Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Newfangled, Hairbrained Idea

 This photo ran in the local Afton newspaper this week.  It's a Buick dealership and service garage in Vinita, OK on Route 66.   As you know, Vinita is the next town south of Afton.   The photo was taken in 1917, shortly before Route 66 was federally commissioned and during the somewhat turbulent era when horse and buggy transportation was giving way to motorize vehicular traffic. 

Also accompanying the article was this list of rules adopted by the Anti-Automobile Society of America in 1911.  Although it was authentic, one hopes it was written with tongue in cheek.  


1.  Upon discovering an approaching team, the automobilist must stop offside and cover his machine with a blanket painted to correspond with the scenery.

2. The speed limit on country roads this year will be a secret and the penalty for violation will be $10 for every mile an offender is caught going in excess of it.

3.  On approaching a corner where he cannot command a view of the road ahead, the automobilist must stop not less than 100 yards from the turn, toot his horn, ring a bell, fire a revolver, halloo, and send up three bombs at intervals of five minutes.

4.  Automobiles must be seasonally painted -- that is, so they will merge with the pastoral ensemble and not be startling.  They must be green in spring, golden in summer, red in autumn, and white in winter.

5.  All members of the society will give up Sunday to chasing automobiles, shooting and shouting at them, making arrests and otherwise discouraging country touring on that day.

6.  In case a horse will not pass an automobile, the automobilist will take the machine apart as rapidly as possible and conceal the parts in the grass.

7.  In case an automobile approaches a farmhouse when the roads are dusty, it will slow down to one mile an hour, and the chauffeur will lay the dust in front of the house with a hand sprinkler worked over the dashboard.

Apparently those anti-auto folks weren't entirely kidding around.  As with any "newfangled hairbrained idea", it took a while for some people to take a shine to those big iron road hogs.   

1 comment:

Trevor Hilton said...

Those anti-car people would go crazy today.
They said that cars should blend in with the scenery. Well, today there is paint that can change color. But, the rest of their demands, well......