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Fast Woman: 1908

Fast Woman: 1908

Washington, D.C., circa 1908. "Maycliffe, R., Miss." The Broadway ingenue Ruth Maycliffe. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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It's a Maryland

Miss Maycliffe's car was a rarity even when this picture was taken. It is a 1908 Maryland Roadster as manufactured by the Sinclair-Scott Company of Baltimore, a company far better known for their apple peelers and food canning machines. The Maryland started out in 1905 as the Ariel, made by the Ariel Motor Car Company of Boston (not connected with the Ariel Motor Company in England or its New York partner The Ariel Company).

Sinclair-Scott had ventured into the manufacture of car parts a few years earlier and Ariel became one of their customers—in fact Sinclair-Scott was soon not only producing most of the car, but assembling it as well. There were few sales of the $2,500 tonneau however, and Ariel was unable to make good on their debts. Sinclair-Scott acquired the rights to the vehicle in 1907 (Ariel Motor Car Company was officially dissolved that same year), gave it a bit of a face lift—the oval radiator was given a sleeker redesign—and renamed it the Maryland Car.

They next added a 6-passenger limousine and a 2, 3, or 4-passenger roadster to the lineup while retaining the dash and Briscoe oval radiator on all three models. The Briscoe Mfg. Co. badge can be seen at the top of Miss Maycliffe's radiator.

Briscoe Mfg badge

Sinclair-Scott also carried on the Ariel tradition of equipping each vehicle with a tool box, a Nonpareil brand horn (used by 2/3 of American automobile manufacturers) and a full set of Atwood lamps (2 oil side lamps and 2 acetylene head lamps).

1908 Maryland Roadster

1908 Mayland front

The new models were a vast sales improvement over the Ariels—albeit still fairly low volume when compared to the best-sellers of the day—and for 1908 the only changes made were some body refinements and to the finish. Given the low production volume, it is possible that the roadster Miss Maycliffe purchased was the very one used for the promotional photographs appearing in national magazines (above).

Even with the increased volume, the vehicles were never profitable enough for Sinclair-Scott and in 1910 they discontinued the Maryland Car line. I am unaware of any Ariels or Marylands in existence today—making them both extinct cars.


For the individual curious about the location of this photo. Thanks to Dave's identification, the Willard Hotel is located at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, DC. Just down the road from the White House.

Backwards Driver

Judging by the tire tracks is looks like the car was reversed into position for this shot.

Multiple Air Valves?

I am no car expert, and have no idea what kind of a car this is.

BUT, I notice that the tires seems to have a whole lot of air valves, if that's what they are, whereas today's tires have only one per tire.

Does anyone know why?

[Those are rim clamps. See the comments here. - Dave]


Where do I get me one of them horns?

Where was she?

Can anyone identify the location and the buildings in the background?

[The big building is the Willard Hotel. - Dave]

1907 Oakland

You can see part of the last name on the radiator. Here's a picture for reference. Not identical, but a lot of the details are strikingly similar, like the horn, running lights and headlights.

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