Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1905 More Auto Uses

The automobile was here to stay -- oh yes, it was still a sight that would cause great excitement and write-ups in the local newspaper -- but now more uses were coming to the forefront for this gasoline-powered vehicle. The following article was found in The Fowlerville Review, under the editorial section:

The latest thing in automobiles has been brought out in Scotland and is known as the farm auto. It is used for plowing, sowing, cultivating and reaping and is also convertible into furnishing stationary power for all kinds of work at the barn. It is claimed that the machine does its work at one-half the cost of horse power. We would like to see the thing operate on some of the farms in Michigan.

Within a couple of weeks, the following article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

Difference of Opinion~~We see by one of the Fowlerville papers that Scotland has a new farm auto to plow, mow, etc. The editorial ends up, 'we would like to see the thing operate on some of the farms in Michigan.' Henry Ford of the Ford Auto Co. of Detroit, has just completed a machine for this same farm work and, when asked by a curious newspaper man if it would work, he replied, 'Work, I guess it will work, and it will draw loads where horses can't. We are not in the habit of spending thousands of dollars introducing something that won't work.' ~~This article was republished from the Republican.

G.L. Adams' response:

We do not know why the editor of the Republican used so many words in saying 'one of the Fowlerville papers' when he might simply have written the one word Review.

We still hold the opinion expressed in the article he referred to, that the thing is not practical in this state. Bro. Barnes seems to think that because Mr. Ford said manufacturers were 'not in the habit of spending thousands of dollars introducing something that won't work' settles the whole matter. We desire to call the attention of Bro. Barnes to the fact that somebody spent $250,000 putting machinery in a peat fuel factory at Capac that never worked and that only about 15 carloads of fuel was ever produced by the expensive machinery, and even that was produced at a cost of about $15 per ton. The junk shops are full of expensive machinery that someone has put thousands of dollars of good money in -- but it never worked.

Wouldn't it be a picnic to see one of those things trying to drag itself alone even through some of the country clay roads of Michigan in the fall and spring of the year? The good old faithful horse must still be kept for many a year yet, if for no other purpose than to pull out the auto when it gets stuck.

So did G.L. Adams want the equipment in Michigan or not? The following year, he wrote this informational editorial:

Farmers' New Friend~~The automobile, says the Des Moines Register and Leader, is said to be particularly popular in rural sections of Illinoism where a great number of machines are being used for commercial purposes. Illinois farmers have learned by experience that one auto will haul a dozen wagons stretched out behind it, with a two-fold result; horses are left at work in the field, and produce is transported to town quicker and cheaper.

An even more far-reaching result is the demand for better roads. So long as the automobile was the plaything of the city leisure class it was regarded suspiciously by the farmer, who refused to become enthused over the city man's demand for good country roads on which to go scorching. But now that the automobile has been adopted by the farmer, he is as anxious for the passable highways as the city man, and the two are working together to bring the road millenium to pass.

Auto plows, rakes and harvesters have been introduced into the northwest and found practicable, but the adoption of the motor car by the farmer as a vehicle of transportation for himself and his produce is more recent.

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