power may be re plenished.
Art. 4. There will be stationed at each relay point a time keeper, who will report the time of arrival and departure, but stoppage at relay sta ions will be optional with contestants, and no allowance will be made for delays in replenishing.
Art. 5. It is expected that each contestant will make his own arrangements for replenishing motive power, or taking advantage of the relay facilities.
The umpires will be furnished with a correct statement of sup plies, furnished at the starting point, at each relay point, and where possible of the amounts remaining after completion of course.
Art. 6. Vehicles will assemble at the junction of the Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park at 7.30 a m., Nov. 2, 1895, and take such positions as may be assigned them by the judges.
Art. 7. Each vehicle entered shall carry a card conspicuously displayed, this consisting of a white card 12 inches square pro vided with a black letter 6 inches long. Each contestant shall be designated by number. The numbers and order of starting shall be designated by the judges.
Art. 8. The starting point will be the Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park, from which point the vehicles will proceed through Washington Park and the route outlined to the corner of Halsted Street and Garfield Boulevard. Up to this point the carriages will move along without attempting to pass each other, main taining the order in which they started, and endeavoring as nearly as possible to keep the same distance apart as at the time of starting. No trial of speed will be permitted between the limits of the Park and Halsted Street. At this latter point they will halt and be started by signal from the judges.
Art. 9. Contestants may change conductors at such points as they may desire. The umpire appointed by the judges will remain with the vehicle until it finishes the contest, either by completion of the course or by withdrawal.
Art. 10. Each vehicle shall be provided with three lights. These should be of any of the standard carriage or bicycle pattern; two lights shall be placed in front of the vehicle and one red light in the rear. These lamps shall be lighted not later than 5 p. m.
Art. 11. Each vehicle shall be provided with a trumpet, fog horn or other signal capable of sounding a warning signal of approach.
Art. 12. When two vehicles going in the same direction and at different rates of speed find themselves in proximity the slower one must keep to the right and leave half of the roid available. Any vehicle attempting to prevent by maneuver the passage of any other vehicle will be disqualified. The umpire on the vehicle will be expected to enforce this condition.
Art. 13. The ordinary rules of the road must be observed by all vehicles, and in meeting ordinary vehicles it is expected that care will be exercised to ensure proper safety to the ordinary transients.
Art. 14. Any civil or penal responsibilities must rest entirely with the contestants who incur them. The judges, umpires or referees assume no responsibility of any nature whatsoever.
Art. 15. If several vehicles arrive together, or successively in front of an obstacle which necessitates the stoppage of the first vehicle, the other vehicles must stop in their order without attempting to pass each other till a distance boyoud the obstacle of one hundred yards has been covered.
Art. 16. The umpire of the first vehicle to reach the obstacle shall have the ruling power.
Art. 17. The umpire of each vehicle will take the time of arrival at an obstruction and the time of its removal. This time shall be reported to the judges.
Art. 18. In no case may two vehicles move along abreast of each other in a tri il of speed. A vehicle wishing to maintain its position must do so before proximity necessitates the surrender of right of way as per article 22.
Art. 19. The awards will be made upon the conditions of first, utility, adaptability, excellence of design, cost and economy of operation. Second, speed.
Art. 20. No vehicle will be admitted to the competition unless the safety of occupants, spectators, and users of the public high ways will be insured.
Art. 21. The judges reserve the right at their discretion to debar any vehicle which may contain elements either of danger or from its construction an evidence of weakness or general impracticability.
Art. 22. For the purpose of debarring any vehicle which may in the opinion of the judges contain elements sufficient for its rejection, preliminary trials will be held on October 29, 30, 31. All contestants must present their vehicles for examination in test as specified.
Art. 23. A detailed examination of the vehicle and its mech anism will bo made by the judges and such experts as they may select. Tests will be made to determine the economy, efficiency, etc., of the vehicles, and it is expected that owners of the vehicles will offer every facility to the judges for this purpose.
Art. 24. Any vehicle which has taken part in the recent com petitions held abroad will be allowed to compete in tho contest provided, however, that it shall be optional with the judges as to whether detailed tests upon these vehicles are to be made.
Art. 25. Inasmuch as the preliminary trials may not involve the detailed test of efficiency and economy which would be an important criterion of merit, it is understood that any vehicle which shall compete in the contest shall be placed at the disposal of the judges for subsequent tests should they desire it.
Art. 26. The subsequent tests of vehicles may be over such route, and direction posts have been placed to aid the conductors of vehicles. The conductor of the vehicle will be responsible for not following the route, and no claims will be allowed on account of delays or inconveniences experienced on account of mistaking the route. Conductors will be expected to familiarize themselves in advance, and thus avoid any trouble from these causes.
Art. 28. A time limit of thirteen hours will be set. Any vehicle failing to cover the route in thirteen hours, corrected time, will be disqualified. In computing the corrected time from the time of startine and of finishing, the reports of the umpires will be taken as to legiiimate delays experienced upon the route.
Art. 29. Unavoidxble obstacles, such as railroad trains at road crossings and other unusual obstructions in the roads, will con stitute the only grounds for an allowance of time by the judges.
Art. 30. Delavs experienced from imperfection of mechanism, brcuk-downs. difficulties in starting, or similar causes, will not constitute grounds for time allowances.
Art. 31. Any repairs which may be required along the road must be executed by the occupants of the vehicle. Outside assistance will not be allowed, the umpires excepted.
Art. 32. Any infraction of these rules may disqualify a vt hide at the option of the judges. The judges also reserve the right to modify or amend these rules.
