Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ride in a Riker: The Perfect Automobile


Meet the Riker Demi Coach Electric Automobile, which my character Ann Henry drives in my WIP. Awesome, isn’t it?

Did you know that electric cars predated gasoline-powered cars, and that if industry had gone a slightly different way, American cars might have been electric all along? Can you imagine how the world might be different today if we’d taken this alternate path?

As odd looking as the Riker seems today, it was typical of automobile designs of the early 1900’s. Most of them copied the design of various horse-drawn carriages, wagons, and light-weight phaetons, except without the horse. I was surprised to discover that they were steered with rods – kind of like a bike – instead of wheels. This particular model was designed to be driven by a chauffeur who sat in the back, on that high seat seven feet in the air, steering with a rod. The passengers would sit quite cozily inside, on two facing benches.

Why didn’t electric cars become the norm? According to an interesting little website called Electric Cars are for Girls, we can blame a marketing error (designing electric cars for the comfort of women instead of the manliness of men) and Henry Ford.

Electric cars were, apparently very popular with women at the turn of the century. Check out this video of two women assembling and driving away in a Folding Car!!

9 comments:

  1. What a neat post. Leave it to you to always share some interesting tidbits. I've never seen this automobile before. I noticed the steps leading up to the high seat right away and wondered if that's where people sat, but then I read that's where the driver sat. Cool. Very cool Dianne. Thanks for sharing and have a super day.

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  2. huh. I didn't know that. Men are so stupid. lol.

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  3. That'd be so cool! I wish I had someone to drive me around like that.

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  4. Oh cool! I want one of those, though it's not very practical in the winter where I live. Or in the spring and fall.

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  5. What an absolutely fantastic post, Dianne!! I had no idea!

    Also, I LOVE that car. I don't drive, but if I did, I'd want to drive a Riker! :)

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  6. hi miss dianne! wow thats a really cool car for sure. you could see maybe if it stops you could hook up a horse to pull it cause it looks just like a horse drawn carriage. i love that folding car. wow how cool is that! miss anne in your wip is gonna get a nice quiet ride for sure.
    ...hugs from lenny

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  7. Kind of reminds me of the Munsters car.

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  8. wow, amazing video clip! How cool would that be to have your car in a little closet in your house and just get it out when needed, unfold, and off you go. How is Ann Henry, anyway?

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  9. Those old cars are gorgeous. I love them so much.

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