[The "Doodle Bug" Interior]

Description

This photograph illustrates the interior of a McKeen motor car, known locally as a "Doodle Bug", with its dust-proof round windows. This one, owned by the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway, was an 81-passenger, 70-foot-long, 200-horsepower, gasoline-powered, motor coach. It traveled from Graford through Oran and Salesville to Mineral Wells, thence on to Dallas. It made a round trip daily from 1912 to 1929. A turntable at Graford turned the coaches around. There were two "Doodle Bugs" on the WMW&NW. The third similar coach, owned by the Gulf, Texas and Western Railroad (GT&W), traveled from Seymour through Guthrie, and ...

Creation Information

Creator: Unknown. 1911/1935.

Context

This photograph is part of the collection entitled: A. F. Weaver Collection and was provided by Boyce Ditto Public Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 185 times . More information about this photograph can be viewed below.

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Boyce Ditto Public Library

Located in Mineral Wells, the Library holds over 50,000 materials and is dedicated to providing free access and services for the community in a friendly and professional manner. Because of the work of the Boyce Ditto Public Library, residents of Palo Pinto County have access to books, online resources, events, and much more.

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Description

This photograph illustrates the interior of a McKeen motor car, known locally as a "Doodle Bug", with its dust-proof round windows. This one, owned by the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway, was an 81-passenger, 70-foot-long, 200-horsepower, gasoline-powered, motor coach. It traveled from Graford through Oran and Salesville to Mineral Wells, thence on to Dallas. It made a round trip daily from 1912 to 1929. A turntable at Graford turned the coaches around. There were two "Doodle Bugs" on the WMW&NW. The third similar coach, owned by the Gulf, Texas and Western Railroad (GT&W), traveled from Seymour through Guthrie, and Jacksboro to Salesville beginning in 1913. It proceeded thence over the WMW&NW track to Mineral Wells, and on to Dallas. The McKeen Motor Car Company was run by one William B. McKeen, who was both red-haired and described as "Flamboyant." He painted his demonstration cars bright red, and reproduced an image of them on his letterhead. He has been described as a "Hard-sell artist in an industry more accustomed to polite suggestion." He "Bombarded railroad presidents, big and small, with volley after volley of rapid-fire sales letters and telegrams, often following them up with personal visits." He was also characterized as being "Stubborn, strong-willed and very forceful." His motor-cars--with porthole windows and with a knife-front (which he felt would lessen air resistance, an idea that was vindicated much later)--were characteristic. His motor-cars were called a "Glorious failure" (even though 152 of them had been built) for the reason that McKeen was unfamiliar with the internal combustion engine (as were practically all of the railroad people of his time)--and he relied too heavily upon the crude models that were in fashion in his time. The light rails and branch lines that they were to run on became the occasion of many serious maintenance problems because of the great weight of the motor-cars. They could, however, reach a top speed of fifty miles per hour on level track. His subsequent failure to adopt the gas-electric car (which General Electric did) and McKeen's decision to remain faithful to the mechanical transmission have been cited as a reason for the demise of his company on the eve of World War I. This picture occurs on page 93 of Weaver's "TIME WAS in Mineral Wells...."

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Collections

This photograph is part of the following collection of related materials.

A. F. Weaver Collection

This colorful panorama covers the founding of Mineral Wells through its mercurial growth as a resort center and army town up to the present. It features photos from local historian and photographer A.F. Weaver as well as local families and established research sources.

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Creation Date

  • 1911/1935

Covered Time Period

Start & End Dates

  • 1911 - 1935

Added to The Portal to Texas History

  • Nov. 28, 2006, 1:30 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Feb. 20, 2017, 9:21 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

[The "Doodle Bug" Interior], photograph, 1911/1935; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20357/: accessed March 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boyce Ditto Public Library.