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Author Topic: Only 2 cars in Ohio in 1895 crash?
LordKinbote
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Hello all, first time poster.

I've been doing research on this story that I heard years and years ago, in which there were only two people in Ohio who owned automobiles in 1895, and they crashed into each other.

Try as I might, I can't find any more information on the net other than that line. George Will has made the story as his own, calling it his "Ohio 1895 Theory of History".

Anyone know if the story is true, and where I could find some names and details if it is?

Posts: 1 | From: Connecticut | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
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I've never heard that one, but I have heard that the first auto-related fatality occurred in 1896. That at least suggests the crash in 1895 might not have happened. I also find it hard to believe that there were only two cars in the entire state at the time. Cars were rare in 1895, but not nearly that rare, especially in a heavily populated state with lots of wealthy families.

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Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

Posts: 2669 | From: Jouy en Josas, France | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
emperor_genghis_khan
Deck the Malls


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quote:
That at least suggests the crash in 1895 might not have happened.
Not really I investiagte around 100 accidents a year and maybe only 1 is fatal if even that.

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Shadowduck
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quote:
Originally posted by Ramblin' Dave:
Cars were rare in 1895, but not nearly that rare, especially in a heavily populated state with lots of wealthy families.

According to a few sources, including this one;

quote:
Running by February, 1893 and ready for road trials by September, 1893 the car built by Charles and Frank Duryea, brothers, was the first gasoline powered car in America.
...and later, that same evening...

quote:
Thirteen Duryeas of the same design were produced in 1896, making it the first production car.
So if anything it seems surprising there were as many as two cars in Ohio in 1895, if that was the case! Can't find anything about the accident mentioned in the OP. According to this site the first recorded automobile accident in America was between a car and a bicycle in 1896;

quote:
In March 1896, Charles and Frank Duryea of Springfield, Mass., offer the first commercial automobile: the Duryea motor wagon. Two months later, New York City motorist Henry Wells hits a bicyclist with his new Duryea. The rider suffers a broken leg, Wells spends a night in jail and the nation's first traffic accident is recorded."
Is it possible the date is wrong, maybe?

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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lemming_of_the_bda
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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George Will first makes mention of this theory in his book "The Leveling Wind". If this book is foot-noted or appendixed, perhaps that will lead you to the source. I'd suggest a trip to the local library.

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Posts: 2 | From: Lewisville, TX | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I recall being told in driver's education that the state was Indiana... or Illinois. Other than that, it was the same story. "The first fatal car crash was in XXX and there were only two cars in the state."

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EthanMitchell
Deck the Malls


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I think this comes from a book by John Train called Truly Remarkable Occurrences. I have seen the figure referenced, too, always as 1895 and Ohio. Around the turn of the century, many journalists were dead-set against automobiles, and some papers (like the local paper here) made a point of printing news about auto crashes all over the world. This seems fairly reasonable, as autos were and remain an extraordinarily dangerous technology. But the situation probably lent itself to hyperbole, and the "only two cars in Ohio collide" story would have been a plum, whether it was true or not.
Posts: 330 | From: New Haven, VT | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
lemming_of_the_bda
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Shadowduck:
Is it possible the date is wrong, maybe?

I doubt the date is wrong. This story is repeated, pretty much detail-for-detail in lots of different sites. What's more likely, IMHO, is that a wealthy family, perhaps the Dukes of Northern Kentucky, purchased a Duryea for each of their sons. Of course, Bo & Luke crashed into each other almost immediately. Although I could be wrong.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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Have you thought of calling the Ohio Department of Public Safety Traffic Crash Records at (614) 752-1575?

See also Ohio's Crash Information webpage for interesting information.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Johnny Slick
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quote:
Originally posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker:
Have you thought of calling the Ohio Department of Public Safety Traffic Crash Records at (614) 752-1575?

See also Ohio's Crash Information webpage for interesting information.

It only goes back to 1994, at which time there were likely at least 3 cars in the state. If Ohio exists, of course.

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Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I recommended calling because sometimes non-electronic data goes back much, much farther. Of course, recommending a non-electronic source is anathema to some. [Wink]

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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EthanMitchell
Deck the Malls


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I seriously doubt you will get crash data from 1895, which would be, like, half a century before they probably even had a DMV, without doing a personal search of newspaper archives. Here in Vermont I cannot get voter rolls from 1999--not from the town archives, not from the Secretary of State, not nowhere.
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candycane from strangers
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quote:
posted by Malruhn
I recall being told in driver's education that the state was Indiana... or Illinois.

Illinois? Ha! Don't you try pinning this one on us pal!

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A: "You contributed to the deliquency of a minor in drag!"
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