Pesky Pedestrians Pose Plentiful Problems

Sixty-two companies were building horseless carriages in 1906, from the National Sewing Machine Company of Belvidere, Illinois, the White Sewing Machine Company of Cleveland,  to Cadillac, Locomobile, Jackson, Moon, the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company, and the Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company, whose Compound Model 4 featured an innovative three cylinder motor. In 1906, a Ford Model T could get up to 45 mph, and a Stanley Steamer topped out in the high 30’s. These newfangled contraptions bred trouble for pedestrians, and had ever since Henry Bliss became the first automobile fatality in 1899.

Fortunately for the victims of the speeding motorist (called a “scorcher” in the parlance of the times), a nameless English inventor came to the rescue, and just fastened a cowcatcher, such as those that used to exist on steam trains, to the front of his car. The cowcatcher, padded and furnished with strong springs, so as not to damage the car, simply pushed those pesky pedestrians right out of the way.

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  1. This is hilarious! Also didn’t know that so many companies tried to get in on the act. Guess the cowcatcher idea didn’t catch on though. 🙂

    • You kidding? I affixed one to my Nissan last week. Everybody loves it, judging by the way they stare at my car.

  2. Do you get a break on your insurance with that? 🙂


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