Post 10/2021 Saturday 6 March . . . A visit to LaGrange County, Indiana, brings one face-to-face with a way of life that took form ages ago. The Amish still get around by horse and buggy, bicycle, and on foot, though they also use public transportation or hire drivers with vans or cars. The Amish population in LaGrange and Elkhart counties constitutes the third-largest Amish community in the United States. More than a third of LaGrange county’s 37,000+ population is Amish.
An in-person or online visit to Menno-Hof, the Amish/Mennonite information center in Shipshewana, Indiana, rewards the visitor with a description of the faith and life of Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites, known collectively as Anabaptists. The Anabaptist story begins January 21, 1525 in Zurich, Switzerland. For more information check out https://mennohof.org.
Hop on for a visual tour of LaGrange county
Goshen, county seat for Elkhart county
Even a brief online search reveals fascinating details related to the development of steam and gasoline engines, used to power railway locomotives, ships, factories, and, in 1803, the first horseless carriage demonstration in London, England. The inventor was Richard Trevithick, whose story I first came across in County Cornwall, where he harnessed high-pressure steam and constructed the world’s first steam railway locomotive (1803), according to Britannica Online Encyclopedia.
The Britannica article states: “Trevithick spent his youth at Illogan in the tin-mining district of Cornwall and attended the village school. The schoolmaster described him as ‘disobedient, slow and obstinate.’ His father, a mine manager, considered him a loafer, and throughout his career Trevithick remained scarcely literate. Early in life, however, he displayed an extraordinary talent in engineering. Because of his intuitive ability to solve problems that perplexed educated engineers, he obtained his first job as engineer to several Cornish ore mines in 1790 at the age of 19.”
We have a friend in Cornwall, a small engine aficionado collector, Noel B., to thank for introducing us to Trevithick and the annual Trevithick Day Celebration in Camborne, Cornwall.
The Duryea Motor Wagon, Chicopee, Massachusetts, built between 1893 and 1896,was among the first standardized autos in the US and among the first powered by gasoline. Karl Benz had built the first commercially available auto in 1888.
Early 20th century vintage automobiles
In 1981, I wrote the following (unpublished) article on Who Can Remember? I came across the content while rummaging through files in the Elkhart Public Library.
WHO CAN REMEMBER?
A Zenith carburetor promising 30 miles to the gallon? Installed for $9.50? That’s what Auto Specialties Company offered in 1924. The company called itself “Elkhart’s Oldest Electrical Service Station.” It was located at 216-222 Tyler Ave., opposite the New York Central Depot, Phone J-880.
A full page ad of the company appear4ed in teh October 1924 Progress Number of The Elkhart Truth.
The ad begins in large letters, “Who Can Remember,” and continues in smaller point, “When ignition was entirely HOT POINT? MAKE And Break? Magneto? When starting, lighting, generation and ignition were first used?”
The quick answer, “We Can,” and gets clinched with the tag, “As We are Pioneers from the Old School.”
The station offered Ford speedometer, battery, carburetor, and ignition specialties, as well as radio parts and industrial service, such as motor rewinding. It’s the fine print, though, that holds the most astonishing information.
Under the heading, “If You Drive a Car Listed Below We Can Furnish You Genuine Electrical Parts from Stock,” follow cars from every letter of the alphabet except I, Q, U, X, Y, Z. Never mind the parts, here comes the parade of cars, all 125 of them:
Here’s the list of the 125 cars: Allen, American, Anderson, Apperson, Auburn, Barley, Bay State, Beggs, Biddle, Birch, Bour Davis, Bradley, Brewster, Buick, Bush, Cadillac, Case, Chalmers, Champion, Chandler, Chevrolet, Cleveland, Climber, Chrysler, Cole, Columbia, Courier, Crawford, Cunningham, Daniels, Davis, Dodge, Dorris, Dort, Driggs, Duesenberg, Dupont, Durant, D.A.C., Earl, Elcar, Elgin, Essex, Fergus Series, Flint, Ford, Fox, Franklin, Gardner, Gray, Hanover, Hanson, Hatfield, Haynes, Holmes, H.C.S., Hudson, Huffman, Hupmobile, Jewett, Jordan, Kelsey, King, Kissel, Kline, Kurtz, Lafayette, Leach, Leon, Lexington, Liberty, Lincoln, Locomobile,, Marmon, Maxwell, McFarlan, Mercer, Metropolitan, Monroe, Moon, Nash, National, Noma, Oakland, Ogren, Oldsmobile, Overland, Packard, Paige, Paterson, Peerless, Pierce Arrow, Pilot, Premier, Premocar, Reo, Roamer, Regal, Revere, Rickenbacker, Rolls Royce, R. & V. Knight, Sayers, Saxon, Seneca, Standard, Stearns Durea, Star, Stephens, Stevens Durea, Studebaker, Stutz, Sun, Templar, Vim, Velie, Washington, Wasp, Westcott, White, Wharton, Wills St. Claire, Willys Knight, Winton.
I end the article with this sentence: “Will the driver of the Winton please give a dazed pedestrian a lift.”
Let kindness flow
Let the milk of human kindness flow above and beyond the signal progress of human inventiveness in every age.