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Sears Motor Buggy, Model P
Sears Motor Buggy, Model P
Resource Typeimage
TitleSears Motor Buggy, Model P
Coverage / Year1909 to 1912
DescriptionThe Sears, Roebuck and Co. Motor Buggy Model 'P' automobile seats four passengers. It has carriage wheels and a tiller for steering. The spring wagon body is made of pressed steel. The two-cylinder engine is located under the middle of the buggy. For cover it has a fringed surrey top. The automobile is painted black, and dark blue with white trim.
InterpretationThe heyday of the motorized buggy was 1902 through 1912. These automobiles were inexpensive and especially adapted to be driven at moderate speeds over rough roads. Being a combination of a ready available buggy body and a basic engine and transmission, the motorized buggy was manufactured by many companies. Most of the manufacturers were located in the Midwest. Sears, Roebuck and Co., based in Chicago, sensed a new market opening up and attempted to capitalize on it. Sears, Roebuck and Co., famous for its ability to reach rural markets through its extensive mail order catalog, put a motorized buggy on the market from late 1908 until 1912. The Sears Motor Buggy, Model P, as it was called, was manufactured in Chicago. It was advertised in both Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s regular catalog and special catalogs promoting the automobile. The 1912 Sears, Roebuck and Co. Motor Buggy Model P cost $495, was shipped disassembled or 'knocked down' in a crate, and weighed approximately 1600 pounds. Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold a huge amount of tools through its catalogs and was quite aware that its customers were very practical people. The company's 'practical' Motor Buggy was promoted as an essential tool needed in every American household. According to the catalogue: 'After a long and careful study of the automobile industry we were fully convinced that the public demanded a thoroughly practical automobile and such a car was not possible with the conventional type of construction. We figured that a thoroughly practical car must have certain features incorporated in its construction, which the majority of cars have not. These features must be lightweight without sacrifice of strength, elimination of complicated mechanical parts, low cost of maintenance, as well as low purchase price. To get this it was necessary to depart from the usual design. Therefore a car constructed along the lines of the Sears was the only solution.' Sears, Roebuck and Co. also considered the upkeep of these cars. 'In building the Sears car we considered the cost of maintenance, and realized that the average man was not in a position to spend large sums keeping his car in [good] repair.' Economical cost of upkeep is only possible with a car light in weight and having few working parts, as every working part is a wearing part and every wearing part must at some time or another be replaced. Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold only an average of 3, 000 to 3, 500 Motor Buggy automobiles per year and after three profitless years manufacture of the car was discontinued.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorSears, Roebuck and Company
SourceSears and the Automobile (A compilation of historical materials). Chicago: Sears, Roebuck and Co., n.d.; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession File #72.1
Subject / KeywordsAutomobiles; Cars; Motorized buggy; Land transportation; Transportation; Chicago, Illinois
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier72.1
CONTENTdm file name60955181982002_SEARSAUT.jpg
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