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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Kar Nation: 1914

Kar Nation: 1914

Washington, D.C., circa 1914. "Kar Nation." One of four photos of this odd-looking auto taken from various angles. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

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Deep Thoughts

Although I prefer car designs from the 1960s on, I must say this is a great looking car. Nice clean design. Wish I had it in my garage! Every time I see a photo on Shorpy, I get confused in all sorts of time and place thoughts, difficult to grasp what it really means -- 10 years, 20 years, 50 years. Imagine hundreds of years. People then didn't think of computers as mobile phones as missing tools. They thought they were living in times of progression and they were, too. They were as comfortable in their homes as we feel now, it's all relative. Was life better then or is it better now?

Current Car-Nation

Found this article about a restored one.

No Doors

One reason many cars of these early times had no streetside doors was because the hand brake and various other appurtenances would have blocked them. I believe some Model T Fords sported this "feature."

[Another reason: Cheaper to build. - Dave]

Mass Market Attempt

Cycle cars were an attempt to reach the mass market by producing small, lightweight cars in a period when the majority of automobiles were large and expensive.

They were pretty much supplanted by the Ford Model T - a full size car at a mass market price. They remained a fringe market well into the '20s. The market was slightly revived by the Crosley and European microcars after WWII.


What is the canister shaped thingy on the running board?

[Acetylene gas reservoir for the headlights. - Dave]

Masonry walls

The car appears to be parked on H Street NW just east of 13th. The building behind it is the old Masonic Temple, now the National Museum of Women in the Arts.


Thought I remembered that as a make of car. Try Wikipedia under "Car-Nation" for a picture of a restored one. They were built 1913-1914 in Detroit, Michigan, by the American Voiturette Company.

Before its time

Sort of the AMC Gremlin or Pontiac Aztec of the era I suppose.

Curbside Access

I'm assuming there's a door on the curbside of the car, since there doesn't appear to be one on the side facing the camera. Was it common on early cars to have no driver's side door?

Was it Pink?

The Car-Nation was a lightly built cyclecar produced in Detroit in 1913 and 1914. This one is the four seater tourer and would have cost $520.

Interesting in that is is very similar to the French Marlborough cyclecar (1906 t0 1926) except that the Marlborough had a rounded-front to the radiator.

Look Ma! No Doors

Not on the street side, anyway. Nobody entered or exited there. Too many road apples and too much mud. Left side doors gained popularity later, in the mid 20's.

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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