Uploaded on Jul 13, 2011
What's the world's oldest car? Well, it depends on how you define it. A set of trading cards that I review in this video features several likely contenders.
Can you imagine a world without cars? Well, I have a set of Liebig trade cards that will help you. It shows different types of transport used before the automobile became widely used. Two cards show the use of bicycles, another card shows a steam train, a carriage and a horse, still the most common form of transport in the 19th century. Actually, the motor car had already been invented by the time this Liebig set was issued. The very fact that the automobile is not featured in this set perhaps signifies how important the horse still was in the early 20th century to ordinary people. It's interesting to note that the car was initially seen as clean alternative to the horse. Horse excrement and urine was a huge problem on the roads in the 19th century.
The great thing about cards like these and cigarette cards is that they provide a window to the past, illustrating that time when the car went from being a rich man's novelty to an everyday necessity.
The second set of Liebig cards that I have is devoted to the history of the motor car and was issued in 1907. The first card in this set shows a windmill automobile that looks like it was invented by the great Leonardo da Vinci himself. However, on the back, coincidentally in Italian, it states that this interesting early car design was found on a 15th century document from Memmingen, Germany.
The second card shows a sail powered machine that was designed by the Dutch mathematician Simon Stevin in the 1600s. It states on the back that this mode of transport was impractical because of the terrible state of roads in those days.
In a time when the rich and affluent had many servants, someone conceived the idea of pedal power. A drawing from 1690 shows a French doctor visiting his patients with such a contraption and an artist impression of this original drawing is found on card #3.
On the back of the card showing a steam powered vehicle, it states that the first self-propelled car was invented by the French engineer Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769.
Card #5 shows an illustration of the first gasoline car from 1875, conceived by Siegfried Marcus. Unfortunately, he never applied for a patent for his motor car design but he was the first to use gasoline for propelling a vehicle. Because of Marcus' Jewish ancestry his name and all memorabilia vanished under the Nazis. Of course this isn't mentioned on the back of the card because it was issued well before the Nazi party was founded. This shows how history can effectively be re-written by those who control the media and information. It is the German engineer Karl Benz who is usually credited with the invention of the gasoline car since he was the first to patent his work in 1879.
The electric bus on the last card probably reveals what the author of this set thought would be the successor to the gasoline car. As we all know, this never happened, although that could change in the future with increasing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions.
Name of Manufacturer: Liebig
Year of Issue: 1907
Number of Cards in Set: 6 cards
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