Thursday, May 31, 2018

110-year-old advertisement for Dragon Automobile Company

I gave Sarah this 1908 advertisement for Dragon Automobile Company as a gift for her high school graduation earlier this month, because it contains two things that she loves — cars and dragons. And, outside of perhaps Wacky Races, that's not a combination you see too often.

The Dragon Automobile Company was short-lived, lasting only from 1906 to 1908, during which time it moved operations from Kittery, Maine, to Detroit to Philadelphia. Leo Melanowski, who had previously worked with the Otto Gas Engine Company (no relation), was the design engineer of the Dragon.

Here is some of the copy from this page of advertising, which measures about 8 inches across:
The Dragon Declares that it was been "doing things" lately that put it away up to the front of the class of machines that cost a good deal more.

First, the 24 hour Point Breeze endurance run, where its two cars finished second and third, where every car that finished was higher powered and higher priced. Only three cars running when race was finished, and two were Dragons.

Second the Boston (Readville) Decoration Day run, when the Dragon, finishing fourth, was the only car beside the winner that did not make a single stop for repairs or adjustments.

Third, that Dragon run over the 100 miles of up and downs around San Francisco Bay in 3:26 — 23 minutes better than the previous record.

Fourth, the New Jersey Automobile and Motor Club's three day endurance run from Newark to Atlantic City. Only five cars finished, and the Dragon's consistent running throughout was a wonder. And this same car started for New York right after the race, made the 101 miles in 4:12 — probably lowering the low-powered, 4-cylinder record — and hurried back to Philadelphia without a break, hitch or stop.
Read more about Dragon at American Automobiles and in Alan Naldrett's 2016 book Lost Car Companies of Detroit. It seems that many of the cars ended up being used as taxi cabs. I can't find evidence of whether any working or non-working models of the Dragon exist today.

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