Chicago Examiner, Chicago Tribune, Inter Ocean, January 28, 1912
Chicago Examiner, January 28, 1912
By Julian S. Patterson.
Not since the inception of the automobile industry has so much genuine interest been manifest as last night at the opening of the twelfth annual automobile show in the Coliseum and First Regiment Armory Where in former years many of the visitors were attracted largely by curiosity and because it was the vogue, the public has developed into critical discrimination of the good and bad qualities of the various cars displayed in the two big buildings
Conservative estimates place the automobile product for the coming year at about 200,000 and the number of visitors at the show last right indicates that there will be little trouble in disposing of this number of cars It is stated that the United States is using 677,000 cars at present according to registration figures obtained from the secretaries of state the various commonwealths and with interest at fever heat this number will be increased by 50 per cent within the coming year.
Chicago Particularly Fortunate.
Chicago is particularly fortunate in the location right in the heart of the corn and cattle belt. Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and neighboring states have enjoyed a pleasing prosperity during the last year and this will be reflected in the purchase of automobiles during the coming Spring and Summer.
Ten years ago the farmers of the Central States were antoganistic to the automobile to a degree which now seems almost foolish but the development of good roads has converted the farmer to the advantage of the motor car until the farmer is the best friend of the automobile in America.
The enormous output of motor cars during the year demonstrates one thing: first the stability of the manufacturers and the excellence of their products and second the increasing popularity of the motor vehicle. It is because of this latter fact that the widening influence of the automobile upon the political welfare of the country deserves to be mentioned.
During the last year many new factories have been erected several mass of spectators almost too great to permit of a ready inspection of the cars.
On the opening night however the majority comes to be amused setting aside another morning or afternoon visit to give close attention to the merits of the cars as exploited by the hundreds of salesmen and experts present from the factories and distributing departments
Representative of Industry.
The exposition is more representative of the motor industry than the recent New York show or the shows held in any other city of America for the reason that it combines all elements, American and foreign and is annually regarded by dealers and manufacturers as the genuine national and international motor car exhibition. Other cities display a large number of cars but no other city on the continent requires two buildings for a single exposition
Not alone are the exhibits remarkable for their number and value but for the diversity of design horse power and appointment.
Some wonderful designs are being displayed in body construction and more attention is being paid now to this part of the car than to the motor for engines now are presumed to be correctly constructed—at least all motors seem to perform their function to a higher degree than ever before. Broughams single landaulettes, double landaulettes and landaus protected phaetons with folding pillar tops limousines with plain and sliding roof—the latter having a slide to permit the air or sunlight; wagonettes, limousines with foredoors, two on each side; theater coaches with rear entrances, all of these In addition to the regular lines of touring cars roadsters, racing roadsters, semiracers, runabouts, gadabouts, gunboats, rickshaw styles with forty-six inch wheels and ether types too numerous to enumerate
Every Department Exploited.
During the show every department of the automobile industry la to be exploited and there Is something for admirers ef every phase Aside from the comprehensive display of gasoline care Is the electric vehicle department with a display which appeals particularly to the feminine visitor.
Notable strides have been made In the design and appointment of electric vehicles both for pleasure and delivery purposes and never since the inception of the industry have so many types of electrically propelled cars been displayed.
Chicago is one of the leading cities in the use of electric pleasure cars the level streets lending themselves to the use of this type. In the last two years thousands of electrics have been sold In Chicago and hundreds have been bought by residents of cities and towns in close proximity to this city with the result that Chicago at present is the leading market of the country for electric cars.
It is worthy of notice that a number of makers of electric cars are showing in Chicago for the first time in their career. Three of the new makers represent the still growing Michigan colony of car builders.
Appointments Are Lavish.
The tendency to lavish appointments is particularly noticeable in the closed vehicles both of the gasoline and electric variety. The upholstery markets of Europe have been called upon for their finest products some of the high-priced makers showing as many as 300 different cloths for interior decoration of limousines and electric broughams.
Greater care is manifested In the coach work and the most expensive piano does not rival the polish of the costly automobile as now exhibited. Thirty separate operations in the paint shop is the boast of one manufacturer and the cars shown in the Coliseum bear out his statement.
Not the least interesting exhibition will he that of the motorcycle manufacturers to be displayed during the second week of the show. Twenty leading makers of the two-wheel machine will have their products on exhibition demonstrating the strides made in this part of the industry.
Where manufacturers were ambitious to make hundreds of motorcycles only a few years ago they now turn them out by the thousand and the machines are as much improved mechanically as in comfort and appearance.
