There was a period of time when the use of motorized conveyances and horse-drawn vehicles overlapped and many people thought the former just a fad that would never replace the wagons.  For several years advertisements for motorized vehicles and horse-drawn vehicles appeared simultaneously in magazines and newspapers.  Some realized the motorized machines might become a permanent fixture and tried to compete by saying even those who owned an automobile or motorcycle needed a wagon too. 

The following are all taken from the same magazine:  The Southern Planter, January 1912, and they are typical of the sales promotions for wagons or buggies, motor-cars and motorcycles during the era of transition in the early part of the 20th century.  They clearly illustrate the times in which people like the Van Buren sisters rode into history on their motorcycles. 

MOTORCYCLES IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

Women in the rural communities of the North are taking very kindly to the motorcycle as a means of transportation.  Its adoption assures a steed always at their command, ready for a trip to town, whether it be five or fifty miles away.

A good motorcycle is extremely durable and with proper care will last for ten years.  The operating cost is very low, being about one-tenth per cent per mile.

It is but a question of time before the motorcycle will become very popular in all rural communities.  – The Southern Planter.  Jan. 1912

Harry Phelps, of Columbus, Ohio, was an astute business man and an aggressive salesman.  He continued to market his buggies and wagons and suggested that even those who owned a motorized vehicle needed a good wagon.   The Southern Planter said in July 1912 that Harry Phelps had made and sold over 150,000 split hickory buggies in the previous eleven years and proclaimed it the largest vehicle business of its kind in the world.  His 1912 catalog contained illustrations and descriptions of some 125 models, all of which could be made to order. 

WHOLESALE PRICE ON VEHICLES TO EVERYBODY.  (Harry Phelps’ wagons)

I haven’t any agents, or jobbers, or dealers, or middlemen of any kind to take care of on the prices of my buggies, because I deal direct with you and give you the dealer’s price.  I have sold 150,000 of my vehicles this way and thousands of sets of harness.  I make everything I sell in my own factory.  My business is a personal business.  I give my time and attention to everything.  I make all my vehicles to order-I know they are right before they leave the factory.  I give them a 2 year’s guarantee that protects you absolutely.  In 12 years selling this way, I have never heard of a worn out Split Hickory Vehicle.

Split hickory means split with the grain—not sawed across it.  This means strength in all parts of the running gear.  My business is bigger than ever.  Other makers, selling through the dealers, are going out of business on account of automobiles.  I figure that everybody needs a buggy whether they have an automobile or not, and that every automobile owner wants a buggy anyway—for the times when he can’t run his machine.  Local dealers carry only a few styles to select from, I make 125 styles of automobile seat buggies, surreys, phaetons, road carts, etc., and full line of harness.

The following is an advertisement from the same magazine for a well-known wagon works in Virginia:

It’s a good thing—the confidence a man feels when he buys a Thornhill Wagon.  He knows that he is fully protected.  He knows that if he is not perfectly satisfied in every way, his dealer will refund his money or give him a new wagon.  See your dealer today.  Get on the SAFE side.  Thornhill Wagon Co., Lynchburg, Virginia.

 

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