Monday, July 13, 2009

Maxim's Party Vehicle

The conveyance pictured above was operated by the Middleboro Auto Exchange on Wareham Street and could be hired for parties and excursions. Earlier "party wagons" had operated in Middleborough, most notably by William F. Keyes. The Middleboro Auto Exchange was established in 1905 by Carlton W. Maxim for the sale, lease and repair of automobiles, and operated until 1914. Mertie E. Romaine later described Maxim's party vehicle in her History of the Town of Middleboro. "Mr. Maxim offered the service of a "picnic" conveyance, a sort of automobile barge seating a number of people and used to take parties on excursions, to out-of-town meetings and entertainments in Boston." The ladies in the photograph appear to be enroute to a summer outing, their brilliant white dresses an indicator of the season.

Illustration:
Middleboro Auto Exchange party conveyance, photograph, c. 1912
The conveyance was capable of seating more than a dozen people. Notice the striped blinds which were provided in each section of the car to shade passengers as needed, as well as the "MIDDLEBORO AUTO EXCH'G" painted at the top of the vehicle.

5 comments:

Laura said...

My husband is curious(being a mechanic) is that a gas powered car? What exactly is it? By the way very cool photo!

Mike said...

It is a great photograph of an unusual vehicle. The vehicle was apparently gasoline-powered and was probably created by Maxim, himself, who had begun as a woodworker but quickly developed an interest in automobiles. The chassis appears somewhat rudimentary. It, like many motor buses at the time, apparently lacked a drive shaft with power transferred to the rear wheels by means of a chain, much like a bicycle. The coachwork or body of the vehicle appears to be more professional and may have been acquired by Maxim elsewhere and added to his devised chassis.

The first gasoline-powered buses were developed in Germany in the mid-1890s, so Maxim’s proto-type bus only slightly over a decade later marks an important early local development in automobile design. Creating this vehicle undoubtedly provided Maxim with much experience which he was later able to draw upon in building his first fire engine in 1914.

Laura said...

Thanks for the info.

sadayo said...

I'm curious if you have any information on the Nemasket Auto Co at 78 Wareham St. In business from at least 1913-1930. I believe they sold Hudson automobiles and may have sold other makes as well.

Mike said...

The Nemasket Auto Company was established in 1911 on Wareham Street near the Four Corners and continued in operation through the 1930s. It was the local agent for Hudson automobiles, as well as Dodge cars and Yale motorcycles for a time. I'll post more on the company shortly.

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