1909 Pope-Hartford and Chauffeur

1909 Pope-Hartford Model S Toy Tonneau

This looks to be a 1909 Pope-Hartford, Model S Pony Tonneau – 4 cylinder, 40hp. The car wear's 1910 New Jersey license plate #5282. Seated proudly behind the wheel appears to be a professional chauffeur - a customary approach to touring for those with the necessary resources at the time.

The Pope line of automobiles was the result of the tireless effort of Albert Pope, who's success in buying up the patent-rights and manufacturing of bicycles, lead to great wealth. Pope grew up selling fruits and vegetables in Boston's Quincy Market, however with his bicycle money Pope entered the automobile business in 1896. Convinced that electric cars were the way to go, Pope was producing just over 2000 cars by 1899 - nearly half of all cars produced in the US. By the end of the year (1899), Pope would sell out to the Electric Vehicle Company. In 1901, Pope wanted back into the automobile business and began acquiring companies. These cars were named according to their location of manufacture; Pope-Robinson (Hyde Park, Massachusetts), Pope-Waverly Electric (1904-1908,made in Indianapolis), Pope-Tribune (Hagerstown, Maryland, 1904-1908), Pope-Toledo (1904-1909, Toledo, Ohio) and Pope-Hartford (1904-1914, Hartford, Connecticut). Unfortunately for Pope, a series of bad investments led to financial ruin - he died in Boston in August of 1909.

In many states, around the time of this photo, only professional chauffeurs had to obtain an operator’s license. Many professional organizations can be found in publications of the day - as an example, The Professional Chauffeur’s Club of America was organized in New York (1903). However, according to James Flink in his book America Adopts the Automobile, until 1906 New Jersey simply demanded that an automobile owner file with the secretary of state a declaration verified by a notary that he was competent to drive the automobile he desired to register. With the creation of the Motor Vehicle Regulation and Registration department, New Jersey was one of the first states to license automobile drivers. A New Jersey operator’s license now had to be obtained in person from a state examiner, and the applicant had to make an affidavit on the extent of his driving experience, physical condition, and knowledge of the state’s motor vehicle laws.

As seen in the clipping from The Automobile Journal, June 25, 1912, the cost to register this car would have been based on it's horsepower and the chauffeur would be required to have the cut-out closed while driving in town.
Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal - January 1909

The Automobile Journal - June 25, 1912

No comments:

Post a Comment