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Jay Lloyd’s Getaway: Pennsylvania’s Early History of Automobiles

(An early tow truck at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.  Photo by Jay Lloyd)

(An early tow truck at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. Photo by Jay Lloyd)

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By Jay Lloyd

BOYERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — You may not know this, but much of America’s automotive history began right here in the Philadelphia area.

And some of it is restored and preserved in nearby Berks County, Pa.

As the auto age began to dawn, there’s good chance those early vehicles were built in Pennsylvania, not Detroit.

“All over the country there were carmakers, and Pennsylvania was very rich with them,” says Kendra Cook, curator of the most amazing museum, the cavernous Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.  On display is everything from a Conestoga wagon to the original Freihofer’s bread truck (below).

 

(An antique Freihofer's Bakery truck.  Photo by Jay Lloyd)

(An antique Freihofer’s Bakery truck. Photo by Jay Lloyd)

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There are cars steered by a tiller (below), and cars resembling carriages -– without the horse.

 

(NO STEERING WHEEL -- an early automobile with tiller steering.  Photo by Jay Lloyd)

(NO STEERING WHEEL — an early automobile with tiller steering. Photo by Jay Lloyd)

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But volunteer Pete Demauric notes they all have one thing in common:  “It was all built in Pennsylvania.”

There are one-of-a-kind cars and last-known-surviving models with names like Duryea, of Reading; Autocar, of Ardmore; Daniels; Henry; and Hill.

(A Daniels Eight.  Photo by Jay Lloyd)

(A Daniels Eight. Photo by Jay Lloyd)

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Take a look at boyertownmuseum.org and then take a colorful day trip into the history of mobile America!

 

 

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