Arnold, B. J., Chicago; Andrews, A. B., Center Point, Iowa.; Ames, D. J., Owatonna, Minn; Ames. A. C, South Chicago; Bradley, Wheeler & Co., Kansas City. Mo; Bowman, E. West, Evanston, Ill.; Barrows, C. H.. Wiilimantic. Conn.; Barcus, N.. Columbus. Ohio; Brown. W. H.. Cleveland, Ohio; Beck, C. W. Chicago; Chicago Fireproof Covering Co., H. C. Todd, Chicago; Chicago Carriage Motor Co., C. O. Hansen. Chicago; Cook & Gowdey, Chicago; Conklin, Oliver F., Dayton, Ohio; Carpenter, H. H., Chicago; Cross, E. D. (M. D.), Chicago; Cronholm & Stenwall, Chicago; Clapp. Henry W., Springfield, Mass; Davis Gasolene Engine Co , Waterloo. Iowa; Daley, M. H., Charles City. Iowa; De Freet. Thomas M., Indianapolis; Duryea Motor Wagon Co., Springfield, Mass.; De la Vergne Refrigerating Machine Co , New York; Flrick, George, Joliet, Ill; Elston, R. W., Charlevoix, Mich.; Feerrar. J. C. W., Lock Haven. Pa.; Gawley, T. R., Aurora, Neb ; Guilford. R. W., Auburn, Ind.; Hildebrand. J. A . Chicago: Hartley Power Supply Co., Chicago; Hertel, Max, Chicago; Hill & Cummins, Chicago; Hall. John W., & Sons, Jacksonville, Ill.; Haynes & Apperson, Indiana Natural Gas Co., Kokomo, Ind.; Hagaman. J. D.. Adrian, Mich.; Holmes. Lyman S., Gloversville, N. Y.; Haviland. Frank W., N. Y.; Holtbn, Milton E., Chicago; Flachs, W. J. H., Quincy, 111.; Lewis. George W.. Chicago; Lasher, R. E., St. Louis, Mo.; Leppo Brothers, Belleville. Ohio: Laporte Carriage, Laporte. Ind; Lowery, V. L. D., Eaton, 11l.; M’Donald, P. E. & Brennan. W. F., Chicago; Alliance Carriage Co. Cincinnati, Ohio; Moehn, J. N.. Milwaukee; Meredith. Edwin. Batavia, Ill.; Mills, M. B , Chicago; Morris & Salom, Philadelphia; M’Arthur, A. W., Rockford, Ill.; Mueller, IL. Decatur, Ill; Mills & Searls, Chicago; Maguire Power Generating Co., Chicago; Norton, Fred. G., Waukegan, Ill: Praul, John E., Philadelphia; Pierce Engine Co., Racine, Wis.; Parks, W. J., (Ellinger & Parks), La Salle, Ill.; Patterson, William, Chicago; Pierce-Crouch Engine Co , New Brighton. Pa,; Pierce. W. A., Sistersville, W Va.; Roberts, S. W., Chicago; Kiel Import (Benz motor). Chicago; Columbia Perambulator Co., Chicago; Robertson, G. W., Mount Vernon. Ind.: Radford. W. Co. J., Oshkosh, Wis.; Strong & Gibbons, Chicago; Smith. Ira D., Pittsburg. Pa.; Stone & Maynard, Avonia. Pa.; Smith. Otis E., Hartford, Conn.; Shaver. Joseph, Milwaukee; Sturges Electric Motocycle, Co., Chicago; Schoening. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.; Schindler, A. J., Chicago; Templeton, John, Chicago; Thomas Kane & Co., Chicago; Taylor; Flwood E., Fitchburg, Mass ; Vanall, Frank, Vincennes. Ind.: Verret, N. J., Pine Bluff, Ark.; Woolverton, G. C, Buffalo, N.Y.; Sulkyette Road Co., Decatur, 111 ; Y. Wayne & Cart Wilkins, Vernon H, Evanston, Ill: Booth, Carlos C, Youngstown, Ohio; Okey, Perry, Columbus, Ohio: Simons, W. A. Chicago; Tinkham Cycle Co., N. Y.; Wilson, David H., Chicago.1
The Horseless Age, December, 1895
Notwithstanding that Chicago had been visited by a severe snow-storm the day before the date set for the motor vehicle contest, and the snow and slush lay from six to eight inches deep over the course, the judges were true to their word and ordered the contestants to the starting point at Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park.
On the previous evening eleven inventors had signified their intention of engaging in the race, but at 9 o’clock the next morning only six wagons had put in an appearance. The others being deterred by the terrible condition of the roads, or by the incompleteness of their machines.
The wagons which appeared at the starting point were:
The electrobat of Morris & Salom; the gasolene wagon of the Duryea Motor Wagon Co.; the Benz wagon of the H. Mueller Manufacturing Co., Decatur, De La Vergne Refrigerating Machine Co.; the Roger wagon, owned by R. H, Macy & Co., and the electric wagon of Harold Sturges.
Morris and Salom were unable to make arrangements for supply stations over the entire length of the course, and announced that they would simply make a short run to show that the electric wagon could make satisfactory headway through deep snow. They made the run to Lincoln Park and part of the way back, when their supply of batteries gave out and they were compelled to stop. Henry G. Morris conducted and Hiram Percy Maxim acted as umpire.
The Duryeas came to the scene of the race, and returned after the finish by their own power. They were unable to complete the new and improved wagons on which they have been engaged for about two months, and were obliged to enter the old experimental wagon, which was built two years ago, has been run several thousand miles over ordinary roads, and was forced into the ditch with such disastrous consequences during the Consolation Race, November 2nd. The Duryea company were aware of its weakness, and scarcely dared hope that it would carry them over the course. But it did, and brought them first to the winning post.
At 8.55 the judges gave the word to the Duryeas, and the wagon passed out through the crowd at a lively pace. The occupants being J. Frank Duryea, and Arthur W. White, the umpire appointed for the vehicle.
Shortly afterward the Benz wagon of the De La Vergne Co., was sent off under the guidance of Frederick C. Haas, and with James F. Bate as umpire, but the wheels slipped in the deep snow, and Mr. Haas decided to withdraw from the competition.
The Macy wagon started at 8.59 with J. O’Connor as operator and Lieutenant Samuel Rodman, Jr., as umpire. The deep snow of the Midway Plaisance proved too much for this wagon, as it had for the Benz wagon, and it had to be assisted over the bad spot by Mr. O’Connor.
