Sunday, February 10, 2013
In Springfield, MA, J.Frank Duryea and Erwin F. Markham test drive a vehicle of their creation, the Duryea Motor Wagon, inside the vacant second-floor of the Russell Machine Shop, where the car had been built. Crude, even by the standards of the day, the “car” was little more that an engine and running gear placed on a carriage body. On its first run, the vehicle’s transmission failed to disengage not allowing the vehicle to stop properly. Walking beside the slow-moving vehicle, and seeing that a “crash was imminent”, Frank frantically grabbed the rear axel, slowing the speed so that when it reached the opposite side of the room, the front wheels only made a slight bump against the wall. Although not on a public street, could this be said to be the first automobile accident? No damage was reported. As far as we know, no insurance claim was made.