Excerpt =- "The Automobile Show"
transcription of a book excerpt
"The Automobile Show"
In retrospect, I see that first Chicago show -- the huge Coliseum on Wabash Avenue, reconstructed from the shell of Libby Prison, which was one of Chicago's attractions during the world's fair of 1893. It was some building in those days, still in its prime when Sam Miles launched his first automobile show in 1901. With 31 exhibits of complete cars and 20 of parts and accessories, there still was room for an oval flat board track, on which electric horseless carriages lumbered around, giving free rides to any who wanted them.
Another attraction was a home trainer, such as was used in cycling. A car was mounted with its wheels on huge wooden rollers, with a speedometer to show the speed as the car was operated as if on the road. Steam cars were used for this purpose. I forget the attendance figures, but there was a poor gate. But an automobile show was a novelty then -- not many Chicagoans had even seen a horseless carriage, let alone become interested in them. Why, Sam Miles sent me around with a huge bunch of passes to the various clubs where I was known because of my newspaper connections, and I had to beg my friends to take them and go to the Coliseum. Imagine the management nowadays giving away passes to the public in that open-handed manner!