The commercial phase of the show is inspiring more thought than before and the second week will see both buildings filled with exhibits of trucks and delivery vehicles for all purposes. Manufacturers and merchants are preparing to take advantage of the exposition to study the merits of motor-propelled trucks and to compare accomplishments with the old-time horse-drawn wagons.
The second week will be equally important. In the minds of distributing agents of which 10,000 are expected to visit the show during the two weeks. The show buildings are to be open day and evening until February 10, excepting Sundays.
Chicago Tribune, February 4, 1912
Chicago Tribune, February 4, 1912
By Henry Farrington.
Chicago surpassed even its own great achievements in transportation when the Chicago Automobile Trade association last Wednesday conducted a motor wagon demonstration that was by all odds the greatest and most practical of its kind ever held.
Instead of making this a circus performance the local power wagon factors made arrangements to have the owners of the machines instruct their drivers to keep accurate records on specially printed blanks.
Thus the facts and figures here given are not an earnest of what motor wagons can to under preordained circumstances, but of what they are actually accomplishing every working day of the year in the service of hundreds of Chicago’s most up to date and practical business men.
In all, records were kept of the workaday performance of 543 of the 1,443 motor wagons that are now employed daily on the streets of Chicago. The detalled statistics are too voluminous to print in full.
Show Tramendous Work.
Therefore the figures here given are averaged for all the machines of all load rat-Ings, afterwards being massed to show the tremendous work that the motor wagon is doing in this great city of the middle west.
On Wednesday, Jan. 31, each motor wagon in Chicago carried an average total lead of 13.280 pounds, in 8.7 complete trips.
The average load carried per trip was 8,689 pounds.
Each machine covered an average of 44 miles in the day, the highest recorded individual flgure being 82 miles, and the lowest 16 mlles.
The average consumption of gasoline per machine was 1.08 gallons, which gives an average of 0.21 miles to’ the gallon. * The average consumption of lubricating oil per machine was 2.82 quarts, which shows 16.84 miles to the gallon.
The average number of stops per machine on the day’s performance was 24.2.
The average travel between two consecutive stops for pick-ups or deliveries was 1.81 miles.
What Trucks Can Do.
These are actual figures obtained in real dally service. They do not represent much more than one-half of what can be done with machines that are well routed and otherwise perfectly administered. And in spite of this they show that the average motor wagon In actual service in the city of Chicago is doing more than three times the work of the average horse drawn wagon, day in and day out.
Now for the massed figures. These statistics show that the 1,443 motor wagons in Chicago are actually carrying every day an aggregate load of 19,163,040 pounds, and cover a total distance of 63,402 miles. Let us see what this means when reduced to average horse conditions.
A few months ago one of the biggest transportation companies in this country took a careful accounting of the performances of its horse drawn wagons. Each horse team averaged 12½ mlles a day, taking one day with another over a term of years. The average load carried was not stated. Let da assume It at 1,500 pounds. Some horses Mil do much better than this, but on the whole, including the $30 horses with those costing $300 to $500 apiece, the assumed figure will probably be high rather than low.
Equals 12,000 Horse Power.
On this assumption it would require 12,775 horses to move the motor wagon’s total load of 19,163,040 pounds. “But,” one will say, “the motor wagons took 3.7 trips to do it.
Quite so, but the machines traveled 44 miles while horses average only 12½ miles, so that the figures will not be greatly altered. Making due allowance, the figures show, under the assumption made above, that the 1,148 motor wagons are actually accomplishing as much as 12,000 horses under the conditions stated. Thus the statement that one motor wagon can do more work than three average two horse teams is exceedingly conservative.
If one horse team had to carry this aggre-mate load it would take forty years to accomplish the task, working 300 days a year at the rate of 12¼ miles a day. In other fords, the work would have to be carried on by four or five successive generations of bard working equines.
To visualize what the 12,000 horse teams would look like, imagine them spread out in line. Allowing thirty feet to a team, the line would extend over sixty-eight miles. And yet the 1,443 motor wagons would take up less than five and one-half miles, giving each machine a space of twenty feet.
Should Interest City.
City authorities who have to deal with traffic congestion would do well to consider this last statement. Think of the saving in traffic policemen, the reduction of accidents, the greatly increased speed of vehicle operation in congested traffic areas like the loop district, the reduction in street repairs, and the saving in “white wings,” who are employed mainly to keep the streets free from horse droppings—it is not a nice subject, but it has an important place in city affairs—these and other benefits would immediately accrue from the total suppression of horse drawn vehicles In favor of power wagons.
The demonstration committee, which was appointed by F. W. Stewart of the Buick Motor company, consisted of L. C. Long of the Federal Motor Truck company, L. B.
