Driving a Car in the Early 20's

by Alan Dodd

Before Route 7 was built in the early 20's we did not use cars in the winter as the snow was not plowed. Cars were stored for the winter and we used sleds drawn by horses.

With the building of Route 7, the roads were plowed and we used cars all winter, but they used no salt. As sanding was done by a man with a shovel standing on the back of a truck, only the hills and corners were sanded. Side roads were not plowed and we had to use chains a lot. One of the big jobs for the garages was fixing tire chains. One of the sounds of winter was hearing broken cross chains clattering on the fenders of passing cars.

We had only one grade of oil...heavy...so we put a pint of kerosene in the crankcase and transmission so we could start and shift. Alcohol was our only antifreeze. As it evaporates before water, if you did not add antifreeze after a warm spell, you would freeze up the next cold spell. No heaters either.

When I ride in my comfortable car, I think of those times and am very thankful.

© 1998 Alan Dodd