I love collecting old books, and the more technical the better. Treatises of chemistry, anatomy, steam locomotives, electricity, empty tubes... uffff ... It must be that I have some neurons out of place or some childhood trauma that led to this strange hobby, but the truth is that I like them. The smell, the yellowed pages, the spines worn by hands hungry for letters, the story behind each fold, the annotations in the margin. Anyway, I have a lot of material for psychoanalysis.
But although it seems crazy, I found in these specimens an interesting escape, an interesting cabin of teleportation to the past. This is how I find out what was "the first" in technology, in the times when what is now old was new! And it is nostalgic to immerse yourself in that already forgotten reality of the first men of science, true heroes, who proposed to carry out their ideas or experiments even at the cost of their lives.
Among my most treasured copies is the Hawkins Electrical Guide from 1927. A few days ago I was flipping through some of its pages when I came across a section that said “Electric Vehicles”. For a moment I didn't know if I was reading an old book or a futuristic Tesla Motors article… And, yes, I was surprised to learn what it was. popular that were electric cars in the late 19th century and early twentieth century. However, what surprised me the most was to learn that some models had a range of between 75 and 100 miles per charge!
The following figure is a photo of one of the pages of the encyclopedia. There is shown a Baker Electric brand vehicle.
Here is a photograph of this vehicle in real life. Nice, right?
But Baker Electric wasn't the only company making electric cars. There were several. One of the best known was Detroit Electric, which built several models of electric vehicles in the early 1900s. Here is one of them, the model 46, manufactured in 1914.
Henry Ford's wife herself owned a Detroit Electric vehicle.
There were more companies making electric vehicles. The question then is: why this technology stopped being the most used? Why did he have to hibernate for so long? The problems that our dependence on oil has generated have been disastrous for humanity, including air pollution, oil spills in our oceans and even wars. Electric cars existed before combustion cars and will surely exist after them. It is in the middle where humanity made a serious mistake.
The first electric vehicle
It is presumed that In the 1830s, a Scotsman named Robert Anderson invented the first electric vehicle. In essence it was a horse carriage to which he had adapted batteries and an electric motor. This invention served as inspiration for many other inventors who came later.
Electric vehicles were forgotten, but they are the future
Nowadays there is much talk that electric cars are the future and that they can be recharged from a common electrical outlet. Many see them as an ingenious and futuristic solution to the problems inherent in oil. However, the big question I ask myself is: Weren't we already using this type of technology more than 100 years ago? Could it be that the ambition of man and the big oil business blinded our creativity and shelved the idea of the electric vehicle for decades? Time will tell us. For now I leave you with some revealing images of how we were recharging electric vehicle batteries in the past… does it seem familiar?
An interesting documentary to understand why the electric vehicle did not prosper
As a final note. An interesting and recommended documentary, to fully understand what happened with the electric vehicle is the one that I leave you below.