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1912
 
in the headlines

President: William H. Taft

Vice President: James S. Sherman

Woodrow Wilson is elected President of the United States

The republic of China is officially proclaimed

Carl Jung publishes his 'Theory of Psychoanalysis'

The "unsinkable" oceanliner Titanic sinks on maiden voyage after colliding with an iceberg; over 1,500 drown

Balkan Wars begin, resulting from territorial disputes: Turkey defeated by alliance of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro (Oct.).

New Mexico and Arizona are admitted as states No. 47 and 48.

William Randolph Hearst begins to acquire his media empire that will include 18 newspapers and nine magazines within two decades.

Girl Scouts of America founded by Juliette Gordon Low.

1912 Mile Posts

In the United States

  • The industry produces a total of 356,000 cars and 22,000 trucks
  • Ford production rises to 78,440; but market shares skid to 22% as competition increases
  • Ford Model T prices are slashed by $80; Ford claims each dollar's reduction attracts a thousand new buyers
  • Ford has 7,000 dealerships in the US, at least one in every town with a population over 2,000
  • Henry Ford breaks a strike at a Buffalo plant by closing it and shipping its machinery to Detroit
  • On May 30, America's fastest racing cars gathered at Indianapolis for the 2nd 500-mile Memorial Day race over the bricks. Joe Dawson topped the field, averaging 78.7 mph in his 4-cylinder National racer. This race is an annual event
  • Competitors get the Indianapolis Speedway to ban Model Ts, ostensibly because they are too light
  • A new Automobile Board of Trade sponsors the 12th National Automobile Show
  • A wide variety of self-starters appear at the show including 13 acetylene-operated units, 6 using compressed air, 7 electric, 14 mechanical, 2 gasoline-powered, plus one that operates from exhaust gases
  • White traffic-separation lines are painted on the streets of Redlands, California
  • A loaded Packard is the first truck to make a westbound transcontinental crossing in 46 days
  • The City of Chicago enacts an ordinance limiting horn blowing
  • Charles W. Nash is named president of General Motors; Walter P. Chrysler goes to work for him, as Buick plant manager. He takes a 50% pay cut
  • A short-lived cycle car craze begins-the low-cost, often fragile vehicles draw scorn from some, purchase agreements from others
  • The Boyce Motor-Meter is introduced to monitor engine temperature
  • New Yorkers brag that Fifth Avenue has more motor traffic than any other street in the world. The city now has traffic police at every corner south of 42nd Street
  • New York has piled up $100 million in highway debt, more than all the other states put together
  • New York: 423 driving deaths reported for 1911; city seeks new auto laws
  • Bronx River Parkway Commission hires Jay Downer as its chief engineer and Gilmore Clark as its landscape architect. They will design the first urban parkway planned for motor vehicles
  • Golden State Park, San Francisco, opens its park drives to cars, the last urban park in the US to do so
  • Theodore Roosevelt injured in an auto accident while campaigning for president
  • Motor Car magazine writes about motor campers: 'Thoreau at 29 cents a gallon. 'Time and space are at your beck and call, your freedom is complete.'
  • Boston architect Harry Morton Ramsey: 'The garage should not convey too strongly at first sight the idea of a garage
  • Hal Roach presents the first of the Keystone Kops film series, which features nihilistic car chases
  • Society of Automotive Engineers standardizes screw threads and other car parts
  • Novelties: pressed steel body developed by Edward Gowen Budd; carbon black as a tire strengthener; dump truck and bookmobile (Washington County, Maryland)
  • First offshore oil wells (Southern California)
  • World's first flying-boat airplane, designed by Glenn Curtiss, makes maiden voyage at Hammondsport, New York
  • First automobile driver jailed for speeding
  • Standard Oil opened the first gasoline station in Cincinnati Ohio. Up until that time, car owners bought fuel from hardware stores and sometimes lumberyards

