SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:


Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

All This for $295

All This for $295

"Argo auto, price $295." The short-lived Argo automobile ("The car you've hoped for, at a price you never expected") at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington circa 1915. View full size. National Photo Co.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


What I like about the origins of autmobiles was the connection the earlier designs had with horse-drawn carriages. These early cars weren't built like today's totally-enclosed-with-all-the-comforts-of-home models. This (and many) models didn't have doors or windows, let alone any temperature controls (although I'm sure to be corrected here). These were just meant to get a body to another location faster than a horse could. Of course there was a prestige involved, but luxury accessories wouldn't come for a few years yet. I'd love to hear city leaders of the time having to debate on the merits of the advent of automobiles.


The funny thing is, while you couldn't give them away in 1915, you could buy a fleet of Model Ts with what that Argus would probably bring at an automobile auction these days.

Well, before the economy got lean.

200 Orphans

This was certainly a sort of "Wild West" period in automobile manufacturing. Everyone and their brother were starting a company, with many failing, as happens when a new market is created.

Hemmings has a blog entry derived from a period magazine (Motor Record - March 1917) listing "orphaned" makes at that time. There must be well over 200 listed: Orphans of 1917

Argo et el

They went under because not enough people bought the cars. Which were not that great a value. The Argo (designed by the Briscoe brothers, whose earlier Ajax car was sold in France and England) was barely cheaper than a Model T, and there's wasn't much of a market in America for teensy, low-clearance two-seaters. For a little more money from the big manufacturers, you could get a much bigger vehicle with many more service and parts locations.

I'd buy one

Does anyone know why they didn't catch on?

Low cost cars

In the 1920s Ford Motor Co. was selling a pickup for under $300.

Unaltered Glory

Rather refreshing to see a building on Shorpy that still exists in an unaltered condition (at least the exterior).

(1980 photo by Dane A. Penland)
Hi-res version available at the Smithsonian [warning: ~6MB!].

A cyclecar

The Argo was a cyclecar (I think) - they had a brief popularity here in the States, little bit longer in the UK.

[The Argo had a four-cylinder water-cooled engine. - 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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2018 Shorpy Inc.