The Sturges electric wagon started at 9.01, carrying Harold Sturges, the owner, and T. T. Bennett, the umpire, but the Mueller wagon owing to a delay in reaching the starting point, did not get off until six minutes past ten. Oscar Mueller conducted, and Charles B. King acted as umpire.
The speed of the wagons varied according to the condition of the roads. Where snow was deep or slush was plenty they toiled through the mess as best they could, but on certain stretches, conditions were more favorable for speed, and tome lively sprinting was witnessed by the thousands of spectators who lined the way, and cheered heartily as each contestant passed.
As this was the first opportunity motor wagon inventors had had of testing the operation of the rubber tire in snow, some misgivings were felt, and an odd device was resorted to to prevent slipping. The tires of the Mueller and Duryea wagons were wound with twine under the impression that this would give a firmer grip on the snow. The occupants of the Duryea wagon soon dispensed with this make shift appeared to them unnecessary. One of the occupants Mueller wagon also busied himself in sanding the belt time to time to prevent its slipping.
The Sturges wagon reached Lincoln Park at 12.15, and soon afterward abandoned the race, the deep snow of the Midway having proved so great a tax upon its motor that the conductor had to make frequent stops to keep it from burning out.
The Duryea wagon led from the beginning of the race, but the steering apparatus broke, necessitating a delay during which the Macy wagon passed the competitor. The Macy wagon led until Evanston was reached, where the Duryea again took the lead. The trip of the Macy machine was spiced with adventure. The vehicle collided with a street car in the city, and not very long afterwards it disputed the way with a heavy coach, and came out of the encounter with a broken steering gear and other infirmities, which speedily became chronic, and brought the machine to a stand-still finally at 6.15 P. M., twenty-five minutes behind the Duryea.
The Duryea machine arrived at the finish at 7.18, ten hours and twenty-eight minutes from the time of starting. Taking into account the delays for repairs, etc., the Duryea wagon made an average of about 7½ miles an hour, the actual time the vehicle was in motion being 7½ hours. Some time was also lost by losing the course at Lawrence Avenue on the return.
The starting line of the race in Jackson Park on November 28, 1895, showing the six entered “motocycles.”
The judges after several days consultation made the following awards:
An award of $3,000 to the Duryea Motor Wagon Co., of Springfield, Mass., for best performance in the road race, for range of speed and pull, with compactness of design.
An award of $1,500 to the H. Mueller & Co. motocycle, of Decatur, Ill., for performance in the road race and economy in operation.
An award of $500 to the R. H. Macy & Co. motocycle, of New York, for showing made in the road race.
An award of $500 to the Sturges electric motocycle, of Chicago, for showing made in the road race.
An award of the Times-Herald gold medal to the Morris & Salon electrobat, of Philadelphia, for best showing made in the official tests, for safety, ease of control, absence of noise, vibration, heat or odor, cleanliness and general excellence of design and workmanship.
The following special awards were made by the committee on tests for meritorious points in design :
An award of $200 to the G. W. Lewis motocycle, of Chicago, for friction-driving device and brake, and a reduction gear for increasing speed.
An award of $150 to the Haynes & Appeson gasolene motocycle, of Kokomo, Ind., for plan of preventing vibration by balance of driving engines.
An award of $100 to the Max Hertel gasolene motocycle, of Chicago, for a device for starting the motor from the operator’s seat in the vehicle.
An award of $50 to the De la Vergne Refrigerating Machine Co. of New York, for counterbalance on engine.
There were present as judges and associates, Professor John P. Barrett, city electrician; Leland L. Summers, editor of Electrical Engineering; C. P. Kimball, the well-known carriage manufacturer; Colonel Marshall I. Ludington, of the United States army; J. Allen Hornsby, secretary of the board of judges. Major-General Wesley Merritt was represented by Colonel Ludington, and Henry Tinken, of St. Louis, by Mr. Kimball.
The Chicago News Herald Awards.
On November 29th, Morris & Salom, manufacturers of the “electrobat,” wrote a lengthy letter to the judges of the Times-Herald Race, in which they claimed the following points of superiority in their vehicles:
1st. — Absolute safety.
2nd — No noise.
3rd.— -No vibration.
4th.— No heat.
5th. — No odor.
6th.— Simplicity of construction.
7th.— Ease of handling.
8th. — Perfect control.
9th. — Cleanliness.
10th. — Economy of power.
11th. — Economy of operation.
13th. — Elegance of design, appearance and freedom from mechanical appearance.
These points they took up and argued ing that they were entitled to the award.
The Horseless Age, December, 1895
Our wagon had been loaded into the car at Springfield, Mass., in a big hurry and in a big rain. It had reached Chicago late on Wednesday and the car got lost in the flood of Thanksgiving stuff in the railroad yards, and could hardly be got at for unloading purposes. At last we got it up to the platform and unloaded. It was too cold to look the thing over on the platform, so we started the motor and moved over to a nearby carriage repository. Here we saw that everything was in running shape and as it was already late, we hurried up to the testing room. Here we expected to clean the wagon up but we were soon put on the testing machine and had no opportunity to do so. We were kept on the rack without supper till after midnight, and when we turned in at one o’clock, with orders to be called at six, we were almost too tired to sleep. Six o’clock found us up before the call reached us, and after forcing ourselves to swallow a little something in the way of breakfast, we reached the testing room a little after seven o’clock. We filled up with gasolene and started for the start, all the other wagons having already gone. A pleasant half hour’s run down the Cottage Grove car tracks brought us to the famous Midway. In making several turns we noticed that the left wheel and the steering lever did not seem to synchronize, but an examination failed to show any way of correcting the trouble in time yet ours before the start. So we simply trusted to luck and tried to forget that our steering was not all right. As we turned down the Midway, a kind spectator informed us: “One is just ahead of you there. It has been stuck and in the snow for the last twenty minutes.” We looked saw a Benz wagon crossing the Midway, evidently hunting for an easier street to get to the start on. Our wheels kept turning and seemed to slip very little so we kept on through the Midway, thinking that if we could not get over to the start, we could not get back over it after the start, and a few minutes later we drew up at the starting point, being the first to arrive except one that had been hauled there on a dray. Shortly after eight we turned our wagon around and got it in position for the start, and at 8.55, our wagon in the charge of the inventor’s brother, J. Frank Duryea, with Arthur W. White as umpire, was started. It was soon lost to view behind the crowd near the Illinois Central tracks, and our interest centered in the De la Vergne wagon, of Benz model, started one minute later. Scarcely had it got beyond the crowd at the tracks until a commotion there indicated something of interest and we started down that way. Before reaching the scene, the Macy wagon, also of Benz model, passed us and we met the Muller, a Benz with some changes, being hauled by a team to the starting point. When we got to the scene of interest, we found a dense crowd and asked the first one handy:
“What is the matter?”
