Andrew Riker: An Electric Car Pioneer Turns to Gas
12 artifacts in this set
Auto pioneer A.L. Riker built this electric tricycle in Brooklyn, New York, in 1896. Its tubular steel frame, wire wheels, and pneumatic tires are adapted from bicycle practice. Lead-acid batteries are under the seat, and a 40-volt, one-horsepower electric motor powered the rear wheel. Although quite successful at building electric vehicles, Riker sold his company in 1900 and became chief engineer of Locomobile, a builder of high-quality...
The Horseless Age was an early well-known automobile journal, useful to motoring enthusiasts. These first issues from 1895 and 1896 contain articles, images, and advertisements for a number of automobile manufacturers. It also pictured important automobile pioneers Charles King and Andrew Riker.
The Riker Electric Vehicle Company, formed by inventor Andrew Riker, became known for producing electric touring cars and commercial trucks. This catalog from 1900 shows the company's line of electric vehicles. Riker later developed internal-combustion engines for the Locomobile Company of America.
The Horseless Age was an early well-known automobile journal. This volume from 1901 contains an image of Andrew Riker driving his electric vehicle in time trial races at Coney Island. Riker set a world record for electrics on this one-mile course.
Locomobile promoted its "gasolene" touring cars in this 1904 sales catalog. The company began in 1899 by building steam-powered cars. And Andrew L. Riker, who designed this Locomobile, was known for creating electric-powered vehicles. This catalog provided buyers with the information and assurances of the Locomobile's quality.
In October 1898, The Horseless Age recognized B. Altman and Company as the first department store in America to use an electric delivery wagon. The article contains an image of the first truck purchased by Altman, a Riker Electric Motor Co. delivery wagon. According to the article, the truck had a range of 25 to 30 miles between charges.
In 1908, driver George Robertson and mechanician Glenn Ethridge took this car to victory in the Vanderbilt Cup, America's first great automobile race. It marked the first time an American-built car won a major international road-circuit race. The Locomobile competed while wearing race number 16, and it's been known as "Old 16" ever since.
Locomobile "Old 16" fuels up during the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race on Long Island, New York. Men in the pit look on as two others -- probably driver George Robertson and riding mechanic Glenn Ethridge -- service the car before thundering to victory on October 24. It was the first time an American automobile won a major international circuit race.
This racing car set the fastest 1906 Vanderbilt Cup lap, but finished in tenth place. In 1908, shod with improved tires, the Locomobile thundered to victory. "Old 16," as it was known afterward, was the first American car to win a major international road race. In this photograph, the driver and mechanic wear protective cloth face masks, goggles, and leather helmets.
Andrew Riker, an early believer in the electric car, designed this battery-powered racer in 1901. He raced it at Coney Island, New York, that November and, at 57.1 miles per hour, set a world speed record for electric cars. It was a triumph for electricity, but Riker soon lost faith. He joined Locomobile the next year and started designing gasoline-powered automobiles.
Andrew Riker made headlines in November 1901 when his battery-powered "Torpedo" racer hit 57.1 miles per hour in a race at Coney Island, New York. It was a world speed record for electric automobiles. Despite his success, Riker soon determined that the automobile's future lay with a different fuel. In 1902, he joined Locomobile and started designing gasoline-powered cars.
The Vanderbilt Cup, held from 1904 to 1916, was America's first internationally prominent automobile race. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., a wealthy railroad heir, organized the competition over public roads on Long Island. European cars dominated until 1908, when Connecticut-built Locomobile "Old 16" won. Long Island residents tired of the crowds and accidents, and the race relocated to Georgia, Wisconsin, and finally California.