• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of September 25, 1998

This week, facts about... Henry Ford built a lot of cars for America, but he didn’t build the first. That honor goes to Charles and Frank Duryea. 105 years ago this month , brothers put the country’s first gasoline-powered automobile on the road, in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Henry Ford built a lot of cars for America, but he didn't build the first. That honor goes to Charles and Frank Duryea. A hundred and five years ago this month, the brothers put the country's first gasoline-powered automobile on the road in Springfield, Massachusetts. Their horseless carriage weighed 700 pounds. Its 6-horsepower engine had a top speed of 20 miles an hour. That was fast enough to win the country's first automobile race held 2 years later on the shores of Lake Michigan. By 1896, the brothers had started the Duryea Motor Wagon Company and sold 13 of their automobiles at around $1,500 apiece. An ad for the vehicle touted its practicality, quote, "on all roads over which common traffic passes." Today, though, that claim might be misleading. A hundred years after the Duryeas first got auto wheels rolling, commuters fed up with traffic gridlock in Lisbon, Portugal, decided to highlight the shortcomings of the car. So, they held a race between a Ferrari and a burro on a 1-1/2 mile stretch of heavily-traveled highway. The burro won with 4 minutes to spare. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.