“All stuck in the snow except the first one,” was the answer, and going further we found a good natured crowd with their shoulders to the helpless wagons, shoving them along to the slogan:
“It is a good thing; push it along.” By this time the two electric wagons had arrived and found themselves in like difficulty.
While the heavier one was pushed slowly along by the crowd, the driver of the other said:
“It’s against the rules to receive outside help, but” (sotto voce) “I guess you had better push us.” At this the crowd laid hold, and the sight of four motor vehiclesmpropelled by man power saddened the enthusiasts but tickled the cynics. We did not wait to see whether the sixth wagon fared any better, (for it did not start for over an hour and rumor says it also had to be pushed) but caught a train far down town where a light sleigh and a splendid team of horses were awaiting us.
On the train we speculated as to how many would get through and what time they would make. The writer felt that to hold the four mile speed in the worst places, and the intermediate speed in anything like decent going, and as the other wagons had but two changes of speed to our three we could gain on them in spite of themselves. “Barring accidents, we will win,” was an axiom rather than a boast for we had faith in our motor, our gears and our steering. We expected our wagon to reach Van Buren Street in about an hour and a quarter, and were both surprised and pleased to see it roll into sight in a little less than one hour from the start.
The waiting crowd cheered and we swung our hats as it passed us. We then fell in behind it and let our horses move themselves to keep up. Around the corner and up on the Rush Street Bridge it went without any slacking of speed, where some of our followers got stalled. It was gradually gaining on us as it speeded over when—Horrors! See that left steering wheel refusing to answer! The wagon
stopped. We drove up and investigated. Either in the accident of November second or in shipment, this portion of the steering had been strained and unable to hold out longer, here it gave way. While no more serious than some of the breaks that occurred to sleighs later in the day, it seemed serious because of the fact that we were in a contest and every minute allowed the other fellow to come closer. With a monkey wrench the broken part was removed and the operator started to look up a shop where some tools could be had, for we did not have a machine shop with us. The rules forbid outside help but did not forbid borrowing facilities. Being a holiday the shops were closed and it took a deal of looking to find any open, but finally one was found and the damage repaired in short order, not perfectly, but sufficiently good to get along with. Fifty-five minutes after the stop, the wagon was off again with a steering that steered, even if it was not perfect. In the meantime the Macy wagon had passed us and gotten thirty-five minutes ahead while a third wagon had rolled into sight several blocks back.
J. Frank Duryea (left) and Arthur W. White during the 1895 Chicago Times-Herald race. Onlookers stand in background.
As we got into the deep snow of Lincoln Park our horses gained on the wagon and we followed it without difficulty. Here the faulty steering was quite apparent and the wagon could not make the speed it otherwise would have made. Still it kept up a good gait and we believed we were gaining on the wagon ahead. We occasionally hailed an interested spectator and from him learned how many minutes ahead the first wagon was. It soon became plainly evident that we were gaining, and after passing Lawrence Street we felt that our horses must be rested, so we watched the wagon disappear to the north while we turned over to the west in search of a hostelry on Clark Street where man and beast could be fed. We estimated that it would be 1.25 P. M. before the wagon reached the second relay and it was a question as to whether it would lead or be led at that time. Some wild hurras arose when at 1.10 it came in sight and drew up where we were waiting, with a clear road for at least a mile behind and nobody ahead. A look over the motor, some cool water in the place of the warm, an assurance that there was fuel sufficient and a bite to eat for the operator and umpire took about ten minutes, and again it was off down Clark Street at a speed too fast for our horses which were ready but unable to follow. About a mile down, Ashland Avenue leaves Clark Street and leads due south while Clark bears off to the east and Lincoln Park. We turned off Clark Street in the hopes of getting better going, expecting to see the wagon ahead of us on Ashland. It was not there nor had anybody seen it. We drove over towards Clark and inquired, and then back toward Ashland. Still no wagon. Again over to Clark and by merest luck found a man who had seen it going down Clark near Diversay. Others confirmed this report and we started that way. At Diversay we found the Sturges wagon waiting for a new supply of batteries, having used up power enough to have driven it sixty miles on decent roads and only covered about a dozen miles. We inquired of Mr. S , and he said our wagon had come down there by mistake and had turned over on Diversay Street as being the nearest way back to the course. We saw a crowd far down the street and went that way. In the meantime the wagon had gone down Clark Street to Lawrence where it should have turned over to Ashland, and there the operator and umpire had discussed the matter and concluded that there was no turn there, for there was no sign in sight to indicate a corner. So they had followed Clark Street, and not till they had found themselves more than a mile to the east of and away from the course, did they realize that they were last and had lost more than two miles of distance even by the shortest possible route back to the course. They had also lost in the character of the road, for while Ashland had been scraped by snowplows, Diversey was almost unbroken and this made a loss of time that would not have been recorded if they had not lost the course. To add to the ill luck, one of the electric fixtures gave trouble, and when we caught up to them the umpire was guarding the wagon while the operator was fanning a pile of charcoal with a piece of tin in an attempt to heat the part sufficiently to bend it. This was finally done and the journey resumed, after nearly an hour’s delay. A few minutes brought us to Belmont Avenue with our wagon a half mile ahead and some other wagon in sight behind. What wagon was it? It was not gaining on our team, and so our wagon was gaining on it. Inquiry brought out the fact that our wagon still led and we began to feel that unless some delay more serious than those already experienced should come in, we would win without barring accidents. At California Avenue we turned off the course and took a short cut for the course at Humboldt Park. This enabled us to get ahead of the wagon and saved our team several miles. We had scarcely gotten there when the wagon showed up and led the way to the south without stopping. The deep snow had scarcely been broken except by sleighs which packed a narrow roadway, but not hard enough for a wagon nor wide enough. As a result the wagon slewed fiom side to side as the wheels slipped off the packed portion or cut through it. Worse going for a wagon could hardly have been made out of ten inches of dense packed snow, and yet this is what the first wagon had to fight through the whole way down the west side. An army of sleighs and rigs followed and occasionally one would get in the front and in the way. There was much enthusiasm and many snowballs. We knew that the cavalcade were making a good road for the next fellow, but that did not worry us, for we believed we were going faster than he could anyhow. We passed Humboldt Park and turned west along a trackless waste of snow toward Garfield Park. Suddenly the machinery went “b-r-r-r-r.” Our hats climbed up on our hair, probably to get a better view ; the operator and umpire jumped out and the writer rushed up to see what was wrong. While the operator looked in at one side the writer looked in at the other and found a broken tooth in a gear-wheel. “The teeth are all off the driving gear” he shouted, and we felt that we were out of the contest.
