Way Back When: Cars Have Come A Long Way

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Way Back When: Cars Have Come A Long Way
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Photo: A Haynes-Apperson of 1903 (Wikimedia)
By Betsy J. Green 
 
A lengthy article in the local paper 100 years ago this month looked back at the first automobile in Santa Barbara, way back when in 1904. 
“Frank Conant was the pilot and proud possessor of this vehicle, one of the first gasoline-propelled equipages to make its appearance with the, then, peaceful environs of Santa Barbara.”
The Conant car caused quite a stir here. “To stop it in front of a store to market, was a signal for the entire staff of employees to rush for the curb and offer their services, in order that they might give the device the ‘once over.’” 
However, the paper noted that there had been an earlier horseless carriage here. “A two-cylinder Haynes-Apperson, owned by one Captain Huescamp of Montecito.”

Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1918 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the fifth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com​

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jak Jun 23, 2019 11:29 AM
Way Back When: Cars Have Come A Long Way

Not so bad at all that electric cars were phased out. Bad as early “gas buggies” were, the other options (steam and electric) were also bad. Internal combustion engine technologies advanced faster than the competition in the early days of automobiles. Motor tech had almost caught up by WWII but battery tech is still struggling to get there. At least today electricity is nearly ubiquitous. Charging a modern electric car every few hours is a pain but at least it’s possible. Charging a century old electric every half hour in a setting where it might be more than a half hour’s ride from one source of electricity to the next... Personally, I am content for now with my modern gas buggy but will give it even odds that our next ride will either be electric or at least an extreme plug in hybrid. And possibly self-driving. (I tend to keep cars a long time).

SBWalkers Jun 23, 2019 08:27 AM
Way Back When: Cars Have Come A Long Way

At the time of the first gas vehicle in Santa Barbara, electric cars were more popular. Too bad, electric was phased out very quickly... but hey, they're coming back! Here is an interesting read. https://www.energy.gov/timeline/timeline-history-electric-car

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