1904 Columbia Electric Automobile

Dr. John Oscar Skinner, superintendent of the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, D.C., drove this runabout from 1906 to 1932. Physicians and affluent women in many cities bought electric cars because they were clean, quiet, comfortable, and easy to operate. Cities and larger towns had power grids that provided electricity to recharge car batteries. But electric cars were expensive, and electricity rates were high. Maintaining batteries was a complicated, hazardous task often left to a commercial garage. Low mileage between charges and the absence of electric power in rural areas further limited the market for electric cars as Americans drove longer distances.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Electric Vehicle Co.
overall: 86 in x 54 in x 100 in; 218.44 cm x 137.16 cm x 254 cm
place made
United States: Connecticut, Hartford
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Road Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Sewell M. Johnson

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