Carl G. Fisher’s thoughts on electric automobiles

Recently, while perusing my automobilia collection, I found a letter reflecting Carl G. Fisher’s thoughts on electric automobiles. This letter, dated June 18, 1909, on Fisher Automobile Company letterhead, presents his thoroughness in recommending new cars.

Fisher Letterhead
Fisher Automobile Company Letterhead
Copyright ©1909 Carl G. Fisher

In the first paragraph Fisher states: “Heretofore, I have refrained from handling the Electric Automobile for the reason that I considered the manufacture of this type of car had not made sufficient advance in construction.” He goes on to state the reasons that he finds that the Baker Motor Vehicle Co. has adopted the best obtainable material regardless of cost. He further states: “Their ten years of experience in the manufacture of these electric carriages, together with constant development has produced a more perfect harmony of construction than can be found elsewhere.”

Fisher’s highlights in recommending the Baker electric included:

  • The Baker motor used bearings that eliminate friction giving results over other makes.
  • Baker construction and adjustment saved power thus yielding more mileage between recharge and a greater speed.
  • The battery plates lasted longer, therefore lowering maintenance costs.

In concluding his evaluation he states: “I have proven beyond a question of doubt the superiority of the Baker Electric and do not hesitate to recommend it.”

Fisher’s enticement to electric car prospects reads: “To a purchaser of the Baker Electric the Fisher Automobile Co. will garage the car for $25 per month; this includes a thorough inspection, charging, washing, cleaning, polishing, calling for and delivering once per day. To those who prefer keeping their car at home, we will for one year give you two thorough inspections per month free.”

I originally purchased this letter to have Carl G. Fisher’s autograph. Today, I enjoy it for the interesting look into Indiana automotive history. This letter provides an example of retailing by one of America’s early auto dealers. Fisher prided himself in representing leading American automobiles. Over the years, in addition to Baker Electric, Fisher represented National, Overland, Packard, REO, and Stoddard-Dayton.

In addition to sales, his 400 North Capital Avenue location on the edge of Indianapolis’ business district provided service and storage of customer’s autos. The location became the keystone of Indianapolis Automobile Row in following decades. Today, automotive retail has moved to the suburbs.

So, there you have some early thoughts on electric automobiles.

For more information on Indiana’s auto pioneers follow this link.

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