A Test of Progress

Almost every day as I wander around this place in images of times gone by, I find signs of who we once were. Perhaps these signs also point to what we may hope to become.

Witness this:

July 13th, 1913. The automobile is a Franklin. That’s Jimmy Feeney at the wheel – service manager for Franklin. City Sealer John Stephenson is about to pour a measured gallon into a glass container. Officials look on – after all, it’s a National Efficiency Demonstration.

And the answer: 57.2 miles on one gallon of gasoline.

Franklin Automobiles went out of business in 1934.

5 thoughts on “A Test of Progress

  1. So basically we are still trying to get back to where this car was over 70 years ago as far as efficiency goes. WTF? is the only response that comes to mind.

  2. Patrick, our SmartCar gets between 32 and 42 mpg. The Prius doesn’t get 57.2 mpg.

    So yes, David, WTF. After a century, we are not yet back to the place this car was in its performance. Pretty pathetic.

    Or, as I think I am saying with nearly every post here, so much about our urban life, our cities, our neighborhoods, our downtowns, the way we move around, the way we shop and work, fails to meet the test of progress, however you may define progress.

    A century ago this place looked better (though it was anything but tidy and neat), worked better, was more walkable, was easier to move around in, had centers and edges, was much more dense. Worked.

    Find the future? Look at what we had, first. Then make something, someplace, as good. Not as easy as it seems.

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