Oscar Mueller (Second Place Winner on the far right) with Race Officials Colonel Ludington, Henry Timken & C. P. Kimball in his Mueller-Benz
Not so with the operator, however, and he proceeded to examine the gear. He found a chip flaked off one of the teeth and lodged in the space between the teeth, causing a jump at every revolution. This was quickly removed and all went forward as if nothing had happened. At the park, no sign could be seen and the wrong road was taken which led around a circle and back nearly to where it started. More lost dis tance. We then decided to try to keep the team ahead to hunt the way. In the deep snow where sleighing was better than wagoning and neither good, this could be done, and from there on we led the way. At the viaduct over the railroad at the south side of Garfield Park, a large crowd assembled to see the wagon refuse to climb. The writer walked where he could watch the driving wheels to see if the wheels slipped. On the steep grade with a wet icy surface they certainly would slip if they were likely to do so anywhere, but they did not. The wagon went up without any trouble or effort, and was the only one to do so without being pushed. By this time dark threatening clouds accompanying a warm south wind began to appear, and most of the cavalcade left us before reaching Douglas Park, through which we threaded our way almost alone. We here overtook a Times-Herald man, who had almost tired of waiting, and with him to lead the way kept on plowing our track toward the south. The warm wind made riding more pleasant than earlier in the day, but a drop of water occasionally suggested a shower, and the snow was still stiff.
Western Avenue Boulevard is ordinarily as fine a drive as one need wish for, but on that night it seemed some bit of original prairie, and not till we had nearly reached its southern end near 55th Street did we begin to notice that the snow had softened under the warm wind sufficiently to begin to act as slush and permit the wagon to cut through and roll on better surface. The speed visibly increased, and as we began to get into traveled portions of 55th Street it became necessary to urge our tired horses. A short stop to see that there was fuel sufficient, and a few short delays caused by passing trains was all that delayed us. A few words of cheer enlivened the lone some places, while the shouts and exclamations of the out door populace made things merry where civilization was found. Down through Washington Park, and along the Mid way to the start, we rolled at a speed almost too much for our tired teams, and at 7.18 the trip was completed. Congratula tions all around. We had won the first road contest in America. We had proven the motor wagon to be superior to the horse on roads decidedly unfavorable to wheels. We had forever answered the objections of ultra conservative people to the effect that the motor wagon could not be of use except on good roads ; we had opened a new era ; we had set forth a new type of vehicle. No contest or trip over summer roads, or under pleasant skies could have demonstrated our claim for our vehicle as did this trip.
Our stops for all purposes amounted to nearly three hours, so that in less than seven and one-half hours we had covered more than fifty-six miles of pre-determined road, made very bad by one of the worst snow-storms known in the north-west. An average of seven and one-half miles per hour could not be maintained by the average horse over a good road for that distance, and over these roads it was simply impossible, but the wagon did it. Our team were exceptionally good roadsters, and had covered but about three-fifths of the total distance, and they were so tired it was cruel to urge them ; they like the wagon had had a hard job, for the snow was stiffer and deeper and much harder to get through at any given point when we went through it, than it was an hour and one-half later when the second wagon came along. No cavalcade had broken our way, nor had a kindly sun or warm wind lessened its harshness. Cyclers and motor wagon people appreciate these things, but the average horse-driver does not ; we felt them ; we were too hungry and tired to say anything about them. The umpire was willing to try a sleigh ride, so the writer changed places with him, and the wagon was at once started toward the stables at 16th Street, which it had left twelve hours before. The writer offered to take the steering and rest the operator, but was met by the statement that there was no fatigue from that source, and that so far as muscular eifort was concerned, the trip could be repeated at once. An un eventful run brought us to the stables, the last to leave them in the morning and the only one to make the trip and return at will the same night. We had covered fully seventy miles since leaving there in the morning, and our motor had made turns enough to have carried us three times that far on decent roads. We had power to spare at all places, and had no occa sion to get out and push, and we were the only ones with this record. Our motor had not stopped in the last twenty miles, and when we pushed the button to stop it, there was no indi cation that it was not ready for the same work again. When the doors had closed behind it. we left it. There was no muddy unhitching, no cleaning, no feeding ; it was our faith ful servant. At our will it stopped, and at our will it would start again, and barring accidents it would do what we asked.
The knowledge of this gave a pleasure not found connected with horses. We were born and brought up where horse flesh was plentiful, and the back if a horse was our second cradle. We know something about the horse we have petted his mane gently and with a heart full of love and poetry only to be thrown over his head and and walked on at a moment when we thought not. We have spent years educating him, and felt that he was a most docile and intelligent animal only to be thrown out of the buggy by sudden fright at a scrap of paper. Per haps we did not think of these things as we hurried toward supper, but we were thankful our rig was not dependent on horse-flesh.
