Archive for Wednesday, October 19, 2011

100 years ago: Automobile, bicycle collide at downtown intersection

October 19, 2011

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Oct. 19, 1911:

  • "Shortly before noon today a collision occurred that might have had some serious results, but luckily did not. Just as Dr. H. S. Gardner was turning the corner west on Winthrop [Seventh] street of Massachusetts street, Geo. Wetzel came riding from the west on his bicycle. As the two men came toward one another each thought the other was going to turn out. At the same time that each one turned, so did the other, and thus going in the same direction they collided. Wetzel was thrown from his wheel to the pavement and for a moment it appeared as if he was seriously hurt.... It was found when he was taken home that there were no bones broken and evidently no internal injuries. Wetzel is employed at the Lawrence Grocery Store. Quite a crowd gathered after the accident, as is usual when an event of this kind happens."
  • "The Ladies of the Methodist church did nobly on their stand at the county fair. They made $80 from selling waffles."

Comments

George_Braziller 3 years, 9 months ago

That's a lot of waffles. I used an inflation calculator and $80 in 1911 works out to $1848.21 in today's dollars.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 9 months ago

You beat me to it, Sarah! I was going to post this:

weiser, the answer is no, unless he was riding a bicycle that was over 20 years old. clip from Wikipedia: "John Kemp Starley, James's nephew, produced the first successful "safety bicycle", the "Rover," in 1885, which he never patented. It featured a steerable front wheel that had significant caster, equally sized wheels and a chain drive to the rear wheel.

Widely imitated, the safety bicycle completely replaced the high-wheeler in North America and Western Europe by 1890."

Sarah, the only reasons you like the old ones with the big front wheel is because you never tried to ride one and they look good, in an old fashioned sort of way. They were incredibly dangerous, and a lot of people were seriously injured when they crashed them. As soon as the modern style of bicycle became available, no one would buy the old style big front wheel bicycle anymore.

There are very good reasons why there are very few reproductions of them made today, although they are incredibly easy to manufacture.

Sarah St. John 3 years, 9 months ago

"I wonder if it was a bike with the big front wheel."

Sadly, probably not. (I like those old ones.) The "safety" bicycle (with both wheels the same size) was new in the 1880s, and by 1911 I bet most bicyclists in Lawrence were riding them. The J-W advertisements for bicycles, when illustrated (rarely!), also seem to imply that the "safety" version was the prevalent style.

And while I'm here: Yeah, those were probably really good waffles! None of this Eggo stuff, but the real deal. I wonder how they managed to make them at a stall at the fair, as they probably didn't have electric ones yet (according to an online article, that was invented in this very year, 1911!). Did they lug a gas stove all the way to Woodland Park to make waffles?

My brother-in-law still has the old kind of cast-iron waffle iron that sits on top of the open burner of a wood-burning stove. I think it was used in his Minnesota family in earlier generations. Very cool!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

"My brother-in-law still has the old kind of cast-iron waffle iron that sits on top of the open burner of a wood-burning stove. I think it was used in his Minnesota family in earlier generations. Very cool!"

We used one of those regularly when I was a kid. If it was clean, oiled up right, and up to proper temperature, made perfect waffles every time.

George_Braziller 3 years, 9 months ago

Earlier generations? I'm 49 and my mom used one of those cast iron waffle irons when I was a kid.

George_Braziller 3 years, 9 months ago

Earlier generations? I'm 49 and my mom used one of those cast iron waffle irons when I was a kid.

George_Braziller 3 years, 9 months ago

Earlier generations? I'm 49 and my mom used one of those cast iron waffle irons when I was a kid.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 9 months ago

1) "was turning the corner west"

2) "came riding from the west"

3) "each thought the other was going to turn out."

The above clips are sure to be of interest to linguists because they demonstrate how much common usage of the English language has changed in the last hundred years. All of the words have the same meaning and are still in common use, but that is certainly not the way the same set of circumstances would be described today.

2) is understandable, he "was headed east" is how it would be described today.

1) and 3) are just about totally incomprehensible to a modern reader.

SpicePirate 3 years, 9 months ago

I like that. The lady's group did "Nobly" on their stand. Nicely done, Ladies.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes, the women proved themselves that day. And they continued to do so well and show everybody that they were actually able to accomplish things of substance that nine years later, they were given the right to vote.

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