US Auto Manufacturers

  • Cadillac adopts an electric self-starter developed by Charles F. Kettering, accompanied by generator-battery lighting and ignition systems
  • A total of 3,000 Chevrolets are built; the six-cylinder touring car sells for $2,150
  • Edward Gowen Budd invents the all-steel car body. Oakland and Hupmobile take an interest, and Dodge Brothers orders Budd bodies for its forthcoming car
  • Packard introduces its first six-cylinder series, with a 525-cid T-head engine
  • Hudson moves into the medium-price field at mid-year with the 1913 Model 54, its first six-cylinder
  • Hudson's Mile-A-Minute Roadster is guaranteed to do-what else?- 60 miles an hour
  • The Stewart Motor Company is formed to produce cars and trucks
  • Waverly Electric advertises a car with a rear-facing front seat and steering lever for drivers in the center of the back seat. The arrangement allows drivers to converse face to face will all passengers
  • Pierce-Arrow makes a 13,678-cc. engine

And From the World

  • Henry Ford sends Charles Sorenson to Britain, where he breaks the Metal Workers Union in the Model T plant
  • For the first time, New York, London, and Paris manifest more motor vehicles than horse-drawn traffic and suffer more fatalities caused by cars than wagons
  • Britain decides to switch its naval fuel from coal to oil and starts to buy a majority share of British Petroleum
  • Renault sells 100 taxicabs in Mexico City
  • Norway requires auto insurance for all drivers
  • Paris adopts New York's Eno system of traffic regulation, and its police plan to shoot out the tires of cars whose drivers refuse orders to stop
  • Writer Marcel Proust has lined his study with cork to limit traffic noise
  • Kaiser Wilhelm owns 25 cars; Czar Nicholas II has 21. Emperor Mutsuhito of Japan orders two Mercedes cars
  • German, British, and French manufacturers demand protection from US exports
  • On April 19, Paris taxi drivers go back to work after a 144-day strike
  • Two US drivers are disqualified in Dieppe Grand Prix for illegal refueling on June 26

 
new makes: 1912
Argo-Electric Atlas-Knight
Car-Nation (cyclecar) Chevrolet (production models)
Chicago Electric Church-Field Electric
Crane Detroiter
Dodo (cyclecar) Edwards-Knight
Great Southern Grinnell Electric
Henderson Little
Marquette Modoc
Omaha Pathfinder
Perfex Pratt
Stoddard-Dayton Knight Touraine
1912 Production figures 
  1. Ford...........................................................78,440
  2. Willys-Overland.............................................28,572
  3. Studebaker/EMF............................................28,032
  4. Buick...........................................................19,812
  5. Cadillac........................................................12,708
  6. Hupmobile......................................................7,640
  7. Reno.............................................................6,342
  8. Oakland.........................................................5,838

Some figures are estimates or calendar year
 

 

1912 Photo album

Click on the camera to go to the photo gallery
to see pictures of  cars from 1912
By the Numbers

US Population ............................................95,335,000

New Births...................................................2,855,000

 

Federal spending ....................................... $0.69 billion
Unemployment ...................................................... 4.6%
DOW Average ...................................................... 87.87

 

Average Income (year) ...................................... $1,033

New Home (median price)......................................2,750

New Car (average cost).........................................$941

Gas (gallon) .......................................................... 7

Stamp...................................................................2

 

Bacon (pound).....................................................24

Bread (loaf)...........................................................5

Butter (pound) .................................................... 37

Eggs (dozen)........................................................34

Milk (quart)............................................................9

Sugar (pound) ...................................................... 7

Steak (pound).......................................................23

new in 1912

Universal Pictures 

Hellmann's Mayonnaise

Oreo & Lorna Doone cookies

New Mexico & Arizona (47th & 48th states)

parachuting from an airplane

Prizes in Cracker Jack boxes

Girl Scout's of America

L L Bean (Freeport, Mass)

self-service grocery stores (Ward's Groceteria and Alpha Beta Food Market, Ca)

First Keystone Cops film