Garrison of the Speedwell Motor Car company, B. C. Day and W. A. Ryder of the American Locomotive company, E. Graham Rhodes of the International Motor company, and A. P. Lee (chairman) of the Peerless Motor Car company. These gentlemen were ably assisted by T. D. Beard, acting secretary of the association.
Thought for Citizens.
To say that the committee worked hard to “pull off” the wonderful demonstration 1s putting It mildly. Naturally the members of the association are interested primarily in the sale of motor wagons, but by their efforts in obtaining the above data they have given the citizens of Chicago something to think over.
As previously stated, the figures are actual and not faked. Several methods of checking their accuracy were used. On many of the machineg the association placed a peculiar little device known as” the man in the box.” This Is an automatic recording apparatus which shows faithfully the time of each fourney between stops and the time of each stop. It is not connected to any moving part of the motor wagon, being simply secured to any convenient part of the framework. When the motor wagon is traveling the motion of the vehicle actuates a pendulum which causes a style to make a mark on a paraffin covered circular record.
At the same time this record is rotated by a clock so that the marks on the chart correspond with the correct time of the day at which they are made. It is impossible to tamper with the apparatus, for even if the driver should manage to pick the lock and extract the record the device would automatically puncture a hole in the chart showing the exact time at which the lid was opened. Pictures of this unique apparatus and its telltale record are shown on this page.
Only Few Cars in Photo.
Attention is called to the group photograph of motor wagons. Lest any one should imagine that these were the only machines that took part in the demonstration it may be pointed out that only those that could convenlently be parked at the lake front during the noon hour were included in the picture. No special effort was made to bring any machine out of its way to get in the plcture. There are thirty-two motor wagons in the Illustration.
There were more than seventeen times this number in the demonstration. There are more than forty-five times as many motor wagons in Chicago as appear in the picture. This gives one some idea of the extent to which power wagons are used in this city.
Altogether the merchants of Chicago up to date have invested $3,000,000 in motor wagons, which is one-twentieth of the total investment in power wagons in the whole country.
A more convincing way of showing the great strides Chicago is making in the super-session of horses by motor wagons is to take comparative statistics compiled by the city authorities.
What Records Show.
The wheel tax records at the Chicago city hall show the following remarkable figures:
On May 1, 1011, there were in Chicago 436 motor wagons of less than one ton load ca-pacity.
On Feb. 2, 1912, this number had increased to 836. The total Increase in nine months Is 400 machines. The percentage increase in nine months Is 91.8. Reducing this to a yearly figure the light motor delivery wagons in Chicago have increased in numbers at a rate of 122.4 per cent annually.
On May 1, 1911, there were in Chicago 363 motor wagons rated at one ton or over.
On Feb. 2, 1912, there were 607 machines in this class. The actual increase is 244 machines. The percentage increase in nine months is 67.2. At the same rate of growth the number of heavy machines in Chicago is increasing at the rate of 89.6 per cent per year.
The total number of motor wagons of all classes in Chicago has increased from 799 on May 1, 1911, to 1,443 on Feb. 2, 1912. This shows a yearly increase of 107.5 per cent. In other words, the motor wagons are doubling in numbers every year at the present rate of increase. It will therefore not be presumptuous to suppose that by the end of 1912 Chicago will have 3,000 motor wagons in service, valued at $6,000,000.
Horses Take Back Seat.
The number of horse drawn wagons in Chicago is decreasing rapidly. On May 1, 1911. the city had 40,109 one horse wagons, 17,640 two horse teams, and 296 wagons each pulled by three or more horses. The corresponding figures for Feb. 2, 1912, were 35,382, 15,857 and 420, respectively.
The yearly percentage shrinkage in horse drawn wagons in Chicago at the present time is 15.7 per cent for the one horse wagons and 13.5 per cent for the two horse teams. The aggregate shrinkage of all horse drawn wagons is now at the rate of 14.7 per cent a.year.
Only those wagons pulled by three or more horses show an increase—from 296 to 420 in actual numbers, and 55.8 per cent reduced to a yearly basis. The chief reason for this is that daring the recent wintry weather many merchants have had to add an extra horse to their two horse teams in order to pull the load. One never heard of a motor wagon operator having to stick an extra cylinder in his power plant.
Altogether, Chicago has discarded 6,886 horse drawn wagons between May 1. 1911, and Feb. 2, 1912. In the same time the number of motor wagons in the city has increased
This shows at least that merchants are unwilling to invest more money in horse equipment as their present equipment wears out. It proves conclusively, however, that they are greatly in favor of introducing motor wagons into their transportation service.
