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The Great Race of 1908 Only nine men had successfully crossed the United States in an automobile at that time.  The Around the World Auto Race would cover 22,000 miles in 169 days! Thomas Flyer National Automobile Museum Thomas Flyer - $4,000   Weighed 5,000 pounds loaded

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slide1

The Great Race of 1908

Only nine men had successfully crossed the United States in an automobile at that time. 

The Around the World Auto Race would

cover 22,000 miles in 169 days!

slide2

Thomas Flyer

National Automobile Museum

  • Thomas Flyer - $4,000  
  • Weighed 5,000 pounds loaded
  • 4 cylinder 60 hp

engine

  • 60 mph
great race by the numbers
Great Race by the Numbers:
  • • 6 cars from 4 nations
  • • 250,000 spectators at start of the race
  • • 3 continents visited
  • • 169 days for Thomas Flyer to win race
  • • 13,341 miles by land, 8,600 by water
  • • 22,000 miles total
slide4

Chicago, IL

Buffalo, NY

Cheyenne, WY

Omaha, Nb

Iowa 1908

Out west ??

Julesburg, CO

Kendallville, IN

Tonapah, NV

New York City

Feb 12, 1908

Valdez, AK

the start feb 12 1908 location new york city
The Start: Feb. 12, 1908Location: New York City

Return to map

Crowds begin to gather at the Times Square starting line in NYC. Over 250,000 spectators were on hand for the start of the 1908 New York to Paris Race. 

feb 16 1908 location buffalo new york
Feb. 16, 1908Location: Buffalo, New York

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The Flyer with the 45 star flag flying approaches Buffalo, NY where it was built. Often spectator cars would join in, following the competitors or acting as guide cars breaking the way through snow

location kendallville indiana february 19 1908
Location: Kendallville, IndianaFebruary 19, 1908

Long before snowplows, hand shoveling or dragging the Flyer with teams of horses was often the only way through. With little protection from the elements, the American built Thomas Flyer with George Schuster as driver becomes the first automobile to ever cross the US in winter. 

Mar. 24,1908-First auto to ever cross the US during winter in 41 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes, a total of 3.836 miles from Times Square, New York City.

Return to map

location outside chicago illinois february 26 27 1908
Location: Outside Chicago, IllinoisFebruary 26/27, 1908

Where there were no rails, the Thomas was often forced to go "cross country", long before the days of 4WD.  Here, the car mired in quicksand, has broken the pinion gear.  It was repaired in the creek bed.

Return to map

location iowa countryside 1908
Location: Iowa Countryside1908

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"Thomas Flyer" rolling through the snowy Iowa countryside. In 1908, there were no paved roads and the problems of driving in the snow and mud cannot be fully understood today.

location omaha nebraska march 4 1908
Location: Omaha, NebraskaMarch 4, 1908

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Often with no roads, the Flyer would go "cross-country" finding torturous obstacles along the 22,000 mile course

location julesburg colorado
Location: Julesburg, Colorado

The Flyer up to the axles in mud near Julesburg, Colorado.

Return to map

location cheyenne wyoming march 8 1908
Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming March 8, 1908

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The Flyer drew crowds as it passed through cities, towns and villages. In Cheyenne, Wyoming cowboys (shooting their guns in the air) escorted the Thomas. 

location tonapah nevada march 20 1908
Location: Tonapah, NevadaMarch 20, 1908

I recalled that we had sold several cars to owners near Tonopah, Nevada which was 75 miles south of Twin Springs. I reasoned I might be able to take what we needed from one of those cars? It was after dark now and I walked to a ranch house where I hired a horse for $20 starting off toward Tonopah. It was a little after 4 A.M. the next morning, and both the flea-bitten gray and I were exhausted. I saw an adobe ranch house, and knocked on the door. A woman’s voice responded. I asked for some food and a fresh horse in the morning. Her response “Don’t try to come in here mister… I have a scatter gun and I’ll shoot! My people have gone to Tonopah and there are no horses. You can find hay for your horse, and there’s a lean-to for you.” quick sand mired Flyer to make the repairs.

Return to map

location valdez ak april 8 1908
Location: Valdez, AKApril 8, 1908

Return to map

The Thomas Flyer arrives on the pier at Valdez, Alaska. Impossible conditions prevented using Bering Straits as a "bridge" to drive across. George Schuster-driver (right front), George Miller-mechanic (left front), George MacAdam-New York Times reporter (seated right rear fur collar), Hans Hansen-crew (standing left rear) April 8, 1908 

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Crowds begin to gather at the Times Square starting line in NYC. Over 250,000 spectators were on hand for the start of the 1908 New York to Paris Race. 
slide17

Websites/ Sources used

  • http://www.thegreatautorace.com/
  • http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=117047155625108364832.000001130ded1a80b9c6b&ll=47.293449,8.599892&spn=146.38849,360&z=2&om=1
  • http://www.thegreatestautorace.com/
  • http://becpldigital.cdmhost.oclc.org/site-templates/nyparis-bib.html
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/7148462@N03/421331850/
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Midlatitude, forest

Mid-West

Northeast

Humid, mixed forest

Rocky Mts

Southeast

High Altitude, Mountains

Grassland, cold winds, flat

Great Plains