The next morning we were put on the testing machines sort. without cleaning or attention of any sort. This was not good mechanical practice, nor was it conducive to a fine showing, but it was practical. It was what the motor wagon must expect to get. In that condition we managed to turn the wheels at a speed of 27 miles per hour and developed an actual 4-horse power.
When the tests were concluded we got in and drove to a carriage repository where we left the wagon to be crated for shipment to its home at Springfield, Mass. Its career of use fulness is probably ended. It was designed two years ago, and built as an experimental job usually is, in a cut and try manner. Changes and modifications have been made in it until it is a patched job throughout, and we do not care to damage our machines of later and better design by putting this one out as a sample of our work, although it has never had need for horse muscle so long as its own wheels were unbroken, and it has met and more than matched the best devices yet shown in its line. Had we been able to submit one of our later wagons now nearly complete, our victory would have been greater, but our joy would have been less.
There will be other contests but none will ever attract the attention or produce the effect on public opinion that the first one produced.
Long live the motor wagon!
Chas. E. Duhyea.
Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1895
Between 9 and 10 o’clock yesterday morning, while crowds of enthusiasts were hastening to the football games, seven motocycles plowed out of Jackson Park for a fifty-five mile race through the snow and slush that lay between the starting point and Evanston. At 9 o’clock last night but two of the horseless vehicles crossed the finish line. The other five were lost—wandering aimlessly about the streets of Chicago or lying wrecked in some gutter along the way.
The Duryea machine, which in the last race was ditched several miles from anywhere, finished first. The Benz-Mueller craft came in an hour and a half later. Its pilot, however, claims the trophy on the ground the Duryea machine was pushed up the hill in the finish. This is denied by the occupants of the Duryea motocycle, and there will be a contest.
The time of the winner was 10:17 for the fifty-five miles. No records, but various parts of the mechanism were broken.
The Duryea machine was first away at 9:01 a. m. No. 22, owned by R. H. Macy & Co., started three minutyes later, and the others straggled off at a few minutes until 10:06, when the Benz-Mueller machine started. After being pushed up the hill at the start the horseless vehicles warmed to their work and reached Rush street without mishap.
Nothing but a carette can successfully combat that roadway, however, and the Duryea machine came to grief at Ontario street. The Macy machine succumbed temporarily at Erie street. After a half hour’s delay the damage was repaired and they took up the stern chase.
The Duryea machine at Sheridan road and Grace street, but was hauled out and started anew. Three of the motocycles reached Evanston after 2 o’clock a. m. and were headed homeward.
Meanwhile the judges had become disgusted and quit and no one witnessed the finish but two reporters.
Saturday Evening Post, January 4, 1941
IN MAY, 1895, in the Chicago Club, I picked up a copy of L’Illustration, of Paris, containing an account, with illustrations, of an automobile race between Paris and Bordeaux which had taken place a few weeks before. It gave me an idea. On my return to The Times Herald office I purchased a copy of L’Illustration and called into my room Frederick U. Adams, known to the newspaper profession as Grizzly Adams. Mr. Adams had a mechanical twist of mind, rare in a reporter. I showed him the report of the French race and suggested that The Times Herald get up a contest in Chicago of horseless vehicles. Adams was enthusiastic and at once drew up a plan which I indorsed and published. The Times Herald offered five thousand dollars in prizes and five thousand dollars to pay the preliminary expenses.
The race was to be run July 4, 1895. Some sixty contestants entered the lists. The interest of inventors was great. Most of them were without financial means and made my life a burden, showing me their drawings and asking for money to develop their ideas, so I asked President Cleveland to have the War Department take charge of the experiments and race. He instructed General Miles to appoint someone to supervise the contest.
My appeal to Mr. Cleveland was based on the belief that the greatest use of the motor wagon would be for army and commercial trucks. The Times Herald made the prediction that in twenty years horses would be used for pleasure vehicles only.
The President approved of General Miles’ appointment of Gen. Wesley Merritt. He came to Chicago and I turned over the management to him. General Merritt chose Henry Timken, a carriage manufacturer, and Prof. John P. Barrett, head of the Electricity Department of Chicago, to act as judges with him; and as assistant judges, Leland L. Summers and John Lundie, civil engineers; Col. M. J. Ludington, United States Army; Dr. Allan Hornsby, and C. F. Kimball, carriage manufacturer of Chicago.
A testing apparatus was set up. It was unique from the fact that the result to be obtained had never been sought anywhere else in the world. It was designed by Leland L. Summers, the twenty-six-year-old editor of Electrical Engineering, and John Lundie, a young Englishman. Upon the two young men fell the bulk of the work of showing the consumption of fuel and the efficiency of the machines. A platform with a 15 per cent incline was built and each machine entering was subject to the test.
Ditched by a Nervous Farmer
When July Fourth arrived there was only one machine ready—the Haynes-Apperson, of Kokomo, Indiana. As it was impossible to have a contest with one machine, the time was extended to Labor Day, in September. In August I was again requested to postpone the date, sa fixed Thanksgiving Day, November twenty-eighth.
There was considerable opposition to calling the homeless carriage “automobile,” as the name was too Frenchy, so The Times Herald offered five hundred dollars for a name, and “motocycle” was awarded the prize.
October 15, 1895, two ambitious young men started a magazine, calling it The Motocycle. It was the first of its kind published in America. The Horseless Age, of New York, was started November first, fifteen days later. The Motocycle issued two numbers only, October and November, and gave up the ghost. There was so little general interest in the new motive power, outside of the manufacturers of carriages and buggies, that the subscribers were few, and advertising nil.
The Motocycle Magazine, November 1895
A purse of five hundred dollars was, while waiting for the Thanksgiving Day event, put up for a race between the H. Mueller Benz Gasoline Motor, of Decatur, Illinois, and the Duryea Gasoline Motor Wagon, of Springfield, Massachusetts. The course was to Waukegan, Illinois, and back, a distance of ninety-two miles, with a time limit of thirteen hours. The start was made November second, from Washington Park. The race ended at the Grant Monument in Lincoln Park. Mr. Mueller was awarded the prize, making the round trip in nine and a half hours.
