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The Duryea Featured Automobiles The Showroom


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Photo: P.B.66822
right three-quarter view

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Photo: P.B.66821
left three-quarter view

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The 1896 Duryea is a blend of old and new technologies. The body panels, wheels, and front axle are made of wood, like a carriage or buggy. The sliding belt transmission is a miniature version of the systems used to power machinery in the late 19th-century factories. The pneumatic tires are larger versions of tires developed for bicycles.

But unlike buggies and carriages, the frame is made from steel angle. The two-cylinder engine has a float-bowl carburetor that was rare and very modern. The control tiller is an ergonomic marvel combining the functions of today's steering wheel, gear shift and throttle. Swinging the tiller left or right turns the car while movement up and down shifts the gears. A twist of the handle controls the throttle. The tiller shaft even telescopes in and out for ease of entry and exit from the vehicle.

Barnum n Bailey photo
Caption on Print: Duryea Motor Wagon With Barnum & Bailey Circus 1896. Photo: P.1774.CO.92
One of the 13 now-famous 1896 Duryeas appeared with other novelties in the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company provided the vehicle to the circus in 1896. The driver, in a uniform and hat, has been identified as A. A. Jones. The 1895 Duryea that won the Chicago Times-Herald race had appeared with the circus the previous year.

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Inefficient hand-assembly is apparent in this interior view of the Duryea factory from the May 1896 issue of Horseless Age.

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image of shop
Photo: P.B.77725

The Duryea Featured Automobiles The Showroom
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