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Friday, September 26, 2014

Women and the Early Automobile

 By 1910, equine transport had become almost obsolete, making automobiles not the wealthy status symbol it once held. With the openness of the Automobile, women's clothing needed a change due to being subjected to the elements.  First off, goggles were a must. Oil smuts could be a problem so women wore flat hats tied on with large, thick veils. Loose topcoats in tweed or leather to protect them from the weather and cold.
More and more women were taking to the roads, though I suspect not always appreciated by their husbands.

But an element of freedom was certainly gained by the independence of being behind the wheel

If a woman was going to strike out on her own, it did her well to know some of the mechanics of the automobile she was driving
Soon the 1900's became the Era of Speed with first motorcar race was held in 1894, and was quickly followed by the establishment of Grand Prix from Le Mans, France to Daytona Beach, Florida, where, in 1904, Willie K. Vanderbilt, Jr. clocked up to 92 mph in his 90 hp Mercedes. Katherine Drexel Dahlgren was not going to be left out in the category of racing
And once again, a new form of employment opportunities were awakened do the automobile with women converting a Model "T" Ford for food vending
However, since Automobiles were machines and therefore belonged to the world of men, just the idea of a woman driver was considered provacative
Which eventually led to (wink wink) the covers of Auto and Sport Magazines, such as this picture in 1928.  A pretty woman on covers of magazines exclusively for men .... and yes, it stands that way even today.

As always, have a wonderful day, and please remember to smile your beautiful smiles

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