Book ID: CBB240007232

Supplanting America's railroads: the early auto age, 1900-1940 / (2017)


Jakle, John A. (Author)
Sculle, Keith A. (Author)

University of Tennessee Press

Publication Date: 2017
Physical Details: 285
Language: English

With their speed and geographical reach, America's railroads reigned supreme through much of the nineteenth century, knitting together the sprawling country as no other mode of transportation was able to do. Around 1900, however, an upstart challenger--the automobile--arrived on the scene. At first regarded as little more than a plaything for the wealthy, the new invention rapidly gained popularity, especially after Henry Ford's innovative mass-production techniques made cars affordable to the middling classes. In this engaging book, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle--renowned experts on the wide-ranging effects of automobility on American life--examine the various ways in which the railroads responded to their new competition, not just from the automobile itself but from its close cousins, the motor truck and motor bus, through several decades up to the eve of World War II. Drawing on extensive research in the trade publications of the period, the authors examine the development of interurban and intraurban rail transport, the transition from steam to electric and diesel power, and the railroads' close involvement in the nascent trucking and passenger-bus industries. They devote a chapter to the places where trains and automobiles came most directly and dangerously into conflict--railroad crossings--and pay special attention throughout to the key role of government in the competition, whether through antitrust legislation, taxation, or the building of the "good roads" that were so necessary to the rise of auto, truck, and bus transport. Although the railroads remain with us, it was the automobile that emerged as the predominant transportation form, owing to its promise of speed, convenience, flexibility of movement, and, most important, self-gratification. In a country that places such high value on individual freedom, the romance of motoring has proven irresistible. (Publisher)

Reviewed By

Review Carlos A. Schwantes (2018) Review of "Supplanting America's railroads: the early auto age, 1900-1940 /". American Historical Review (pp. 1331-1332). unapi

Review Bruce Seely (2019) Review of "Supplanting America's railroads: the early auto age, 1900-1940 /". The Journal of Transport History (pp. 128-120). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Andersen, Birgitte
McBride, William M.
Johnson, Luanne
Lamoreaux, Naomi R.
Sokoloff, Kenneth Lee
Turdean, Cristina
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Railroad History
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Social Studies of Science
MIT Press
Edward Elgar
Johns Hopkins University Press
Railway & Locomotive Historical Society
Indiana University Press
Signature Press
Technological innovation
Development of technology; change in technology
Land transportation
Automobile industry
United States
Great Britain
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
20th century, late
International Business Machines Corporation
United States Navy
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company
General Electric Company

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