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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Chair Car: 1922

Chair Car: 1922

January 1922. Washington, D.C. "Man in three-wheeled vehicle." Which is, according to the nameplate, a ____G CAR. 4x5 glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Demon of the Roads

The driver is none other than L. Luzern Custer himself, piloting what the caption describes as a "Cootie Car." (Washington Post, Jan. 21, 1922)

Although another clipping (The Daily Ardmoreite, 17 Nov. 1920) describes a different vehicle, a toy electric car for children similar to the ones here and here, as a Cootie Car:

Restored Custer Car

Video linked from this blog.

Last stand

It certainly does appear to be a Custer Car. A close-up of the rear hub on a similar photo appears to show the embossed legend "CUSTER CAR".

The inventor, Levitt Luzern Custer, filed a 1919 design patent for a very similar-looking "juvenile automobile." (It's obviously not the same design, but the resemblance is clear.)

[Two "juvenile" Custer Cars can be seen here and here on Shorpy. - Dave]

Custer Chair Car?

The vehicle looks a lot like the Custer Chair Car, featured on the very informative blog called Just A Car Guy, which concerns all things transportation-related.

[It could be -- both are made by a "Specialty Co." -- although our chair-car has a G in the name. - Dave]


Wall sconces and wall embellishments, so typical in the 20's! All would be gone by the 40's, replaced by bland industrial looking light fixtures and plain blonde walls.

Tare weight

I bet that thing weighs a ton (short, long or figurative.)


I'm sure that vehicle was quite practical given the abundance of wheelchair ramps in 1922.

The Wheels!

About 60 years ago I had an old red wagon from the early 1930s that came off a hill and got hit by a car on Long Island. I bounced six times and was OK but the wagon was a fatality. The wheels were smaller than those in this photograph but I remember the style and inside the black rubber was all "fire engine red".

The Segway of its era

Just need to find enough room to do U-turns. Fairly easy in hotel lobbies, but hallways? Concept good, execution needs work.

[Next stop, Walmart. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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