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Taking the Wheel: Manufacturers’ Catalogs from the First Decade of American Automobiles

Back in the old days, before the creation of the Interstate Highway System and guarantee of a smooth roadbed, riding around in a flivver could be a hazardous proposition. Fortunately, prospective buyers could often consult any number of well-illustrated (and detailed) car catalogs provided by the dozens of automobile manufacturers that dotted the American landscape. A significant number of these catalogs have been digitized and placed online in the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery for the general public’s careful eye. Dating from 1909, these catalogs include some rather gorgeous color plates and diagrams. Visitors can search the entire collection using keywords, or just browse the source list, which includes offerings from Buick, Delaunay, and E.R. Thomas. One that should not be missed is the Maxwell catalog from 1909, which features cars that are described as “Perfectly Simple and Simply Perfect”.
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Classification
GEM Subject
Publisher
Language
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2006-06-09
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2006/scout-060609#5

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