This week’s photograph features a group of people hanging out and letting off some steam. Think of a caption for the photo and post it as a comment to our blog or to our Facebook wall. Each person that provides a caption will automatically be entered into our caption contest, and can potentially win a standard family tour of Huguenot Street.
Last Friday’s photograph is from the Matthew Fitch Hasbrouck Photograph Collection, but we know nothing else about who the men in the photo are, where it was taken, or when it was taken. The two men are seemingly enjoying a beautiful day by taking their car out for a drive. Today automobiles are an integral part of everyday life, but that wasn’t always so. During the late 1700s, European engineers began to experiment with creating a vehicle powered by a motor. Over the next century, prototypes were built with steam, combustion, or electrical motors. The automobile was constantly changing as technology progressed. Early manufacturers preferred electric cars over gas-powered cars because gas-powered cars had to be started with a hand crank. When gas-powered cars were invented without hand cranks, the electric car became obsolete. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that commercial production of the gas-powered automobile began in the United States. In the early years of the automobile, they were largely a status symbol for the wealthy, but became increasingly cheaper and accessible to the middle class over time. They were popular because it allowed for the general public to travel where they wanted, when they wanted. Due to the convenience of the automobile, they have become the most common form of transportation in the U.S.