What to Wear in Your Electric Car, 1915

Everything old is new again. Electric cars might seem to be the latest thing, but they were were already popular in the US a hundred years ago.  It turns out that some of the most enthusiastic drivers were well-off city women.  ” Electric cars quickly became popular with urban residents — especially women,” according to a government website from the Department of Energy. “They were perfect for short trips around the city, and poor road conditions outside cities meant few cars of any type could venture farther,” A big appeal was that they were both quiet and clean.

This 1915 photo by the Harris and Ewing news service could be used as an advertisement. It shows Eleanor Foster Lansing, wife of Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State and about fifty here, sharing the steering with her white poodle.  Her light colored dress certainly gives the impression of crisp cleanliness. Unfortunately, we can’t see the entire outfit, but the top half has beautiful details, including pin tucks down the shirt sleeves and perhaps embroidery on the front.  A light belt is at her waist.  In her immaculate dress, worn without a coat or face protection, Mrs. Lansing certainly gives the impression that driving an electric is both easy and clean.  

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