Tag Archives: Klingberg Family Center
*Updated* Reader Ariejan Bos has identified the second car above as a Berliet, which was probably built under license by Alco.
In the earliest days of motoring, car builders were forever doing things to prove to a skeptical public that their new fangled machines were reliable and worth buying. Here we have a 1907 Pope-Hartford participating in one such event, a reliability run staged by the fledgling New York Motor Club. Covering the 208 miles from New York City to Albany, New York, twenty nine intrepid automobile pioneers from all the major manufacturers took on the challenge on a June morning.
While we don’t think twice about making such a journey today, in the days before superhighways, arriving at your destination over such a distance could not be taken for granted. On the run, Clarence McKenzie of the Standard Brake Co. died after the Corbin Runabout he was riding in was hit by a trolley car in Clinton Heights. In fact, not one of the original starters reached Albany without a time penalty of some sort. While old Number 12 is clearly a Pope-Hartford, we are less sure of the identity of the following car and invite you, our readers, to take a shot at naming it.
The license plate on the second car appears to be a manufacturer’s tag, made of leather with aluminum letters and numbers attached as was the custom of the day. The left thumbnail (above) from the 1911 Beckley-Walton catalog shows a typical kit that supplied the numbers and letters for this type of early plate, which used in many states before they issued plates.
Just below is a photo from 1907 of a Pope that’s very similar to the one in our top photo. It’s parked out in front of one of two agencies owned by A. Elliot Ranney (he had one in Newark, New Jersey and another in New York City) that sold both Pope and Elmore automobiles. The right thumbnail (above) from the Nov. 11, 1909 issue of the Hudson Triangle mentions Ranney’s later huge success selling that brand.
Top photo is from of the collection of Mark Johnson (scroll down), of the Klingberg Family Center, which hosts the annual Klingberg Motorcar Festival as a benefit event on Father’s Day weekend. Please support them if at all possible and be sure to try to attend. Bottom photo courtesy of Jerry Lettieri. License plate kit image courtesy of Steve Hammatt at leatherplates.com
* Update * Tim Martin was able to find that the number 72 was registered to Edward H. Betts of Hartford, CT, during this time in the CT. state records. We believe that he may possibly have been connected with the Pope – Hartford company which was located in Hartford.
It appears that winter motoring was a bit more work than we are used to these days, but this may have been part of the normal routine and fun, when driving way back then on the way to Grandma’s house. This circa 1907 – 1908 photo, shows a couple with a girl, a boy and a Pope – Hartford Touring Car stopped in the road, while they are getting warmed up by a fire off to the side. In the distance behind them can be seen a horse and buggy.
We believe that both photos shown here may have been promotional or photos for someone who was somehow involved with the Pope – Hartford company. The photos are part of a batch that appear to have come from someone connected with the firm.
The location is unknown but perhaps a reader will be able to identify what state the car was from, by the number 72 pasted inside of each side lamp. In many states early on, the registration letters and numbers were also painted on the side lamp lenses in addition to the license plates.
A little bit later on we see the party is all warmed up and Mr. Fur Coat is having a nip from his flask and another cigarette, before heading on down the road. Note the hatchet by the fire and the usual tire chains on the rear wheels.
The photos are courtesy of the collection of Mark Johnson, of the Klingberg Family Center, which hosts the annual Klingberg Motorcar Festival as a benefit event on Fathers Day weekend. Please support them if at all possible and be sure to try to attend next year’s show in New Britain, CT.