Car Wreck Humor, 1904 Style: Is That My Eye On the Dashboard? No, That's One Of My Ears!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

These days, with the nanny-state enforcers of IngSoc and Agenda 21 mandating 3,000 pounds of safety gear on each new motor vehicle, it’s refreshing to hear that folks in the very early days of motoring got some good yuks out of the idea of impalement on the tiller of a curved-dash Olds. We’ve dug up this 1904 Cal Stewart recording of “Uncle Josh In An Automobile” to demonstrate.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Readallover Readallover on Mar 13, 2013

    Lord Mr. Ford, what have you done?

    • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Mar 13, 2013

      As long as there are cars, there will be songs about cars. Mr. Reed nailed it on the head though.

  • Ted Grant Ted Grant on Mar 13, 2013

    Here's an interesting link to the Boston Public library. This is the largest vintage car wreck collection that I know of...

    • See 3 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 14, 2013

      @Joe McKinney That looks like one of the compacts, rather than the fullsize DeSoto or Chrysler. The compacts were conventional, while the full size models used interlocking steel panels that were almost unibody construction. The most fragile parts of an Airflow were the grille, hood, and front bumper, all intact in that photo. Without knowing how the accident happened, it looks like it was Vee-boned at a 45 degree angle (vs a T-bone at 90 degrees) just ahead of the driver's door. No telling what hit it, but I suspect it was hit by something large and fast-moving, and I don't think any BOF car made up to the 1950s would do much better.

  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Mar 13, 2013

    That 1984 reference is pure gold. We're not far away from that... the telescreen is already "smart" enough.