Real-World History with the Pullman

When I was a little guy living in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania – in the heart of the anthracite coal region – back in the 70s, I’d see three bookshelves in our home stocked with the Encyclopedia Americana and there’s a good chance that I’d sit on the floor and start reading.  There were pictures of all of the presidents – in order and in one place!  The history of baseball?  It was in there.  Why do I love the Atlantic Puffin to this day?  The Encyclopedia Americana had pages of data and photos of every known bird.  [You have to see the Puffin.  You’ll love it immediately.]  It’s fair to say that when the Encyclopedia Americana Yearbook arrived at the front door, it didn’t stay in the cardboard packaging too long. [Home-delivered encyclopedias?  Yes.]  That young chap with the mass of curly hair atop the round head was the rennaissance kid of 1979. :-) 

The coverage of automotive history was extensive and it was dominated by the Big 3 - Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Chrysler.  I learned that dozens of automakers closed their doors after the assembly line efficiency and resultant price points of Ford changed the industry.  Later, the Great Depression shook out most of those that stood on the fringe. 

One automaker that didn’t make the first cut was the York Motor Car Company.  With my 43 years on Earth – and armed with all of that encyclopedia time – I had never laid eyes on one.  When the 1911 YMCC Pullman rolled into our gathering on Saturday, the eyes were wide and the smiles were big.  {After scanning the remainder of this week's newsletter, settle into page 12 to see the Pullman for yourself.]

In speaking with the driver, I learned that the Pullman was rolling out of York, Pennsylvania until the doors were closed in 1917.  Now that was big news.  Just up the road, our York featured an automaker?  Well, after digging into the York Daily Record website, I learned that there were 17 automakers in the York area and YMCC was the big guy on the block.  Imagine this.  The original Pullman had 6 wheels, with the wheels being equidistant from front to back and the power being driven to the middle wheels.  “MWD”?  Middle-wheel drive?  Crazy?  Yes.  There was a bit of an issue cresting hills, which could cause the corner wheels to lift.  The middle wheels were quickly removed for upcoming models but the company never truly gained traction.       

What I may have missed via the Encyclopedia Americana was delivered to my home away from home with a real-world experience.  The sights, the smells, the sounds, the owner’s stories and the driving experience…that’s what brings the young boy out of a 43-as-of-yesterday car dude.  We just never know what we’ll see.     

As a closer, welcome to fall!  It’s football, it’s foliage and since 2012, it has been about family and friends on a Saturday morning in Hunt Valley.  Enjoy your day and see you down the road!