Enthusiasm Among Makers.
In view of the special interest which will be shown in the motor wagons at the automobile show this week it is proper here to relate the enthusiasm of the factors of this industry in the goods they have to offer for sale.
At a recent meeting of the Chicago Automobile Trade association’s motor wagon committee one member made the following statement:
- Say, gentlemen, if I couldn’t prove conclusively that one of my motor wagons could pay for itself In eighteen months, provided it were properly applied, I wouldn’t try to sell a machine.
He meant, it, too, and every man present agreed with him emphatically.
Another power wagon factor had a different but none the less convincing method of asserting, the machine’s superiority.
- I don’t talk depreciation to a customer. Who knows what that is, anyhow? It differs according to curcumstances. and even then the most expensive parts of a machine will last for generations. This is my argument: Suppose you can hire a first class two horse team in Chicago for 6. That is what most of them cost, any way.
Very well, my machine I will guarantee to do more than three times the work of the best two horse team in the city.
Daily Expenses of Machines.
The actual operating expenses of the machine are less than 6 a day. The machine earns $18 a day at least. That leaves 12 a day, or $3,600 a year, surplus, for 300 working days. Do you suppose it costs that much for depreciation? Not by a long way. You could buy a new machine for that much money and then have something left over.
The same men estimated the amount of money invested in the manufacture of power wagons at $500,000,000. That is a thing which speaks for itself. The output for 1912 is conservatively put at 25,000 machines. worth about $62.500,000. The year 1913 will see at least 40,000 more motor wagons produced, and in a very short time the annual production is computed by those who ought to know the financial indications to be in the neighborhood of 200,000 a year.
In other words, the present generation will witness an annual production of half a billion dollars’ worth of motor wagons, of which Chicago alone will need 10,000 machines every year. valued at $25,000,000.
Skeptical Should Visit Show.
Figures Ake this are impressive. But any one who is skeptical can hardly tail to be convinced if he will visit the motor wagon show which starts tomorrow at the Coliseum, Coliseum and First Regiment armory.
By actual figures compiled by’cold blooded assessdrs at the city ball it has been shown that Chicago at present is doubling its motor wagon investment every year. It does not require many duplications for the city to come to the point of absorbing 10,000 machines a year to solve the, increasing demands of its rapidly expanding commerce and to push the horse off our overcrowded streets.
Inter Ocean, February 4, 1912
W. E. Wright, vice president and general manager of the Knox Automobile company1 said:
- If every automobile factory la the United Sixties was to produce double the number of machines it la. now producing, and every machine was a commercial vehicle, there would then not be enough made to take care of tbe. Increase alone In our. commerce at the present rata of growth, if the government statistics can be taken as a guide.
The New Year book of the Department of Agriculture discloses soma startling figures. It show a wonderful increase in horse stock. In 1900 there were 15,000,000 horses in the United States and ten years later, or in 1910, there were 24,000,000 horses.
These numbers are the largest on record In the history of the country. Compared with those of ten years ago, they show a gain of 60 per cent.
While horses have increased in number, they have also increased in value. In 1900 the estimated value of horses on farms was $44 per head, with a steady rise, interrupted only by the panic of 1907. These values mounted up year after year, until in 1910 the average price was $108, representing a gain ot nearly 150 percent.
The value of the horses and mules in this country ten years ago was practically $815,000,000, while today it exceeds $3,000,000,000, a gain of more than $2,000,000,000.
Where is the man who says that in ten years the horse will be extinct? Also where is the man who says the automobile business Is being overdone?
At the present rate of increase in our commerce, in 1920 it would take nearly forty million horses to supply the demand. If the horse is to be superseded by trucks or tractors, it would take (allowing one truck will do the work of six horses) 7,000,000 trucks and tractors (allowing the life of the truck to be five years). It would take a production of 1,400,000 trucks per year to supersede the horse entirely in ten years.
The upkeep of horses is increasing faster than the value, while the upkeep of the automobile is decreasing. In the face of these figures, how can any one say the automobile business is being overdone? It is really just now coming into its own.
The Knox Automobile company anticipates that 1912 will be the biggest year in its history. Our commercial vehicle, fire apparatus and tractor business will easily be three times what it was in 1911. All the other old line manufacturers will show an increased production and 1912 will undoubtedly be the banner year for the automobile business.1
Chicago Examiner, January 21, 1912
1 By 1912 Knox Automobile company’s sales were slipping and a receiver was called in. The last Knox automobiles were built in 1914 and Knox was declared bankrupt in 1915. Knox reorganized as the Knox Motors Corporation and continued to build tractors and trucks until 1924.