17 thoughts on “Automobile, circa 1916

  1. “Maude, how do you like this pose for the photo? I’m saluting Rooster Rock.”

    “Oh, Elmer, always with the japes.”

  2. First thought: he’s saluting with the wrong hand. The last U.S. auto manufacturer to switch to left hand steering was Pierce Arrow in the early ’20s though most of the rest had switched in the mid teens. But looking at the license plate I think the photo has been flipped.

  3. This car looks similar to the one seen on yesterday’s Morrison bridge posting.

    Is the man shielding his eyes to see a plane? Our about to rub his eye? He looks like he’s saluting.

  4. Thanks Mike. I knew someone would ID the car. Looks like they were right hand steering till about 1913 when they switched to left. It also looks like that specific radiator emblem started in 1913. I think this further supports the fact that the photo was flipped. Now, what is he saluting?

  5. Photo has not been flipped, based on button overlay on the men’s and women’s jackets they are wearing. RHD cars were still quite prevalent on the roads in this period. It’s hard to get a read on the license plate; it’s definitely dark letters on a white background, which was not the style for 1916 Oregon plates (plates had to be replaced every year back then). Might be a 1915 or a 1919 Oregon plate, which puts into question the date of this photo. But the number font is not quite matching the plates I’m seeing online. Grrr…will continue looking into this.

    In any case, it looks like this might be a nice day drive up the new Columbia River highway.

  6. I don’t agree that the photo was flipped. Look at the lapels of the coats that the man and woman are wearing. The lapels match the time-honored right-left orientation of the wearers gender.

  7. This couple may be checking out one of the waterfalls on the Columbia River Highway which was dedicated by Rose Festival Queen Muriel on June 7, 1916 at Multnomah Falls. Several people drove their cars to the dedication and a train from Union Station also brought several people.
    The Oregonian reported on Sunday following the dedication that 3,650 cars had traveled on the Columbia River Highway.

  8. Truly odd. Good luck finding the google map street view. I did download and flip the image, hoping it might look more familiar, today’s pic definitely seems reversed–but other than the wire, there’s no give-aways as to location. Roads, especially paved, would have been fairly limited circa 1916; hard to tell but it looks like earthen road.

    So strange that a photographer is in a road, capturing the car and couple, in a nondescript woodland area, with the woman focussed on the camera yet looking candidly stern, the man inexplicably peering skyward or at something tall in a more serious mood–possibly posed, possibly saluting or momentarily distracted. His actions seem to be the purpose of the photo, but it’s unclear. Perhaps he sees a an eagle, waterfall, a statue, a flagpole, a beacon tower–the electric wire suggests the road leads to something. Or, as someone else said, maybe a plane or perhaps a dirigible is passing, definitely a sight to behold in those days.

    Those spare tires were pretty slick–already inflated and mounted on rims that just slip on and off the wooden wheel mounts. I bet there is another spare on the other side.

    Overall, I’m guessing this is a wealthy couple, clearly well-fed, possibly people of note, affluent enough to afford an automobile and an amateur photographer, fitted for adventure with spare tires, dressed for the outdoors, exploring the nether reaches of our early road system and electric grid, documenting their adventure, capturing the majestic pride of the husband and the slightly less exhilarated wife.

  9. Jack, your observation is better. I didn’t think to look at the jacket buttons. I agree, the photo has not been flipped. It still looks more like a salute than shading the eyes but… ?

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