Do you ever bet? Do you ever win? If you bet that the Martin Wasp was the only automobile ever produced in Vermont you might win – or lose.
Yes the Wasp was produced in Bennington, Vermont for a number of years by Karl Martin. But – there was also the Lane and Daley Steam vehicles produced in Barre, and this was much earlier (1901 and 1902).
The Wasp Was the Barre vehicle and automobile? Do we count it as one? The pictures I have seen of the vehicle show it transporting people and the info on the back says “as fast as 15 miles per hour”.
The last time the writer of this bet stood up for only the Wasp. And agreed to lose when presented with the Lane and Daley photo and info.
This lead to a more complete investigation of what might have been made in Vermont anyway. Early Vermont registration data for “automobiles” shows at least a dozen registrations prior to 1020 with unrecognizable names.
These turn out to be cars built by “enthusiasts” like us for their own personal use. Further research has turned up some data on a couple of these…
There was a guy in Poultney who build a car he registered as a Mahana. It was 1910 and the car was 16 horsepower and 4 wheel drive. He mentions that it worked well in the farm fields as well as going to town.
Then there was the Gore in Brattleboro, steam, in 1837. It ran well for years unlike its successor Al Gore. Or the Hooker in St Johnsbury, the Archer in Rutland and the Spear in Windsor.
Who says that Vermont didn’t have “enthusiasts” early on? They made their own fun. Oh and be careful what you bet on!
You can see a Wasp at the Bennington Museum. More info by phone at: 802-447-1571 or online at: www.benningtonmuseum.com