Here’s some insight into the auto industry from the very early days, where cars didn’t come with too many “extras” — like flower vases and strange little sculptures to encourage the driver to speed things up a little.

You will notice in this article that there is no mention of cup holders. Insanity. In fact, it would be another eighty years or so before this all-important car acccessory would finally become ubiquious. We can only hope the motorcar occupants of the time were well-hydrated before going for a ride.

1913-automobile-motorcar-accessories (1)

Some automobile accessories

by Elizabeth Lounsbery

The accessories of the automobile have grown apace in design and number with the progress of development in motor-vehicles, until now there is almost nothing left unthought of by the ingenious designer whose devices have done so much to add to the comfort of the occupants and the adornment of the machine.

A leather case with clock

1913-auto-accessories-leather-auto-touring-caseOne of the most attractive of these accessories is the leather case illustrated upon this page, a case so carefully planned, that it takes up very little room in the car and yet contains innumerable articles so necessary in these days of touring to every motorist.

A clock with an eight-day watch movement is inset in the center of the case and so arranged that it may be rewound without removing it. The dial numerals are very large and can be seen from any point in the car at a glance.

A mirror, protected from dust by a leather cover is included, and also “leak-proof” bottles for aromatic salts. A writing pad, card case, fountain pen, and pencil have also their place in this case, while the remainder of its space is taken up with compactly arranged cases holding various other useful articles.

Flower vases

Perhaps no automobile accessory is more interesting than the flower holder. These  automobile vases may be had in a great variety of forms and materials, but the ones of clear glass, either plain or cut, are in preferable taste to the more ornamental vases.

Like the amphora-holders of ancient times, the automobile vase-holders are so arranged as to permit the vases to be removed quickly and thoroughly cleaned. The vase shown by the illustration at the upper right hand corner of this page, is distinctly Empire in style, the decoration being exquisitely engraved upon the glass. The mountings are silver. The vase shown in the upper left hand corner is simpler and less expensive, but very attractive.

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The Speed Imp sculpture

1913-automobile-motorcar-accessories (2)An interesting little automobile accessory which is really novel (the idea of one of our clever American women sculptors) is the little bronze “Speed Imp,” of grotesque personality, here illustrated.

This may be bolted on to the radiator cap of the car, from which the “Imp” grins sardonically at the passer-by and appears to encourage the man behind him at the wheel, to greater speed. He is so arranged that into the holder which he is gleefully clasping with arms and legs, may be inserted the staff of a pennant.

St Christopher’s medals

To St Christopher, motorists have assigned the duties of standing as patron saint of automobilists, taking as he does all travelers under his protection. Therefore the automobile owner has encouraged the pretty conceit of wearing a St Christopher medal. Although the idea is comparatively new to our country, the faithful traveler of two hundred years ago treasured his St Christopher medal, little dreaming that the dawn of a new era would find the saint concerned with a mode of travel not even anticipated in the wildest dreams of the traveler of olden times.

Many of these St  Christopher medals are works of art in the true sense of the word, being stamps from dies cut by some of the foremost medalists of the time. The automobile medal bids fair to become a fetish in  France. American artists  are also designing and producing medals of this sort.


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About this story

Source publication: American Homes & Gardens

Source publication date: July 1913

Filed under: 1910s, Cars & trucks, Discoveries & inventions, Magazines, Travel & tourism

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