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Three Unique Pre-War Automobile Images

The Schoellkopf Co. of Dallas, Texas certainly pulled out all the stops when they assembled this distinctive rig to promote its sales of “Gas and Kerosene Refrigerators.” The tow vehicle appears to be a streamlined 1933 Reo “Flying Cloud” coupe and the trailer by an unknown maker is decorated with a motif of a house, the perfect look for a traveling refrigerator showroom.

The Houck “Quick-Change” wire wheel advertisement above contains a circa 1917 six-cylinder Overland chassis fitted with “Silver Bird” coachwork designed and constructed by New York City car dealer C.T. Silver. Take a look back at two earlier posts here on The Old Motor showing a “Silver Bird” skiff-bodied Overland touring car and custom-built roadster both constructed in Silver’s coachbuilding shop in New York.

And finally, we finish up here today with a 1924 Locomobile Model 48 roadster fitted with custom coachwork and exposed exhaust pipes photographed at Sea Side Park near the automaker’s factory in Bridgeport, CT. Look back on our extensive coverage of the Locomobile here.

The photos are via 1920s antique automobiles, brass era cars, and orphan makes.

20 responses to “Three Unique Pre-War Automobile Images

  1. I have done some research into these beautiful fifth wheel mounted trailers including those used for advertising. These were purposely parked in affluent neighborhoods to market their refrigeration devices to those who could well afford them. The fact that they were gasoline or kerosene powered eludes to the fact that no all houses had electricity. One provider for these trailers was the Curtis-Wright Co. All of there units were built to individual needs for the product being sold. Some of their other customers were Enna-Jettic shoees and Fostoria Glass Co. Thanks for adding another image to my collection of these trailers.

    • Probably would have been natural gas powered, not gasoline – as many towns had natural gas piped though houses for lighting, in addition to heat & stoves. Natural gas and propane refrigerators are still available today.

    • When I was small, like 1950, our refigerator worked on kerosene and I don’t rembember any smell, our home had no electricty for quite some time being out in the country.

  2. Gas and kerosene refrigerators were briefly popular in the period when home refrigerators became available but before rural electrification bought widespread electricity to even small towns and rural areas. After that, remote hunting camps is where most ended up.

    A Locomobile 48 custom-bodied roadster cost between $8,000-$10,000, well-healed ladies those gals were!

    • My grand parents had a gasoline powered fridge on their back porch. I do remember it smelling badly when I got close. It would sure smell up a house quickly if used indoors. They lived in rural Mass. on a quarter mile long driveway.

  3. With a gas or kerosene refrigerator, wouldn’t toxic fumes be a real problem?
    I have heard about gas powered washing machines, I always assumed they would have been kept on an enclosed back porch. Refrigerators too, perhaps?

    • Arguably, a gas refrigerator consumes less gas than a gas range and folks have no qualms about operating those indoors. Also, back then homes weren’t hermetically sealed for energy efficiency like they are now.

      • My previous response may have been made under a misapprehension. When I saw “gas” refrigerator my first thought was of the natural gas fueled variety like the Servel in my childhood home. It does seem in this case that we would be talking about gasoline “gas” fuel as an alternative to the kerosene. Perhaps it was what was referred to then as “white gas,” more akin to lantern fuel which folks would likely be using for lighting as well? Definitely wouldn’t want to be using leaded fuel indoors.

        Interesting that Electrolux is a Swedish manufacturer. I wonder if these were imported or built under license here?

  4. I recall seeing photos of another demonstration trailer, also fifth wheel, also towed by a Reo of about that year. If memory serves, that trailer had been built by W Stout of Stout Scarab fame. But I could be in error there. I tried to find it through google, however, as usual they were no help. I know I have seen it several times in different magazines over the years. I think it may have been posted on the old motor once before?

    As for the Locomobile. The sporty touring car, with lower sides and a slightly narrower rear body section was called the “Sportif”. Some of their sportier roadsters were called “Gunboat Roadsters”. Would this one be considered a Gunboat Roadster?

    • There was a story of a Dodge towing a Servel demonstrator trailer a while back.

      I just always think of Locomobiles like this as being “Dreadnought Class” motors.

  5. The Overland chassis used for the Silver Bird is earlier than 1917, because there’s a picture of it on page 46 of the October 21, 1915 issue of Motor Age. It was also discussed in the December 1915 issue of The Rudder. The body is alternating two inch strips of mahogany and white holly, while the “deck” is built from birds-eye maple. The upholstery was pigskin. A statement from The Rudder that the car is “about 12 feet long” and that it’s a six-cylinder suggests it may be a 1915 Model 82 (125″ wheelbase).

  6. Happy Holidays,

    I have seen this picture before at the University Of Bridgeport library and the ladies in the picture were relatives of PT Barnum …
    UB as it is known, is adjacent to Seaside Park and has several buildings on Campus that were owned by PT Barnum including one of his mansions which is used as the Commuter center or at least it was…
    The Locomobile factory was just a couple blocks away…
    In fact today there is a Custom Auto Fabricator in the same building…

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