The Duryea motor ran into a ditch to avoid a farmer who turned his horses to the left instead of the right. He said he was so scared to see a buggy without any horses hitched to it coming up the road behind him, he did not know what he was doing. To avoid a collision Mr. Duryea, who was driving this motor, drove into the ditch, hoping to climb up the slight embankment, but broke a wheel and gave up the race. He hauled his machine to the nearest depot and shipped it to Chicago, where it was repaired.
This car entered the real contest on Thanksgiving Day, winning the first prize, two thousand dollars.
The night before Thanksgiving, two or three inches of snow fell, making a severe test for the motors. The Times Herald arranged with the park commissioners to give the machines the right of way, as up to that time they had been barred from the boulevards to avoid frightening the horses. The official course was from the World’s Fair German Building, in Jackson Park, to Evanston and return, fifty-three and a half miles.
Chicago Tribune, November 27, 1895
The evening before the race eleven competitors out of the sixty-odd entrants declared they would start, but when the motors were sent on their fifty-three-and-a-half-mile run only six reached the starting point, the others breaking down en route.
The six lined up at the post were:
- The Duryea Wagon Motor Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, using gasoline;
The De La Vergne Refrigerator Machine Company, gasoline;
The Morris and Salom, Philadelphia, electric;
H. Mueller & Co., Decatur, Illinois, gasoline;
R. H. Macy, New York, gasoline;
The Sturges Electric, of Chicago
America’s First Automobile Race
Sponsored by The Chicago Times-Herald
28 November 1895
50th Anniversary Map
Racing at Five Miles an Hour
THE Haynes-Apperson machine, now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, as America’s first homeless carriage, started for Jackson Park early in the morning, fully intending to be in the race. In making a turn at Indiana Avenue and Thirty-eighth Street to avoid a street car, it smashed a front wheel and had to give up entering the race. At 8:30 A.M. several thousand people were waiting at Jackson Park and the Midway to watch the contest. Gasoline engines were to be pitted against electric motors. The boulevards were crowded with rigs and cutters, dashing up and down, looking for the homeless carriages. At 8:35 the word “go” was given by Judge Kimball, and J. F. Duryea jumped into his wagon and passed through the crowd. It won the first prize by returning to the starting point at 7:18 P.M., doing the fifty-three and a half miles in ten hours and twenty-three minutes, an average of five and a quarter miles an hour.
A few minutes after the Duryea machine left for Evanston the Mueller was cheered by the crowd as it started. It returned to the starting post at 8:53 P.M., crossing the line second in the race, and winning second prize.
The thousands lining the boulevards were not greatly impressed with the future of the motor car. In the first place, the love of the horse, an instinct of the human race, prejudiced the crowd against the ugly motors, which were generally buggies with the shafts taken off. Again, the constant breakdowns did not add to the interest of the new toy, as it was called.
The Chicago Tribune, with ridicule, was the only paper that mentioned the race at all and echoed, I believe, the general sentiment by printing three inches of space under the caption Old Dobbin is Still in the Ring. (Ed. Tribune article follows.)
The four other machines that started broke down and did not finish the race. Out of the sixty-odd entrants of America’s first horseless-carriage race only two were able to go the fifty-three and a half miles with an average speed of five and a quarter miles an hour.
In 1914 I visited Detroit and carried a copy of The Motocycle of 1895. A friend suggested I show the magazine to Henry Ford, and arranged a meeting by telephone. After lunch I showed Mr. Ford the book. He went over it page by page with eager interest and remarked, “I never wanted anything so badly in my life as to go to that race, but I could not-get anyone to loan me the car fare to Chicago.” My banker friend said the day he made the remark Mr. Ford had twenty-eight million dollars in bank subject to his check.
Official Report of the Race
FREDERICK U. ADAMS, who had charge of the race for H. H. Kohlsaat, said that the contest was satisfactory in every particular and that the tests threw those made recently in France far in the rear. “The Paris-Bordeaux race,” he commented, “was worthless from a scientific standpoint, but the contest of today may result in the establishment of good data concerning what many believe the vehicle of the future. The progress of the preliminary tests has been watched by thousands of manufacturers in every part of the world, and there is no doubt that there will be a great interest in the manufacture of these horseless vehicles, now that it has been demonstrated what can be done with them.”
THE victory of the Duryea machine was all the more remarkable as this was the one which broke down in the minor race a month before. Under the box of the vehicle and at the rear there were two chains which broke several times, but Mr. Duryea succeeded in repairing them so as to avoid much delay. This inventor was working on two machines which he expected to enter for the race in the place of the one which was successful, but the time was not long enough to allow of their completion.
The Morris and Salom, Philadelphia, electric, and the Sturges Electric Motocycle, Chicago, broke down shortly after leaving the starting post and before they got out of Jackson Park, leaving only four in the race when the motocycles reached the Michigan Boulevard.
The first motocycle to come into view at the first relay station, Grace Street and Sheridan Drive, several miles from the starting point, was the R. H. Macy carriage.
Several minutes’ stop was made while the operator looked over his machinery. The wagon had butted into the rear end of a street car it was following too closely and this had thrown the gear out of shape.
Twenty-two minutes later the Duryea motocycle passed without stopping or even slacking its speed. The umpire yelled out as this wagon bowled along the Sheridan Drive going northward: “How far ahead is the other fellow?” A policeman told “Twenty minutes, son,” “We’ll overhaul him pretty soon,” said the man in the wagon.
At Evanston great interest was shown in the race. A large number of people gathered near the Industrial School and received the first corners with cheers. The Macy machine was then slightly in the lead. Two blocks farther on, just after they had turned north on Forest Avenue, the Duryea motocycle was pressing the leader, and in accordance with the rules of the contest the Macy drew to one side and allowed the faster competitor to pass. The groups of people along Forest Avenue applauded the unusual sight of one homeless carriage forging ahead of a rival. Up the gentle incline from Forest to Chicago Avenue the motocycles ran easily. Shouts of encouragement from the spectators greeted them along Davis Street as they made the turn on Chicago Avenue and started upon the return trip to Jackson Park.
