Photo Friday: a 19th century photographic journey (photo 12)

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.

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2 Responses to Photo Friday: a 19th century photographic journey (photo 12)

  1. Robert W. Hasbrouck, Jr says:

    The Hasbrouck family had an early link to the motor car, per the following article from the HFA newsletter of February 2006:
    AN EARLY AUTOMOTIVE HASBROUCK
    Information on its origins and demise are missing, but articles in two automotive history publications tell us that in 1900, 24-year-old Stephen Augustus Hasbrouck (a seventh-generation descendant of Abraham) was running the Hasbrouck Motor Company and building gasoline engines, automobile carriages, delivery wagons, launches and yachts. The car factory was located in Newark, NJ, the engine and boat plant at Piermont-on-the Hudson, NY, and the executive and sales offices at 20 Nassau Street in New York City. The Hasbrouck motor carriage of 1900 was powered by a one-cylinder engine and could be “operated by any intelligent person. Its speed is gauged from one mile per hour to as fast as one may care to go.”
    The company was also building a variety of complete motor launches from 22 feet upwards, and its marine engines were available in 6, 12, 16 and 24 horsepower models. The complete line probably covered a range of from one to four cylinders.
    There are no records of the Hasbrouck Motor Company after 1901. Our genealogy indicates that Stephen married Edith Auryansen in 1902, and they had three children. Maybe marriage reoriented his priorities away from the business.

  2. Thanks for the great information, Bob!!!

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