how common were automobiles in 1890?

The 1889-90 flu pandemic was the first pandemic to spread around the world, thanks to railway and steamships. Were automobiles just for the rich elite way
back then?
Reply to
pedro1492
They certainly were only for the rich, and they were as scarce as rocking horse turds. It wasn't until Henry Ford and the Model T that prices came down to where the middle class at least could afford them.
Reply to
Xeno
Yes, although there were many different automobile companies then very few actually built more than a prototype or two. Most were owned by rich families or were operated by the inventor themselves. Personal travel was still the domain of horse and buggy with trolley, trains and buses being the mass transit carriers.
Reply to
Steve W.
Most cars were built as one-offs either by hobbyists or by companies that specialized in making custom vehicles for the rich elite.
There are some videos on Youtube of the Morgan automobile plant today. Morgan is pretty much the only company making cars the way they were made before the Model T, and they aren't making the drive train themselves so the most expensive and problematic part is not their problem.
It's kind of like owning a computer in 1975, but even more expensive. --scott
Reply to
Scott Dorsey
I've previously reported on a 1902 meeting of the Pittsburgh engineer society, years after your question. It was awesome and they figured out the future of cars. Then one asks "whose got one?" One guy does, but he doesn't take it out much 'cuz Burgh roads suck.
Nils K. Hammer
Reply to
synthius2002
My understanding is that bike ownership first got people lobbying for better roads.
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Has a US Governemnt table of car ownership per thousand people starting with 1900 (one vehicle per 10,000) through 2017 (8366 per 10,000).
The link, and links to all of the other tables, is from here:
Transportation Energy Data Book
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Released "August 31, 2020"
Elijah ------ found it with a quick search
Reply to
invalid unparseable
I've got a car that sat in a garage for years, and wanted to swap batteries so I can close the windows and run the blinkers when I move it. I put PB blaster on them, beat on them waited days for it to soak in, but no luck. The only other trick I know is to use a torch, which I don't really want to do on the battery. I suppose I could cut the long thin bolts and have a friend weld them back later.
Any Ideas?
Nils K. Hammer
Reply to
synthius2002
Replacements are available for a couple bucks at the auto parts store. Don't waste any time trying to save old rusty ones, just use boltcutters on them, toss the pieces, and replace them. You've already wasted far too much time. Put never-seize on the threads of the new ones too. --scott
Reply to
Scott Dorsey

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