Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


OPTIONS ARE SO enticing in car purchases, even more so in the early days of motoring. Here are automotive enhancements gleaned from Floyd Clymer’s Historical Motor Scrapbook, Clymer Motors, 1944.

Floyd Clymer’s Hobby. Floyd’s first experience with automobiles came when he was seven years old, the son of a small town doctor who brought the first car into northern Colorado. This Gasamobile was followed by two Oldsmobiles, then a R.E.O. This last one was a rational jump “Through loyalty to a salesman, Lynn Mathewson, who had sold us two Oldsmobiles” and, of course, recognizing that R.E.O. stood for Ransom Eli Olds.

Even back then, Floyd was an enthusiast of things mechanical. According to Wikipedia, he “became the youngest Ford dealer in the USA at age 14, in Greeley, Colorado…. He owned a Harley-Davidson and Excelsior motorcycle dealership in the 1920s in Greeley.”

The “My Scrapbook” preface to the Scrapbook says his first flight was with “Walter Brookins in a Wright Bi-plane in 1910 at Walla Walla, Washington.” Floyd would have been around 15 at the time.

These enthusiasms continued into adulthood and ownership of Clymers Motors, 2125 West Pico Street, Los Angeles. His Scrapbook carries a “Wanted… To Buy” ad, seeking “catalogs, publications, illustrated tear pages of early motorcycles and automobiles. Also old copies Motorcycling, Motorcyclist, Motor Field, Motor Age, Horseless Age, Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal… and other publications having early advertisements of automotive products.” 

Here are several of my favorites. 

The Auto Buffet. This is akin to Fireless Cooking, as described here at SimanaitisSays. Witherspoon Buffet described it as “a portable box that is strapped to the running board of your car. Can be used as a seat…. Will retain temperature of 36º for 15 hours…. Carries all the accessories of a first-class buffet.”

This and images following from Floyd Clymer’s Scrapbook.

Plus, maybe that added seat would be warmed or cooled, depending on time of year. 

A Bottle of Whiskey Free! Not encouraging tipsy motoring, rather this one promoted showing “the difference between the best Whiskey on the market and the cheap, inferior grades now being advertised.”

“Whiskey Under Eight or Ten Years Old is Not Fit to Drink,” S.C. Herbst claims. “It is in constant state of fermentation, which continues after it is in your stomach, causing headaches, billiousness, etc.” 

Funny, I thought it had to do with alcoholic inebriation.

There is Warmth and Comfort. Agreed (though not advised), a little dram of good single malt would warm the cockles of one’s heart, not to say more vital parts. But the Wallace Automobile Robe would do this without the DUI risk.

This reminds me of a mobile kotatsu (Japanese: 炬燵 or こたつ). Wikipedia describes this as “a low, wooden table frame covered by a futon or heavy blanket, upon which a table top sits. Underneath is a heat source, formerly a charcoal brazier now electric, often built into the table itself.” With the Wallace Automobile Robe, of course, the car’s engine provided the heat.

“I Want Agents All Over the World for All Makes of Automobiles.” This pitch remains timely today. And so is the gleam in his eye.  

Improving the Supply Chain. The Consolidated Package Car, Price $100, is “Always ready… Reduced Delivery Cost… Does Not Eat.” 

I like the deal-closer about not eating. On the other hand, I wonder if Dobbin’s hay cost the equivalent of today’s $2933.71. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022 

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