Photo Shows A Woman Charging Her Electric Car 112 Years Ago

A collection of images from 1922 that show a woman charging an electric automobile have surfaced, providing a fascinating look into the past and dispelling the myth that electric cars are a relatively new invention. The car in question is a 1905 Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton, a groundbreaking electric automobile.

The Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton, which sold for $44,000 in today’s money when it was new, was a symbol of luxury and modernity during its prime. With 24 battery cells, three forward gears, two backward gears, and a top speed of 15 miles per hour, the car was equipped with cutting-edge capabilities for its day.

But what really stands out about the car is its unusual design. It was not like modern cars; instead of a standard steering wheel and accelerator pedal, it had a carriage-based structure, steering similar to a boat with a tiller, and a speed control stick held in the left hand.

The pictures document a specific moment at the vehicle’s charging station while showcasing the cutting-edge technology of the time. A mercury arc rectifier, which changed alternating electricity into direct current to charge the car’s batteries, was linked to a lengthy cable as part of the charging procedure. When the rectifier was working, it also gave out a strange blue hue.

Electric cars were not a novelty in the early 20th century. In fact, they were the preferred choice for the wealthy, comprising a significant portion of the registered vehicles in 1900. With alternatives like steam and gasoline-powered vehicles having their drawbacks, electric cars emerged as the cleaner, quieter, and more user-friendly option, particularly favored by women.

An advertising campaign by General Electric, to which these photos are believed to belong, targeted women as potential drivers of electric cars. The vehicles were marketed as clean, silent, and suitable for daily use, with charging infrastructure becoming commonplace in private garages and commercial lots.

The golden age of electric cars faced a decline with the advent of the affordable Model-T Ford and the widespread adoption of gasoline-powered vehicles. However, history has come full circle, with the modern resurgence of electric vehicles, proving that the innovation of the past is now the driving force of the future.

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