Product:The Lad’s Car
One look at this ad from 1912 and you’ve got to think that maybe the Lad’s Car had a little something to do with implementing a minimum driving age.
The Lad’s Car was a fully functioning, five-horsepower, gasoline-powered miniature car that could reach speeds of 20 miles per hour. To put that in perspective, the speed limit in 1912 on most streets in America would have been about 10 miles per hour.
The Lad’s Car was touted as a pleasure vehicle for young boys, or working transport for kids who wanted to make some extra cash as a courier or messenger. OK, a neat idea for the time.
But imagine a bunch of 10- and 12-year-olds careening down the streets in tiny cars, mixed in with all the full-size vehicles, and you get a sense of the chaos these might have created.
The part of this ad that I truly enjoy, though, is the illustration. There’s a young boy, looking oh so cool in his “wheels” (note the jaunty cap and the one hand draped casually over the steering wheel), showing off to a pretty little girl in a dress. Even in 1912, with the auto industry as we know it barely 10 years old, manufacturers were marketing cars as a way for boys to attract the attention of the opposite sex.