Following the progress of the motocycles was a cutter containing Frederick C. Hass, who had abandoned the race with the De La Vergne machine at Michigan Boulevard and Sixteenth Street. In crossing the tracks of the railroad near Calvary Cemetery the cutter was just ahead of the Macy machine. The sleigh’s runner caught in a frog and the occupants of the cutter were thrown on the tracks. Before they had time to pick themselves up and count bruises the Macy wagon came along. The steering gear of the motocycle had given out and as the wagon came opposite the overturned sleigh it switched suddenly into the cutter. No damage was done, however, with the exception of a few bruises, and the motocycle passed along.
While coming back through Rogers Park the Macy carriage met a hack which did not give the right of way. In trying to turn out, the tire of the motocycle slipped and its front wheel collided with the rear wheel of the hack. By the collision four spokes were badly chipped and the steering gear bent so as to be almost useless. Fortunately the gauge of the vehicle was the same in width as the street-car tracks, and by keeping the car track it managed to reach the second relay station a mile farther on.
The third and last motocycle to pass the second relay station was the Mueller machine. Several stops had been made to oil and to fix the clutch, which had been bent by the rough roads. After replenishing the fuel and repairing, the machine started again and was working smoothly as it disappeared around a curve in Clark Street.
Duryea Wagon Motor. Winner of The Times Herald First Prize
Duryea Reaches Douglas Park
WET and cold, darkness already coming on, and not a motocycle in sight, the small boys and the little girls and the older folks went home. Consequently when, a few minutes before six o’clock, the Duryea motor came through Douglas Park, laboring with a very bad roadway, there was no one to greet it on California Avenue but a representative of the Times-Herald. Ahead of the machine drove the umpire, and after the good wheeling on California Avenue was found he had a lively time keeping ahead of the vehicle. On Thirty-fourth Street and the first approaches to Western Avenue the roadbed was comparatively hard, and the motor made magnificent time, traveling one pace at the rate of eight miles an hour with ease. Lacking spectators, except here and there a solitary workman on his way home, or the belated watchman of one of the ill-smelling soap factories of the district hastening to his odorous place of duty, the men on the motor gave vent to war whoops, cheers, cat calls and other manifestations of joy over the victory they were winning. Western Avenue Boulevard was not so easy going. The path was poorly broken and the underbed rough. Progress to Fifty-fifth Street was slow and tedious, but the motor held to her work without a break. As the boulevard was turned, onto the final run, on the home stretch the cry rang out “This is 5:5:55.”
To Ashland Avenue but one sleigh was passed. The darkness was on, and hidden behind two horse-moving rigs the motocycle was comparatively unnoticed. But at Halstead a woman crossing the street with an escort caught sight of the strange rig and jumped back from the crossing, frightened. On the opposite corner at the drug store a crowd of men cheered. Young boys began to chase the motocycle and shout, but they could not keep up.
No delays were met with but stoppage for gasoline and the holding of the motor at the crossing of the Fort Wayne Road by passing trains for four minutes. After this the run to South Park and then to the starting line of the morning was uneventful. Not fifty people saw the last stages of the finish or knew that the Duryea had established a world’s record in the capacity of a motocycle to conquer even King Winter himself. It was just 7:18 when Frank Duryea threw himself out of the seat of the motor and announced the end. His hand was grasped by the few who saw him cross the line. The congratulations were hearty. The crowd of travelers were hungry. The Duryea was wheeled about and started for her quarters on Sixteenth Street.
At 8:53, with John Lundy, one of the judges, holding the watch, the Mueller motor crossed the line, second in the race, and, considering the lateness of the hour at which she started, really only twenty-four or twenty-five minutes behind the Duryea. Her journey through the parks and boulevards of the city proper was even more lonesome than that of the Duryea to the spectators. An enthusiast might be found at some point who had waited all the afternoon for the sight, but these were few. The gayeties of the evening had called away the large and jolly crowds of the morning, and only the officials of the race and the reporters saw the end of the great battle against the snow and a too kindly sun.
Lieutenant Samuel Rodman, umpire for the Macy motocycle, reported shortly after twelve o’clock that the Macy had been compelled to quit the race at California and Ogden avenues at 6:15 P.M. At that time they were only twenty-five minutes behind the Duryea machine, and were ahead of the Mueller motocycle. Their motor gave out at that point, and although they labored with it for five hours, or until 11:30, they were unable to make it run satisfactorily again. They consequently abandoned the race. The Mueller machine passed them while they were trying to repair the defects of the motor, but they could not follow it. Lieutenant Rodman was convinced that the collision which the Macy had on Evanston Avenue early in the day with an ignorant, obstinate coachman,and which injured the steering apparatus, so destroyed the adjustment of that important mechanism that after that time the motor could not be run at its full capacity and eventually broke down altogether. Still, at California and Ogden avenues, where it quit, the Macy was second in the race, with a fair show of overtaking the Duryea and producing a neck-and-neck finish.
Thus closed America’s first homeless-carriage race.
Winner J. Frank Duryea’s Stats
Elapsed Time: 10 hours, 23 minutes
Actual Running Time: 7 hours, 53 minutes
Average Speed: 5.05 MPH
Average Running Speed: 6.66 MPH
Official Distance of Route: 52.4 miles
2nd Place Finisher Oscar Mueller’s Stats
Elapsed Time: 10 hours, 47 minutes
Actual Running Time: 9 hours, 32 minutes
Average Speed: 4.87 MPH
Average Running Speed: 5.51 MPH
Official Distance of Route: 52.4 miles
These were the only two cars of the six to finish the race.
- The five vehicles in bold were in the actual race on November 28, 1895. The sixth, the Roger motocycle, was started from New York to Chicago by road on November 15; but it was stalled by snow when it reached Schenectady. It made it on time for the rescheduled race.