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 ...
Item Type: Refine your search to only Photograph
Partner: Boyce Ditto Public Library